Why does the letter Q almost always need to appear with a U in order to be useful?

Scrabble players are acutely aware that Q is a tricky letter. To use a Q in the game, a player must also find an available U. The fact that Q is the second most rarely used letter in the alphabet certainly doesn’t make using Q any easier.

Let’s quest towards resolving the questions of quarrelsome Q, the 17th letter in the alphabet.

In English QU is always used as a digraph (a pair of letters representing a single speech sound) for the sound /kw/ (a voiceless labiovelar stop). Q’s pairing with U is a Latin invention that has its origin in Greek. The letter Koppa, which Q is based on, would appear before a rounded vowel where otherwise a sound like /k/ or /g/ would be used. But a few other letters, like C, also designated the same sound but in different letter combinations. As C gradually came to represent more and more of these instances, Q became primarily dependent on U to express any sound at all. This is quite a quibble for a full-fledged member of the Latin (now English) alphabet.

(On a related note, why is W called “double-U” when it is in fact represented visually by two V’s? Find out here.)

Q without U is used to represent sounds not often found in English but typical in Semitic languages. Loan words such as Quran and Iraq are examples of Q’s guttural /k/ sound.

Q’s shape may have its origin in the Egyptian hieroglyph for a cord of wool, pronounced “qaw.” The symbol of a circle with a descending line was used in the Greek Koppa and is similar to the shape of the basic modern Latin character you see on your keyboard.

Speaking of keyboards, QWERTY is one of the few English words that does not have a U directly following the Q. Click here to find out why.


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  1. Norm -  January 26, 2015 - 5:13 pm

    What about queue, as in “Don’t yanq my queue”? The QU is not pronounced KW. Any qluz?

  2. Gary Dewyn -  January 5, 2015 - 9:22 pm

    Another word with Q without the U is Qi though that is technically not an English word.

    • LaterThanRight -  January 13, 2015 - 1:26 am

      I named my daughter Qiya I suppose because I like breaking rules that bother me. I think letter C has an identity issue and so either mimics the K or the S, and thus isn’t adding to our alphabet, but just cruising by using up space and time. Down with the C!

      • GutBucket -  January 23, 2015 - 1:18 am

        by Dolton Edwards Reader’s Digest Treasury for Young Readers, 1961
        Adapted from Astounding Stories.
        You must ofter have thought English spelling is harder than need be. Just look at words like cough, plough, rough, through and thorough. The great writer Bernard Shaw wanted us to change out alphabet. Here is one way of doing it. In the first year, for example, we would suggest using “s” instead of soft “c”. Sertainly all students in all sities of the land would reseive this news with joy. Then the hard “c” would be replased by “k”, sinse both letters are pronounsed alike. Not only would this klear up the konfusion in the minds of spellers, but typewriters kould all be built with one less letter. There would be great exsitement when it was as last announsed that the troublesome “ph” would henseforth be written “f”. This would make words like fotograf twenty persent shorter in print. In the third year publik interest in a new alfabet kan be expekted to have reatshed a point where more komplikated tshanges are nesessary. We would urge removing double leters whitsh have always ben a nuisanse and made speling more difikult. We would al agre that the horible mes of silent “e”‘s in our language is disgraseful. Therfor, we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ merily along as though we wer in an atomik ag of edukation. Sins by this tim it would be four years sins anywun had used the leter “c”, we would then urg substituting “c” for “th”. Kontinuing cis proses year after year, we would eventuali hav a reali sensibl writen languag. After twenti years wi ventyur tu sa cer wud bi no mor uv ces teribl trublsum difikultis. Even Mr. Yaw wi beliv wud be hapi in ce noleg cat his drims finali kam tru.

        • dave -  September 4, 2015 - 9:01 am

          It iz posibèl tú reit Englic fóneticlí without it löking leik junk. Ù just níd tú bí wiling tú ùz axènt márks

        • Beallthere -  April 18, 2016 - 12:00 am

          Indent, indent, INDENT PARAGRAPHS !!!

          • Beallthere -  April 18, 2016 - 12:04 am

            ..Stupid blogs never respect indents unless you put .. there. I just want to scream. Indenting to show where new paragraphs start make reading ever-so-much easier to read.
            ..Think about it: do novels indent ?
            ..Biographies and history ?
            ..Encyclopedias ?
            ..Yes, they do. So please, all you who come to this site and all the others you check out, indent paragraphs, please ?

