Calgary Scrabble Group


Word Lists

Learning lists of words is a big part of Scrabble® play. There are probably an infinite number of lists that could be compiled, so where do you start?

  • Right Here! - New players are encouraged to learn the lists on this page within their first few months of play.
  • NSA Membership Kit - The NSA membership kit includes Hook Lists. Start with the 2-to-make-3 list, as they are initially the most important. It can take two years or more to know the three-letter words 100%, so narrowing this goal down to just the 2-to-make-3 list is often useful.
  • Make Your Own Lists - Doing this by hand is an excellent way to remember the words, but of course it is much more time consuming. For those without the time, consider one of the computer programs that are designed to help players learn words.

NOTE: All lists presented here use the TWL98 (North American) word source.

First Lists

These are the lists you should look at if you are completely new to the official dictionary. For best results, study them in the order presented.

  • Two-Letter Words - Anybody intending to play in a competitive setting will need to learn their twos. Scoring is severely limited if the twos are not learned.
  • 2-to-make-3 - The first step in learning the three-letter words is to learn the letters you can hook onto two-letter words.
  • Unobvious Q Words - It's important to be able to play off the Q rather than exchanging or burning a blank. To do this, learn the Q-without-U words and other surprising Q words.
  • Short JQXZ - Maximize your big-scoring tiles by learning words that use these high-point tiles.

Intermediate Lists

If you decide you'd like to become a stronger Scrabble® player, learn these lists. Experts know all of these words cold.

  • Three-Letter Words - Learning all of the threes may be the single hardest challenge in Scrabble®. Start early and study as often as possible.
  • Vowel Dumps - As you start to learn about rack management you will need to get rid of ugly tiles. Words with lots of vowels will help a lot!
  • Longer JQXZ - Turn the big-point tiles into potential bingos!
  • 3-to-make-4 - It's very hard to learn all of the four-letter words, but if you learn the hooks you'll have most of the battle won.
  • TISANE, SATIRE, RETINA - Most people start learning high-probability bingos by using 6-to-make-7 stems. These are three of the most popular.
  • Other 6-to-make-7's - Knowing lots of stems means that you can take better advantage of rack management strategies, which should lead to at least one bingo in almost every game.

Expert Lists

To play at an expert level you will have to constantly be studying words. The top experts make up new list categories on the fly and then study them regularly. Of course, there are still some fundamental lists that need to be learned first.

  • NASTIER, RETINAL, AIR-TONE, OAR-TIES, ALE-RIOT - Five of the most common 7-to-make-8 lists. The ability to find eight-letter bingos is crucial; many intermediates focus too much on 7's and miss a lot of 8's. The latter three lists are particularly important because there are no 7's possible with those letters.
  • Top 1000 7's - The 1000 most probable seven letter words. Lots of experts study by probability, because as neat as it is to know words like DEWCLAW, you'll probably never get to play them.
  • Four-Letter Words - It's a tough job, but the top experts learn all the fours cold.
  • Other 7-to-make-8's - To take the most advantage of both the tiles on your rack and those on the board you'll need to learn many 7-letter stems as well.
  • Top 1000 8's - Learning the 8's by probability is also a very effective technique.
  • 7- and 8-to-make-9's - The top experts can easily form 9-letter and longer words in their heads, and study how to do so. This maximizes bingo changces!

List Links

Here are some sites which between them have many of the word lists mentioned above:

List Generators

To study most effectively it's often a good idea to make up your own lists, and software is the easiest way to do that.