List of English words containing Q not followed by U
In English, the letter Q is usually followed by the letter U, but there are some exceptions. The majority of these are anglicised from Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Inuktitut, or other languages that do not use the English alphabet, with Q representing a sound not found in English. For example, in the Chinese pinyin alphabet, qi is pronounced /tʃi/ (similar to "chi" in English) by an English speaker, as pinyin uses "q" to represent the sound [tɕʰ], which is approximated as [tʃ] (ch) in English. In other examples, Q represents [q] in standard Arabic, such as in qat, faqir and Qur'ān. In Arabic, the letter ق, traditionally romanised as Q, is quite distinct from ك, traditionally romanised as K; for example, قلب /qalb/ means "heart" but كلب /kalb/ means "dog". However, alternative spellings are sometimes accepted, which use K (or sometimes C) in place of Q; for example, Koran (Qur'ān) and Cairo (al-Qāhira).
Of the 72 words in this list, 68 are nouns, and most would generally be considered loanwords; the only modern-English words that contain Q not followed by U and are not borrowed from another language are freq, qiana, QWERTY, and tranq. However, all of the loanwords on this list are considered to be naturalised in English according to at least one major dictionary (see References), often because they refer to concepts or societal roles that do not have an accurate equivalent in English. For words to appear here, they must appear in their own entry in a dictionary; words that occur only as part of a longer phrase are not included.
Proper nouns are not included in the list. There are, in addition, many place names and personal names, mostly originating from Arabic-speaking countries, Albania, or China, that have a Q without a U. The most familiar of these are the countries of Iraq and Qatar, along with the derived words Iraqi and Qatari. Iqaluit, the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, also has a Q that is not directly followed by a U. Qaqortoq, in Greenland, is notable for having three such Qs. Other proper names and acronyms that have attained the status of English words include: Compaq (a computer company), Nasdaq (a US electronic stock market), Qantas (an Australian airline), and Qinetiq (a British technology company).  Saqqara (an ancient burial ground in Egypt) is a proper noun notable for its use of a double Q.
Unless noted otherwise, all words listed here are assumed to be pluralized by adding -s or -es. References in the "Sources" column relate to the headword in column one; variant spellings are then separately referenced. The sources given are selective, and the absence of a reference to a particular dictionary does not necessarily mean that the word does not appear in that dictionary.
In American and Canadian English, there are currently 4,422 words with Q and no U including the following words in the table below.
|buqsha||A former Yemeni monetary unit||[L]||Also written bogache||Arabic|
|burqa||A veiled garment worn by some Muslim women||[ODE][LC][C][AHC][OED]||Also written burka, burkha, or burqua||Urdu and Persian burqa, from Arabic burqu`|
|cinq||The number five, as signified in dice or cards||[ODE][COD][OED]||French cinq, "five"|
|cinqfoil||A plant of the genus Potentilla, or an ornamental design thereof||[SOED][OED]||Much more commonly written cinquefoil||Middle English, from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque "five" + folium "leaf"|
|coq||A trimming of cock feathers on a woman's hat||[WI]||French coq, "cockerel"|
|faqih||An Islamic jurisprudent||[RHW]||Plural faqihs or fuqaha [RHU]||Arabic فقيه|
|faqir||A Muslim ascetic||[L]||More commonly written fakir||Arabic فقير, "poverty-stricken"|
|fiqh||Muslim jurisprudence||[ODE]||Arabic فقه, "understanding"|
|freq||Frequency||Abbreviation of frequency|
|inqilab||A revolution in India or Pakistan||[C]||Arabic إنقلاب|
|mbaqanga||A style of South African music||[ODE][C][W]||Zulu umbaqanga, "steamed maize bread"|
|miqra||The Tanakh, or Hebrew text of the Bible||[WI]||Hebrew מקרא|
|muqaddam||A Bangladeshi or Punjabi headman||[C]||Arabic مقدم|
|nastaliq||An Arabic script used in Persian writings||[OED]||Also written nasta'liq [C], nestaliq [OED], nastaleeq, or shortened to just taliq [OED]||Persian نستعليق, from naskh + ta`liq|
|niqab||A veil for the lower-face worn by some Muslim women||[ODE]||Also written niqaab||From Arabic نِقاب|
