Three-Letter Words

The three-letter words are almost as useful as the twos because there are so many ways of adding a letter to a two-letter word to make a three-letter one. That helps you place words on the board and get a higher score by playing more words in one move.

There are 1,340 valid three-letter words so it will take you a while to get to know all of them. It can be done – you can absorb them partly by learning and partly (and more enjoyably) by playing. The more you play, especially against better players, the more you will see these words and the more you will find you remember them.

Here are some of the best three-letter words to start you off:

All vowels:

AIA a maid or nanny

AUA a mullet (the fish, not the hairstyle beloved of 1980s footballers)

AUE a Māori exclamation

EAU a river

All consonants:

BRR expressing cold

CWM Welsh for valley

HMM expressing doubt or hesitation

NTH of an unspecified number

PHT expressing irritation

PST attracting attention

SHH requesting silence

TSK expressing annoyance

TWP Welsh word meaning stupid

The all-consonant words exclude those containing Y, which acts as a vowel in words like DRY.

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.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

Other Articles

Letter C

C can be a very useful letter to have. It combines well with the high-scoring letters H and K to give you the chance of a high score for just a four- or five-letter word. If you can play something like CHUNK or… Read More

Bonus Bs

The most likely way of using B in a bonus word is probably something beginning with BE- or BI-. The -ABLE suffix is also worth remembering (NOTABLE, OPENABLE) and quite a few with an optional E in the middle:… Read More

Not the B all and end all

The B is not one of the most useful letters. It’s most often used in shorter words, preferably on a premium square to increase its value, and preferably to help you get rid of your other less useful letters. Good B-words for this are: BEZ an… Read More