When Harry Met Sally

Did an opponent ever shout, "Hey, you can't play proper nouns in Scrabble" after you placed a word like TOM, DICK or HARRY? Even though definitions are not a part of the game, if you can't convince your opponent, you may be cowed into revoking a legitimate play. (Not everyone has a copy of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary handy.) Let's make sure it never happens.

Name in Scrabble

Pedestrian Traffic

The obvious words don't need much more than a passing reference, as you're not likely to be challenged for playing words like RICH or PENNY. You probably don't even think of them as proper nouns when you shuffle them into view. Instead, you see gems, flowers and other everyday nouns:


Types of People

Some name-like words describe people, while others describe things named for people. ABIGAIL is a lady's maid, while CHARLIE or CHARLEY is a fool. HENRY, JILL, KELVIN, MAXWELL and MORGAN represent units of measure.

Peculiar Behavior

You want to see the world? SALLY forth! With nothing but your MATILDA that you might JERRY-rig to the end of a sturdy stick, you'll be traveling light. Maybe you'd better pack a DAGWOOD and a JEROBOAM, to stave off hunger and thirst. Just don't consume too much of that wine (that's nearly three liters), unless you plan to HARRY people along the way, being drunk and all. If you don't wish to RALPH all over your JEANS and JERSEY, exercising TEMPERANCE would be a sign of your PRUDENCE.

Ladies, speaking of drinks, don't let anyone slip you a MICKEY. Fellows, watch out for JEZEBELS masquerading as MAGDALENS. Everyone, mind your pints and quarts and you won't run afoul of the law.

Despite being warned, suppose you chose to JIMMY a CLARENCE to NICK a FLORENCE, ANNA or other useless coin. You'll probably be arrested. Hopefully, the DICK from the local precinct won't have a reason to whack you with a BILLY club. Wait! Detectives usually wear plainclothes, so the stick-wielding law enforcement official would more likely be a BOBBY. (If any of them decides to BIFF you, anyway, just SUE.)

Odds and Ends

Some words are downright weird: TEXAS (deckhouse), VERA (very) and WEBSTER (weaver) are but three examples. Hundreds of proper nouns are at your disposal. If you memorize the more likely ones, you can inflict some real damage on the board. Just be ready for your opponents to do some choice name-calling—some of which might even be playable!