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30 Little-Known Words That Will Help You Win Scrabble

Memorize these to be a winner every game.

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scrabble board with tiles that spell out oxyphenbutazoneMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Oxyphenbutazone: A type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)

This is theoretically the highest-scoring of all the Scrabble words—hooked to the right words, it would earn a whopping 1,778 points, found Dan Stock of Ohio. But it would require perfect placement of eight other tiles, so it’s never actually been played in a real game—start practicing with this Scrabble set. This is why men tend to be better at Scrabble than women.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out muzjiksMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Muzjiks: A Russian peasant

With this alternate spelling of muzhiks, Jesse Inman earned the record of the highest-scoring opening Scrabble word ever played in 2008. Here are some common words that everyone spells wrong.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out qiMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Qi: The energy of life flowing through the body

When you’ve been holding on to that Q for way too long, just get rid of it with this easy-peasy two-letter word that doesn’t even require a U. Add an S at your next turn to take advantage of that ten-point Q all over again to win Scrabble. Check out these other 10 almost-extinct words you should start using.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out qatMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Qat: A shrub that grows in the Middle East and Africa

Q with no U? You’re in luck—“qat” makes it easy to get rid of that tricky letter. When your friends question you, make sure to pronounce it right (“kaht”), and don’t miss these other 20 common words even smart people mispronounce.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out xiMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Xi: Letter in the Greek alphabet

You know “ax,” “ex,” and “ox,” but when your only vowel is an I, you’ve got options. You probably use these 10 trendy words but have no idea what they actually mean.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out xuMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Xu: Coin that used to be minted in South Vietnam

Don’t get stuck with that X! Short Scrabble words that start with X are hard to come by. Check out this list of the hardest words to spell in the English language.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out phphtMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Phpht: Interjection

No vowels? No problem! Other long consonant-only options to win Scrabble include crwth, byrls, fyrds, ghyll, and xylyl. They all look wrong, but here are the most misspelled words from every state.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out zuzMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Zuz: Ancient Hebrew coin

Eben super Scrabble players curse the days they get two Zs. “Pizza” and “fuzz” are obvious choices, but you can get rid of those pesky letters even quicker with this three-letter word. Here are some words that don’t mean what you think they do.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out cwmMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Cwm: Cirque, a half-open hollow on a mountainside

When you’re stuck with all consonants, you don’t have too many options, especially if you don’t have a Y either. Enter cwm to save the day, or even tsk, brr, pht, zzz, nth, or shh. Don’t miss these other fancy words that make you sound smarter.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out beziquesMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Beziques: A card game played with a pack of 48 cards (two of each suit for high cards)

This word can get two tricky letters out of the way: Z and Q. What about I before E, except after C? Test your knowledge with these rules for spelling difficult words.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out caziquesMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Caziques: Black-and-red or black-and-yellow orioles of the American tropics

Impress your Scrabble opponents with this unexpected eight-letter word. Or, drive them crazy with these hilarious made-up words.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out highjackMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Highjack: Alternate spelling of hijack

Who knew there was more than one spelling? These are 10 common words that you’ll only find in English.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out mezquiteMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Mezquite: Alternate spelling of mesquite

Trick all of your opponents with the alternate spelling to win Scrabble. There are a lot of common pairs of words everyone gets wrong.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out oxazepamMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Oxazepam: A tranquilizing drug used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal

People might not know what this drug is used for, but you know how to win Scrabble with it. Only English majors know these vocabulary words.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out maximizeMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Maximize: To make as big or large as possible

This is a word people actually use on a daily basis, so it’s a great way to score 78 Scrabble points. What is the most maximized word in English? Hint: it’s 189,819 letters long.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out quixotryMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Quixotry: Quixotic action or thought

You probably still have no idea what this means. A quixotic action is one that is unrealistic or impractical. Here are some other funny words you might not know

scrabble board with tiles that spell out jukeboxMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Jukebox: A coin-operated phonograph, equipped with push buttons for the selection of songs

Turn up the music, because this word can score you 77 points to win Scrabble. These are the 10 most searched words, according to Dictionary.com.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out vizcachaMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Vizcacha: A burrowing rodent

When you use this winning Scrabble word, you’ll impress your friends while scoring a lot of points. Learn about these 10 uncommon English words that we don’t use, but really should.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out chutzpahMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Chutzpah: Unbelievable gall; supreme self-confidence

It takes a lot of chutzpah to use this high-scoring Scrabble word. 

scrabble board with tiles that spell out quetzalsMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Quetzals: The basic unit of money in Guatemala; large bird of Central and South America

This word with a double meaning can help to potentially double your score. Check out these 15 words that were just added to the Scrabble dictionary

scrabble board with tiles that spell out whizbangMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Whizbang: A small high-velocity shell; a firecracker that makes a whizzing sound followed by an explosion

This fun Scrabble word can add 76 points to your score. These weird words have some surprising meanings

scrabble board with tiles that spell out flapjackMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Flapjack: A flat cake of thin batter fried on both sides on a griddle

Another one of the high-scoring Scrabble words that can help you win the game is flapjack. These 15 common words used to mean completely different things.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out wheezilyMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Wheezily: With a wheeze

This top Scrabble word can get you 76 points. Watch out for these words that seem like synonyms, but aren’t.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out equalizeMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Equalize: To compensate; to make equal, uniform, corresponding, or matching

This Scrabble word will not equalize the score of the game.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out exorcizeMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Exorcize: Drive out or attempt to drive out (an evil spirit) from a person or place

Exorcize is another word for exorcism. These are 10 words that don’t rhyme with anything.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out zombifyMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Zombify: To turn into a zombie

Let’s hope that the only place this word is used is on the Scrabble board and never in the news. Using these words will make you funnier in seconds.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out squeezeMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Squeeze: To grip and press firmly; the act of gripping and pressing firmly

You can squeeze 75 points out of this high-scoring Scrabble word. You can also squeeze two different pronunciations out of these 13 words.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out jezebelMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Jezebel: A shameless, impudent, scheming woman

This is one of the best Scrabble words to use—especially if you’re playing against an impudent woman! Saying these 9 words will give away where you grew up.

scrabble board with tiles that spell out quicklyMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Quickly: With rapid movements; with little or no delay

Quickly is one of the less-complex Scrabble words you can use to win. You can quickly win Scrabble by throwing this word down on the board. These are the synonyms and antonyms people search for the most

scrabble board with tiles that spell out zymurgyMatthew Cohen/rd.com

Zymurgy: The branch of chemistry concerned with fermentation

Fermentation as in making wine, brewing, or distilling. If you want to be a Scrabble champ, make sure you don’t use these 70 words and phrases wrong because a lot of people do.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.