To Scrabble fanatics, big gifts sometimes come in small packages.

The word “te” as a variant of “ti,” is the seventh tone on the musical scale. It is a hardworking little gem among 5,000 words added to “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary,” next week.

The dictionary’s last freshening up was a decade ago. Entries in the forthcoming book that include texter, vlog, bromance, hashtag, dubstep and selfie were mere twinkles on the racks of recreational players.

But it’s the addition of te and three other two-letter words — da, gi and po — that has Robin Pollock Daniel excited. Daniel, a clinical psychologist in Toronto, is a champion of the North American Scrabble Players Association. It has a committee that helps Merriam-Webster track down new, playable words of two to eight letters.

The new words add about 40 pages to the Scrabble-sanctioned dictionary, which already lists more than 100,000 playable words.

To be included in the 36-year-old book — this is the fifth edition — a word must be found in a standard dictionary, can’t require capitalisation, can’t have hyphens or apostrophes and can’t be an abbreviation. Of course, they must be two to eight letters, reflecting the seven tiles players draw plus an eighth already on the board that they can attach a long word to for bonus points.

Merriam-Webster didn’t identify all 5,000 new words but released a list of about 30 that include:

Beatbox, buzzkill, chillax, coqui, frenemy, funplex, jockdom, joypad, mixtape, mojito, ponzu, qigong, schmutz, sudoku and yuzu. Geocache was also added, voted into the dictionary by the public during a Facebook contest in May.

How to always win every Scrabble game

  1. Consider balance as you look at the letters on your rack. For example, it might be smart to form a word eliminating double letters in your rack even if it’s not the highest-scoring move you have available. Many players aim for a rack with four consonants and three vowels.
  2. See what letters have already been played before deciding on your move. If few Es have been played, you might chose to create WERE instead of WARE, reducing the chance that you’ll draw a double tile.
  3. Plan ahead to play long words, possibly even using all the tiles on your rack in one turn (which is known as a bingo and which earns you bonus points). The most common letters players save to create a bingo are A, E, I, N, R and S.
  4. Don’t fear the Q! This tile (as well as the somewhat less-frightening X, Z and J) offers some high-scoring potential. It helps to learn these words which use a Q but not a U.
  5. If you get stuck with a lot of vowels, think about iodine — and the dozens of other vowel-rich words available. (Cookie, anyone?)
  6. If you have a lot of consonants, there are legal words without vowels — myrrh, rhythm and tsktsk, for example. Here’s a complete list of vowel-free Scrabble words.
  7. Avoid giving other players easy access to bonus point squares, especially the triple word scores.

Tips:

  1. Practice. You can buy Scrabble books, and there are a lot of useful practice tools available on the Internet.
  2. If you study, concentrate on unusual words. Two-letter words are useful in a lot of situations. Q words, X words, J words, Z words and words with lots of vowels also are good to know, as are the most common longer words.

What You Need:

  • Scrabble Board Game
  • Opponent(s)
  • Willingness to Study