Every once in a while, for one reason or another, we are bound to play an ‘outlaw’ (or at least think about one)—a word that has already been in use but fail to claim its place in our holy book. And about why this outcast is [still] not on the list, we can only guess (if at all). What follows is just what I think about some of those bandits. Some people might find part of this a bit offensive, but it means what it means. Anyway, let’s start with some stories. All true.
For some players, the realm of the longer words is alluringly challenging—or even hard to resist at times. And this is rarely just about scoring.
So there I was, thinking about setting up for my longest ever: PREREQUIREMENTS. But weighing that the tile-fairy had something else in mind, I settled down with prerequired (not a bingo but a four-mover instead: quire-quired-required-prerequired—cool, eh?). Still very much excited, right after the game I checked. Oops! I thought that if to require→requirement, then to prerequire→prerequirement (just in much the same way as prepayment, pretreatment or prearrangement). Of course this kind of logic is not supposed to always work. OK, my bad. While English being not my arterial language and even though we do have the equivalent of ‘prerequirement’ in our language (were there one in English), I just can’t really expect two different languages being adjacently comparable all the time, can I? Still, it seems only natural to think that this ‘fifteener’ is good (yes, that one is bad too).
[Illegal] vulgar words are like dangerously persistent walking undead—they are many, and they just keep coming. And it’s not because their probabilities of occurrence are high, or even the fact that somehow they are easy to remember, but all the more so because no matter how scrambled the tiles are, people find them easy to spot. Well, some people do.
If my memory serves me correctly, I managed to play CLIT three times. First in SOWPODS and got away with it (and failed to realize that it was in fact a phony), then got busted in TWL and—much to my surprise, in another SOWPODS. But even when doing TWL I was kind of taken aback. I mean, do we really say clitoris (instead of clit or CLITTY) in an intimate conversation? Come on, that would be so awkwardly didactic! (I know, you’ve got to be quite some tough customer to go against the law three times and keep thinking still being on solid ground—it’s either that you really know what you’re doing or that you’re just plain dumb). So, why not? Decency? Negative. Beside the almighty F-word, we do have words like twat, nookie, boody, jism, wanker or poontang in our [un]holy book already.
But it seemed that I was luckier when dealing with the whole perimeter. It was a four-player face-to-face game. Somewhere when it’s about going halfway, I made QUIM. That was the second time I played that word so a number of people (including some of the spectators) didn’t even raise an eyebrow. But one of the other players—a native speaker of English, asked me what that word meant. There were ladies around so I answered as nonchalantly as possible: “Vagina” (this might not be precise but we all knew English vocabularies are notoriously interchangeable when that particular neighborhood is in concern). It was not before years later (when I accidentally found ISC and finally ‘had a scrabble dictionary on hand’) that I knew the word was not good (Sorry, Chris. That wasn’t my intention to play phoney on you that night). Nonetheless, I doubt that ‘quim’ is an obscure word, albeit not as popular as many of its synonyms (or its ‘neighboring synonyms’, if you excuse my expression).
In a [rather stuffy] nutshell, here are my troop of outlaws and why I find them appealing:
|These three [nouns] have been so widely used that denying them would not be very realistic (By the way, do you think we should allow an ‘S’ for internet, or what?).
[noun] Already a relatively common word, I suppose.
[adverb] We have indisputable, indisputably & undisputable—so why not undisputably? (I don’t feel very strong about this one, though).
[adverb] There’s already connotatively around, having denotatively as well would just make it right.
[nouns, plural ~es/~ties] I believe these two hemi-forgotten terms were used in the USA in the 80’s (maybe further back).
[noun] Subjective motive: triones (as an entirely different meaning) was the very word that made me [accidentally] find ISC.
[adverb] Just as politic/political have politicly/politically, then why not having this for enthusiastic? (Sounds right too, I think). Besides, I guess this would be a nice alternative for the ever-unplayable enthusiastically (sixteen letters).
[nouns, plural ~ties] ‘The condition of not being.. or..’ (Do we have words for that already?).
[noun] Just like commend→commendation or emend→emendation, though as a matter of fact I wonder if there is yet an English word ending with ‘~mandation’, mind you.
[adjective], with some ‘present participle quality’ to it (just like unbeing, cunning, unfeeling or undaring). Example: “Yes, it’s Tyson. Can you believe that berserking young man?! He’s just wreaking havoc on everybody!”.
[adjective] As in “I’m close..”, hence “I’m cumming(!)” is in fact a self-explanatory announcement claiming one of the two possible achievements: ‘the point of no return’ or ‘the moment of truth’.
[adjective] The term ‘positronic brain’ coined by Isaac Asimov is surely theoretical (if not fictional), but so is tachyon, and I do think we owe the late Asimov this much (if not much more). Even that aside, we’ve already had the word positron.
That’s about all I can think of right now. I believe many of you fellow players have your own outlaws—some ‘wanted list of good-lookers’. So, what say you?
PS: I have trouble accessing ISC (for the lastest dictionary check) when writing this post, so any correction about playable/unplayable words or plural forms would be appreciated.