Due to a keen sense of needing to know useless trivia (along with not having anything else to write about today), I have decided to answer a deeply troubling question sent in by Outstanding Citizen Herbert Schwump of Austin, TX.

Mr. Schwump writes:

Dear Jeff,

In what country’s language is it most difficult to play Scrabble? I wrote my Congressman and he sent me back a form letter that stated that it would be easier for him to answer if I would consider a campaign donation. Should I have to donate to find out what language is the hardest to play Scrabble in?


Herbert Schwump, Citizen

These are trying times my friend. It’s bad enough that Americans are being subjected to political scandals and reproducing Kardashians. Now we have public officials that won’t answer obscure trivia without a campaign contribution.

Well, Citizens, you can always come to this blog with your questions and rest assured, they will be answered by our Department of Obscure Questions without any expectation that you pay us back or even send us a Christmas card. (Some chocolate chip cookies would be nice, but only if you were making them for yourselves anyway.)

So, without further ado, I give you the answer: Germany.

Germany is the hardest language in the world in which to play Scrabble. Consider these gems:

  1. Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz: is one word and it means “law delegating beef label monitoring.”
  2. Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe: it means “widow of a Danube steamboat company captain.”
  3. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung: it means “automobile liability insurance.”

Based on words like these, the game board alone would be the size of a basketball court. You could go out for a schnitzel while your opponent is placing the letters for Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz. Can you imagine challenging the spelling?

“I want to challenge that word.”


“No. On second thought, let’s play checkers.”

I hope this ends those restless nights wondering about the answer to your question, Hubert. And if you’re single, that steamboat captain’s widow is open to dating American men. But I wouldn’t play Scrabble on the first date. Or take her anywhere near water.

As for the rest of you, don’t hesitate to send us your questions. We don’t want any money, but we do LOVE peanut butter fudge…

photo credit: Brett Jordan Scrabble Pieces via photopin (license)