From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday Night Scrabble

New and old words



Keely and Taurus came for pizza on Saturday night, and after supper, Keely, Isaac, and I played a game of Scrabble on Keely's extra-large board.

Isaac played "LEET" and said it was an alternative internet language. It wasn't in the dictionaries we were using, and I had never heard of it. With some indignation and a bit of scorn, Isaac produced an Urban Dictionary definition of leet on his laptop and educated me.

Today, I looked up leet at www.dict.org and learned that it has some traditional meanings as well. It's another name for a pollack (a type of fish), and it also has some legal meanings.  If you don't see LEET on the gameboard, that's because someone added an F and made it "FLEET."

"POO" was also one of Isaac's words. Isaac thought I was picking on him when I checked to see if poo was in the dictionary. He shouldn't have worried. According to the yellowed pages of a 1961 Funk & Wagnalls dictionary that we had on the table, poo is a verb of Scottish derivation that means "pull".

I played "PENT" and the kids questioned it because it's usually heard as "pent-up". Of course, it's in the dictionary. Pent is an old variant of "penned", meaning "confined or caged". Really, would I try to invent a word, children? (Don't answer that question, please. It's strictly rhetorical.)

We didn't reach many of the quadruple word squares at the edges of the board. I think it was because Keely was hoarding all the good letters. (Just kidding, Keely!). Below, her letters at one point in the game -- nary a vowel amongst them. If she had known about the Scrabble Solver, she would have been wanting to use it!

4 comments:

Michael Leddy said...

I'm impressed by fane, a word I never knew until about two minutes ago. (Thank you.)

Genevieve said...

Fane (a temple or church) is surely related etymologically to profane, don't you think? It would be odd if it wasn't!

Michael Leddy said...

Yes -- just looked it up. I was wondering if it had a connection to the Greek phanein (as in "epiphany"), but it doesn't look that way.

heelers said...

Thoroughly enjoy Scrabble articles! And your new "you might also enjoy" widget.
James

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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