Using Q without a U

For most casual players, the letter that fills them with more dread than any other is the Q. Needing a U to be able to use it with any ‘normal’ word, it can leave you effectively playing with six tiles (removing any chance of a bonus, of course) or force a change and miss a go. So thank QI there are words with Q but no U, and as they are so crucial to getting rid of this rather unwanted letter, we should take a look at some of the most useful:

FAQIR Muslim who spurns worldly possessions

FIQH Islamic jurisprudence

INQILAB revolution (in India, Pakistan)

MBAQANGA South African pop music

NIQAB, NIQAAB veil worn by some Muslims

QABALA, QABALAH, QABALISM, QABALIST ancient Jewish mystical tradition

QADI Muslim judge

QAID Arabic chief

QALAMDAN writing case

QANAT irrigation channel

QASIDA Arabic verse form

QAT African shrub


QAWWALI Islamic song

QI life force

QIBLA direction of Mecca

QIGONG exercise regime

QIN Chinese instrument


QOPH Hebrew letter

QORMA same as KORMA (a mild Indian dish)

QWERTY standard English-language keyboard


SHEQEL monetary unit of Israel

TALAQ Muslim form of divorce

TRANQ tranquillizer

TSADDIQ, TZADDIQ Hasidic Jewish leader

WAQF endowment in Muslim law

YAQONA Polynesian shrub

All of these can have an S added to them except QINDARKA, QINTARKA and SHEQALIM, and

QWERTY can have the plural QWERTIES or QWERTYS.

The big one is, paradoxically, the smallest one – QI. With an I on your rack, or usable on the board, the Q should no longer be a major problem to get rid of.

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.

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