During a game of scrabble the word orn caused controversy. It was my understanding that the word can still be used.

In Websters Dictionary from 1913, it is listed as a verb meaning to adorn, decorate.

According to 'your dictionary' online, this is an obsolete word.

My OED is unfortunately not with me, and the free online version doesn't recognize it as a word. Is orn truly obsolete?

closed as off-topic by Hellion, David, NVZ, Mari-Lou A, Chris H Aug 14 '17 at 14:28

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  • 1
    So you have an old dictionary (not useful as to whether it is obsolete) that recognises it, an online dictionary that states it is obsolete, and another online dictionary that doesn't even recognise it. What then would you like from us to prove that it is or isn't obsolete? As far as I can see your research answers your own question. – AndyT Aug 9 '17 at 13:19
  • According to the Scrabble rules, the players must select a dictionary before play begins to use in such disputes. Around here, we always use amazon.com/Official-Scrabble-Dictionary-paperback-copyright/dp/… (which does not include orn) but I understand that Scrabble clubs and tournaments have a bigger dictionary they use, which includes "rude" words omitted from that one. – GEdgar Aug 9 '17 at 13:27

This n-gram graph says it all... For my part I have never heard this word in any context.


According to OED, the verb orn is obsolete.

orn (verb) Obs. trans. To adorn, ornament. Also fig.

The most recent citation is from 1588:

1588 A. King tr. P. Canisius Cathechisme or Schort Instr. K iv b
Was orned in Christ Iesus..with ane croune of iustice.

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