Adventures in the Dictionary

Over the course of playing Scrabble on my phone, against the computer or others, I’ve been amazed at some of the words that show up. Especially against the computer with the parameters set to ‘difficult’.

So, I like to look them up when I have a moment, and am a huge fan of both and

God gave us intellects, and learning new words is a great habit to get into. Here is a sample of some of these words:

  1. louie

    I always thought proper names were verboten for Scrabble. (And, they are.) But many proper names have come to have non-proper meanings, and hence are fair play in Scrabble. The definition for louie is initially given as:


    So… it’s off to look up loo·ie

    noun Slang .
    a lieutenant of the armed forces.

    “He was a louie and darned proud of it.”

  2. screaks – Sure we’ve all heard it, but what does it actually mean?

    screak? ?[skreek]
    verb (used without object) screech. creak.

    In other words, it means exactly what we thought it meant. Moving along…

  3. rhyta

    rhy·ton? ?[rahy-ton]
    noun, plural -ta ?[-tuh]
    an ancient Greek drinking horn, made of pottery or metal, having a base in the form of the head of a woman or animal.

    “Agamemnon and Priscilla drank from the various rhyta which were always kept at table.”

  4. awee

    chiefly Scot
    : a little while

    “We’ll be back in awee!”

  5. borating

    no definition. :-[

    However, there’s a definition of borate, which is a compound, and borated: mixed or impregnated with borax or boric acid . So, borating would obviously mean to be mixing or impregnating with borax or boric acid.

    “The science lab was abuzz with students borating their samples.”

  6. bize

    obs. form of bice.

    bice means –
    1. Also called: bice blue a medium blue colour; azurite
    2. Also called: bice green a yellowish-green colour; malachite

    “Her eyes were a beautiful bize, and he was in love.”

  7. toluyl

    — n
    ( modifier ) of, consisting of, or containing any of three isomeric groups CH 3 C 6 H 4 CO-, derived from a toluic acid by removal of the hydroxyl group: toluyl group or radical

    [C19: from tolu ( ene ) + -yl ]

    “They were thoroughly confused by the toluyls, yet were amazed they had successfully removed the hydroxyl groups from the equation. The world was now safe.”

  8. And my personal favorite: prunuses

    [plural of] :any of a genus (Prunus) of drupaceous trees or shrubs of the rose family that have showy clusters of usually white or pink flowers first appearing in the spring often before the leaves and including many grown for ornament or for their fruit (as the plum, cherry, or apricot)

    “Hey honey, can you pick up those prunuses from the nursery?”

  9. Then there are words like seigneur, which are just great if they work out with your letters. Foreign words are often acceptable now as they’ve moved into common usage in English, and as dictionaries have moved online. Not that I’ve ever heard seigneur used as an English word as is, say, mucho.

There you have it. And looking up new words can be done while you’re watching World Youth Day highlights.

But now, it’s off to look up words for my Homily this weekend. That’s always an interesting affair.


Hi, my name is Kenneth, and I’m a Scrabblaholic.

scrabble stats

About a year ago I got an iPhone. Then, I discovered the Scrabble ap.

And I’ve played the computer 718 times since then. It’s been very enjoyable.


This is a typical game. It always called to me and beckoned before sleep arrived. I would force it away and stick to my prayers.

Ridiculously, I kept Norm1 set to ‘Moderate’ skill level, so I would be assured of a win while I practiced.

Isn’t that ridiculous? I also headed over to where I learned lots of new words. That’s completely not ridiculous.


Here is another one. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a seven letter word and no place to play it!


Except maybe when you cleverly play an actual two letter word like ‘oe’, and quickly learn that you’re play is completely invalid. (Zito.) Complete deflation.


Still, there had to be more of a challenge aside from bumping Norm1’s skill level to difficult. (And when he’s difficult, he’s very difficult.)

So a week or so ago I took the plunge and started playing actual people. Norm1 took it very well. I’ve blocked out the other player’s name here; anonymity is key for Scrabblaholics.

Although to be fair, the person I was playing is hardly a Scrabblaholic.


Here you get actual sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat type action at the drop of a hat. This game was a tie down to the last two letters. I had a measly ‘i’ and was concerned. I was totally caught up in the rush of it all and was completely not counting letters, so had no clue what my opponent had. Though obviously he didn’t have the ‘z’ or the ‘q’. Or the ‘x’.

Teacher is grinning from ear to ear over the word ‘in’, which I had made with my second to last letter, also an ‘i’. Things are bad when that’s enough to elicit such a reaction from Teacher.


He passed! Couldn’t play at all.

So I played my ‘i’ in the lower left hand corner and squeaked in to the victor’s circle.


Poor sap had the ‘k’. And I got gold stars and twinkles.


I mean… excuse me, I mean… winning or losing isn’t everything, it’s how you play the game.

Isn’t it? Every word’s a winner?

I’m bumping up Norm1’s skill level to difficult, just in case. And resetting the game stats. My recent games have been unbelievably fortunate when it comes to letter picks. The other player there is brilliant.

All in all, the brightness of the interface is a bit too bright for me late at night, so I’ve calmed down and taken to reading again before sleep arrives. Although, surely just one game before bed wouldn’t hurt…

Liesure, a spiritual need, is always enhanced by a good game of Scrabble. But not by too many.

Fr. Kenneth Allen