‘Scrabble’ just got a whole lot more super as iconic Marvel catchphrase joins wordlist

Ms. Marvel
Screengrab via Disney Plus
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On November 17, 2022
Last modified:November 17, 2022

Summary:

Globally popular word game Scrabble has just updated its dictionary, and Ms. Marvel (and The Simpsons) fans may now have an advantage over other players. It’s now legal to play the words BAE, VAX, HYGGE, ZONKEY, VAQUITA, and (drum roll) EMBIGGEN.

That last one is known to Marvel stans as the catchphrase Kamala Khan utters whenever she increases her size, with the final episode of her Disney Plus show deploying the word at a crucial moment as she faces off against Damage Control to protect her community.

Here’s confirmation, via Merriam-Webster:

Slightly older people may know “embiggen” from The Simpsons. Classic 90s episode “Lisa the Iconoclast” reveals the origins of Springfield and the story of Jebediah Springfield, with his supposed quote “a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man” becoming the town’s motto. Mrs. Krabappel comments that she hadn’t heard the word “embiggen” before moving to Springfield, but Mrs Hoover snippily replies “I don’t know, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

But “embiggen” wasn’t just invented for The Simpsons. Wiktionary lists its first recorded use in the thrilling-sounding 1884 journal Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc. where the author says:

“Are there not, however, barbarous verbs in all languages? But the people magnified them, to make great or embiggen, if we may invent an English parallel as ugly.”

And that’s your etymology lesson for the day. So, Scrabble players, get out there and play “embiggen”, which will score you 14 points, though as an eight-letter word it should also net you the 50-point bonus for using all of your seven tiles.