What if a Scrabble word has more than one plural?

by Rita Rupp
(Overland Park, KS)

If the plural of a word is challenged and the dictionary documents two different plural forms, does the challenger lose turn?

Example: the word "elks" was played; I challenged saying I thought the plural form was elk. The dictionary we used (Merriam Webster) as well as a couple of others recognize both spellings as correct.

Merriam states the plural form is "usually" spelled: "elk." The judgment was that I lost my turn because the player was correct regardless of the basis of my challenge also being correct?

Hi Rita - All plural forms and other inflections offered by the dictionary are acceptable in Scrabble. In this case, the challenger loses a turn because the version of the plural they played was acceptable, regardless of whether the argument had some merit.

When you challenge a word in Scrabble you are challenging the word's validity in Scrabble, not whether it is the 'usual' spelling of a word.

To resolve Scrabble disputes like this, I strongly recommend you get a copy of the official Scrabble dictionary, because it will state in black and white whether or not a word is acceptable.

Hope that helps.

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