Scrabble is a popular word game for two to four players. Players start with a rack of seven tiles, each of which bears a letter or a blank to be used as a wild. You use the letters to spell out words on the Scrabble board, with different letters being worth different points. However, rules exist to govern which words can and cannot be used. These rules forbid the use of the majority of abbreviations.
General Rule Regarding Abbreviations
In Scrabble, it is not permitted to use abbreviations. "ASAP," "OMG" and "etc." do not count as words on the Scrabble board, even though they are often used in modern-day language. If you think that your opponent has played an abbreviation, challenge the word and refer to your dictionary. In Scrabble, a word only counts if it is included in a "standard English dictionary." If the challenge is upheld, your opponent must remove the offending tiles from the board and forfeit his turn. However, if the word is legitimate, the challenger must forfeit his next turn.
Other Types of Banned Words
Abbreviations are not the only type of words Scrabble players are not allowed to use. The rules also specify that prefixes and suffixes are not permitted. Foreign words are also disallowed, unless the word is included in a standard English dictionary. An example would be "bidet," a French word which has been absorbed into English usage and is worth at least eight points in Scrabble.
Exceptions to the Rule
In the same way that certain foreign words have been assimilated into the English language, so have some abbreviations. For example, "AWOL," an abbreviation of "absent without leave," is acceptable in Scrabble. Likewise, "scuba" is actually an acronym of "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus," but it has been added to the dictionary as a word in its own right and is an acceptable Scrabble word. In the U.S., the official Scrabble word list used for tournaments is known as the Tournament Word List, or TWL. This list is the basis for the word search engine scrabblefinder.com, a useful resource for clearing up disputes over specific words.
Although official Scrabble rules do not allow abbreviations, an unofficial variation of the game exists in which players are only allowed to use abbreviations. Instead of using "thanks," the player would spell out "thanx" on the board. In Abbreviation Scrabble, informal language such as "LOL" and "IOU" is the name of the game. This lighthearted version of the game can be challenging and a way to share language across generations. Bemused parents who don't know the meaning of "ROFL" or "LMAO" could ask their children to explain these terms over the Scrabble board.
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