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The Dictionary Game

August 14, 2015

photo (6)

Recently I hosted an afternoon of word games, including Dictionary, my absolute favourite. All you need are pens, paper, a dictionary – the bigger the better – a sense of humour and a good imagination. Here are the rules:

  1. One person chooses an obscure word, that no one in the group knows.
  2. The chooser reads out the word (but not the definition).
  3. S/he writes down the true definition on a slip of paper and puts this in a hat.
  4. The other players each invent their own definitions, write these on slips of paper and put them in the hat.
  5. The chooser reads out all the definitions, including the true one.
  6. Everyone votes for the definition they think is correct.
  7. Players who voted for the right definition each receive one point. Players whose fake definitions received votes are awarded two points for each incorrect vote.
  8. Continue around the circle until everyone has taken a turn choosing a word.

The ideal number of players is 4-6. Any fewer and there aren’t enough definitions; any more and playing a round takes too long.

Here are some definitions from our game. Correct answers at the bottom of this post (no cheating!)


a) A vitriolic response to discriminating behaviour

b) Relating to or from the wider west Asian area

c) One who has a persuasion towards goats

d) To be allergic to a broad variety of substances

e) Able or ready to do anything


a) An old, difficult-to-solve puzzle or scenario

b) A legal term pertaining to the alleged location of an event

c) A fragment, an atom

d) A tool used in saddle-making

e) The fruit-bearing branch of any stone-fruit tree


a) A lord’s right to pursue a thief outside his own jurisdiction

b) (German origin): A purveyor of cured smallgoods

c) A person known for acquiring decorative chattels of repossessed property or goods

d) A medical instrument commonly used in 19th-century Europe

e) A three-wheeled bicycle with two seats


a) A receptacle filled with hot coals for the purpose of warming a bed

b) A meaningless refrain

c) A stone tool used by Australian Aboriginals, used to shape boomerangs and throwing sticks

d) Term of endearment, addressed to one’s betrothed

e) A person known to be a drunkard


a) A sweet liqueur of Chinese origin

b) The perfume of the lily genus

c) A kind of civet cat

d) A herbal tea made with dried lemon peel and ginseng

e) An object used to purify sewerage water



e, c,a, b, d

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