|pontacq||A sweet wine from Pontacq (France)||[OED]||French|
|qabab||A dish consisting of pieces of seasoned meat||[OED]||More commonly written kebab, kebap, kebob, kibob, kebhav, kephav, kebabie, or kabob||Persian کباب|
|qabalah||A form of Jewish mysticism||[C][AHC][WI]||More commonly written Kabbalah, and also written Qabala [AHC], Qabbala [WI], Cabalah etc. Derived words include qabalism, qabalist, and qabalistic.||Hebrew קַבָּלָה|
|qadarite||A member of the Qadariyah||[RHU]|
|qadariyah||In Islam, adherents of the doctrine of free will||[RHU]||Also written Qadariya [RHU]|
|qaddish||In Judaism, a prayer of mourning||[C]||More commonly written Kaddish||Hebrew קדיש|
|qadi||A Muslim judge||[L][C][W][OED][AOX]||Also written qadhi [OED], qaadi, kadi, kazi qaadee or qazi [OED]||Arabic قاضى|
|qadiriyah||In Islam, a Sufi order||[RHU]||Also written Qadiriya [RHU]||Arabic القادريه|
|qaf||Twenty-first letter of the Arabic alphabet||[RHW]||Also written qaph or qap||Arabic ق|
|qaid||A Muslim tribal chief||[RHW]||Also written caid or kaid||Arabic قائد, "leader", "commander"|
|qaimaqam||A minor official of the Ottoman Empire||[C][OED]||Also written kaymakam, kaimakam, caimacam, or qaim makam||From Arabic قائم, "standing" + مقام "place", meaning "standing in place"|
|qalamdan||A Persian writing-case||[C]||Persian قلمدان|
|qalandar||A member of an order of mendicant dervishes||[RHU]||Also written calender, or capitalised|
|qanat||A type of water-supply tunnel found in north Africa and the Middle East||[ODE][C][OED][AOX]||Also written kanat, khanat, kunut, kona, konait, ghanat, or ghundat||Persian, from Arabic qanāt, "channel"|
|qanun||A type of harp||[OED]||Also written qanon or kanun [OED]||Arabic قانون, rule, principle or mode|
|qasida||An Arabian poem of praise or satire||[C][OED][AOX]||Also written qasidah||Arabic قصيدة|
|qat||A kind of Arabian shrub used as a narcotic||[L][C][OED]||More commonly written khat, kat or gat||Arabic qāt|
|qawwal||A person who practises qawwali music||[ODE][C][AOX]|
|qawwali||Devotional music of the Sufis||[ODE][C][AOX]||Arabic قوٌالی (qawwāli), "loquacious" or "singer"|
|qepiq||An Azerbaijani unit of currency||[AH]||Also written qapik or qepik||Azerbaijani qəpik|
|qere||A marginal reading in the Hebrew Bible||[OED][WI]||Also written qeri [WI] or qre [WI]||Aramaic קְרֵי, "[what is] read"|
|qhat||An obsolete spelling of what||[OED]||Likely of Scots origin, in which an older spelling convention used "quh-" or "qh-" where English had "wh-".|
|qheche||An obsolete spelling of which||[OED]|
|qhom||An obsolete spelling of whom||[OED]|
|qhythsontyd||An obsolete spelling of Whitsuntide (the day of Pentecost)||[OED]|
|qi||In Chinese culture, a physical life force||[ODE][C][AHC][OED]||Commonly written chi or ki||simplified Chinese: 气; traditional Chinese: 氣|
|qiana||A type of nylon||[OED]||Originally a trademark of DuPont, now generic|
|qibla||The point to which Muslims turn in prayer||[ODE][COD][C][OED][AOX]||Also written qiblah [OED], kiblah, qiblih, kibla or qib'lah [RHU], sometimes capitalised||17th-century Arabic, "the opposite"|
|qibli||A local Libyan name for the sirocco, a southeasterly Mediterranean wind||[OED]||Also written ghibli||Arabic قبلي, "coming from the qibla|
|qigong||A Chinese system of medical exercises||[ODE][C][AOX]||Also written chi gong, ki gong, or chi kung||simplified Chinese: 气功; traditional Chinese: 氣功|
|qin||A classification of Chinese musical instruments||[AOX]||Chinese: 琴|
|qinah||A Hebrew elegy||[WI]||Also written kinah; plural qinot, qinoth||Hebrew קינה|
|qindar, qindarkë||An Albanian unit of currency, equal to one one-hundredth of a lek||[ODE][L][C]||Plural qindarka [L] or qindars [C]. Also written qintar [L][C][AOX] or quintal||Albanian|
|qinghaosu||A drug, artemisinin, used to treat malaria||[C]||Chinese: 青蒿素|
|qipao||A traditional Chinese dress||[OED]||Also written chi pao||Chinese: 旗袍|
|qirsh||A monetary unit of Saudi Arabia and, formerly, various other countries||[RHU]||Also written qurush, qursh, gursh, girsh or ghirsh|
|qiviut||The wool of the musk-ox||[OED]||Inuktitut ᕿᕕᐅᖅ|
|qiyas||An analogy in Sharia, Islamic law||[RHW]||Arabic قياس|
|qoph||The nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet||[L][C]||Also written koph||Hebrew קוף|
|qorma||A type of curry||[Co]||Much more commonly written korma||Persian→Urdu قورمه|
