Back to the Dictionary Committee Home Page

OSW? OSPD? TWL? SOWPODS? SOWLOW?

This document discusses the various terms used to designate word references used in the crossword board game of SCRABBLE®.

Glossary

ASPAL
Short for ?.

An Australian word list, based on CED88?. In effect from ? to ?. Published by ?.

CED88
Chambers English Dictionary, 1988 edition.

The source dictionary for OSW1 and dictionary of reference for longer words in British play.

Chambers
Cover term for CED88, TCD93 and TCD98.

In non-SCRABBLE® usage, can also refer to earlier editions of the same work. According to the introduction of CED88, these were called Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary from 1890 on; but a copy of Chambers English Dictionary dated 1913 has been reported. [source: Graeme Thomas]

Duden
Duden Rechtschreibung.

Semi-official reference for German-language play, published (I believe) by Duden.

ESPD
Expurgated Scrabble Players Dictionary.

A derogatory epithet sometimes applied to OSPD3.

FW73
Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary, 1973 edition.

The official reference for North American play, from 1973? to 1978-08-31. Replaced the OSWG, was itself superseded by OSPD1. Published by Funk & Wagnalls, out of print.

Griffon
The Griffon Word List?.

An Australian edition of SOWPODS96?. Used from ? to ?. Published by ?.

MWCD8
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1977 edition

Used as the dictionary of reference in North American play for base words of nine letters or more, or their inflections of nine or more letters from 1978-09-01 to ?. See SPN20. Published by G & C Merriam, now out of print.

MWCD9
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.

Used as the dictionary of reference in North American play for base words of nine letters or more, or their inflections of nine or more letters from ? to 1994-04-30. Published by Merriam-Webster, now out of print.

MWCD10
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition.

From 1994-05-01 to 1998-02-28, the dictionary of reference in North American play for base words of at least 9 letters, and their inflections of at least 9 letters.

From 1998-03-01 to date, the dictionary of reference in North American play for base words of at least 10 letters, and their inflections of at least 10 letters.

First published by Merriam-Webster in 1993-05, still in print.

NWL
New Word List.

An old term for OSPD2 together with errata published by the NSA, specifically the set in effect from 1996-02-01 to 1998-02-28.

ODS
L'Officiel du SCRABBLE.

Official reference for French-language play, published by Larousse. Based on le Petit Larousse Illustre, and updated periodically but not as often as PLI itself.

OSL
Official Scrabble Lists.

Not an official lexicon, but a list of useful words, published as a companion volume to the various editions of OSW.

OSPD
A cover term for OSPD1, OSPD2 or NWL (and rarely OSPD3).

OSPD1
Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, First Edition.

First official SCRABBLE®-specific lexicon, used in Canada and the U.S. from 1978-09-01 (see SPN20) to 1991-09-30. Replaced FW73, was itself superseded by OSPD2. Corrections were published periodically in SPN and SN. Published by Merriam-Webster, now out of print. According to Stu Goldman, the initial word list was prepared by David Prinz with some help from Jonathan Hatch, and subsequently edited by staff at Merriam-Webster.

OSPD2
Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, Second Edition.

Second edition of OSPD1, used in Canada and the U.S. from 1991-10-01 (see SPN??) to 1998-02-28, with various published errata (see SPN??). Replaced OSPD1, superseded by OTCWL. Corrections were published periodically in SPN and SN. Published by Merriam-Webster, now out of print. According to Stu Goldman, was based largely on corrections from Joe Leonard.

OSPD2+
A synonym for NWL.

OSPD3
Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, Third Edition.

A bowdlerized version of OSPD2, first published 1995, not used in club or tournament play, but sold in bookstores in Canada and the U.S. Watch out for early printings, which reintroduced a large number of errors found in early printings of OSPD2.

OSW
A cover term for OSW1, OSW2, OSW3 and OSW4.

OSW1
Official Scrabble Words, 1st Edition.

