Kwyjibo – a big, dumb, balding North American ape, with no chin and a short temper. Quite a few Scrabble fans are pushing for kwyjibo – a “word” coined by Bart Simpson in a family Scrabble game – to be added to the official Scrabble Dictionary. K-W-Y-J-I-B-O would earn a player 22 points.
It’s just one of hundreds of words nominated in the first official Scrabble Word Showdown. Scrabble manufacturer Hasbro is accepting nominations for a new word on its Game Night Facebook page. The last update to the Scrabble dictionary was nine years ago.
Have a word in mind? You have until March 28 to submit your nomination. On April 2, in a March Madness-style bracket, Hasbro will unveil 16 finalists, said NPR’s Here & Now. Fans can vote for their favorite, and the new official Scrabble word will be announced April 10.
Bazinga, twerk, jedi, ew, fracking, bitcoin – just a sampling of the words nominated on Facebook so far. John Chew, co-president of the North American Scrabble Players Association, told Here & Now:
My email inbox has been overflowing ever since we put out the announcement. My phone has been ringing off the hook. This is huge news within the Scrabble community, because we’ve never done anything like this before.
Ew gets my vote, and, according to an interview with Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski on Slate, it has a good chance of making it to the Scrabble “Sweet 16.”
If you want the new word to be both lexicographically defensible and highly useful in Scrabble, vote for ew or zen. The latter has until now been excluded as a proper noun, but Sokolowski says there are plenty of lowercase citations. “It’s on the shortest of the short lists,” he says. But he’s even more excited about ew, for which citations go back to the 1970s. “It’s absolutely valid. It’s an interjection with a real meaning. It’s used in lots of sources. It’s a great example of the kind of word that we watch closely for entry.”
Looking for some inexpensive fun this summer? The updated Scrabble dictionary will be out in August, just in time for a late summer game night party. Impress your friends and family with your new Scrabble-approved words.