Deletion of hate speech

Mattel, the American toy company which owns the trademark for Scrabble for most of the world (excluding North America) have stated that they intend to get rid of words which they think are hate speech. This has ramifications for Scrabble players. Here is some information to keep you in the picture. As more details are available, this page will be updated.

The announcement

From Ray Adler, Vice President, Global Head of Games, Mattel on 27 Jan 2021:
In Scrabble – as in life – the words we choose matter. Words have the power to strengthen, encourage and honor, but they also can be used to weaken, discourage and disrespect. Evolving the ways in which we support and stand with historically excluded communities through our brands and products has always been a top priority for Mattel, and we’ve learned from the events of last year this work must be continuous. As a family friendly brand, Mattel will be updating the official Scrabble list of playable words so our game aligns with our mission, anywhere you play. We will do this in four ways: Scrabble is about harnessing the power of words for good, while finding and making words over equitable, fun, and fair gameplay. As language and connotations change over time, so must Scrabble, and just as we look to update the list with new words each year, we also must revisit words from the past. The removal of hate speech and definitions from the Scrabble word list is an important step for the game’s inclusive progression and we hope to engage and educate ourselves alongside our players through the actions set forth above. This will be an ongoing process, and we are committed to updating language as connotations evolve.

The above was from the Mattel Newsroom, Email press@mattel.com

It is not clear to what extent they consulted with Collins dictionary publishers. They certainly did not consult with the WESPA Dictionary Committee, and its members have resigned.

The response from Collins Dictionary

No public statement has been made by Collins. There are some indications that they have acceded to the demands. For instance their online Scrabble Word Checker now gives different results, despite no indication being given. Some words have been deleted and some have been redefined.

The response from WESPA

The issue has been discussed. There is fear that if WESPA does not fall into line with Mattel there will be consequences for WESPA being able to use the word Scrabble. There is as yet no announcement on their web site, https://www.wespa.org

The response within Australia

For the foreseeable future, clubs and tournaments will continue using Collins Scrabble Words 2019. At the CASPA AGM it was established that the decision on what word source to use will be up to individual states. ASPA members should certainly attend their state's annual general meeting to hear opinions on the matter.

The extent of the revision

Deletions

There has been no official list of deletions, but it is known that there are over 400 in all. It is likely that the research for this has been done by staff at Collins Dictionary. Some sleuths have made some attempt by trying out words at the Collins Scrabble Word Checker. Here is what they have found (as at 25 Apr 2021), not necessarily comprehensive, and possibly subject to change. There are four categories, ableism, racism, sexism and religious intolerance. Words which are allowable, but not for one part of speech, are shown in italics.

