The board game “Scrabble” has 192,111 playable words, as recognized in its official dictionary. It just removed 236 words from its list for being “offensive.”
NPR reported that the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) will remove the derogatory words from the game’s official word list.
NASPA’s CEO, John Chew, issued a statement following an online poll of its members regarding offensive words. Chew met with representatives of Hasbro, the maker of Scrabble, about removing those words from its official word list.
Hasbro stated publicly that they “believe that supporting all people and promoting inclusion across our business and society makes the world a better place for all.”
Far from being unanimous, the poll showed there was “about a 50-50 split” over whether Scrabble should remove words from its official word list, Chew told NPR. Some NASPA members threatened to leave the association if any word deemed offensive was removed. However, others threatened to leave if even one offensive word was left in.
On Wednesday, NASPA’s Advisory Board voted 6-4 not to remove the 236 words from its official word list. Later that same day, Chew consulted with the Board of Trustees by phone. Ultimately, they overturned the Advisory Board’s ruling, siding with Hasbro.
But this isn’t the first time words have been removed from Scrabble usage. Hasbro first worked with the Merriam-Webster Official Scrabble Players Dictionary in 1994 to remove offensive words from the Scrabble Dictionary. Hasbro reviews the full word list prior to each dictionary’s reprinting, now in its 6th edition.
The game LEXIKO was invented in 1933 by an out-of-work architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. The crossword-like game was refined, and the game was renamed and trademarked SCRABBLE in 1948. After changing hands several times, Hasbro bought the rights to the game in 1989.
As for the “offensive” words, NASPA divided them into categories, including anatomical, political, slurs (racial, gender, religious), profane, etc. In order to keep the words on its website from offending anyone, NASPA scrambled the 236 words on the list! They just created a new game!
Scrabble’s Offensive Word List
I’m just just dying to know what those 236 words are! Aren’t you?
Image from: npr.com