Menu Close

WGPO Lexicon Survey and December Referendum

WGPO Lexicon Survey Results

In July 2020, WGPO sent out a survey to its membership to ask for their opinions on whether words deemed slurs and/or offensive should be removed from the lexicon. The purpose of the survey was to determine, from a list of options, what the top choices of WGPO membership were with respect to making changes to the WGPO lexicon or leaving the current wordlist as it is. We also asked participants to discuss the reasons for their choices. The results were used to inform a binding referendum that will be held December 1-14, 2020. We received 300 responses to the survey. A full summary with results broken down by demographic categories and comments in support of various options can be found at–7kV3O1AEqUImYwmBG8dA0sPeB086j4/view

Summary of Responses:

Question 1: Which option(s) would you support with respect to the current word lists (North American and International) and the potential removal of slurs and other “offensive” words (select all that apply)?

A word list with no slurs and offensive words removed: 59.0%
A word list with only the most offensive slurs removed: 31.7%
A word list with all slurs removed: 19.0%
A word list with all slurs and other offensive words removed: 7.7%

Note: People were allowed to select multiple responses, so percentages won’t add up to 100%.

The survey indicated strongest support for either a wordlist with no slurs removed (59%) or a wordlist with only a small list of slurs removed (31.7%). Other options did not receive strong levels of support. Levels of support for each option were similar across various demographic groups.

Question 2: How comfortable would you be having two different North American word lists (TWL) used (i.e. WGPO list that is different from NASPA list) and how comfortable would you be having two different international word lists (CSW) used for competitive Scrabble?

Very Comfortable 37.1% 17.0%
Somewhat Comfortable 20.9% 6.4%
Somewhat Uncomfortable 22.7% 25.5%
Very Uncomfortable 19.4% 51.1%

Survey participants are more comfortable having multiple North American Word lists than they are having multiple international word lists. Overall, 58% of people using the North American Wordlist said they would be extremely or somewhat comfortable with multiple lists while 42.1% would be extremely or somewhat uncomfortable.

Binding Referendum:

Based on these survey results, the Board of Player Representatives has referred the following questions to the membership. The first question authorizes the creation of a distinct WGPO Official Word List. The second question addresses the inclusion of slurs in this new word list. Neither referendum will apply to the international lexicon (Collins). Based on the survey results, there are no plans to create an alternative to the standard international wordlist.

Binding Referendum on whether to establish a WGPO Official Word List:
Shall WGPO establish, maintain, and make available its own WGPO official word list to be used for North American club and tournament play.

______ Yes

______ No

If this referendum passes, WGPO will form a lexicon committee to create a new WGPO tournament word list for use at all future WGPO TWL events. This list will be similar, but not exactly the same, as the current North American tournament word list, and will include either most or all slurs depending on the outcome of the second referendum question.

If the referendum fails to pass, WGPO will continue to use the common tournament word list used in North America which will not include a significant list of slurs. The outcome of the second referendum question on inclusion of slurs will not be implemented.

Binding Referendum on inclusion of slurs in WGPO official word list:

If the membership votes to establish a WGPO official word list, the following referendum will guide future WGPO committees tasked with the creation and update of this word list regarding the inclusion of slurs. Choose one of the following:

_______ WGPO’s official word list should contain all appropriately identified words including slurs and other offensive words.

_______ WGPO’s official word list should contain all appropriately identified words except a short list of the most offensive slurs (approximately 10 or fewer).

Because of the importance and impact of this referendum, we encourage our membership to learn more before the December vote. We have created a FAQ to address questions like how will a potential new WGPO Official Word List differ from NASPA’s word list, when will this new list be available and how can I get a copy, or will this new word list be available on my favorite Scrabble apps/programs? More details are available at