Open if you dare ABO
 ABOS
AMAKWEREKWERE
ASPIE
 ASPIES
(BAAS n)
 BAASES
BACKRA
 BACKRAS
BAKRA
 BAKRAS
BANTU
 BANTUS
BINGHI
 BINGHIS
BINT
 BINTS
BLACKAMOOR
 BLACKAMOORS
BLACKFELLA
 BLACKFELLAS
BOCHE
 BOCHES
BOGTROTTER
 BOGTROTTERS
BOHUNK
 BOHUNKS
BOONG
 BOONGS
BOONGA
 BOONGAS
BOSCHE
 BOSCHES
BOSSBOY
 BOSSBOYS
BUBBA
 BUBBAS
BUCKRA
 BUCKRAS
BUFTIE, BUFTY
 BUFTIES
BULLDIKE
 BULLDIKES
BULLDYKE
 BULLDYKES
BUMBOY
 BUMBOYS
CHINKIE
 CHINKIES
CHOLO
 CHOLOS
COCKSUCKER
 COCKSUCKERS
COOLIE, COOLY
 COOLIES
COPPERSKIN
 COPPERSKINS
CRACKA
 CRACKAS
CRIP
 CRIPS
CRIPPLEDOM
 CRIPPLEDOMS
DAGO
 DAGOES
 DAGOS
DARKEY, DARKIE, DARKY
 DARKEYS
 DARKIES
DIKEY, DYKEY
 DIKIER
 DIKIEST
 DYKIER
 DYKIEST
DOGAN
 DOGANS
FAGGERY
 FAGGERIES
FAGGY
 FAGGIER
 FAGGIEST
FAGGOTY 
 FAGGOTIER
 FAGGOTIEST
FAGGOTRY
 FAGGOTRIES
GAMMAT
 GAMMATS
GINZO
 GINZOES
 GINZOS
GIPPO
 GIPPOES
 GIPPOS
GOLLIWOG, GOLLIWOGG, GOLLYWOG
 GOLLIWOGGS
 GOLLIWOGS
 GOLLYWOGS
GOY
 GOYIM
 GOYS
GOYISCH, GOYISH, GOYISHE
GRINGA
 GRINGAS
GRINGO
 GRINGOS
(GYP v)
 GYPPED
 GYPPING
GYPPER
 GYPPERS
GYPPO
 GYPPOS
GYPSTER
 GYPSTERS
HAOLE
 HAOLES
HARELIP
 HARELIPPED
 HARELIPS
HASBIAN
 HASBIANS
HONKEY, HONKIE, HONKY
 HONKEYS
 HONKIES
HUNKEY, HUNKIE
 HUNKEYS 
 HUNKIES 
HORI
 HORIS
JESUIT
 JESUITS
JESUITIC
JESUITICAL
JESUITICALLY
JESUITISM
 JESUITISMS
JESUITRY
 JESUITRIES
JEW
 JEWED
 JEWING
 JEWS
JIGABOO
 JIGABOOS
KAFFIR, KAFIR
 KAFFIRS
 KAFIRS
KAFFIRBOOM
 KAFFIRBOOMS
KANAKA
 KANAKAS
KIKE
 KIKES
LES, LESBO, LEZ, LEZZ, LEZZA, LEZZIE, LEZZY
 LESBOS
 LESES
 LEZES
 LEZZAS
 LEZZES
 LEZZIES
LUBRA
 LUBRAS
MICK
 MICKS
MOFFIE
 MOFFIES
MONGED adj
MONGOL
 MONGOLS
MONGOLIAN
MONGOLISM
 MONGOLISMS
MONGOLOID
 MONGOLOIDS
MULATRESS
 MULATRESSES
MULATTA
 MULATTAS
MULATTO
 MULATTOES
 MULATTOS
MULATTRESS
 MULATTRESSES
MUNT
 MUNTS
MUNTU
 MUNTUS
NANCE
 NANCES
NANCY
 NANCIER
 NANCIES
 NANCIEST
NANCIFIED adj
NEGRESS
 NEGRESSES
NEGRO
 NEGROES
NEGROHEAD
 NEGROHEADS
NEGROID
 NEGROIDS
NEGROIDAL
NEGROISM
 NEGROISMS
NEGROPHIL, NEGROPHILE
 NEGROPHILS
 NEGROPHILES
NEGROPHILISM
 NEGROPHILISMS
NEGROPHILIST
 NEGROPHILISTS
NEGROPHOBE
 NEGROPHOBES
NEGROPHOBIA
 NEGROPHOBIAS
NIGER, NIGGER
 NIGERS
 NIGGERS
 NIGGERED
 NIGGERING
NIGGERDOM
 NIGGERDOMS
NIGGERHEAD
 NIGGERHEADS
NIGGERISH
NIGGERISM
 NIGGERISMS
NIGGERLING
 NIGGERLINGS
NIGGERY
 NIGGERIER
 NIGGERIEST
NITCHIE
 NITCHIES
NONHANDICAPPED
NONPAPIST
 NONPAPISTS
OCTAROON, OCTOROON
 OCTAROONS
 OCTOROONS
OFAY
 OFAYS
PAPISH
 PAPISHES
PAPISHER
 PAPISHERS
PAPISM
 PAPISMS
PAPIST
 PAPISTS
PAPISTIC
PAPISTICAL
PAPISTICALLY
PAPISTRY
 PAPISTRIES
PECKERWOOD
 PECKERWOODS
 PICANINNIES
PICANINNY, PICCANIN, PICCANINNY, PICKNEY
 PICCANINNIES
 PICCANINS
 PICKANINNIES
 PICKNEYS
PIKEY
 PIKEYS
POLACK
 POLACKS
(POOF n), POOFTAH, POOFTER, POOVE, POUFTAH, POUFTER
 POOFS
 POOFTAHS
 POOFTERS
 POOVES
 POUFTAHS
 POUFTERS
POOFY, POOVY
 POOFIER
 POOFIEST
 POOVIER
 POOVIEST 
POOVERY
 POOVERIES
POPERY
 POPERIES
POPISH
POPISHLY
QUADROON
 QUADROONS
QUARTEROON
 QUARTEROONS
QUASHEE
 QUASHEES
QUASHIE
 QUASHIES
QUEERDOM
 QUEERDOMS
QUINTROON
 QUINTROONS
RAGHEAD
 RAGHEADS
REDNECK
 REDNECKS
REDNECKED
REDSKIN
 REDSKINS
REFFO
 REFFOS
RETARDATE
 RETARDATES
SAKAI
 SAKAIS
SCHIZY, SCHIZZY
 SCHIZIER
 SCHIZIEST
 SCHIZZIER
 SCHIZZIEST
SCHIZO
 SCHIZOS
SCHVARTZE, SCHWARTZE
 SCHVARTZES
 SCHWARTZES
SEMIMUTE
 SEMIMUTES
SHEENEY, SHEENIE
 SHEENEYS
 SHEENIES
SHEGETZ
SHEMALE
 SHEMALES
SHICKSA, SHIKSA, SHIKSE, SHIKSEH
 SHICKSAS
 SHIKSAS
 SHIKSEHS
 SHIKSES
SHIRTLIFTER
 SHIRTLIFTERS
SHKOTZIM
SHVARTZE
 SHVARTZES
SKIMO
 SKIMOS
(SPASTIC n) 
 SPASTICS
SPAZ, SPAZZ
 SPAZZED
 SPAZZES
 SPAZZING
SPIC, SPIK
 SPICKS
 SPICS
 SPIKS
SQUAW
 SQUAWS
SQUAWMAN
 SQUAWMEN
TAIG
 TAIGS
TOWELHEAD
 TOWELHEADS
UMLUNGU
 UMLUNGUS
VENDU
 VENDUS
WETBACK
 WETBACKS
(WHITEY n, WHITY n)  
 WHITEYS
 WHITIES
WIGGA, WIGGER
 WIGGAS
 WIGGERS
WOG
 WOGS
WOGGISH
WOOFTAH, WOOFTER
 WOOFTAHS
 WOOFTERS
YID
 YIDS
ZAMBO
 ZAMBOS

Redefined words

The definitions of some words have been changed so that the principal meaning has been replaced by another meaning . This sometimes has consequences for inflections and alternative forms. So for instance homo now means homogenized milk and gub means Scots word for mouth and gubbah see gub even though gubbah means 'white man', not 'mouth'. poof used to be defined as a derogatory word for a homosexual man but is now defined as an exclamation indicating a sudden disappearance. This change of part of speech means that poofs is then not allowable. baas used to be defined as a South African word for boss but is now defined as an inflected form of baa. This change means that baases is then not allowable.