Identity terms including ‘transperson’ adopted by Scrabble

Competitors taking part in rounds 1 to 3 of the 24-round Scrabble Champions Tournament, during the Mindsports International W
Competitors taking part in rounds 1 to 3 of the 24-round Scrabble Champions Tournament, during the Mindsports International World Championships held at ExCeL London.

The term “transperson” and other words focused on gender identity will now be included in Scrabble.

Gender identity terminology such as “genderqueer” and the neutral pronoun “ze” will be scoring words in the popular board game.

Trends in the modern world have shaped the updated catalogue of acceptable words which reflect “many areas of contemporary life”.

The topical term “transphobia” – scoring 18 points – has also made it onto the Official Scrabble Words list for 2019, along with “transperson” and “agender”.

Dictionary publisher Collins has also included “manspreading” and “mansplaining” on the list, which is compiled from a database of terms used in Australia, Canada, South Africa, the USA and UK.

Words from the political sphere have also been added, including “Anftifa” – a militant American anti-fascist movement – and “Remainer”.

Collins, which compiles the list, includes new words based on trends and spikes in usage.

  • Antivaxxer – person opposed to vaccination (19 points)
  • Bae – sweetheart or lover (5 points)
  • Mansplaining – of a man explaining something to a woman in a condescending way (13 points)
  • Remainer – person who remains (10 points)
  • Upskirting – taking photographs under a woman’s skirt or dress without consent (17 points)
  • Ze – gender-neutral pronoun (11 points)

Gender identity terms have seen a flourishing in recent years, leading to their inclusion on the first updated list since 2015.

Helen Newstead, language content consultant at Collins, told the Press Association: “At Collins, we select new words by looking for language trends and spikes in usage in the Collins Corpus, a six-billion-word database of the English language, and gender identity is one of the areas that has seen an increase in the number of new words.”

Reflecting trends in the modern world, the word “incel” – involuntary celibate – has made the new list, as have “antivaxxer” and “dox”, meaning to share someone’s personal information online.

The now criminal offence of “upskirting” is another addition to the Scrabble repertoire.

Political analysis has introduced the term “post-truth” and, perhaps influenced by hit BBC series Bodyguard, the Russian word “kompromat” has made the list.

Slang terms like “bae”, “blud”, “hench”and “fleek” can all be played on the Scrabble board.

Among the more high-scoring new words, “genderqueer” scores the player 22 points, as does “aquafaba”, a common Vegan replacement for egg whites.

Specialist Newstead explained: “The team at WESPA (World English-Language Scrabble Players Association) select words for inclusion in Collins Official Scrabble Words from a range of dictionaries, including Collins English Dictionary.”

The official Scrabble Words list for 2019 has added 2,862 new entries to the existing 276,000.


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