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Scrabble is a simple, popular game of word construction, played on a 15x15 board. A question I have always had is, what is the best word that can be played?

According to my dictionary, "objectivization" is the most valuable word, for 38 points (all 15 letters across or down). It is only playable in no less than three turns: "ion", "object", and then "ivizat". Or if several of the letters are already set up, and someone plays across them.

If we limit this to eight-letter words (which are the kind found in the The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary), then we have "highjack" for 28 points, beating the famous "quixotic", which has a raw score of only 26. However, "quixotic" has several very high-point letters, which might be used on various doubling and tripling squares. If we take these squares into account, what do we get?

The most valuable squares are, of course, playing along the sides of the board, with triple word and double letter scores. If we optimize the placement of the letters, we can get the following scores for up to fifteen-letter words:

Score Word
1242 netzahualcoyotl
1242 czechoslovakian
1107 piezoelectrical
1107 buckinghamshire
1080 unexceptionably
1080 unequivocalness
1080 objectivization
1080 nonspecializing
1080 inexplicability
1053 ubiquitarianism
1026 unexceptionally
1026 psychopathology
1026 lymphadenopathy
1026 inextricability
1026 conjunctionally

Well, the first couple of words are probably not playable (since they might be proper nouns). But there are definitely some 1000-point words. And all of them are theoretically playable for that score, assuming that the row or column has a lot of the letters filled in, and someone plays across them.

If we limit this to words that eight letters long, we get the following:

Score Word
333 jacquard
333 chutzpah
324 wheezily
324 highjack
324 frowzily
315 quixotry
315 mitzvoth
315 brezhnev
306 quixotic
306 hangzhou
306 flapjack

The top two are, in fact, in the Scrabble Player's dictionary. The long-standing favorite, "quixotic", is sadly several entries down.

Stay tuned for more on Scrabble.

  1. antony on Saturday 8, 2007

    I was led to beleive that the worb BENZOXYCAMPHERS was possibhly the highest scoring word ever used during a game of scrabble. Is this true?