Skip to Content

Can you use country names in Scrabble?

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

The Scrabble game was first marketed in 1948, and included its rulebook contained inside the box. The original rules stated that any words permitted in the regular dictionary were legal to play in scrabble.

However, rules keep changing every time Mattel updates a new version of Scrabble Player Association Dictionary.

Can you use country names in scrabble? According to official rules, the name of countries cannot be played because they are proper nouns that must always be capitalized whenever they appear in a sentence. Unless the word has another meaning that doubles as an adjective or verb, that’s the only time a player can use a proper noun on the Scrabble board. 

However, some country names have other meanings in a sentence when not capitalized. For example, a country name like china, besides being a country name, also means porcelain dishes.

Furthermore, friends are not limited to certain rules in casual games, and so they can adjust the Scrabble allowed words to include the use of proper noun as long as every player agrees on it.

Not all proper nouns are banned from being used in Scrabble, but most are. Answered below are frequently asked questions about using country names in the board game Scrabble.

Are place names allowed in Scrabble?

Some names are yes and most no. Country names that have other meanings include japan which means lacquer, turkey is a bird, lima is a bean, seine is a kind of net, and chad is a punched-out piece of paper.

Some place names have alternative meanings, making them valid whenever they are used in scrabble. However, some stand as a noun and always appear capitalized when they appear in the sentence. 

Take, for example the country Bolivia, but on the other hand the same word refers to the soft fabric. Berlin is the capital city of Germany, but it also refers to a four-wheeled carriage with a sheltered seat at the back. 

A name like Phoenix is a city in Arizona, but also a mythical bird. Greek is a European country and an act of adjusting a kind of display purpose.

Some place names are just words on their own, but others appear with different meanings. That said, any place name played in scrabble apart from a proper noun should be an adjective or verb that is spelled with lowercase letters as an alternative form. 

Are city names allowed in Scrabble?

Yes and no! Besides being proper nouns, some city names appear as adjectives or verbs in other forms, which means they can be played in Scrabble. 

However, some will always appear as proper nouns, implying they will always appear capitalized in a sentence. According to the official rules of scrabble, words that appear capitalized cannot be played in a scrabble. 

Zaire is a republic city, but the term also refers to the unit currency of that country, and Texas is one of the states in the USA, but the word also means the uppermost part of steamboats. 

Most cities stand as proper nouns on their own, and they will always appear capitalized in sentences that cannot be played in Scrabble. For instance, cities like Madrid, Nairobi, Dakar, Kigali, Mombasa, Bristol, to mention a few, will always appear capitalized and can never be played in Scrabble.

Acceptable country names

All country names that have an alternative definition apart from a pronoun are acceptable in Scrabble. Despite those words being pronouns, they can appear in lower case in a sentence. 

The following are some of the names of the country that can be played in scrabble:

  • China: porcelain dishes.
  • Greek: a European language, but also means an act of adjustment for a certain display purpose.
  • Japan: type of lacquer.
  • Turkey: type of bird.
  • Chad: refer to a punched-out piece of paper.
  • Lima: kind of bean.
  • Siena: type of net.
  • Zaire: despite being a country, it also refers to that country’s currency.
  • Bolivia: piece of soft fabric.
  • Brazil: a nut.
  • Wales: a principality.
  • Panama: wide brimmed straw hat.
  • Guinea: a specific sum of currency.
  • Morocco: flexible leather made from goat skin.
Can you use country names in Scrabble

Countries in Scrabble: Conclusion 

Not all proper nouns are banned from Scrabble, but some country names have other meanings that make them valid when spelled with lowercase letters. For the proper nouns to be accepted in Scrabble, they must not always appear capitalized in a sentence. Words that are always capitalized cannot be played in the board game. 

Any proper noun that is capitalized in the English language is not permitted in Scrabble, but when the words appear in lowercase, it’s legal to play them. Discussed above are examples of the names of countries that can be used on their own because the words are used as adjectives and verbs as opposed to proper nouns every time.

In casual games, the player can decide to use whatever rules every individual is conversant and comfortable to play with. The dictionary used as a guide for the game determines whether a word is illegal or not, and the casual nature of the gameplay permits the use of words that may not be considered in the official rules. 

Sharing is caring!