You can now read 10 articles each month for free on

The Boston Globe


The Word

Smeat, gorn, and other phony words of Scrabble

They’re not real—until you’re playing to win.

My friend—let’s call him Bob—was playing to win. The game: Words With Friends. His opponent: his wife. His weapon: the alphabet. He saw his chance. He made his play: smeat.

Smeat? Bob’s wife objected immediately. Smite, smote, smear, she told him, but definitely not smeat. How did he get through medical school with that vocabulary? she asked. Though smeat was a made-up canned meat brand in the movie “Waterworld,” according to the Urban Dictionary, you will not find it in a traditional dictionary. It’s not a word. But it does kind of sound like one.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than $1 a week