August 13, 2012

There’s this game my family plays, either alone or with other families, and it’s called dictionary. I’m not convinced that my dad didn’t just make that name up.

Description The players (four or more) find a dictionary, slips of paper, and enough pens so that each person has one. The starting person flips through the dictionary until he finds a word that he likes, and makes sure that nobody in the group knows what the word means. The other players copy this down.

The players without the dictionary try and make up the most convincing definition for the word, while the first player writes down the actual definition.

Everybody folds the slips of paper, and hands them to the player with the dictionary, who then proceeds to read all of them (including the real definition) aloud.

The non-dictionary players vote on what seems to be the realest-sounding definition.

The scores are then tallied up, and the dictionary passed to the next player. Repeat until everybody has had a turn. This comprises one round.

Scoring Every player who guesses the right definition gets a point. Every player whose definition got voted on gets the same amount of points as votes. If the dictionary holding player’s real definition got no votes, he receives a point.

Our gameplay In Aspen, Colorado, during our week there, we played a 10-person game of dictionary with another family, the Wedners. Here are some of my favorite words and definitions:

Whydah (pronounced “widdah”): Fake (Marcus) - The wife of a dead man Real - An African weaverbird

Jaborandi: Fake (Me) - Delicately woven cotten headgarments traditionally worn by the virgin women of Sri Lanka and southern India; a common term for odd hats of all sorts Real - A drug made from the dried leaves of certain South American plants of the rue family

Quassia: Fake (Dad) - Verb; Mongolian horseman’s mallet swing Real - A South American shrub or small tree related to ailanthus

Waesucks: Fake (Marcus) - The light suction administered by infant clams Real - Scottish interjection used to express pity

Fafnir: Fake (Dora) - An Al Qaeda term for “homeslice” Real - The Norse dragon that guarded a treasure and was slain by Sigurd

Hab: Fake (Me) - Noun; scruffy seafaring man; common usage as in Moby Dick with an article: “Ahab” Real - Abbreviation; Habacus; Habakkuk

O’odham: Fake (Me) - Surname of Irish origin; derived from an alternative spelling of the Gaelic word for “lamb” Real - the Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Pimas and Tohono O’odhams

Banns: Fake (Me) - see: bans Real - A notice announcing a marriage

Jerkwater: Fake (Me) - An uncommon arrangement of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule such that the trio is unhappy and irritable Fake (Dora) - The full contents of a bathtub having been vacated by a teenage boy who can’t get any Real - Of or associated with small, remote, and insignificant rural settlements

Happy gameplay!