Official Scrabble Players Dictionary

Official Scrabble Players Dictionary

The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary or OSPD is a dictionary developed for use in the game Scrabble, by speakers of American and Canadian English.

Contents

History

Creation

The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary was first published in 1978[1] through the efforts of the National Scrabble Association (NSA) Dictionary Committee and Merriam-Webster. The OSPD was developed as the word authority for NSA-sanctioned clubs and tournaments. Selchow and Righter, the owners of Scrabble at the time, proposed that words contained in at least one of the following five dictionaries should be in the OSPD: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eighth Edition (1973), Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary of the English Language (1973), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1969), Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition (1970), and The Random House College Dictionary (1968).[1]

The compilation was produced by hand and many errata and omissions were later discovered. For example, the word granola was present in all five nominated dictionaries but not in the OSPD. A second edition, OSPD 2, was released in 1991. The current edition is OSPD 4.

Although OSPD bears the name Official Scrabble Players Dictionary no countries list their "official" dictionary as the OSPD, whereas the Official Tournament and Club Word List is the official word source of tournament Scrabble in the United States, Canada, Thailand and Israel.[2] The NSA markets the OSPD as ideal for school and family use.

Offensive words

While reading OSPD 2, Judith Grad found several words she considered to be offensive, including "jew", listed as a verb with the definition "To bargain with – an offensive term".[3] Her initial letters to Merriam-Webster and Milton Bradley requesting removal of the words resulted in politely negative responses. Merriam-Webster responded "[the] slurs are part of the language and reputable dictionaries record them as such." Milton Bradley responded "As a dictionary, it is a reflection of words currently used in our language."[4]

Grad wrote to the National Council of Jewish Women, who began a letter-writing campaign in support of her cause. Publicity in Jewish media led to the Anti-Defamation League writing to Hasbro chairman Alan Hassenfeld, who announced that a third edition would be published with "offensive" words like "JEW", "FARTED", "FATSO", and "BOOBIE" removed.[4]

The news was generally not well received by members of the National Scrabble Association, which was not consulted in the decision. After receiving mostly negative feedback from players, including threats to boycott events, NSA president John D. Williams announced a compromise, the result of which was the publication, without definitions, of the unexpurgated Official Tournament and Club Word List.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b National Scrabble Association Dictionary Committee & Its Word Sources, Broken Link.
  2. ^ The Israeli Scrabble Association
  3. ^ The Official Scrabble© Players Dictionary Second Edition, Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1990. ISBN 0-87779-120-1
  4. ^ a b http://scrabble.wonderhowto.com/blog/controversy-changed-scrabble-0114722/
  5. ^ Fatsis, Stefan. (2001). Word Freak Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

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