  3. Ken Lyneham -  September 7, 2013 - 4:53 am

    As far as I know, ALL English words beginning with a ‘Q’ are followed with a ‘U’. The word QANTAS, is a proprietary/business word and therefore is not an ‘English word” in the true sense.
    Because the ‘Q’ comes from the word ‘Queensland’, the ‘Q’ in QANTAS is pronounced ‘kw’ as in any other word starting, ‘Qu’..

    • Allen -  January 7, 2015 - 4:13 am

      QANTAS signifies
      Queensland And Northern Territories Air Service.

    • Anna Lorcan -  January 8, 2015 - 4:30 pm

      QANTAS isn’t a word it is an acronym. Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service.

  4. barham/kurdish -  March 1, 2013 - 10:57 pm

    Please if you have any original source or any evidence about that, show me.

  5. barham/kurdish -  March 1, 2013 - 10:50 pm

    In fact, there is no “q” without “u” in English language at all. But those words that mentioned about some people are created and they are not original source in English language. Thanks.

    • Frohlich -  January 10, 2015 - 5:11 am

      I cannot think of any real English words with a “q” without a “u” following. There are some in French such as “coq” and I have a friend who comes from French Hugenot stock and her maiden surname is Henocq.

    • tone malone -  January 21, 2015 - 2:00 pm

      I beg to differ the blog clear states the word Qwerty! hellllo lol

      • Ethan -  April 11, 2016 - 6:24 pm

        Qwerty comes from the first 6 letters on the keyboard.
        It isn’t an “original” English word. In fact, how do you use qwerty besides referring to the type of keyboard you use?

        The keyboard arrangement we have comes from typewriters which had letters which were commonly used together further apart to prevent jamming. With modern computers, it is still useful as the most commonly used letters are in the easy to use main and upper rows, while letters use less often like z and x are in the bottom row.

  6. Kurt -  August 19, 2011 - 11:34 am

    Do “gh” as in “ghost” and “night”! :)

  7. Curly -  April 10, 2011 - 10:37 am

    @Tom: Yes, “quest” is a verb. You’re on a dictionary site. It would not have been too difficult to simply check before making that sarcastic remark. You’d have saved yourself the embarrassment of being wrong.

    @SlyVoltaire: Please reread my comment.

    • Kenny -  January 10, 2015 - 7:01 am

      Voltaire. … as in “the bible will be extinct in a hundred years?”
      Bet he never would have thought that a Bible publishing company made bibles in his house a 100 years later.

  8. Pinki -  April 8, 2011 - 9:10 pm

    This article answers my question that I posted in another Dictionary article today…lol!
    And nice poem, Sylvia :)

  9. Sylva Portoian, MD -  April 5, 2011 - 1:30 am

    Q has a wonderful sound
    U after Q is used to strengthen the Q,

    Thee seems lonely
    Seeking a friend…

    Thus, when U added
    It sounds differently…

    Try to deprive U from Q
    You will feel it…

    Some letters can be left lonely
    As some humans can’t live…alone
    That is me and Q only…!

    I love the letter Q
    Because it says,
    And sounds Quality…

  10. Steve -  March 25, 2011 - 12:43 pm

    Just in case anyone missed it, the word “QAT” is an acceptable Scrabble word where the “q” is not followed by a “u”. And, oh yeah, there are many others, but not too many, as “q” is the 2nd least used letter of the alphebet – see article.

    • Ethan -  April 11, 2016 - 6:26 pm

      That’s a flower… from the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

      Also, if you look it up, the spelling google gives is khat.

  11. Ryder Leigh -  March 23, 2011 - 8:39 pm

    what is the least used letter?

  12. Xandro -  March 23, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    Hmmmmmm in Australia we have a real problem.
    The question lies in the pronunciation of an acronym for one of Australia’s most recognized brands:
    QANTAS – which stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services.

    How would you pronounce it? Without the “sound” of the “U” even if it is not present in the acronym – would become almost rude to pronounce and so we say:


    Now – it’s inconceivable not to have the sound of the U in the pronunciation and I belive this to be totally wrong for the sake of a brand name!

    What are your thoughts? Anyone?

    Sydney, Australia.

