Scrabble, wordsmiths’ favorite game, has pretty straightforward rules and from time to time they get updated with the addition of new words. According to the latest update to the Scrabble dictionary, released by Merriam-Webster on September 2018, 300 new words were added and are now eligible to be played in a Scrabble game. The game was last updated in 2014.
The most important and unexpected addition was the word ‘OK’, an addition which divided most Scrabble experts. This division stems from the fact that Scrabble rules didn’t allow acronyms, words that are always spelled with capital letters, such as TV, IQ, etc. This means that the word OK was only allowed if it was spelled okay.
Merriem-Webster warrants this addition saying that it is becoming more and more common for people to spell the word OK with lowercase letters, thus its inclusion to the Scrabble dictionary.
Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster wrote, “Although [OK] was born out of a facetious abbreviation for ‘ oll korrect,’ it functions as a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb and is entered as such in dictionaries, the word has been around for a long time, but the two-letter spelling wasn’t eligible for Scrabble to play because it was always capitalized.” Emily adds, “The lowercase variant ok is now recognized as established, making ok a playable word where formerly only okay was accepted.”
The update includes the addition of other words such as ew , macaron, facepalm, emoji, and puggle. But is is the addition of OK that triggered the criticism of expert players. Jackson Smylie, who ranks among the top 10 tournaments Scrabble players in North America, said its inclusion could open the door “to a lot of other initialisms that are not very word-like.” He adds, “That being said, I am totally fine with the addition, I strongly support descriptive dictionaries, which include words based on colloquial use rather than prescribed standards.”
Judy Cole, a competitive player and a director of Scrabble tournaments, said that OK was “certainly more common than a lot of the other words in the word list.”
Regardless of what people think, the addition of OK will certainly change the way Scrabble is played, especially at higher levels of competition and from a strategic point of view. If you are familiar with how the game is played, it is the two-letter words that are the most important in the entire game.
Before OK, there were no valid two-letter words ending with the letter K. This means that it could be used defensively to block off certain sections of the board. Now players will have to think twice before placing a K right below a triple-word score.