In English, the letter Q is almost always followed by the letter U. For word games like Scrabble or Words with Friends it is helpful to have a list of words with Q and no U, because you are limited by the tiles that are available. One of the lesser known examples of Q words without U is qi which is defined as the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things.
Quick…quote some quality colloquialisms or quips featuring Q without U. It is not as easy as it might seem. In fact, a common resource used by avid Scrabble players (the games instruction manual) shows only 21 options. However, there are many more than that (more than 2,000 in fact), and you should try to memorize as many of them as you can if you wish to become a thoroughly competitive Scrabble expert.
One of the simplest ways to free yourself of the points-heavy letter Q (it has ten points, as does the Z tile, but that’s a letter for a different article), is to use it in a two or three letter word. There are no commonly used two letter options apart from QI (a vital force in all things, according to Chinese philosophy), and there are two three-letter words that use it without a U – QAT and QIS.
The former is a variation of khat, which is both a shrub and illegal drug in China. The latter is a term often used in traditional Chinese medicine to describe the life force. Though you don’t have to know the meanings of these terms to use them, it can be empowering to counter any challenge by not only knowing they appear in the official Scrabble dictionaries and word lists, but also whipping out their definitions.
However, the title of this article does say “English” words, and those are both terms that originate in the Chinese language. There are not a lot of words spelt using Q without U that also originate strictly from the English. What we really should have entitled the article, was “Scrabble and Words With Friends Words Containing Q Not Followed By U” as the words we are going to consider are all acceptable in both scenarios. So, now that we have clarified, let’s move past those three letter words…
If you look at a list of Q without U words on another website, the etymology of the terms provided actually reads like a global adventure. You see Arabic, Yemen, Persia and France, Latin and Middle English, and that is just in the first three or four words! Of course, that is the beauty of playing word games like Scrabble or Words with Friends – they don’t just challenge you to use your existing vocabulary, but actually increase it.
For example, at the Merriam Webster Dictionary page dedicated to those eager to build their arsenal of Q without U words allowed in popular games, we find cinq and qoph, and the five letter words are even more abundant, offering faqir and niqab as well as qanat and tranq. There are six letter variants and options going all the way to nine letter words – and all without a single Q appearing.
While the reason you want to rid yourself of that Q as quickly as possible has to do with its hefty ten-point value, never overlook the fact that it could be the key to a BINGO. Using all seven tiles at once can take a lot of cunning, but you improve your odds because of the unusual nature of so many of the Q without U words. As a prime example, MBAQANGAS…that’s an actual word (it is a type of South African dance music), and as delicious as it might be to sound it out, you might find yourself also using up an awkward rack of mixed tiles because of it!
Note -> As a final word of advice, it is also a good idea to use resources like the Merriam Webster online Scrabble tool to also learn about “words you can build” from your Q without words. For example, there is a startling number of words you can make from MBAQANGAS and knowing them can be a major advantage!