    • arwen -  January 13, 2015 - 10:30 am

      When I was young and did school plays, I would memorize a script by writing down only the first letter of every word. Even words that began with “Q”. I knew what the “Q” stood for so I said the word correctly even though I only wrote down a “Q”. So what I’m saying is that while the acronym “QANTAS’ may not have a “U” after “Q”, people are still aware that the “Q” stands for “Queensland” and will pronounce the acronym in a way the represents it. It says “QANTAS”, but if you know what the acronym stands for, you will pronounce it as “QUANTAS” which given the meaning, is a totally natural way of saying it.

  13. Justpassingby -  March 23, 2011 - 10:52 am

    It is so good to see how two simple letters have caused so many comments. It means that many people do care about grammar. I feel happy seeing this.


  14. Q -  March 7, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    @SlyVoltaire- I think Curly knew wordjunkie was being sarcastic.

    They did say nice one.

  15. Anupam -  February 28, 2011 - 12:51 pm

    Q-boat is another proper English word, where U is not there after Q.

    • Ethan -  April 11, 2016 - 6:28 pm

      The Q is from a naval classification, not the languages from which English originated.

  16. Carl -  February 21, 2011 - 2:30 am

    I wonder what Sarah Palin’s scrabble scores are like?

    • Nuny -  January 8, 2015 - 7:15 am

      That was a snarky comment, Carl. Perhaps Obama and his “57″ state comment provides insight as to his scrabble acumen.

      • kimmik -  January 13, 2015 - 7:54 pm


        • Neal Deesit -  January 26, 2015 - 6:18 pm

          You wrote the word with a foreign accent. It’s “touché.”

      • Jim -  January 15, 2015 - 6:02 pm

        You’re right Numy, Carl’s comment was snarky and yours of course was not. Funny how those we disagree with are snarky while those with whom we agree are insightful

    • no r -  January 27, 2015 - 8:00 am

      Is it nesecary to insert Paln when discussing the letter Q . Can u say bigotry? !

  17. Donna Theusch -  February 20, 2011 - 3:41 am

    I do not play scrabble so I really don’t have a comment-sorry-cheers

  18. Barbi -  February 18, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    @Alex: QANTAS is not an anagram; it is an initialism. As you know, “angel” is an anagram “glean”.

    • Dutchess -  January 5, 2015 - 10:43 pm

      It is called an Acronym when each letter stands for a word .

    • sixtiesgirl -  January 6, 2015 - 11:43 am

      Qantas is an more accurately called an acronym.

      • ted -  January 21, 2015 - 2:24 am

        That’s not really correct.
        All initialisms are acronyms but not all acronyms are initialisms. In most cases when people describe something as an acronym it would in fact be _more accurately_ described as an initialism.
        An initialism is an acronym where each letter is the first letter (initial) of a word that it stands for. You could use this dictionary site to look up the definition of both words and compare.
        QANTAS is definitely an initialism – see expansion above. It of course is also an acronym, but that would be a less specific description.
        Hope you got something out of this… Have a nice day!

        • Lili -  June 16, 2016 - 4:29 pm

          An initialism is a series of letters that stand for a series of words but the letters are pronounced as they literally are, eg: FBI, CIA, HTML, DVD.
          An acronym is a series of letters that stand for a series of words but are pronounced as if the letters were an actual word in its own right, eg: QANTAS, NATO, NASA, SCUBA, RADAR.
          As we don’t pronounce QANTAS as Q A N T A S, but rather say it as if it was a word, Qantas is an acronym, not an initialism.

  19. Ten-Sai -  February 18, 2011 - 12:33 pm

    Neverthe less I agree that the teens are backward thinking.
    In languages that are distantly related to English such as Spanish and French you say te(e)n and six, te(e)n and nine first ie. dieciséis, diecinueve(SP) dix-sept, dix-neuf (FR)
    However in the German language( the Germanic branch from which English evolved) they put the number behind the te(e)n like english.
    German sechzehn,siebzehn(sixteen, seventeen).
    6 : 10 7: 10

    @Vera Kasal
    Thanks for the Qantas piece I had no idea :)

  20. Edgar -  February 18, 2011 - 11:53 am


    I think you’ll find that ‘Oh’ for zero is an American thing. Also, even American computer types tend to say ‘zero’ for the numeral. I know I always do.

