My girlfriend and I got into a discussion about scrabble the other day and we were wondering what the smallest score you could get for a 7 letter word is, presuming the board is empty. The word can be placed anywhere and all other scrabble rules are adhered to.

And then what would be the smallest scoring word that would be able to beat said 7 letter word.

Is there a way you can work this out? I could probably work out the first bit if I had a scrabble board but I wouldn't know where to start with the second part.

  • Playing anywhere on an empty board is too contrived to be relevant. This question would be better if it were asking about any possible legal Scrabble setup.
    – Zags
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 16:54

3 Answers 3


The minimum score for a seven letter word if you can place the word anywhere is 55.


RETiNAs C2 across. (lower case indicate blanks)

The score is 5 for RETNA, 0 for the blanks, and 50 bonus for using all 7 letters. The word would lie on a TL square, but since this is covered by a blank, it gives no bonus since 3x0 = 0.

This could be beaten by a three-letter word e.g.

ZAX A1 across

The score is 19 x 3 = 57. I can't think of any common three letter word that would fit here, but ZAX is valid in both TWL and SOWPODS dictionaries. For common words, I suspect you'd have to go to four letters and something like QUIZ.

The largest possible score for a two-letter word, before bonus squares, is 11 (QI, ZA or ZO), so you couldn't get higher than 33.

While these match the criteria in your question, they could never occur in isolation in a real game since they would either have to be opening moves across the central DW square, or joined onto existing words.

  • 2
    In a real game, the minimum is 56 due to the need to connect to another word. Also, in a real game, a two-letter word can score over 60, such as if there is an "A" next to a triple letter score, in which case you can play "ZO", also making the word "ZA", with the Z on the triple letter score for both words.
    – Zags
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 16:50
  • Are you interpreting it as "smallest (scoring word)" rather than "(smallest scoring) word"? The latter seems the natural reading, although rather vacuous: the answer is obviously a word scoring 56 points. Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 4:48

The minimum turn score for a 7-letter word is 5, supposing that the 7 tiles are both blanks and 5 1-point tiles, no premium squares were covered in that turn, and fewer than 7 tiles were played in that turn (that is, at least one tile in that word had been played earlier).

The minimum turn score for playing 7 tiles in one turn is 56, not 55.

If the board is empty, the word played will get doubled, and so will score at least 5*2+50=60.

If none of the tiles played hooks anything, they make a word of 8 or more letters. If any of the tiles played hooks anything, 8 or more tiles will be involved in the score: the 7 played and at least one other in at least one hook word. These 8 tiles will score at least 6 before the bonus is added.

  • 5
    You're absolutely correct in your reasoning, but the question states "presuming the board is empty [and] the word can be placed anywhere" Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 9:42

The lowest score possible, under real game conditions, when placing all 7 tiles down in one go, is 56.

This can be achieved in many different ways around the board but it must be an 8-letter word that is played, and it must involve 6 single point scoring tiles and both blanks.

One way is by playing an 8-letter word, all single scoring tiles and both blanks, playing across any of the 4 central triple word squares that is already occupied by a previous turn and putting a blank scoring tile on the double letter square that is on that line.

I have scored less than 60 points, using all 7 tiles, on many occasions playing against a computer, but I`ve never scored 56.

  • Congratulations on your skill! Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 16:25
  • I can only assume, by the fact that you have been able to edit my post, that you are Admin. Nij . Could you tell me why?
    – Jake
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 7:16
  • 1
    @Jake - Any user with rep over 2000 can edit your answer. If anyone with less rep tries to edit it, it will have to be reviewed by two users with over 2000 rep. Welcome to the stack exchange model. As to "why": you can read that in the edit log: "Removed irrelevant meta commentary." Stack exchange is a strict Q&A site, not a discussion forum; we're interested in answering the question, and each answer should stand alone.
    – AndyT
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 15:31

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