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The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary Hardcover – October, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

If you're using the 1991 edition or the 1978 original, you're woefully behind the Scrabble-playing times. With more than 100,000 2- to 8-letter words, there are some interesting additions ("aargh," "aarrgh," and "aarrghh" are all legitimate now), while words they consider offensive are no longer kosher. Why subscribe to the Scrabble dictionary's changeable lexicon? Well, it ends the argument of whose dictionary to use, but the main reason is that it's the winner's dictionary, and why play Scrabble if not to win? Memorize those 2- and 3-letter words, and your Scrabble game becomes lethal. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

The Merriam brothers desired a continuity of editorship that would link Noah Webster's efforts with their own editions, so they selected Chauncey A. Goodrich, Webster's son-in-law and literary heir, who had been trained in lexicography by Webster himself, to be their editor in chief. Webster's son William also served as an editor of that first Merriam-Webster dictionary, which was published on September 24, 1847.

Although Webster's work was honored, his big dictionaries had never sold well. The 1828 edition was priced at a whopping $20; in 13 years its 2,500 copies had not sold out. Similarly, the 1841 edition, only slightly more affordable at $15, moved slowly. Assuming that a lower price would increase sales, the Merriams introduced the 1847 edition at $6, and although Webster's heirs initially questioned this move, extraordinary sales that brought them $250,000 in royalties over the ensuing 25 years convinced them that the Merriams' decision had been abundantly sound.

The first Merriam-Webster dictionary was greeted with wide acclaim. President James K. Polk, General Zachary Taylor (hero of the Mexican War and later president himself), 31 U.S. senators, and other prominent people hailed it unreservedly. In 1850 its acceptance as a resource for students began when Massachusetts ordered a copy for every school and New York placed a similar order for 10,000 copies to be used in schools throughout the state. Eventually school use would spread throughout the country. In becoming America's most trusted authority on the English language, Merriam-Webster dictionaries had taken on a role of public responsibility demanded of few other publishing companies. 


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Merriam Webster; 3rd edition (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877792208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877792208
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (870 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

199 of 201 people found the following review helpful By Dominick Mancine on July 22, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, 3rd edition (OSPD3) is more valuable as a list of acceptable words for use when playing Scrabble than it is as a dictionary. That being said, it is not totally useful as a list of words. The 3rd edition updates the word list from the 2nd edition, but leaves out offensive words, to allow the dictionary to be used when playing with children. If you don't mind not having offensive words in your Scrabble word arsenal, then this book is fine for you.
However, if you want your word list to be complete, then you need the Official Tournament and Club Word List (OWL), which is available only from the National Scrabble Association. Unfortunately, you need to become a member before they will sell you the book. It doesn't contain definitions, either, only a list of 2- to 9-letter words. And, you still need Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition to get the longer words.. ..
Now that you know how to collect all the words allowable in Scrabble tournament and club play, know this: Your friends and family will complain when you try to use many of these words! The official word list is a compilation of all the words from the 10 most popular dictionaries that satisfy the conditions listed in the Scrabble rules for acceptable words. So, some dictionary has defined ED to mean "education" (presumably from phrases like "special ed" or "driver's ed"). However, it's not considered an abbreviation because that dictionary didn't specifically mention that it's an abbreviation. Also, foreign words are unacceptable, but there are a lot of words of foreign origin that are acceptable (CHEZ, CIAO, CASA, etc.), and spellings of foreign letters (ALPHA, BETA, XI, QOPH, etc.).
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158 of 164 people found the following review helpful By NY Wordsmith on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was very disappointed to find that more than 800 acceptable Scrabble words are missing from this edition. Scrabble News, Issue 201, which appeared more than a year ago, stated, "Some words may have been erroneously omitted from early printings of OSPD4." It then listed those words, including some vulgar words that had been intentionally omitted for PC purposes. I understood that the vulgar words would not appear, but I had thought that the edition I had purchased from Amazon in March 2007 would be up-to-date with the others--it was not. The OWL2 (Official Word List 2, available only to current National Scrabble Association members) contains all acceptable words but does not include definitions, which is why I purchased this book, the OSPD4. As far as it goes, the large print edition is fine, but since my aim was to be exposed to the meanings of all of the thousands of new words that have been deemed acceptable in Scrabble, this Amazon purchase failed to meet my expectations.
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 16, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The OSPD is no ordinary dictionary. There are capsule definitions given but no usage tips. All the entries are in caps. Since there are no proper names allowed, this doesn't matter. The most important information about the entries (from the point of view of the Scrabble player) is how they are spelled, how they are made plural, how the gerund and past tenses are formed, and whether you can make comparatives or superlatives out of the word and how.

For example the plural of "bijou" (a jewel) is either "bijoux" or "bijous," and the OSPD gives that info. The gerund of "snib" (to latch) is "snibbing" while the comparative of "sleazy" is "sleazier" and the superlative, "sleaziest." There is also the adverb, "sleazily."

The -er form of a word is listed separately. If you don't find it, it's not a word!--or at least that should be our agreement. For example "renown" is a noun and a verb but there is no "renowner"--"someone who makes renown" since the verb is intransitive, but there is a "tearer"--"one who tears." (There's also a "terror," but never mind.)

By the way, words beginning with the prefix "re" as in, e.g., "reword" are listed separately from words that begin with the "re" that is not a prefix. Again, "renown" is not listed after "rename" but follows "renovate" a few pages later.

The other peculiarities of the entries are explained in the Introduction, which I highly recommend you read. (Be sure your informed opponent has read it!) There it is explained why "You should look always look at several entries above and below the expected place..." when searching for the word in question. You should also read the brief Preface in which the editors explain why some offensive (especially four-letter) words do not appear.
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146 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Jokie X Wilson on August 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beyond being useful for playing Scrabble, this book is fun. It might be nice to just have a list of new words, but the reality isn't so bad: you can spend some relaxing time just peeking through the book to find new words and what they mean. This book is worth it just for identifying the first acceptable two-letter Q/Q-without-U word, Qi. No longer must you be able to spell just Qat when you get stuck with the Q at the very end of the game without an accompanying U.

For those folks who want the "dirty" words as well, it can always be agreed in advance to use the current Webster's dictionary or whatever in addition to this book. You need to do that anyway for words with more than eight letters.
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