Back to NSA Home Page
"SOWPODS" represents a combination of the Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary (OSPD) and the Official SCRABBLE® Words (OSW), the former British word source. As of January 2003, all British clubs and tournaments officially use the OSW-I, or Official SCRABBLE® Words, International, which is now equivalent to SOWPODS. In other words, the British and most of the SCRABBLE® game-playing world use SOWPODS on a regular daily basis. However, North Americans, along with only a couple of other regions, continue to use a different word source.
Many people believe North Americans are now at a major disadvantage at International events, particularly at the World SCRABBLE® Championship. Why? Because we have to study SOWPODS if we want to continue to do well in these tournaments, yet we have to "forget" or compartmentalize these +25,000 extra words in order to continue to do well at our own North American tournaments.
It took the British 10 years to decide to adopt SOWPODS. It took Australia a few years less.
Our players, however, have voted thus far that it is not in the best interests of the vast majority of players to introduce 25,000 new words to them in order to save 30 or so players the time and effort of trying to either forget the OSW or keep the two word sources compartmentalized in their minds. Many of these "British" English words have been obsolete for hundreds of years and can't be found in any American word source. One argument used against SOWPODS is that it will be more difficult to increase our NSA membership if we add so many unusual words to the already large vocabulary that new players must absorb in order to feel comfortable and competitive in our clubs and tournaments. Others say that only a small critical number of extra words are needed to get to that "comfort" or "competitive" level.
The NSA is not advocating either choice. However, since our survey showed that there were at least a few hundred pro-SOWPODS advocates among our tournament players, we have agreed to give these players a voice on our website to espouse their views, as well as the occasional rebuttal from anti-SOWPODS proponents. Some time in the future the NSA will likely offer another referendum to vote on this issue. At that time we'll want our players to be well informed of the nuances of this hot topic. To that end, please keep checking this area of our website for the latest in SOWPODS information.
If you'd like to add your thoughts to this space, send your text to firstname.lastname@example.org. The NSA reserves the right to refuse to publish any submission and may edit any material prior to posting it on this website. We will NOT edit any SOWPODS word lists for accuracy.
HASBRO is the owner of the registered SCRABBLE® trademark in the United States and Canada. © 2011 HASBRO. All rights reserved. "SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game" is the proper way to refer to this unique group of word games and related properties marketed by HASBRO. "SCRABBLE®" is not a generic term. To use it as such is not only misleading but also does injustice to the company responsible for the trademark's longtime popularity. All we ask is that when you mean SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game, you say so.
The SCRABBLE® trademark is owned by J.W. Spear and Sons, PLC, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. outside of the United States and Canada.
For more information about SCRABBLE® or the NSA, or to comment on or correct the contents of this page,
For information about SCRABBLE® tournaments please visit our partner organization, NASPA. To report technical difficulties in reading this page, please contact webmaster John Chew at: email@example.com