    • Indrid -  January 6, 2015 - 9:23 pm

      I find it ridiculous that so many make the error of calling zero, “oh.” While reading out a licence plate number or the tail number on an aircraft, there are often zeros and the letter, O, as well. Zero and O are not interchangeable. Calling zero, “oh,” would be like calling the number one, “el.” 1 is not interchangeable with l either.

      • RevJeff -  January 8, 2015 - 1:17 pm

        The “oh” for “zero” was my biggest pet peeves before I learned how it came to be.
        Look at very old typewriters – most did not have a “zero” so a capital “oh” had to be used to signify the number “zero.” It became commonplace to refer (verbally) to a “zero” as an “oh.”

    • arwen -  January 13, 2015 - 10:35 am

      In the logistical world, the last thing you want to call “zero” is “oh” due to serial numbers often being a mix of numbers and letters. I often put a line through a zero when writing down said serial numbers so that people see that the “oh’s” with lines through them are actually “zeroes”. An example would be “7O0W13M”. When typing, you can see which is an “oh” and which is a “zero”, but most people aren’t always so certain with handwriting. You definitely have to distinguish the two whether you are saying them or writing them.

  21. jon -  February 18, 2011 - 4:34 am

    In Japan they write ‘Qantas’ with the correct spelling, but they pronounce the first sound as “k” rather than “kw”, making it sound rather obscene.

  22. me8 -  February 18, 2011 - 3:26 am

    Do any of you people read the other peoples’ comments? We get it, “qat” is a word–about 75% of you said that!!!

  23. L. Craig Schoonmaker -  February 18, 2011 - 1:14 am

    No mention is made of the fact that QU is often pronounced without a W-sound, both in standard English (arabesQUe, QUoin) and dialect (QUarter, SeQUoia). If we were wise, we would simplify the spellings to reflect the actual sound, such that if we wanted to keep the Q rather than change to K, we could drop the U where it isn’t pronounced (arabesQ, Qoin), but retain it where it is supposed to be pronounced, as a ‘cue’ to how the word is to be said (QUarter, SeQUoia). In radical spelling reform, such as my Fanetik proposal (http://fanetik.tripod.com), Q has no sound of its own, given that K covers it nicely. So Q can be used for other purposes, such as to separate letters that might otherwise be read as combining (elSqHwair, iNqGrained) or to ‘cue’ the less- or least-common of homophones (tu, tue, tueq for to, too, two).

  24. Joaquín M López Muñoz -  February 17, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    I think the explanation on the Latin usage of Q is a little fuzzy: QU does not represent /ku/ but /kw/, just the same as in English (vg. quoque /kwokwe/ “also”). For the sound /ku/ Latin uses CU (vg. cupa /kupa/ “cask”.)

  25. Vera Kasal -  February 17, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    What QUANTAS?
    QANTAS -the largest airline in Australia and one of the airlines with the longest history in the world, stands for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. and was formed in 1920 to transport mail by air. If you have a look at the “Flying Kangaroo” you can read QANTAS quite clearly.

  26. stupid Q -  February 17, 2011 - 11:09 pm

    qat got no u so they wrong

  27. stupid Q -  February 17, 2011 - 11:09 pm

    qat got no u

  28. _________ -  February 17, 2011 - 8:48 pm

    I think that it has been established by now that “QAT” is a word. Please no more comments on it!

  29. Alex -  February 17, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    @Anders, QANTAS in an anagram that stands for Queensland And Northern Territory Air Service. As an Australian, I can assure you that I have never seen it spelled “Quantas”.

    “The Australian airline Qantas seems to be spelled “Quantas” about half of the time. Even the biggest English-Swedish dictionary has “corrected” the spelling to Qu…”

  30. AJ and Mo -  February 17, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    Who wrote this article?!?!??!?!?!?!
    Q does NOT need a U!!!
    There are many q-without-a-u words in the English language(as mentioned many times before)

  31. LLOOPP -  February 17, 2011 - 3:48 pm

    QI!!! Its a word, scrabble on my itouch says so. :)

  32. Zach -  February 17, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    Really the q makes the k sound. Qin is in fact one word that has a q without a u

  33. scott -  February 17, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    fa… q

  34. SlyVoltaire -  February 17, 2011 - 2:19 pm

    wow, I now remember why I rarely read the comments here.

