A blog for fans of Bananagrams, word games, puzzles, and amazing things

Monday, June 20, 2011

Words deleted from the new British Scrabble dictionary

One point in favor of the British approach to Scrabble dictionaries is that they appear to actually delete words from the list once they stop appearing in their current source dictionaries. Some of the deleted words are words that the sources corrected, either by capitalization (Freon), splitting into two words ("jet plane", not "jetplane"), or elimination of abbreviations ("arccos" is not a word; it's an abbreviation for "arccosine").

When I last checked in on the UK Scrabble dictionary committee, they were talking about doing away with some obscure or erroneous words in the Collins Scrabble Words list. Frequently singled out were "smoyle" (an obsolete form of the verb "smile") and "Pernod" (a brand name for a French liqueur which also appears in the American Scrabble dictionary).

While nearly 400 words have been deleted, somehow both "smoyle" and "Pernod" survived the cuts. Here are some that did not:


[The Anglicized form, "apple strudel", appears to have taken over for the original German form.]


[This is supposed to be the plural of "arccos", itself a deleted word since it is merely an abbreviation for the arccosine function in trigonometry. Including "arccos" as a word is a somewhat understandable mistake, but pluralizing it as "arccoses" is fairly egregious, as no one ever writes such a thing. This is probably one of the glaring problems in the previous edition of the Collins Official Scrabble Words that caused the world Scrabble tournament people to reject it and retain their old list.]


[AWESTRUCK and AWESTRICKEN are apparently still fine. It turns out that no one awestrikes. The Chambers Dictionary has switched to a hyphenated form: "awe-strikes". From surveying the Internet, I'd say it's more popular to "strike awe".]


[This is an obsolete spelling for "barracuda".]

BELLPUSH    a button used in ringing a bell

["Bellpull" is still fine.]


BROADMINDED    incapable of being shocked. Opposite of shockable.


["Cardcastle" is apparently an obsolete synonym for a house of cards. The last three words have all switched to hyphenated forms.]

CARPARK    a space for parking cars

[I was a bit disappointed by this deletion until I looked up the one instance I know this phrase from (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe), and discovered that Douglas Adams also preferred writing it as two words:
"I'm in the car park," said Marvin.
"The car park?" said Zaphod, "what are you doing there?"
"Parking cars, what else does one do in a car park?"
"OK, hang in there, we'll be right down."
In one movement Zaphod leapt to his feet, threw down the phone and wrote "Hotblack Desiato" on the bill.
"Come on guys," he said, "Marvin's in the car park. Let's get on down."
"What's he doing in the car park?" asked Arthur.
"Parking cars, what else? Dum dum."

CHILIOI    one thousand

[Greek word meaning "thousand"; it can be singular or plural; seems to come up most often because it appears in the Book of Revelation]

CORNRENT    rent paid in corn



[This was already a very rarely used word, meaning "submissiveness". Shakespeare used it in Antony and Cleopatra, but modern printings have substituted the word "dependency".]

EUROPEANIZE    To cause to become like the Europeans in manners or character; to habituate or accustom to European usages.

[Someone realized that these words are almost always capitalized. On the other hand "Francization" and "Francisation", the noun forms of Francize and Francise (meaning to make something French), have just been added to the CSW.]


[I have a feeling that LOST fans will have something to say about this. FLASHBACK is still on the list.]

GRENZ    as in grenz rays, X-rays of long wavelength produced in a device when electrons are accelerated through 25 kilovolts or less [adj]

[Grenz rays (ultrasoft X-rays with wavelengths between 0.07 nanometers and 0.4 nanometers)) were discovered by German physician Gustav Bucky. Bucky noted that the effects of this radiation on biological tissue were somewhat like ultraviolet light and somewhat like the adjacent X-ray part of the spectrum, so he called them "Grenz rays" from the German word Grenz, meaning "boundary". The term seems to have been confined to medicine and is now falling out of usage as Grenz ray therapy is giving way to other techniques.]

HAMBURGHER    a patty of ground beef

HEROE    a man revered for his bravery, courage etc, also HERO


[Apparently this is an archaic form of "however".]

PARAMOECIUM    Any of various freshwater ciliate protozoans of the genus Paramecium, usually oval and having an oral groove for feeding.

PLAYBUS    a bus with activities for children

[This seems to be a British concept. As far as I can tell, it's a bit like a bookmobile, except that rather than being a mobile library, it's more like a mobile playground with possibly some educational elements or facilities. From photos I've found, I'd define a playbus as a double-decker bus with ball pits, slides, tunnels, all with lots of padding and primary colors. "Playbus" has apparently transitioned to a capitalized form.]




["Shot put" and "side street" are now standard.]


[This now extinct musical instrument is similar to the better known "hornpipe" and the less well known "pibgorn". It was a single-reed woodwind constructed from a sheep's shin bone and used a cow's horn for the flared part at the end that amplifies the sound. The stockhorn is the Scottish version of this instrument. It also goes by the name "stock-and-horn".]

SWONE    a fainting fit

UPSWARM    to send up in a swarm

[Now you "up-swarm" something (e.g., bees). Shakespeare used this one too, but he wasn't up-swarming bees.]

WASM    an outmoded policy

[This is apparently a portmanteau word, resulting from the combination of WAS and ISM. Or looked at differently, an outdated ISM becomes a WASM. This is one of the words that was removed because it was dropped from the Chambers dictionary (the other UK source dictionary) due to lack of usage.]

WYSIWYG    what you see is what you get, matching computer display with what will be printed (adj)


[The shortest deleted word was deemed to be an incorrect pluralization of the noun "yo", where "yo" is defined as
an expression of calling for attention

I find this list intriguing. It's like a graveyard for forgotten words. (Here lies "Grenz rays".)

Remember, if you want to keep your favorite words alive, you have to use them. Write books about them! Insert them gratuitously into blog comments! Or the ideas they represent may become wasms.