In Merriam-Webster dictionaries
, the phrase "called also" is used at the end of a definition
to introduce an alternate term for the term being defined.
, this was responsible for a number of bizarre phrases that show up in searches -- when explanatory text or multiple terms were listed there, sometimes the whole section got added as a single phrase in the list of terms used for searches.
In tournament Scrabble
, this resulted in a bit of a hubbub
when it was ruled that such words are valid for play in games. The problem is that some of these words appear only
in "called also" sections, and not as entries of their own with cross-reference
s to the term containing the definition. The commonly cited example is starfruit
, which appears in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition
(10C) only in a "called also" section in one of the definitions of carambola
. (Ironically, in Webster 1913
's definition of carambola, there is a different term in the "called also".) It is essentially impossible to find such a term in the dictionary should it get challenged.
This was one of the reasons the National Scrabble Association adopted their own word list a few years ago, containing all valid words of up to 9 letters and inflected forms of those words. (Formerly, the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary was used, but it contains only words up to 8 letters and their inflected forms. 10C is used for longer words.)
8 letter words show up frequently due to the desire to play all 7 letters from the rack at once (called a bingo play), which often requires using a letter already played on the board. 9 letter words show up infrequently, when 2 words are crossed by a bingo, or as extension plays in which an already-played word is made longer. 10-letter words and longer occur rarely, almost exclusively as extension plays, and many of those are forms of words 9 letters and shorter, so with the current word list, 10C needs to be consulted very rarely.