Is ZZ Scrabble word?

Scrabble is a popular word game played around the world by over 150 million people. The game involves creating words on a 15×15 gameboard using letter tiles with different point values. Players take turns drawing letters from a bag and placing them on the board to form interlocking words, both horizontally and vertically. The goal is to score the most points by creating higher scoring words using premium letter tiles like Z, which is worth 10 points.

One of the most common two-letter words people attempt to play is ZZ. But is ZZ actually a valid word that can be played in Scrabble? Let’s dive into the official rules and dictionary to find out.

What Makes a Word Valid in Scrabble?

According to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD), a word must meet three criteria to be considered valid and playable in Scrabble:

  1. It must contain 2 to 15 letters.
  2. It cannot be a proper noun or abbreviation.
  3. It must be listed in the OSPD. This dictionary is compiled by Merriam-Webster and contains short, playable words.

As long as a word meets these three standards, it is considered fair game in Scrabble, whether it’s a common word or more obscure term only a logophile would know. The OSPD is updated every few years to keep up with new words and variants emerging in the English language. There are a few exceptions for profane or potentially offensive words that are excluded.

Is ZZ in the Official Scrabble Dictionary?

When checking the current 5th edition OSPD published in 2014, ZZ is clearly listed as an accepted 2-letter word in Scrabble.

So yes, ZZ is in fact a totally valid word that can be played in an official Scrabble game according to the dictionary standards agreed upon by the global Scrabble community and tournament organizers.

How Can ZZ Be Played in Scrabble?

ZZ has some interesting strategic applications in Scrabble gameplay:

  • It can be played straightforwardly as a two-letter horizontal or vertical word for 20 points, using both Z tiles which are the highest letter value in Scrabble.
  • It can be used to pluralize existing words already on the board, such as CAT -> CATZZ for 32 points.
  • It can be used in combination with another word, for example PLAYZZ for 26 points.
  • It provides flexibility towards the end of a game when there are few letters left and players are trying to use up all their tiles.

ZZ is particularly valuable for this last purpose – using up awkward remaining tiles like Z near the end of the game to maximize your score. Even just tacking it on to various singular nouns with S can generate decent points in a bind.

What Does the Word ZZ Mean?

So what exactly does this oddly repeated Z word mean?

ZZ actually has multiple meanings as a legitimate word:

  • Sleep or nap – ZZ is often used as onomatopoeia to represent the sound of someone sleeping or snoring. “Frank was ZZ-ing on the couch after a long day.”
  • Boredom or apathy – ZZ can also informally mean boredom, lack of excitement, or indifference. “The repetitive lecture caused the students to go ZZ after just 10 minutes.”
  • buzzing insect sound – Similar to sleep, ZZ can evoke the sound of an insect like a bee or mosquito flying around. “The ZZ of the fly kept me up all night.”

So in summary, ZZ conveys a sense of sleepiness, boredom, apathy, or meditative buzzing sound. It’s onomatopoeic in origin.

Is ZZ a Valid Scrabble Word in Other Languages?

The validity of ZZ depends on which language version of Scrabble is being played.

In French Scrabble, ZZ is not allowed. The French Scrabble dictionary excludes it along with other two-letter combinations of duplicate tiles like RR.

For Spanish Scrabble, ZZ is listed as an acceptable two-letter word in the Diccionario Oficial del Scrabble. It carries the same meanings of sleepiness or boredom as in English usage.

In German Scrabble as well, ZZ is a valid word. It has connotations of aimlessness or back-and-forth movement.

So in summary, ZZ is allowed in competitive Scrabble for English, Spanish and German, but not permitted in French Scrabble.

Notable Scrabble Plays Using ZZ

Although uncommon, there have been some notable championship-level Scrabble moves using ZZ over the years:

  • In 2011, the winning play that clinched the French World Scrabble Championship was CAKEZZ for 86 points.
  • In 2018, American player Jesse Day scored 65 points playing JAZZZZ to win a late-game thriller at the national Scrabble Championship.
  • In 2019, New Zealander Adam Richards wowed fans by playing QATZZZ for 176 points at the Wellington Scrabble Open.

So while it’s not an everyday word, ZZ has made some cameo appearances in high stakes Scrabble tournaments!


In summary, ZZ is definitively a valid 2-letter word in English language Scrabble. As long as you meet the normal Scrabble rules for spelling and dictionaries, you can confidently play ZZ horizontally or vertically to maximize your last-minute scores. It’s not a common word in everyday vocabulary, but ZZ has several interpretations related to sleep, boredom or insect noises. Scrabble experts recommend keeping ZZ in your back pocket as a flexible scoring option to use near the endgame when pickings get slim.

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