Seven-letter words in Scrabble

Some top-drawer Scrabble players know all the two-, three- and four-letter words. But nobody knows all the sevens. Well, maybe a tiny handful of dedicated word-study fanatics with photographic memories and lots of spare time, and even they must get the odd twinge of doubt over the correct spelling of HRYVNYA.

At the same time, seven-letter words are crucial to scoring big in Scrabble because if you can play one then you get that most wonderful of things, a fifty-point bonus. In the early days of serious Scrabble, players obsessed about learning as many sevens as they could because of this. It probably wasn’t the best approach to take and must have led to a lot of frustration as they waited, endlessly, to play ZYZZYVA (an American weevil). The secret is to confine yourself to the most useful ones, i.e. the sevens that are most likely to come up in play. These are those that consist of the one-point tiles LNRST and AEIOU – the commonest letters in the Scrabble bag.

Here are some of the high-probability seven-letter words to remember as you search for a bonus score:


NEROLIS oil used in making perfume







TRISULA trident symbol of the Hindu god Siva

Nearly all of these have at least one anagram (one has ten – can you guess which?). If you can get into the habit of being able to look at your rack and say, “Ah yes, AILRSTU, that makes RITUALS”, you will soon automatically also see the anagram, TRISULA, and you can then play whichever one fits on the board, scores more, or is otherwise the better move.

(The mighty ten-anagrammer is RETAINS, making eleven anagrams including RETAINS itself.)

By Barry Grossman

Barry is a leading UK Scrabble player and winner of several tournaments. He is the author of Scrabble for Beginners (Chambers), Need to Know Scrabble, Scrabble – Play to Win and The Little Book of Scrabble Trickster. He has also contributed to numerous other books on the subject of words and word-games, has been a series champion of Channel 4’s Countdown, and has written four comedy series for BBC Radio 4. He lives in Hertford.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

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