Forum Thread: Scrabble dictionary not "dependable"?

Anyone know why Merriam-Webster's Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, 4th Edition, does not have the word "dependable".  The word also doesn't appear in Hasbro's online scrabble dictionary.  It is listed as valid on other non official sites like:

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5 Responses

Very good question Chad.

You're absolutely right. The word does not appear in the OSPD4 book, but that's because this particular dictionary only lists words between 2 and 8 letters long.

Now, searching Hasbro's online dictionary won't help you out either, because it's basically an exact duplicate of the OSPD4, though much harder to find words. An example of how difficult it is to find words can be seen in one of my past challenges, where finding run-on words is nearly impossible.

Okay, so DEPENDABLE is not listed in the OSPD4 because it's 10-letters long. So, that means it should be listed in the OWL2 (Official Tournament and Club Word List, 2nd Edition), right? Wrong. The OWL2 book only adds 9-letter words, so still no luck with your 10-letter long DEPENDABLE.

Next up is the Official Long Words List (LL) by Merriam-Webster, basically just an extender of the OWL2. It's the only official word list used to adjudicate words longer than nine letters (up to 15 letters long) at sanctioned NASPA clubs and tournaments. You can download an online version of it here from NASPA.

And guess what? DEPENDABLE is listed in there.

So, basically… it's just all about space. An actual dictionary would be humungous if it listed all words up to 15 letters long, so the cutoff is 8, especially since the dictionary is geared towards everyone, with an emphasis on helping young players not only learn new words, but what they mean.

Then it turns into word lists, skipping the definitions, for hardcore players who don't necessarily care about the definition—the ones playing in clubs and tournaments.

Maybe one day there will be one big dictionary just for Scrabble, but until then… maybe look into using Zyzzyva to authenticate your words. It's a very handy tool.

Or check out any of the handy word lists available out there here.

Thanks for this very detailed response.  So I'm thinking the OSPD4 is not the book to use as the "law" for friendly games of Scrabble.  Sure, there are not enough letters to make "dependable" in one turn, but it could be made if built upon "depend".  Or, now that I know that there are no longer words than 8 letters, I could use it to my advantage and challenge otherwise legitimate words. lol.

Well, I'd say the OSPD4 is a great dictionary to use for friendly play, provided you have an agreed upon backup dictionary for longer words (in case you don't have the official word lists). I'm a nerd, so I have the OSPD4, OWL2 and LL. I use those for my basis. If it's not in there, it doesn't fly (just because there's got to be some kind of boundaries!).

I don't think challenging longer legitimate words will fly, haha. After all, there's over 95,000 words playable in North American games that are 9 to 15 letters long (according to the official lists). And they're not rare on the board. Well... I have yet to go above a 12-letter word, but I'm hoping to eventually hit the 15 mark!

Also, if my computer's around, I'll just use Zyzzyva using the OWL2 setting, which actually lists everything acceptable (it's a combination of the OWL2 and LL).

Plus, there's always the common sense rule. If everybody knows DEPENDABLE is a word, then why would anybody even bother challenging?

Here's a Scrabble Dictionary resource you can use to find 10-letter (or longer) words such as dependable:

Please note that the setting of the maxlength at the end of the link is set to 10 characters like this:

This is a word finder website that has several dictionaries. Just click the "advanced options" button to change the dictionary / set maximum length to 10 characters (or more)

Hope this helps!

Thanks for great post. So I'm thinking the OSPD4 isn't the book to use as the "law" for friendly games of Scrabble. Certainly, there are insufficient letters to make "dependable" in one turn, however it could be made whenever based upon "depend". Or on the other hand, since I realize that there are never again words than 8 letters, I could use it to further my potential benefit and challenge generally genuine words. lol.

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