Blindfold Words Games #289: The quest for a dictionary

We’ve created many word games over the past few years, and most use a dictionary to create the puzzle or validate your answer.
homer simpson reading dictionary
Here are some of our word games:

  • Blindfold Hangman
  • Blindfold Word Ladder
  • Blindfold Word Cookies
  • Blindfold Seven Small Words
  • Blindfold Biggle (similar to Boggle)
  • Blindfold Unscramble
  • Blindfold Words from Words
  • Blindfold Word Search

There are several dictionaries in common use, but finding the right dictionary that matches your vocabulary and your country is not always easy.  We started with a popular dictionary with about 10,000 words, but found it was only appropriate in the U.S. and was too simple.
Then we added a generic dictionary that people claimed was appropriate for Scrabble game with about 43,000 words.  This was an improvement, but didn’t cover U.K. words.
We added a British dictionary with 75,000 words, but some of its words were too strange, and didn’t have common spelling of words that should have been valid for both the U.S. and U.K.
So we combined the British and Scrabble dictionaries for a total of 86,000 words, and that seemed sufficient until we started getting complaints that the dictionary had lots of inappropriate words – either dirty words or socially unacceptable words.  We added a list of about 100 nasty words, and put in a SETTINGS screen option to remove the nasty words from the dictionary.
We’ve since discovered three more useful word lists.  The first is known as “SOWPODS” – the word list used in tournament Scrabble in English-Speaking countries except the USA, Canada, Thailand and Israel, and has over 250,000 words .   The second is “TWL06“: it’s version 6 of the Tournament Word List for those four countries, and has about 180,000 words.  The third is “SOWPODS-TWL06” – a combination of Sowpods and TWL06.
In any of these games, you can switch the dictionary in the SETTINGS screen.
For a full list of games, visit:

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