Words With Friends - the wordlist

Posted 2 May, 2011 Anthony Tan (staring at yet another render. But still loving it for some reason..)

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(10/May/2011 - minor update since I wrote this, there aren't any wordlist changes in 4.02)

I've been playing Words With Friends (WWF) on and off now for a bit - not that I'm particularly good at anagramming or anything like that - and as part of some other things I'm playing around with, I thought I'd run through WWF's dictionary to see what it's got in it, and you know, poke around and stuff. It's what I do. The fact that the wordlists weren't easily gettable sort of motivated me to rectify the situation.

Couldn't interest anyone in a game could I? I'm 'YellowHighlight' on WWF (long story, it makes sense, really) if you're interested in grabbing me.

The wordlists

Comparisons to ENABLE (see below if this doesn't make sense)

Note that I'm referencing off their current version of the game I have, V4.0 for the iPhone. I can't imagine that they'd let things get out of sync across all platforms of course. I'll try keep this updated from time to time as new versions come out, or if anything interesting appears.

(Oh, yes, they also have a slight bug, in that they had 'jetlag' twice in the wordlist, I've removed the duplicate)

To get the dictionary, you can either unpack the .ipa archive on your computer, or SCP the file out of your jailbroken iDevice (if someone wants to let me know if this is also the case on 'droid, that'd be much appreciated).

Summary of additions/deletions

In general modern or slang-ish terms that don't appear in ENABLE - things like 'wifi', 'journo', 'zine', 'blogger', 'droid', etc - have been added, and removed were terms that could cause offence. On the off chance that they do, I'll avoid reprinting them here, but you can have a look at the file itself if you're curious.

I'm not sure I agree, but this is the kind of territory you get into when you can't handball responsibility for the wordlist to someone else - one good reason to use the SOWPODS list actually. Yes, it's probably more of a pain and licensing and whatnot, but when your crossword game takes off, it means you can point people at the standard you're using when they try tell you to change the dictionary.

ENABLE, a short, short history

Search for ENABLE or 'Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon' and you'll find lots of ways to get it, but not so much on what the heck it is, or where it came from. Even the Wikipedia article is pretty thin (well, until I get to edit it later...) and they're usually quite decent.

In short though, it looks like back in the day (1997?) this list was compiled and researched by a gentleman named Alan Beale, and was pushed out into the public domain as a resource for people to use that wasn't encumbered by corporate interests. I'll be doing some digging and posting up some more material however, seems like some history worth researching and/or keeping.

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