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The Collins Scrabble Words (CSW), formerly known as the SOWPODS lexicon, is a word list first published in 2007 by Collins, and updated in 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021. NASPA has sanctioned official games played in the CSW lexicon in a separate CSW rating system since January 2010. The 2012 edition was in effect until August 31, 2015; the 2015 edition took effect on September 1, 2015; the 2019 edition took effect on July 1, 2019. The 2021 edition took effect on December 1, 2021.
English-language Scrabble as a whole is played to two lexica, depending on country. Currently, approximately 50 countries use CSW, and 3 use predominantly the NASPA Word List (NWL), the North American lexicon), with some CSW play. These countries are Canada, Israel, 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 the NASPA Word List, 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 moves from playing NWL to playing CSW. Thus, we start with how the game differs from NWL, 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. Finally, we present links to further resources outside of this wiki.
The sections below follow on from each other in order, but each can be read on its own.
Please direct comments about this page to its author, Nick Ball.