Hey, who's played Dictionary?

sneck: a lock or latch
latu: two lats
hot cockles: a game wherein a blindfolded person tries to guess who hit him

You may not have heard of this game by name, but perhaps you’ve done something like it. Cervaise and I did this as kids. It was part of our formative vocabulary-building years.

The Dictionary Master looks through a big fat dictonary (the fatter the better!) and finds an obscure word nobody at the table knows. He writes the definition down on a small piece of paper, paraphrasing as necessary so it doesn’t sound like lexicophony. Lexicographese?

He announces the word to the rest of the group and informs them how it is spelled and pronounced. Then each member in the group secretly writes down a made-up but still-probable definition for that word on their own papers, submitting them to the Dictionary Master when done.

The Dictionary Master reads out all of the phony definitions, along with the real one, in no particular order, without making note of whether that definition is real. Once he has read them all, the players (except the Dictionary Master) then vote on which they think is most likely to be the real definition. You can even vote for yourself as a strategy, if you want, but read on.

If anybody votes for the true definition, that player gets to be Dictionary Master next round. (There are no points awarded but a hurrah might be in order.) In the event that multiple people vote for the correct definition, ties are broken with the number of votes their phony definitions received.

When ties cannot be broken, we just hand off Dictionary Mastering to whoever wants it, although a more rigorous set of rules might insist that it is a draw and the reigning Dictionary Master continues for another round.

When nobody guesses the real definition, again, one could either permit the Dictionary Master another round at the helm, or declare that whoever got the most votes for their fake contribution gets a chance. It was pretty social and non-competetive, and actually quite funny and informative as well.

I’m not sure if this could be (or even should be) played on the SDMB, but some of you might really like to have a go at this in your own little circles. Tons of fun, and educational too. :slight_smile:

sounds similar to ‘Call My Bluff’

Never heard of it. Was it sold commercially as a game, or was this a television quiz show, or what?

As far as I recall, there was never any formal rule set or box for the version we did; we cut our own pieces of paper and used our own dictionary for the purpose. Of course, someone may have created a similar game…

taken from here

Call My Bluff is a British game show between two teams of three contestants. The point of the game is for the teams to take it in turn to provide three definitions of an obscure word, only one of which was correct. The other team then has to guess which is the correct definition, the other two being “bluffs”.

They do this on NPR, as part of a game show, called (I think) “Say What?”

It’s in two teams of three so the exact rules are probably taken from what One And Only Wanderers describes.

Great game, although when I played it, it was called balderdash.

Balderdash is the commercial version with the same idea. (Beyond Balderdash adds acronyms and other things)

In my family we called it “fictionary”


Might very wel be, but I played it waaaay back in, oh, 1987 without any boxed game and only using a dictionary.

We also called it Fictionary.

I remember playing a computer version of it in the early 90s.

It’s called “Says You.” They used a word I sent in a couple of years ago in the “fictionary” round (as well as a couple of other quiz subjects of other types in other installments of the show).

My all-time favorite Dictionary word: “zumbooruk.” A cannon mounted on the back of a camel. Uh, what?

We’ve played it with my grandparents. A true “fun for the whole family” game.

My favorite word that cropped up for us was “fabaceous.” It means something about beans, but my brother came up with the definition having something to do with “queens” and said the word in the most flamboyently gay manner…which is pretty funny if you know my brother, and my grandparents.

I knew it wasn’t right but it sounded SO good, I voted for his definition :slight_smile:

A Thanksgiving tradition! When I was little I’d usually automatically flip to the X section because I figured those were hardest. Coming from a family of educated and well-read people, it was hard to find a word no one knew. The word I picked one year that I remember most is schizocarp. Of course most definitions handed in were something along the lines of “crazy fish.” The real answer is something about a dried fruit that splits at maturity. Those were some great times!

I should add…

You could always pick out which definition was my mom’s. It’d be very excessively detailed, like:
A flower that blooms only in Winter in China at 30 degrees longitude when the first hen has laid her last egg.*

We’d usually all crack up laughing after the first few words because we knew whose it was and we couldn’t wait to see just how ridiculous it would get.

That’s why I figure it’d be almost impossible to play on the 'Dope. Somebody’s gonna know that obscure word, almost guaranteed.

Still, it’s good to try to pass along the game to others who might not have heard of it. :slight_smile:

I’ve played this one. It’s how I found out what a hogmolly is.

Not to mention the whole “you’re on the honor system for not googling it” thing.

Ah reckon if we ever got together again for a Northwest Dopefest we could try playin’ it, though.

And it’s just about plain mean to play with people who aren’t used to this kind of game. You think of a clever definition crafted to sound like a real one, and your opponents write something like “a bird’s feather.” They pick your answer every time!

The SDMB version.