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The SOWPODS lexicon, more commonly now referred to as Collins or Collins Scrabble Words (CSW), is a word list first published in 2007 by Collins, and updated in 2012 and 2015. NASPA has sanctioned official games played in the CSW lexicon in a separate CSW rating system since January 2010. The 2012 edition will be in effect until August 31, 2015; the 2015 edition took effect on September 1, 2015 (see 2015 Rule Changes).
This map shows countries according to the lexicon(s) they use. Currently, 47 countries use CSW (green), and 4 use predominantly OWL2, with some CSW play (blue: Canada, Israel, Thailand, and the United States).
The name “SOWPODS” was coined as an anagram of OSW+OSPD, the names of the two lexicons (the British Official Scrabble Words and the American Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary) that were originally merged to form SOWPODS. The SOWPODS word list is currently edited by the WESPA Dictionary Committee; comments concerning the list should be directed to the NASPA International Committee. The CSW word list contains almost all of the words found in OTCWL14, as well as a large number of other English words from around the world.
The purpose of these webpages is to provide informative and, hopefully, interesting information to those North American tournament and club players who are curious about trying out the CSW game. They do not, therefore, aim to introduce Scrabble play as a whole, but those parts of it that change if one plays CSW. Thus, we start with how the game differs from OWL, introduce the most useful extra words to know, address some commonly asked questions and concerns, then describe the current CSW scene as it is evolving in North America.
The sections below follow on from each other in order, but each can be read on its own.
Comments concerning this page may be directed to Nick Ball.