Posted by: thebylog | February 6, 2006

Scrabble and Obscure Words

This weekend I was playing a variation of Scrabble (“fast Scrabble” or “Take One”) with some of Amy’s family.

Now, I have a buddy here at school who’s into Scrabble, and since I’m a fan of the game too, we play each other periodically. We’ve played, oh, maybe twelve times. I beat him the very first time, but never since. He knows more words than me.

If you want to improve in Scrabble, one of the first things “they” will tell you to do is commit the acceptable two-letter English words to memory. I haven’t even done that, but I have picked up several which, shall we say, don’t appear in the day-to-day vocabulary of most of us.

I had picked them up, but I didn’t know what they meant. That made me feel sort of sheepish, so in an attempt at rectification:

Za: a pizza
Qi or ki: the vital force that in Chinese thought is inherent in all things

For your information, a few other very convenient words that allow a person to use difficult letters are xi (a Greek letter), xu (a monetary unit of Vietnam), ka (the spiritual self of a human being in Egyptian religion), and jo (a sweetheart).

These words and definitions all appear in “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Fourth Edition.” This dictionary isn’t compiled arbitrarily, by the way. The powers-that-be consult four English dictionaries and if a word shows up in any of them it is included.

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