Nerd Wins Scrabble Championship With Word You’ve Never Heard Of

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

As you probably already know, the World Scrabble Championship 2016 final took place on Saturday. Brett Smitheram, a 37-year-old east Londoner took home the grand prize of €7,000, which is equivalent to about $7,815 USD.

The 176-point word that led to his victory? Braconid, meaning “any of numerous wasps of the family Braconidae, the larvae of whichare parasitic on aphids and on the larvae of moths, butterflies, beetles.” Guess adjectives derived from proper nouns were fair game.

His other high-scoring words were periagua (an American Indian canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk; 76 points), sundri (an east Indian tree; 28 points), and gynaecia (the plural of gynoecium, the female part of a flower; 95 points).


Smitheram told The Telegraph that in order to prepare for the tournament he reviewed all ~70,000 “seven and eight letter words in the English dictionary.”

What this proves is that knowing fancy science and history words can help you score mad points in a Scrabble game, and maybe even win the big bucks.

In other news, I’ve literally never won a game of Scrabble in my life.

[The Guardian]


Eve Peyser was the night editor at Gizmodo.

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I’m an entomologist for some context. Braconid is the informal family name of Braconidae. They’re not actually obscure if you’re involved in any sort of agro or invasive control field. They’re parasitoids, and we use them extensively in biocontrol. Which should be it’s own article on Gizmodo. The capabilities of wasps are almost unbelievable. Quaternary hyperparsitoids, anyone? Crazy stuff. They shouldn’t be confused with Vespids, which are the stingy, often black and yellow insects people think of when they’re hear “wasp.” By and large wasps are highly beneficial, even vespids.