Dictionary.com

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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US Fed News Service, Including US State News August 27, 2011 CARNEYS POINT, N.

J., Aug. 26 — Salem Community College issued the following news release: in our site cumberland county college

Salem Community College and Cumberland County College recently signed agreements to offer additional joint degree programs.

Salem County residents may now enroll in these CCC-based programs through SCC:

* Agribusiness, * Agriculture, * Horticulture, * Justice Studies/Corrections and * Justice Studies/Homeland Security.

Cumberland County residents may enroll in these SCC-based programs through CCC:

* Glass: Applied Craft and Design and * Scientific Glass Technology. here cumberland county college

This expands last year’s agreement to offer joint associate degree programs in Sustainable Energy Technology and Nuclear Energy Technology, both based at SCC.

For programs in Agribusiness, Agriculture, Horticulture and Justice Studies, full-time students take their first two semesters at SCC and complete their studies at CCC. Students who successfully complete the second-year requirements at CCC will receive a joint associate degree from SCC and CCC.

For more information, call 856.351.2716 or visit www.salemcc.edu. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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101 Comments

  1. 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’..

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

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

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. Kurt -  August 19, 2011 - 11:34 am

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

    Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
  6. 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 :)

    Reply
  7. 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…

    Reply
  8. 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.

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

    what is the least used letter?

    Reply
  10. 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:

    QUANTAS

    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?

    Xandro.
    Sydney, Australia.

    Reply
  11. 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.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  12. Q -  March 7, 2011 - 4:20 pm

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

    They did say nice one.

    Reply
  13. Anupam -  February 28, 2011 - 12:51 pm

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

    Reply
  14. Carl -  February 21, 2011 - 2:30 am

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

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

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

    Reply
  16. 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”.

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

    @Adam
    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 :)

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

    @John

    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.

    Reply
  19. 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.

    Reply
  20. 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!!!

    Reply
  21. 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).

    Reply
  22. 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”.)

    Reply
  23. 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.

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

    qat got no u so they wrong

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

    qat got no u

    Reply
  26. _________ -  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!

    Reply
  27. 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…”

    Reply
  28. 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)
    dur-duh-dur!!!

    Reply
  29. LLOOPP -  February 17, 2011 - 3:48 pm

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

    Reply
  30. 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

    Reply
  31. scott -  February 17, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    fa… q

    Reply
  32. SlyVoltaire -  February 17, 2011 - 2:19 pm

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

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

    @Honora:
    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.

    Reply
  33. Harry -  February 17, 2011 - 2:00 pm

    IT IS INDEED QUEER THAT THE Q IS NOT FULSSITABLY ACCURATE THROUGH THE DEMORALISATION OF THE INGENIOUS QUATRAPED WHICH HAS DOWNPAVEN MANY TO ARTICULATELY BELIEVE IT IS AN UNORDAINED SUM OF HISTORY

    Reply
  34. 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.

    Reply
  35. Ray -  February 17, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    Likewise, GU, as in guitar.

    Reply
  36. deni -  February 17, 2011 - 12:52 pm

    Qatar

    Reply
  37. 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??

    Reply
  38. cristina -  February 17, 2011 - 12:24 pm

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

    Reply
  39. Ylime -  February 17, 2011 - 12:19 pm

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

    Reply
  40. 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.

    Reply
  41. 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!

    Reply
  42. kelli -  February 17, 2011 - 11:38 am

    Ah, the curse of moderated comments and lag time.

    Hey, has ANYONE though of qat?!?!

    Reply
  43. Honora -  February 17, 2011 - 11:23 am

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

    Reply
  44. 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

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

    Reply
  46. 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

    Reply
  47. Ruthy -  February 17, 2011 - 10:46 am

    WHO CARES! its just a letter for goodness sake!

    Reply
  48. Curly -  February 17, 2011 - 10:24 am

    @wordjunkie:

    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!”

