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From NASPAWiki

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Licensing agreements are available for the NASPA Dictionary Committee's two main publications, the NASPA Word List and the NASPA School Word List. Each of these two publications is available in a variety of formats, and each license includes all formats of both publications.

A list of licensees can be found on our Software page.

There are three categories of licenses, depending on how commercial the intended use of the intellectual property is. To inquire about any of them, please contact us at info@scrabbleplayers.org.

License Categories

License Type Community Developer Commercial
Purpose Noncommercial use Small-scale apps and websites Fully commercial use
Licensee annual revenue Nil Up to about US$1,000 Much more than US$1,000
License fee Free Free as long as annual revenue stays below US$1,000 Case-by-case
License term Annual renewable, includes updates during term
Licensee must be a NASPA member Yes No
Technical support Email and online chat Case-by-case as requested

Technical Specifications

The word lists are updated once every few years (most recently for 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2023), and the definition and part of speech data is edited on an ongoing basis with roughly monthly updates.

Commercial licensees may request any reasonable delivery mechanism for their original files and subsequent updates.

Community and developer licensees may access files through Member Services, where each lexicon is currently available in the following formats:

  • Word list: no definitions, one word per line
  • Words and definitions (JSON): top-level hash contains time (seconds since Unix epoch), lexicon (e.g., NWL2018 or NSWL2018), and words (list of five-element lists: sublists contain word, root word, part of speech, sense number to disambiguate cases like the differently inflected meanings of OS, and definition)
  • Words and definitions (CSV): three columns are word, semicolon-separated simple definition(s), and flag set to nonzero value if not appropriate in school play
  • Words and definitions (Zyzzyva format): each line has word, space, complicated info about word including base part of speech and definition

Notes on Definitions

  • Words with multiple definitions appear as follows:
    • JSON - Appear as separate entries. Sense number distinguishes each definition.
    • CSV - Are separated by a semicolon (;).
    • Zyzzyva - Are separated by a slash (/).
  • Words that are inflections of other words are defined simply as "< main word".
    • Example: ARE is defined as "< be; a unit of surface measure" in CSV format because it is an inflection of the verb "to be", and it is also 1/100 of a hectare.
  • Words in definitions that are not in NWL / NSWL are marked with:
    • A trailing hash mark (#) if acceptable in Collins SCRABBLE Words
    • An asterisk (*) if not acceptable in any of the lexicons
  • In CSV format, the number indicates:
    • 0 - Word included in both NWL and NSWL
    • 1 - Word excluded from NSWL as offensive or inappropriate
    • 2 - Word excluded from NSWL as recent registered trademarks