    I do believe wordjunkie was being sarcastic. Of course everyone keeps saying qat, that is why wordjunkie said that.

    I need to teach you what a pun on words is. They used the word ‘Tail’ instead of ‘Tale’ on purpose because Q is written with a little tail.

  35. Harry -  February 17, 2011 - 2:00 pm


  36. Tom -  February 17, 2011 - 1:39 pm

    Who wrote this piece?

    “Scrabble players are acutely aware that Q is a tricky letter. To use a Q in the game, a player must also find an available U.” — not true, as already pointed out by some advanced fans of the game.

    “Let’s quest towards resolving…” Since when is “quest” a verb?

    “Q without U is used to represent sounds not often found in English but typical in Semitic languages. Loan words such as Quran and Iraq are examples of Q’s guttural /k/ sound.” (1) What is a “loan word” and (2) while “Quran” is an example of Q’s guttural sound, it’s an odd word to present when you’ve just started talking about “Q without U…”

    Queer, really.

    • Ethan -  April 11, 2016 - 6:36 pm

      Quest is definitely a verb. You can quest for something.

    • Duane -  September 27, 2016 - 5:33 am

      While I have no personal opinion on the matter as of the momenf, Dictionary.com lists “quest ” as both verb and noun.

  37. Ray -  February 17, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    Likewise, GU, as in guitar.

  38. deni -  February 17, 2011 - 12:52 pm


  39. Adam -  February 17, 2011 - 12:33 pm

    THE REASON WE SAY THIRTEEN, FOURTEEN, FIFTEEN, BUT THEN SAY TWENTY-ONE, THIRTY-TWO, FORTY-THREE, ETC: This is actually a very simple explanation. Thirteen = Third teen. Fourteen = Fourth teen. Fifteen = Fifth teen. And so on. But why is it teen? Teen is actually a variation of “ten.” I can see how it is confusing when we then count by just adding “one, two, three, four” etc. after twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, etc which would make you believe that we should say ten-one, ten-two, ten-three, etc. As to why we say eleven and twelve instead of firsteen and seconteen, it has to do with going back to Old German, in which the word -ainlif = one left(over past ten) and twelve would be two left(over past ten). Interesting stuff huh??

  40. cristina -  February 17, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    wow!! u peoples are nerds!!!~losers :P

  41. Ylime -  February 17, 2011 - 12:19 pm

    @Christina: Who says we’re not smart and making this stuff up?

  42. Ooga Booga -  February 17, 2011 - 11:57 am

    Qat? Never heard of this one before….what does it mean?

    I’M JUST KIDDING…..It’s only mentioned about 26 times above…I think wordjunkie was being sarcastic.

  43. Ooga Booga -  February 17, 2011 - 11:51 am

    Hum…..my maiden name is Quinn…..and Yes, Anthony was my father. I still say chemistry is so much easier than the english language. I do not think there is a language more complicated than the english language!! Cheers to chemistry and physics any day!

  44. kelli -  February 17, 2011 - 11:38 am

    Ah, the curse of moderated comments and lag time.

    Hey, has ANYONE though of qat?!?!

    • arwen -  January 13, 2015 - 10:42 am

      Everyone and their dog :-)

  45. Honora -  February 17, 2011 - 11:23 am

    How about “Qiana”, the nylon-like fabric. Is it disallowed because it’s a trademarked product?

  46. alohahaha -  February 17, 2011 - 11:22 am

    Who cares if there has to be a u next to a q? You don’t want the poor guy (the letter q) to be loney, do you? LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. AmateurCommenter-924 -  February 17, 2011 - 11:01 am

    How ’bout Qatar? You can’t use it in Scrabble. But still.

  48. louis paiz -  February 17, 2011 - 10:52 am

    it’s simillar to the letter c for exemple ca ce ci co cu qua
    que qui quo .if there are more sounds that i did not know
    please advise. thanks

  49. Ruthy -  February 17, 2011 - 10:46 am

    WHO CARES! its just a letter for goodness sake!

  50. Curly -  February 17, 2011 - 10:24 am


    Nice one.

    And now I’m waiting for someone to go “What do you mean? Everyone keeps saying QAT! Wordjunkie doesn’t know what he’s talking about!”