    Reply
  49. Christina -  February 17, 2011 - 10:16 am

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

    Reply
  50. wordjunkie -  February 17, 2011 - 10:08 am

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

    Reply
  51. ali -  February 17, 2011 - 10:04 am

    nice info

    Reply
  52. Example -  February 17, 2011 - 9:21 am

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

    Reply
  53. amy -  February 17, 2011 - 9:03 am

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

    Reply
  54. 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.

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

    oh and qoph :)

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

    qat(s) works as well

    Reply
  57. 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.

    Reply
  58. 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.

    Reply
  59. 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.

    Reply
  60. Noah -  February 17, 2011 - 8:30 am

    “qat” & “suq” always work for me.

    Reply
  61. Joe -  February 17, 2011 - 8:30 am

    There’s also the following:
    qat
    qawwali
    qalandar
    qasida
    qanat
    qalam
    and debatably qaid

    Reply
  62. alia -  February 17, 2011 - 8:29 am

    i slam down “qat” all the time

    Reply
  63. Jireh8 -  February 17, 2011 - 8:27 am

    According to the Official Scrabble Dictionary:

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

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

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

    Reply
  65. 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:

    BUQSHA(s), BURQA(s), FAQIR(s), INQILAB(s), NIQAB(s), QABALA(s), QABALAH(s), QADI(s), QAID(s), QANAT(s), QASIDA(s), QAT(s), QAWWAL(s), QAWWALI(s), QI(s), QIBLA(s), QIGONG(s), QINDAR(s), QINTAR(s), QIVIUT(s), QOPH(s), QORMA(s), QWERTY(s), QWERTIES, SHEQALIM, SHEQEL(s), SUQ(s), TALAQ(s), TRANQ(s), TSADDIQ(s), TSADDIQIM, TZADDIQ(s), TZADDIQIM, UMIAQ(s), QAWF(s) and YAQONA(s).

    Reply
  66. 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.

    Reply
  67. Beka -  February 17, 2011 - 8:00 am

    QAT is another valid word in Scrabble

    Reply
  68. TR -  February 17, 2011 - 7:54 am

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

    Reply
  69. Kayef -  February 17, 2011 - 7:53 am

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

    Reply
  70. adam -  February 17, 2011 - 7:48 am

    yes. at least one other QAT(s)

    Reply
  71. Robin -  February 17, 2011 - 7:34 am

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

    Reply
  72. ryan -  February 17, 2011 - 7:13 am

    QAT is acceptable in scrabble

    Reply
  73. Jesse -  February 17, 2011 - 7:08 am

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

    Reply
  74. 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):

    BUQSHA(S), BURQA(S), FAQUIR(S), QABALA(S), QABALAH(S), QADI(S), QAID(S), QAT(S), QI(S), QINDAR(S), QINTAR(S), QIVIUT(S), QOPH(S), QWERTY(S), SHEQEL(S), SUQ(S), TRANQ(S), UMIAQ(S).

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

    Reply
  75. Jeremiah -  February 17, 2011 - 6:54 am

    There’s also QAT(S).

    Reply
  76. Yannie -  February 17, 2011 - 6:53 am

    What about the county of Qatar?

    Reply
  77. Amy -  February 17, 2011 - 6:41 am

    Qat

    Reply
  78. 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

    Reply
  79. SupermegaAwesome -  February 17, 2011 - 6:26 am

    There are some really stupid questions on here

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  82. Kevin -  February 17, 2011 - 5:59 am

    I believe Qat is also a valid scrabble word.

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

    Reply
  83. 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

    Reply
  84. Brian -  February 17, 2011 - 5:44 am

    QAT is a valid SCRABBLE word too.

    Reply
  85. 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.

    Reply
  86. 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

    Reply
  87. 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…

    Reply
  88. Tim -  February 17, 2011 - 4:54 am

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

    Reply
  89. 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.

    Reply
  90. 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 [...]

    Reply
  91. sabuj -  February 17, 2011 - 2:53 am

    good

    Reply
  92. 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.

    Reply
  93. 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?

    Reply

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