We’ve seen two-vowel two-letter words (like AE and OU), three-vowel threes (like AIA and EAU), three-vowel fours (like JIAO and QUAI), and that amazing four- vowel cry of Bacchic frenzy, EUOI. But we can raise the stakes higher still by giving you … an all-vowel six-letter word. Yes, if you’ve really got a rackful of vowels that you need to get rid of, the daddy of them all is – EUOUAE.
Wow! What? Yes! EUOUAE. It’s a word formerly used in Church music, taken from the vowels in the words Seculorum Amen. In those days, U and V were more or less interchangeable, so it was referred to as the more pronounceable EVOVAE (also a valid word). But EUOUAE held on as well, and it even has a plural EUOUAES.
EUOI and EUOUAE may help get you out of trouble, but they are unlikely to score you much and unless they enable you to play just what you want to get rid of, you may be better changing. EUOUAE does let you dump those two unpleasant Us (the least useful vowel) but you are also losing two nice Es, not something you want to do without careful consideration.
By Barry Grossman
Barry is a leading UK Scrabble player and winner of several tournaments. He is the author of Scrabble for Beginners (Chambers), Need to Know Scrabble, Scrabble – Play to Win and The Little Book of Scrabble Trickster. He has also contributed to numerous other books on the subject of words and word-games, has been a series champion of Channel 4’s Countdown, and has written four comedy series for BBC Radio 4. He lives in Hertford.
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