  51. Christina -  February 17, 2011 - 10:16 am

    Woww either u guys are realliiii smart or realliiii dumb and makin this stuff up!!!!

  52. wordjunkie -  February 17, 2011 - 10:08 am

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned QAT yet……

  53. ali -  February 17, 2011 - 10:04 am

    nice info

  54. Example -  February 17, 2011 - 9:21 am

    I think I need some chocolate to calm me down about this article- quarrelably quiet quality!

  55. amy -  February 17, 2011 - 9:03 am

    idk what dose this mean’s “do you?”

  56. Neil -  February 17, 2011 - 8:59 am

    Christian, I think you mean “without a U”, and there are more! A few that come to mind:

    QADI(S), QAT(S), QANAT(S). Also TRANQ(S) and FAQIR(S).

    Of course, UMIAQ(S) and SUQ(S) contain Us, but not where you’d expect them.

  57. Queen B -  February 17, 2011 - 8:47 am

    oh and qoph :)

  58. Queen B -  February 17, 2011 - 8:45 am

    qat(s) works as well

  59. Honora -  February 17, 2011 - 8:40 am

    “learn the origin of the little TAIL here”??!!! Oh, dear dictionary! Please refer to the definition of “tail” and compare to “tale”. What a gaffe, but you do such a good job that all is forgiven.

  60. Aaron -  February 17, 2011 - 8:38 am

    There are several others. QINTAR is good, QIVIUT is (a U, but not with the Q), too. QAT is valid, as is UMIAQ. I’m pretty sure there are others, but those are a few.

  61. Helen -  February 17, 2011 - 8:36 am

    QAT is another “non U” Q word. A group of us are regular Bannagram players and use this word often.

  62. Noah -  February 17, 2011 - 8:30 am

    “qat” & “suq” always work for me.

  63. Joe -  February 17, 2011 - 8:30 am

    There’s also the following:
    and debatably qaid

  64. alia -  February 17, 2011 - 8:29 am

    i slam down “qat” all the time

  65. Jireh8 -  February 17, 2011 - 8:27 am

    According to the Official Scrabble Dictionary:

    Qabala ~ qabalah ~ qadi ~ qanat ~ qat ~ qindar ~ qintar ~ qiviut ~ qoph and QWERTY!

  66. Hablo Español -  February 17, 2011 - 8:24 am

    @ Christian I think that you can only write complete words in scrabble, not initials

  67. Joseph -  February 17, 2011 - 8:20 am

    If you were to focus on the Collins Tournament and Clubs Word List (2007), which I believe is the most up-to-date Scrabble dictionary (that combines both UK and US dictionaries), then you can have at least 68 allowable Q-not-followed-by-U words:


    • ted -  January 21, 2015 - 2:35 am

      It is interesting to note that QWERTY does still have that “qu”/”kw” sound that makes its pronunciation familiar, even though this is entirely a fluke that those letters just happen to be next to each other on the popular keyboard layout!

  68. Dan -  February 17, 2011 - 8:13 am

    Qat is also an acceptable word that begins with “q” and has no “u”. It is a plant, native to Syberia or something like that… Or it might be the Middle East. Either way, it’s pronounced like “cat” and it’s acceptable.

    • Ethan -  April 11, 2016 - 6:38 pm

      Middle east.

  69. Beka -  February 17, 2011 - 8:00 am

    QAT is another valid word in Scrabble

  70. TR -  February 17, 2011 - 7:54 am

    QAT, SHEQEL… I think there are about 7 total Q words without U.

  71. Kayef -  February 17, 2011 - 7:53 am

    The word “QAT” is a valid word which does not need a “U” to go with “Q”.

  72. adam -  February 17, 2011 - 7:48 am

    yes. at least one other QAT(s)

  73. Robin -  February 17, 2011 - 7:34 am

    Qat is also a non Q-U word. It’s a type of shrub.

  74. ryan -  February 17, 2011 - 7:13 am

    QAT is acceptable in scrabble

  75. Jesse -  February 17, 2011 - 7:08 am

    Qat, I believe, is one. I’m not sure of any more.

  76. Alex -  February 17, 2011 - 7:07 am

    According to the official Scrabble dictionary, the following are accepted (and always good to know for that stray Q):


    It’s also interesting to note that there are only 587 words that contain a Q in the OSD.

