Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary

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The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary (OSPD) is a popular reference book listing words of 2 to 8 letters and their possibly longer inflections. It is published and edited by Merriam-Webster based on research conducted by the NASPA Dictionary Committee. It is widely used in charity events, but no longer suitable for serious competition, which now instead use NASPA's larger Official Tournament and Club Word List (OTCWL) instead.

Differences between OSPD and OTCWL

OSPD and OTCWL differ as follows:

  • By design and largely for economic reasons, OSPD does not include base words longer than 8 letters. Longer words are playable in standard SCRABBLE play, either when a player makes a word using more than one tile already on the board, or when a player incorrectly has more than 7 tiles on their rack. By contrast, OTCWL lists all acceptable words, including those of 15 letters, the width of the board.
  • For production reasons, OSPD and OTCWL are not edited at exactly the same time or by the same staff. There are inevitably therefore differences in content, either because new words have entered the language in the interval between the publication of the two works, or because editors have differed concerning the acceptability of words.
  • OSPD has brief definitions and indicates parts of speech; OTCWL is a pure alphabetical word list.
  • OSPD is used in homes and at charity events (since 2015, school competitions use the School SCRABBLE Word List); OTCWL is used in regular competitive play.
  • OSPD omits words that are considered inappropriate for school play, as well as words whose trademark status is in doubt.
  • OSPD is available to the general public wherever books are sold; OTCWL is available only to NASPA members at the NASPA Store.


The fifth edition of OSPD went on sale on August 6, 2014. It was edited in tandem with OTCWL2014, and contains those words from that larger lexicon which are considered appropriate for school and recreational play, up to 8 letters in length.


The fourth edition of OSPD went on sale on 2005-06-15. It was edited in tandem with OTCWL2.


The third edition of OSPD went on sale on 1995-12-04. It was edited in tandem with the first edition of OTCWL, and was the first edition that did not include words that might cause offence.


The second edition of OSPD went on sale in April 1991. It was the official word reference for words of up to eight letters and their inflections, from 1991–10–01 to 1998–02–28, preceded by OSPD1 and succeeded by OTCWL1.

The NSA updated it twice by the publication of correction word lists. The first list took effect on a date not currently known to the editor of this webpage. The second list, referred to as the New Word List, took effect on 1994–05–01.


The first edition of OSPD went on sale in 1978. It was the official word reference for words of up to eight letters and their inflections, from 1978–09–01 to 1991–09–30, preceded by Funk and Wagnalls College Dictionary and succeeded by OSPD2.