Invented by an out-of-work architect during the Great Depression, the board game Scrabble has become a game night mainstay across America. In fact, according to the game’s maker, Hasbro, three out of every five American homes have a game of Scrabble.
Much like chess, this strategic game has attracted competitive players who compete in tournaments around the world. The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) hosts a national championship every year. NASPA also keeps track of records set during sanctioned competitive play in North America and overseas.
According to the NASPA, these are some of the most impressive record-setting Scrabble moves of all time.
Highest opening word score
In 2008, Jesse Inman played “muzjiks” using a blank in place of the “u.” Using bonus tiles plus a 50-point bingo bonus, he notched 126 in a single turn. “Muzjik” was the word for peasant used in Czarist Russia.
Highest non-bingo word score
In a 1997 Portland club tournament, Karen Merrill played “rorquals” with the “o” and “r” already on the board. The word, meaning members of a family of large baleen whales, earned her 243 points.
Highest non-triple-triple word score
Without placing a word on two triple-word bonus tiles at once, the highest-scoring word of all time was played by Marlene Milkent at the 2010 National Scrabble Championship. She played “caziques,” the plural for a type of oriole bird, for 161 points.
Because words can only be played horizontally or vertically in Scrabble, the longest possible word someone can play is the entire length or width of the board, or 15 letters. All the documented cases of players creating 15-letter words involved adding prefixes or suffixes to already-created words: dis- to form discontentments; re- to form reconsideration; re- and -tions to form recapitulations; and -ness to form informativeness.
Words that are legal to play in official Scrabble competitions can be found in Merriam-Webster's "Official Scrabble Players Dictionary." If you’re looking for more big-point words to add to your vocabulary, here are more wacky words that will get you megapoints in Scrabble.