Scrabble Glossary for Beginners

Scrabble is a captivating game of words, strategy, and skill. As you embark on your Scrabble journey, you’ll quickly discover that this world has its own language and terminology. To help you navigate this wordy terrain, we’ve compiled a Scrabble glossary for beginners. These terms are commonly used in Scrabble games and understanding them will enhance your gameplay and communication with other players.

The Scrabble Board and Tiles

  • Board: The 15×15 grid on which Scrabble is played. It includes premium squares like Double Word Score (DWS), Triple Word Score (TWS), Double Letter Score (DLS), and Triple Letter Score (TLS).
  • Tile Rack: The area where each player holds and organizes their letter tiles, typically consisting of seven tiles.
  • Blanks: Tiles that can be used as substitutes for any letter in a word.
  • Bonus Squares: The DWS and TWS squares that multiply the value of a word. DLS and TLS multiply the value of a single letter.
  • Center Square: The square in the center of the board, marked with a star. The first word must be placed here.

Playing Tiles

  • Play: Placing a word on the board, using one or more of your tiles.
  • Crossword: A play that creates new words both horizontally and vertically.
  • Anagram: Rearranging the letters on your rack to form new words.
  • Hook: Adding a letter to an existing word to create a new word (e.g., adding ‘S’ to ‘CAT’ to make ‘CATS’).
  • Bingo: Playing all seven of your tiles in one turn, earning a 50-point bonus.
  • Phony: A word played that isn’t in the official word list. It can be challenged by opponents.
  • Exchange: Swapping tiles from your rack for new ones from the tile bag. This is a strategic move to improve your rack.


  • Scoring: Assigning point values to words based on the letters played and any premium squares used.
  • Premium Squares: The squares on the board that multiply the value of a word or letter, including DWS, TWS, DLS, and TLS.
  • Double Word Score (DWS): A square that doubles the value of a word.
  • Triple Word Score (TWS): A square that triples the value of a word.
  • Double Letter Score (DLS): A square that doubles the value of a letter.
  • Triple Letter Score (TLS): A square that triples the value of a letter.
  • Tile Values: The point value of each letter tile, which is used to calculate the score of a word.

Word Lists

  • Official Word List: The authorized list of valid words in Scrabble, such as the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD).
  • Valid Word: A word that appears in the official word list and can be legally played in a game.
  • Word Judge: A player responsible for verifying the validity of words played.
  • Challenge: When a player questions the validity of a word played by an opponent. If the word is not valid, the opponent loses a turn.
  • No-Peeking Rule: In some casual games, players may agree not to consult the word list during a game.


  • Rack Management: The skill of organizing and planning which tiles to play to maximize points in future turns.
  • Blocking: Placing words to deny your opponent access to premium squares or to limit their scoring opportunities.
  • Parallel Play: Playing words parallel to existing ones on the board to maximize points.
  • Word Placement: Choosing the best location for a word on the board, considering premium squares and future plays.
  • Opening Play: The first word of the game, which must be placed in the center square.
  • Endgame: The final stage of the game, where players focus on using their remaining tiles strategically.
  • Balance: Ensuring that your tile rack has a mix of consonants and vowels for more word-building opportunities.


  • Challenge Clock: A set amount of time (often used in online games) for players to make a move or respond to a challenge.
  • Consonant Dump: Exchanging a rack full of consonants in the hope of getting better letters.
  • Vowel Dump: Exchanging a rack full of vowels for better tiles.
  • House Rules: Variations or additional rules that players agree upon before the game.
  • Tournament Director: The person responsible for running and officiating Scrabble tournaments.


This Scrabble glossary for beginners should serve as a handy reference as you embark on your Scrabble journey. These terms are the building blocks of Scrabble gameplay and will help you communicate effectively with fellow players. As you continue to play and learn, you’ll become more familiar with these terms and develop your own strategies. Scrabble is a game of both skill and knowledge, and by understanding these terms, you’ll be better equipped to create winning words and score big in your games. Enjoy your word-building adventure on the Scrabble board!

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