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Can you spell a word backwards in Scrabble?

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Scrabble is a word game that is fun for people who love vocabulary. Yes, it can take hours to complete, but once it ends, you have probably learned new words that you have never heard before.

A word may be correct, yes, but spelling it on the Scrabble board may ruin everything. The real question many Scrabble players ask regarding playing words is whether they are free to place a word in any direction they want, but that’s not the case in Scrabble.

Can you spell a word backwards in Scrabble? The answer is No. Official Scrabbles rules state that any word formed should follow left to right direction horizontally, or up to down when forming a word vertically. 

The rule was derived from the Standard dictionary because all words found in it are spelt forward. Players are not allowed to create words diagonally either. 

There are a few exceptions for words that can be created backwards in Scrabble because either forward or backward, the spelling will remain the same. These categories of words are called the palindromes.

For instance, the word CIVIC has the same spelling even when written backwards. 

Other types of words when spelt backwards lose their meaning, but still form a word in the English dictionary called the semordnilap; also fine to be spelt backwards in a Scrabble board. 

Otherwise, if a word in English does not fall under the two categories, spelling backwards will distort its structure to form a word that does not exist, and that is why backwards words in Scrabble are prohibited. Take the example of the word ACROSS. When spelt backwards, it appears as SSORCA, a word that does not exist in the Scrabble dictionary.

Nonetheless, Scrabble is a game of variation! Therefore, players can agree to any rule they want if it suits all. 

As a result, they may agree on backward words formation as long as every member of the game is ok with that. Answered below are frequently asked questions about spelling words backwards, and why Scrabble rules do not allow for spelling in reverse.

Can words go any direction in scrabble?

No, a player can only place a word horizontally (following left to right direction) or vertically (up to downwards), but not Diagonally or in Reverse. The letters placed on the board must form a complete word. 

Official rules specifically outline the right course to take when placing a word on the Scrabble board.

Some words like palindromes, can follow right to left direction when placed horizontally, and down to up direction when placed vertically. But if a word does not fall under that category, then the word is likely to be illegal.

Can you spell words right to left in Scrabble?

No, you cannot spell words from right to left, but there are a few exceptions. Official Scrabble rules state that a player can only form words on a Scrabble board from left to right horizontally or up to down vertically, just like a Crossword puzzle. 

In the English language, words can only follow left to right direction apart from palindromes words, which the spelling of the word is not distorted either way. 

For instance, take a word like ANSWER; if it is placed backwards, it forms a word REWSNA which is not a word in the Scrabble dictionary

However, take a word like RADAR, RACECAR, DEIFIED, REVIVER, REFER, KAYAK, LEVEL, and REDIVIDER to mention a few. 

They have one thing in common, regardless of the direction (left to right, or right to left) taken horizontally to form the words, the spelling remains the same. Therefore, palindromes can be formed using the right to left direction. 

There are other types of palindrome words called semi-palindromes, which someone can follow right to left direction. Yes, the meaning changes, but the word formed is part of speech. 

Take, for example, a word like GOD; when placed in the right-left direction, the word is spelt like DOG, which is also a valid word in the Scrabble dictionary.

Can you write upwards in Scrabble?

Yes, but only if a word is a palindrome or semi-palindrome. Meaning either upwards or backwards, the spelling remains the same, or it forms a real word in the Scrabble dictionary. 

Otherwise, official Scrabble rules require words placed vertically to go downwards and not upwards. Most words are spelt in the reverse direction are not realistic. 

For instance, a word like ENGLISH, placed in the reverse direction, forms HSILGNE, which reads as nonsense when used in a sentence. More so, it doesn’t exist in the official Scrabble dictionary. 

But for palindromes, reversing the letters results in the same spelling or another word that is real. For example, a word like MADAM, placing upwards or downwards results in the same word. 

When placed in an upward direction, a word like ANIMAL results in LAMINA as a real word in the Scrabble dictionary.

Can you go both ways in Scrabble?

Yes, someone can place tiles on both sides of an existing word to form a new word. The key element for this type of move is that all the letters placed must follow the same direction (horizontally or vertically and not diagonally), and the tiles must be part of the same existing word on board. 

When placing palindromes on a scrabble board, a player can go both directions for both horizontal (left to right, or right to left) and vertical (upwards or downwards) since either way, the spelling will be the same, and the new word formed can still be found in the Scrabble Dictionary.

Can you spell words backwards in Scrabble

Backwards Spelling in Scrabble: Conclusion 

Scrabble game follows the same placing rules that apply in Standard dictionary principles to form words. However, a slight deviation does exist when palindromes are involved.

When creating a word horizontally on a Scrabble game, follow the left to the right direction. When placing a word vertically, follow the downward direction unless it’s a palindrome word. 

Additionally, a player can never place a word diagonally in a Scrabble game.

Scrabble is a game of many house rules, especially when played at non-tournament levels; hence players can agree to some rule changes that vary from official rules as long as all members agree on them. 

The correct spelling is a key element in the Scrabble game guided by the Scrabble dictionary. A misspelt word is an invalid word, which is subjected to a penalty of losing the turn.

Only palindrome and semordnilap words are allowed to follow both directions. Otherwise, when placed on the Scrabble board, any other English word must follow the left to right or up to down direction.

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Thursday 14th of July 2022

PALINDROMES are absolutely an exception to writing right to left or upwards. Well done!