I was playing a game of Scrabble with a friend recently. We agreed on the dictionary to use for challenges and began. Partway through the game, I picked an uncommon word to play and my friend asked me to define the word and use it in a sentence. I asked him if he was issuing a formal Challenge, and he said he wasn't, but that it was an illegal play to play a word that I could not define and use in a sentence. Only after a player has defined the word and used it in a sentence did the option for an opponent to Challenge arise. I can't find anything about this being the case in any official rule set I've seen.
So, according to his rules:
- If I try to play a word but can't define it and use it in a sentence, I can't play it. The choice of the opponent to challenge or not does not arise, and I have to take my tiles back immediately.
- If I try to play a word and am able to define it and use it in a sentence, the opponent has a choice to Challenge me if they believe that I misspelled the word and/or that the word does not exist and my definition was pure bullcrap.
This "rule" makes it much harder to intentionally bluff with a fake word. Not only do I need to come up with a word that looks like a reasonable word but also come up with a plausible definition for it. For example,
Compont. Noun. A bridge made of composite materials. "The construction worker used plywood to assemble the compont."
Retrash. Verb. To discard an item as trash that was previously salvaged from a trash receptacle or dump. "The scavenger decided to retrash the old cups that he found in the trash can after he found out that they had holes in them."
Has it ever been a rule in Scrabble that a player must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the definition of or ability to use a word in order to be allowed to play it? In other words, if I know that a word exists but either do not know what part of speech it belongs to or how it is defined, am I allowed to play it?
It does occur to me that such a requirement could be a useful house rule in a classroom setting, so I suspect that this is nothing more than such a house rule that my friend learned from a teacher in school.