So I want to say something like "women's 3" to indicate "health" which is a card on the board. If I did just "women 3", it's not as likely that my guesser would guess health. You often hear "women's health" or "men's health" magazines or websites, which is what I want to elude to with my hint.

However, when I says "women's 3" out loud, it could either be "womans 3" "womens 3", "woman's 3", or "women's 3", the first two aren't proper words you find in a dictionary, and the last two are somewhat "a word + a non-word/punctuation notation" because of the apostrophe s?

The rules say

Your clue must be about one word.


Don't be too strict.

And the following which is a given, but I'd like to know the general consensus of players because the game has a lot of flexible rules, so to figure out what rules are generally accepted by most players, asking StackExchange here might be the best option.

If the opposing spymaster allows it, the clue is valid.

I suppose this is more of a subjective question since "don't be too strict" has multiple interpretations. My thoughts are it's not too overpowered of a clue so we shouldn't to be too strict, but at the same it's not a proper word or it's a "word + a non-word/punctuation notation"?

I've asked another question about if contractions are allowed in Codenames, but I don't think it's a duplicate since even though both have apostrophes, they do differ in what rules they break. The other one might break the more than one word rule, and this one might break the invalid word rule.

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    "Woman's" and "women's" should be distinguishable when spoken. Even "women's" and "womens" can be distinguished by pronouncing the s in the former as a z (and the latter isn't grammatical, anyway). – Acccumulation Jul 18 '20 at 18:39

If it's one English word and it's a clue about the meaning(s) of the word(s) on the table (and it isn't a form of any words on the table, etc.), then it's a valid clue, yes. Apostrophes are not prohibited.

(Not rule to cite; it is difficult to prove a negative).

For the question of "women's" vs. "woman's", etc., you are free to spell it out so as to disambiguate the clue (and should if asked) .

You are allowed to spell out your clue.

You should spell out your clue if someone asks.

  • How would you consider "woman's" to be about the meaning of the word health? – Andrew Jul 18 '20 at 16:00
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    @Andrew : The clue under consideration is "women's", not "woman's". And the obvious answer lies in the phrase "women's health". But really, that's a question for the OP; it is unrelated to my answer specifically. – L. Scott Johnson Jul 18 '20 at 16:15
  • That's splitting hairs, neither singular or plural is about the meaning of the word health, it combines with health to create a phrase, yes, but a phrase containing a word does not point to the meaning of that word. – Andrew Jul 18 '20 at 16:17
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    @Andrew. Yes, it does. "health" means health in "Women's health", so the clue is about the meaning. You can also clue "cone" with "snow", for example. Or the example given in the rules: "You can use eight as a clue for BALL," But again, that's a comment for the main post. It has nothing to do with my answer. – L. Scott Johnson Jul 18 '20 at 16:19
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    See the rules: "You can use eight as a clue for BALL". And again, really, this is unrelated to my answer. – L. Scott Johnson Jul 18 '20 at 16:21

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