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Scrabble Word Showdown Lets Fans Choose One New Playable Word

  |  March 14, 2014   |  Comments

Scrabble is inviting fans to suggest words on Facebook, and the new word selection will conclude with a "bracket-style showdown."

scrabble-word-showdownWord game Scrabble and dictionary brand Merriam-Webster are updating the official Scrabble Players Dictionary for the first time in nearly a decade and say they have reserved a spot for a word chosen by fans in the Scrabble Word Showdown.

From March 12 to March 28, Scrabble fans can nominate the words they want to add on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page by commenting on the Scrabble Word Showdown post.

As of March 13, the post had about 600 comments with suggestions like ew, zen, zoot, bromance, photobomb, lifehack, ribeye, and nucleic.

According to Shaun Rowan, director of marketing for Scrabble at parent company Hasbro, Scrabble has a committee that will vet submitted words. She says Scrabble will look at potential words within the existing confines of playable words, which include factors like: no proper nouns, no hyphens, no apostrophes, and no abbreviations. Scrabble words are also generally between two and eight letters, she says.

Submitted words will also be reviewed by Merriam-Webster.

On April 2, Scrabble and Merriam-Webster will unveil 16 words from the pool of nominations for what they call a "bracket-style showdown." Fans can cast their votes on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page until only one word remains, the brand says.

The chosen word will be revealed on April 10 and will be included in the fifth edition of Merriam-Webster's Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, which will be available in August. The brand says this will make it an official playable word.

Merriam-Webster's Official Scrabble Players Dictionary is the official dictionary for English-language Scrabble in the United States and Canada and is the official arbiter of which words are "play eligible," the brand says.

The dictionary has been around since the 1970s, Rowan says. This is the first update since 2005.

The selected word will also be available to play in the digital versions of Scrabble on Facebook, iPhone, iPad, and Android.

"Over the past decade, changes in technology, trends, and pop culture events have introduced many new words like 'selfie' and 'hashtag' into everyday vocabulary," the brand says. "To keep relevant for today's fans, Scrabble and Merriam-Webster will be updating The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary for the first time in nine years with thousands of new words."

Scrabble says it will reveal the winning word on April 10, but will not unveil any of the other new words until the dictionary is published.

Rowan says Scrabble is using the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page for the Scrabble Word Showdown in order to appeal to a broader target of people who love games.

"Hasbro Game Night reaches more than just Scrabble fans," she says.

Hasbro Game Night has 221,000 likes; Scrabble has 3.9 million.

The promotion offers no reward other than the satisfaction of knowing players made a contribution to the game, Rowan says.

"We just want to engage fans," she says.

To push the promotion, Rowan says the brand has partnered with the North American Scrabble Players Association.

In addition, the winning word will be playable at the 2014 National School Scrabble Championship on April 26 in Providence, Rhode Island.

The North America Scrabble Players Association also worked with Hasbro and Merriam-Webster when updating the new edition of the dictionary and helped generate the new list of words, a rep adds.


Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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