The following comes from former 5th Cell designer Liz England, and gives a ton of insight into how the world of Scribblenauts was crafted.
Scribblenauts objects definitely had systems and inheritance. They were placed in a 2-tier hierarchy. Ex: “Mammal -> Water Type -> Dolphin”
Some of the top level categories were things like “Tools” “People” “Food” “Buildings” “Plants” “Miscellaneous” (ridiculously useful)
There were some broad strokes things that could be inherited. Like, I dunno, “Mammal -> Water” all had a checkbox for swim underwater
And you could do things like if an object was X by Y pixels, automatically set it’s weight to Z.
In a perfect world these systems would inherit across categories and you’d have to do very little hand-authoring to tweak outliers.
In practice when you are dealing with cartoon objects - “stereotypes” - the most important thing is how they are different from each other
For example, all humans were scared of category “monsters” and ate from category “food”. This is why the “vegetarian” ate “hamburgers”.