There are all kinds of lists out there to improve one's Scrabble play. For instance, I have a book called Bob's Bible which helps with all kinds of anagrams and other unique groupings. Google search has given me nothing. I want to know is there a list out there of the most commonly played phonies?

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    I would argue that the reason it's 'neglected' is because it plays a relatively miniscule part of most Scrabble games - for various reasons, phonies just aren't a major part of most club play. That's not to say that they don't show up from time to time, but I would only start worrying about phonies after you have, e.g., not just all the twos but all of their extensions to threes pretty well in-hand. Nov 19, 2013 at 0:40

4 Answers 4


I'm not a Scrabble expert, but to me it looks like you are going about this the wrong way. Your stated goals

  1. I learn for sure which words sound like words but really aren't so I don't play them.
  2. I become a better challenger. Part of the game (at least in tournaments) is to be able to recognize when your opponent has played a bad word. From my experience, this is an often neglected part of a new Scrabble player's development.

can both be achieved by learning all legal scrabble words. If you know all the legal words, anything that isn't one of those words is (obviously) an illegal word.

While this might sound like an insurmountable task, to me it sounds a lot more feasible than learning everything that isn't a word. The set of legal words is much smaller than the set of illegal words!

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    This does not answer the question. The question is "Is there a most common phonies list anywhere?"
    – demongolem
    Nov 19, 2013 at 17:22
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    @demongolem You are correct, but I believe that the underlying goal is "How do I detect a player has played a fake word?", in which case some people may find this answer useful Nov 19, 2013 at 17:29
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    But I asked the question and that is not my underlying goal. It is a comment, a valid comment at that, as you bring up some useful points.
    – demongolem
    Nov 19, 2013 at 17:37
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    "You're asking the wrong question" is a valid answer, as long as the answer gives sufficient proof to back it up. Nov 19, 2013 at 19:50

There is such a list, I've seen it. I can't swear to it 100%, but I think that it's in this book. As a matter of fact, I think it is in chapter 15 (use the "look inside" feature).Everything Scrabble

  • I don't see a list there, but I do thank you for the answer. Chapter 15 seems to deal with should I intentionally play a phoney or should I not? Is it ethical? Can one use a phoney for one's strategic advantage? In fact, it breaks down what the most common scenarios are for intentionally playing a phoney. Points to be considered in a separate Board and Card Games Question for sure
    – demongolem
    Dec 9, 2013 at 14:42
  • @demongolem, darn. The fairly long (obviously not complete, the possibilities are infinate) list is out there somewhere, like I said - I've seen it. The funny thing about phonies is when you know full well that the word isn't real but play it off with a poker face, "Sure, it's an Ethiopian vegetable." Next turn? Opponent puts an "S" on it. Ask yourself, just how ruthless are you? Dec 9, 2013 at 20:48

As a novice scrabble player, in my experience the most common "phonies" are real variants of real words that are simply not recognized by various scrabble dictionaries. This includes adding -s to many obscure nouns, or adding -er/-or or -ing to less common verbs.

  • I can't speak to other Scrabble dictionaries, but the OSPD4 is really good about that. Dec 9, 2013 at 12:15

Here are two lists, generated with help from the AI Elise.

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