Foreign Words In Scrabble Dictionary
Why is it that there are many foreign words in the Scrabble dictionary but scrabble rules clearly state that no foreign words are allowed?This is a great question, and would require a very long answer to address it thoroughly. Here are some key points that should help...
Many words that are from foreign countries are allowed i.e. South Africa, China, Hebrew, Albania, etc. Why are these foreign words allowed while some words such as QUO, from "status quo", are not allowed?
Many french words which are commonly used as everyday words which have crept into the English language are not allowed.
Also NIGHTIE is allowed, but NIGHTGOWN, which is defined in nightie, is not allowed?
As you point out, foreign words that have been thoroughly 'Anglicized' (i.e. 'turned into English') are allowed. That's why MOI (used facetiously as 'Me?'), was added to the international Scrabble dictionary recently.
The trouble is, declaring that a word has been Anglicized is a subjective business, so you won't get uniform agreement on particular cases. Also, the Official Scrabble Dictionary is based on a specific set of source dictionaries - so you can't just form an opinion based on the particular dictionary you happen to prefer.
To answer a couple of your specific questions, QUO* is not allowed because it is deemed to only occur as part of a phrase, rather than a word in its own right. Similarly you can't have FU*, since it only appears in the phrase KUNG FU. Having said that, the Dictionary Committee of WESPA (World English Scrabble Players Association) is currently considering the addition of 'phrasal parts' like these. Stay tuned on that one...
As for NIGHTGOWN, I suspect the reason it is not allowed is because it is hyphenated (though I haven't checked the source dictionaries just yet).
Again, different decisions made by different dictionaries, and different practices in different English-speaking countries, mean that some dictionary decisions will always look inappropriate to some people. The good thing is, dictionary committees are constantly reviewing the language and updating the Scrabble dictionary, so what is not allowed today, might be allowed tomorrow.
I hope that helps. I haven't had time to answer this important question in great depth, so please feel free to add a comment below this post if you'd like me to elaborate on anything.
All the best,