    • ted -  January 21, 2015 - 2:32 am

      Hi Alex,
      Although those words are acceptable in scrabble, most of them are not originally English words – that’s why they don’t seem to conform to the rule.
      Qatar, the name of the country is also obviously not of English origin. Naturally it is not acceptable in scrabble with it being a proper noun.
      HTH, cheers

  77. Jeremiah -  February 17, 2011 - 6:54 am

    There’s also QAT(S).

  78. Yannie -  February 17, 2011 - 6:53 am

    What about the county of Qatar?

  79. Amy -  February 17, 2011 - 6:41 am


  80. Paul -  February 17, 2011 - 6:39 am

    “To use a Q in the game, a player must also find an available U.”

    This is certainly not true. As Christian points out, QAID and QI (and their plurals) are valid in Scrabble. Other words containing Q but no U include QADI, QAT, QANAT and QINTAR (and their plurals). QWERTY, mentioned in the article, is also valid. There is a list of these at http://boardgames.about.com/od/scrabble/a/q_without_u.htm

  81. SupermegaAwesome -  February 17, 2011 - 6:26 am

    There are some really stupid questions on here

  82. triple mmm -  February 17, 2011 - 6:24 am

    @christian Q U!!!!!!!!!!!! i have a QU-ESTION for you, why r u sooooooo weird?

  83. Meredith Short -  February 17, 2011 - 6:14 am

    An evergreen shrub (thanks to the Barenaked Ladies’ ABC Song)

  84. Kevin -  February 17, 2011 - 5:59 am

    I believe Qat is also a valid scrabble word.

    Qat, or Khat, a tropical evergreen plant whose leaves are used as a stimulant.

  85. christina -  February 17, 2011 - 5:51 am

    everyone use the to letters q and u all the time but its not that mamy words with the letters q and u one word that have a q and a u is qualified just like i said its not that many words that start with q and u

  86. Brian -  February 17, 2011 - 5:44 am

    QAT is a valid SCRABBLE word too.

  87. Andrew -  February 17, 2011 - 5:32 am

    There’s also QAT a avriation of Khat, also Qatar, the country on the Arabian peninsula.
    There are quite a few other words aloso, mostly of Arabic origin.

  88. Sir Samuel Zeus Clemons -  February 17, 2011 - 5:21 am

    it seems to have popular in Fiction, and vicariously through TV and Film. Q was the name of a fictional character in Star Trek on TV and also the name of a James Bond character.

    was this a case of willful brevity? or was it letter bias? maybe they simply thought the letter U was vastly overplayed… no pun intended.

    editor/author @Samuel_Clemons on Twitter

  89. Anders Lotsson -  February 17, 2011 - 5:05 am

    The Australian airline Qantas seems to be spelled “Quantas” about half of the time. Even the biggest English-Swedish dictionary has “corrected” the spelling to Qu…

  90. Tim -  February 17, 2011 - 4:54 am

    QADI, QWERTY, QAT, QATS and QANAT are all valid, too!

  91. stu cap -  February 17, 2011 - 4:03 am

    There are a few valid Q scrabble words that don’t use the U. As well as the ones Christian mentions, QAT, QATS, QADI, QOPH, WAQF are all acceptable in the full ‘SOWPODS’ scrabble dictionary (don’t ask). There are probably others. Not a non-U word, but SUQ comes in handy sometimes too.

  92. Q | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  February 17, 2011 - 3:55 am

    [...] Perkins said all there is to say about ‘Q’ until Suzie gave Credence revival. — And what’s a Dubya to do? — Then [...]

  93. sabuj -  February 17, 2011 - 2:53 am


  94. john -  February 17, 2011 - 2:48 am

    odd page!
    When is the letter “O” and “0″ be officially the same? The letter “O” in speech has replaced the “zero”. example: I live at 14″oh”1 maple street. instead of: I live at 14″zero”1 maple street.

    The other odditty: Counting 1-through12 is a forward thought, 13-through-19 is a backward thought, the from 20-on it’s all forward thought!

    example of backward counting: three-teen instead of teenthree like twentythree. four-teen instead of teen-four like twentyfour.

  95. Christian -  February 17, 2011 - 12:58 am

    To my knowledge, only QAID and QI (or QIS) are valid Q words in Scrabble with a U. Are there more?


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