The official reference in British play from 1989-01-01 to 1990-12-31 for words of up to nine letters and their inflections, including plurals of gerunds (not found in corresponding American works). Replaced by OSW2. For longer words, CED88 (on which the lexicon is based) itself was to be consulted. Published in 1988 by Chambers, now out of print.

OSW2
Official Scrabble Words, 2nd Edition.

The official reference in British play from 1991-01-01 to 1994-12-31 for words of up to nine letters and their inflections. Replaced OSW1, was replaced by OSW3. For longer words, CED88 (on which the lexicon is based) itself was to be consulted. Published in 1990 by Chambers, now out of print.

OSW3
Official Scrabble Words, 3rd Edition.

The official reference in British play from 1995-01-01 to date for words of up to nine letters and their inflections. Replaced OSW2, will be replaced by OSW4. For longer words, TCD93 is consulted. Published in 1994 by Chambers.

OSW4
Official Scrabble Words, 4th Edition.

Will be based on TCD98 and possibly OTCWL. Will replace OSW3 at a date to be announced, most likely 2000-01-01. Will be published in August or September 1999.

OSWG
Official Scrabble Word Guide.

The first official Scrabble word reference in North America. Based on Funk & Wagnalls' Standard College Dictionary, which replaced it for tournament play in 1973. Published by ?, out of print.

OTCWL
Official Tournament and Club Word List.

As of 1998-03-01, the official reference for all Canadian and U.S. tournament and club play. It contains words of up to nine letters, their inflections, longer words with nine-letter inflections, and any other inflections they may have. For words of ten or more letters, and their inflections also of ten or more letters, MWCD10 is used. Published by Merriam-Webster, available only through the NSA.

OWL
Official Word List.

Another name for OTCWL.

PLI
Petit Larousse Illustre.

Updated annually, used as the official word reference for French-language play prior to the publication of the first edition of the ODS.

PODSOWS
An old synonym for SOWPODS

Redwood
The Redwood Word List?.

An Australian edition of SOWPODS98?. Used from ? to ?. Published by ?.

SOWLOW
Another name for SOWPODS.

SOWPODS
A cover term for SOWPODS96 or SOWPODS98.

SOWPODS96
A hypothetical combination of the British and North American lexica, used in international play and regular tournament play in some countries, effective 1998-02-01 to 1998-02-28, based on NWL, MWCD10, OSW3 and TCD93.

SOWPODS98
An updated version of SOWPODS96, replacing NWL+MWCD10 with OTCWL+MWCD10, effective 1998-03-01 to date. In online usage, sometimes refers to an available lexicon that does not include words only found in TCD93.

TCD
In the past, a synonym for TCD93.

With the release of TCD98, one should henceforth be more specific about which dictionary one means.

TCD93
The Chambers Dictionary.

The source dictionary for OSW3 and dictionary of reference for longer words in British play. Published by Chambers Harrap in 1993.

TCD98
The Chambers Dictionary.

Revised version of TCD93, not yet adopted for tournament reference. Published by Chambers Harrap in September 1998.

TWL
A cover term for TWL96 or TWL98.

TWL96
Tournament Word List (1996).

A word list used from 1996-02-01 to 1998-02-28 on the DOoM crossword game servers, a combination of NWL and appropriate parts of MWCD10.

TWL98
Tournament Word List (1998).

The preferred name for the word list used on the DOoM crossword game servers, a combination of OTCWL, and appropriate parts of MWCD10.

North American SCRABBLE® Lexical Chronology

FromToShort WordsLong WordsSW Contents
19??-??-??1973-??-??OSWGAll words.
1973-??-??1978-08-31FW73
1978-09-0119??-??-??OSPD1MWCD8 Words of up to eight letters, and their inflections.
19??-??-??1991-09-30MWCD9
1991-10-01199?-??-??OSPD2
19??-??-??1994-04-30
1994-05-011998-02-28MWCD10
1998-03-01presentOTCWLWords of up to nine letters, their inflections; words of ten or more letters with inflections of fewer than ten, and their inflections.