Skip to Content

Can you use names in Scrabble?

Sharing is caring!

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

Words permitted in the English dictionary are allowed on a Scrabble board. Scrabble prohibits the use of words that are always capitalized, suffixes and prefixes, words that need a hyphen or apostrophe, and abbreviations

However, Scrabble rules change as the association updates the Scrabble dictionary checker to new versions. It’s always good to use an up-to-date Scrabble dictionary, especially when the game is played at tournament level. 

For a word to be legal, it must be part of the word list of the dictionary used. Since house rules vary depending on the dictionary used, answered below are frequently asked questions about using names in Scrabble.

Can you use names in Scrabble? According to official rules, proper names such as places, people, company names, and brands are not supposed to be played on the scrabble game, although some nouns are not just nouns, but also slang words in some cases. 

For instance, a name like “John” is the name of a person and a slang name used to refer to a toilet. Again, certain names have been used so regularly in language falling under the category of “common nouns” such as jack, frank, bill, that they are now considered a Scrabble word as long as they are not capitalized.

Initially, the Scrabble rules drafted in 1948 banned the use of nouns such as the name of places, people, and brands on the scrabble board, but for the first time, the rules were to change according to a statement released on 6th of April 2010 by Mattel game company. 

The word scrabble game had to change for the first time in Scrabble history to allow pronouns to be used in scrabble game, such that pronouns were allowed in gameplay. However, the rule received a lot of opposition, especially from New Zealand Scrabble Players’ Association, who regarded the rule as invalid.

The only way to verify if a word is legal or not in scrabble is through checking in the official dictionary, or the dictionary players are using in case of a friendly tournament. 

Are names allowed in Scrabble?

According to official rules, the names of places, brands, companies, and people are not allowed, so it’s illegal to play such words on the Scrabble board. However, some names are more than nouns in nature, and they are part of the word list in the official scrabble dictionary. 

Such words need not be capitalized. A good example is the word “john,” which refers to a name of a person, but also it refers to a toilet in the slang sense of language. Other examples such as jack, frank, bill, joe are also slang words to name a few. 

Therefore, any name that must be capitalized in the middle of a sentence should never be played in Scrabble. Other names that have multiple meanings apart from describing a noun are allowed in Scrabble, but they should not be capitalized.

Proper names in Scrabble

Despite rumors going around that proper names are going to be legal to be used in scrabble, Scrabble purists have disputed that fact. A player cannot use proper names such as places, brands, companies, and people in scrabble unless they represent other meanings apart from nouns. 

For instance, the proper name John, which is a person’s name, also means a toilet in the slang english language. Therefore, despite being a proper name, someone can use it in scrabble because it has two meanings, similar to words like bill, frank, and tom.

These proper names are common names that have become common nouns, and are valid as Scrabble words. However, a player cannot use words that must be capitalized to be accepted on the scrabble board. 

Words allowed in Scrabble 

According to official Scrabble Player association rules, any word permitted in the English dictionary is allowed in the scrabble game, except the following category of words.

  • Foreign words not adapted in English vocabulary.
  • Prefixes and suffixes that cannot stand alone in a phrase sentence.
  • Pronouns 
  • Proper names such as places, people, companies, and brand names.
  • Words that can cause ethnicity, racism, and tribal conflicts.
  • Slang words that are not included in the Scrabble dictionary.
  • Abbreviation words such as IQ, TV…
  • Words that are always capitalized 
  • Words not found in the dictionary are used, especially in a casual game. 
Can you use names in Scrabble

Names in Scrabble: Conclusion

A valid word in Scrabble is any word found in the dictionary used as a guide to playing the game, which should be agreed upon at the beginning of the game by all players. Playing illegal words results in a penalty that loses a turn, and scores zero points.

Proper names allowed in Scrabble must have another meaning besides being a name. A player should not need to capitalize those words if they have to be accepted in Scrabble. 

Game rules change depending on the scrabble dictionary used. Therefore, some proper names may be ok to play in a certain game, but the same rule applies differently to another game setup following another Scrabble dictionary version. 

The best way to validate any word played on the Scrabble board is by checking it in an updated official dictionary. The players must agree on the dictionary being used, especially if the game is played in an official tournament as opposed to a casual game.  

Sharing is caring!