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I just read about Nigel Richards winning the french scrabble championship after learning 370,000 french words by heart. There was also mentioned that the Islandic scrabble society invited him to the local championship, saying that they had over 2 million allowed words. So I wondered how many allowed scrabble words there are in the different languages.

Obviously I don't expect any single answer to be exhaustive, there are a lot of languages out there. Maybe start with English (and there seem to be differences between UK/US) and then see for whatever other languages you can find the relevant information.

  • As mentioned, it may not be possible to have an exhaustive answer. Then, how can such an open ended question have an answer that can be accepted to close the question? – Ricky Jan 15 '16 at 7:27
  • @Ricky The number of languages is limited. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 20 '16 at 3:52
  • In which case, list them. The context is, how can this question be closed? If the languages are listed, then if an answer can be provided for each language then we can close it. Otherwise, this sounds more like a question suitable for open-ended fora (e.g. quora) where there need not be a conclusive answer, but more opinions for discussion. – Ricky Dec 21 '16 at 5:44
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The Scrabble word lists are very well defined. Currently tournaments that follow the rules of the World English Language Scrabble Players Association use the Collins Word List 2015 In this dictionary there are a total of 277663 words. Broken down as follows:

2 letter 124
3 letter 1341
4 letter 5625
5 letter 12917
6 letter 22938
7 letter 34171
8 letter 41883

The dictionary only defines words upto 15 letters in length since that's the width of the scrabble board. However in practice words longer than 8 letters are played extremely rarely.

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The answer will vary wildly per language and will depend on how new words are created in a language.

In an agglutinative language, words are created by joining words together. For instance, a chair you use at a desk in the office, an office chair, is one word in German, "ein Bürostuhl" (literally a "deskchair").

As you can see, that way new words are created easily and on the fly. That is why Icelandic has such a large dictionary, which is not even exhaustive — it can't be.

So the answer to your question will be it depends. Perhaps you should restrict your question to a specific language, as not all languages are as liberal in word formation.


Dutch: 652,000 words

The Dutch Scrabble association, the Scrabble Bond Nederland (SBNL) uses the Scrabble Word List (SWL) for words up to 9 letters and publishes separate lists for 10, 11, and 12 letters.

The SWL contains over 242,000 words, the supplemental lists contain about 125,000 words, about 141,000 words, and about 144,000 words respectively, for a grand total of 652,000 words of length 2 to 12.

English: 276,000 words

The World English-language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) states in its rules

Global word source
The word source used in global Scrabble, known as Collins Scrabble Words or CSW (formerly Official Scrabble Words or OSW) is actually not a single dictionary, but an amalgam of three: Collins, Chambers and TWL, the current Northern American wordlist.

TWL (Tournament Word List) is itself drawn from a range of sources, mostly different editions of Webster's. Americans and Canadians play by CSW rules in international tournaments and TWL in 'domestic' North American tournaments. But they are increasingly introducing CSW grades in various tournaments, and even some solely CSW tournaments. WESPA hopes this North American isolationism will end one day, for the good of global Scrabble.

Collins states on its website:

(...) Collins Official Scrabble™ Words 2015 is the most comprehensive Scrabble™ wordlist ever, including World English from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, and USA brought together in a single list.

With over 276,000 permissible words, including inflected forms, this is a must for anyone playing Scrabble.

(Emphasis mine)

French: 393,670 words

The French Scrabble association, La Fédération Internationale de Scrabble Francophone (FISF), uses L'Officiel du Scrabble which is currently in its seventh version, containing 393,670 words from 2 to 15 letters.

German: 180,000

The German Wikipedia article on Scrabble quotes a source about "120,000 words".
Scrabble Deutschland e.V. states the official list contains 179,998 words of 2 to 9 letters.


I'll add more sources and languages as I find them.

  • Yes, the answer will vary wildly per language, that's the interesting thing. I clarified what kind of answer I'm looking for. Also: This is a scrabble rules question. I don't think in agglutinative languages all joined words are allowed, but if so, that is an answer as well. – BlindKungFuMaster Jul 22 '15 at 14:33
  • @sqb regarding German, every word in an acknowledged dictionary is valid, including declensions: scrabble.de/pdfs/Scrabble.pdf and duden.de lists >500,000 words "et cetera". – npst Jan 5 '17 at 11:17

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