Scrabble Accepts Slang to Score Inclusion Points

by Andrés T. Tapia –


In a bow to diversity and inclusion, the makers of Scrabble have added 3,000 new words to the  Collins Official Scrabble Words list including some street slang to appeal to Gen Xers and Yers such as “innit,” “thang,” “blingy,” and “grrl” as well as some Islamic, Chinese, and Japanese terms such as “umma,” an Islamic community, “wagyu,” a breed of Japanese cattle, and “qin,” a Chinese musical instrument. So reports the United Kingdom’s Sun newspaper and Canada’s  Globe and Mail.

Scrabble is known globally, with more than 4 million sold worldwide each year and it’s produced in nearly 30 languages. The Collins list governs acceptable Scrabble words outside of North America. For the US and Canada, approved words are still found in The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, which is produced by Merriam-Webster, the folks most known for producing dictionaries used in schools and colleges.

As with any significant change, controversy has ensued. In a Slate post, one ardent fan argued that slang should never be allowed.  Good luck with that stance. Not only is it exclusionary in an elitist way, but also not in touch with reality. Language must evolve or it dies. What has made English so enduring and widespread globally has been this very elasticity. And that’s cool by me.


Andrés Tapia is a Senior Partner at Korn Ferry International, a premier global provider of talent management solutions. Previously he served as President of Diversity Best Practices, the preeminent diversity and inclusion thinktank and consultancy. Prior to Diversity Best Practices, he served as Hewitt’s Chief Diversity Officer and Emerging Workforce Solutions Leader. As a published writer and prominent speaker, Andrés offers thought-provoking views about diversity’s impact around the world. He is the author of The Inclusion Paradox – 3rd edition: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity. Find his bio here.


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