As I’ve mentioned before, I have no issues if Words with Friends opponents use a word that they probably had no idea existed. (See my posts for “mucosae,” “qi,” and “xi.”) However, I do have a problem when the game allows a word that, well, isn’t a word!
Recently, the word “anticar” was played against me. “Anticar,” really?
Very Little Evidence This Is a Word
Look up “anticar” on Scrabble Finder and you will find:
No Definition of ‘anticar’ Found – It’s still good as a Scrabble word though!
Anticar is worth 9 points in Scrabble, and 11 points in Words with Friends
So Scrabble Finder, which uses the official Tournament and Club Word List (the official Scrabble dictionary used for Scrabble tournaments in the US and Canada), cannot find a definition for “anticar,” but for some reason still considers it a word. This is crazy!
To make matters worse, my go-to online lexicon, Dictionary.com, states:
No results found for anticar:
Did you mean antica?
(In case you were wondering, “antica” is the plural of “anticum,” which is a front porch.)
Where Did the Word Come From?
So, how did “anticar” become a word?
My guess is someone made it up and/or decided to leave the hyphen out of “anti-car.”
I was able to find a definition (two actually) on Wiktionary (an online dictionary that can be edited by anyone, similar to Wikipedia, so I tend to take it with a grain of salt). Wiktionary lists:
Etymology: anti- + car
anticar: Opposed to automobiles or the excessive use of automobiles
anticar (plural anticars): An automobile that defies the normal idea of a car
The first noted use of the word that I could find is from the 1986 book about the auto industry: The Reckoning by David Halberstam.
“He considered the Falcon an anticar. He thought it served the puritan bias of the man who made it more than the needs of the customers or the company.”
I don’t know who the “he” is that Halberstam mentions, but I wish he referred to the Falcon as an “anti-car” so we could have avoided this conversation.