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Merriam-Webster to release new Scrabble dictionary, 'selfie' is now on the table

If you’re a fan of the classic board game Scrabble but have ever played with one of those people who are wont to challenge words of dubious validity (or if you’re the one doing the challenging), the list of words that are now acceptable to play just got quite a bit longer.

Merriam-Webster announced its fifth edition of The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary on Tuesday. It is the first major update to the dictionary in nearly 10 years and will be released August 11. There are 5,000 new words in this forthcoming edition, many of which you might be surprised to see included for having a decidedly modern slant to them.

“Hashtag,” “chillax,” “beatbox” (which can score you a whopping 128 points if played correctly), “mixtape,” “bromance,” “dubstep,” and “vlog” are just a few of the words that are now officially playable, plus the ultra-current “selfie.” Doesn’t matter whether you think that one in particular counts; the term was crowned as Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year last fall.

“Language is constantly evolving and new words are added to Merriam-Webster dictionaries on an ongoing basis,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski said in a statement.

Sokolowski also gave wordsmiths some helpful advice by reminding players that you can get a 50-point bonus for playing all seven of your tiles at once (a term known as a “bingo”), pointing out that several of the new words are in fact seven letters long. There’s also the strategy of adding a letter or two onto an existing word on the board, so if someone plays “romance” and you happen to have a spare “b,” slap it on!

“Geocache,” the container or object sought out by fans of the recreational GPS activity known as geocaching, became the first word to be voted into the dictionary by fans.

It’s not just lengthy words that were added, either. You now have a few more options for when you’re desperate to play something and one of those seemingly meaningless two-letter words is your go-to. “Da,” “te,” “gi,” and “po” are now playable (it’s ok if you don’t know the definitions; you’ll look smart just for playing them when your opponents challenge).

There’s actually another big Scrabble update coming up soon, if you’re not into using the Merriam-Webster version. The Official Tournament and Club Word List, which is often used by more serious players, is getting updated this week and will add 9,000 new words, including words more than eight letters long that do not appear in Merriam-Webster.

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