|QWERTY||A standard English keyboard layout||[ODE][COD][LC][C][AOX][OED]||Plural qwertys or qwerties; also rendered QWERTY||Named after the letters on the top row of a typewriter.|
|rencq||An obsolete spelling of rank||[OED]|
|sambuq||A type of dhow, a small Arabian boat||[OED]||Arabic سنبوك|
|sheqel||A unit of weight originally used in Mesopotamia. The currency of Israel, divided into 100 agorot||[MW]||Plural sheqels or sheqalim; more commonly written shekel||Hebrew שקל,|
|souq||An Arab marketplace||[ODE][C][OED][AOX]||Also written sooq, soq, suq, souk, esouk, or suk||Arabic سوق (sūq)|
|talaq||A form of Islamic divorce||[ODE][C][OED]||Arabic talaq, from talaqa, "repudiate"|
|taluq||An Indian estate||[OED]||Also written taluk or talook||Arabic→Urdu تعلقه, ta'alluqa, "connection", "relationship"|
|taluqdar||A person who collects the revenues of a taluq||[OED]||Also written talukdar or talookdar||Arabic→Urdu تعلقدار, ta'alluq-dar, "landholder", "possessor of an estate", "lord of a manor"|
|taluqdari||An Indian landholding tenure||[OED]|
|taqiya||In Islam, the dissimulation of faith displayed for fear of one's life||[RHW]||Also written taqiyah [RHU], or capitalised||Arabic التقية|
|taqlid||Acceptance of Muslim orthodoxy||[RHW]||Arabic قْلي|
|tariqa||A Sufi method of spiritual development, or a Sufi missionary||[E][AOX]||Also written tariqat [E] or tarika||Arabic طريق|
|tranq||A form of sedative||[OED]||Also written trank [OED]||Apocopation from tranquilizer|
|tsaddiq||In Judaism, a term bestowed upon the righteous.||[C][OED]||Plural tsaddiqs or tsaddiqim; also written tzaddiq [C], tzadik or tzaddik||Hebrew צדיק|
|umiaq||An open Inuit boat||[OSPD4]||Also spelled umiak, umialak, umiac, oomiac or oomiak|
|waqf||A charitable trust in Islamic law||[ODE][C][OED]||Also written wakf; plural waqf [ODE][C][OED] or waqfs [C][OED]||Arabic, literally "stoppage" from waqafa, "come to a standstill"|
|yaqona||A Fijian intoxicating beverage, kava||[C][OED]||Fijian yaqona, in which q represents [ŋɡ]|
Uses in Scrabble
In many word games, notably in Scrabble, a player must build a word using a certain set of letters. If a player is obliged to use a q but does not have a u, it may be possible to play words from this list. Not all words in this list are acceptable in Scrabble tournament games. Scrabble tournaments around the world use their own sets of words from selected dictionaries that may not contain all the words listed here.
Other words listed in this article, such as suq, umiaq or qiviut, are also acceptable, but since these contain a u, they are less likely to be useful in the situation described.
List of dictionaries cited
- [AH]: The American Heritage Dictionary (4 ed.). Dell. 2001. ISBN 0-440-23701-7.
- [AHC]: American Heritage College Dictionary (4 ed.). Houghton Mifflin. 2007. ISBN 0-618-83595-4.
- [AOX]: "Ask Oxford". Retrieved July 27, 2009.
- [C]: The Chambers Dictionary (9 ed.). Chambers. 2003. ISBN 0-550-10105-5.
- [Co]: Collins English Dictionary (3 ed.). HarperCollins. 1994. ISBN 0-00-470678-1.
- [COD]: Concise Oxford Dictionary (8 ed.). Clarendon. 1990. ISBN 0-19-861200-1.
- [E]: "Microsoft Encarta online dictionary". Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2006.
- [L]: The Longman Dictionary of the English Language (5 ed.). Longman. 1988. ISBN 0-582-55511-6.
- [LC]: The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (4 ed.). Longman. 2003. ISBN 0-582-77649-X.
- [MW]: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11 ed.). Merriam-Webster. 2003. ISBN 0-87779-809-5.
- [MWO]: "Merriam-Webster online dictionary". Retrieved May 29, 2006.
- [ODE]: Oxford Dictionary of English (2 ed.). Oxford UP. 2003. ISBN 0-19-861347-4.
- [OED]: Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford UP. 2003. ISBN 0-19-861347-4.
- [OSPD4]: The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (4 ed.). Merriam-Webster. 2005. ISBN 0-87779-929-6.
- [RHU]: Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2 ed.). Random House. 1998. ISBN 0-517-19931-9.
- [RHW]: Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (2 ed.). Random House. 2005. ISBN 0-375-42599-3.
- [SOED]: The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (3 ed.). Clarendon. 1992. ISBN 0-19-861294-X.
- [TWL]: Official Tournament and Club Word List (2 ed.). Merriam-Webster. 2006. ISBN 0-87779-635-1.
- [W]: Random House Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Random House Reference. 2000. ISBN 0-375-42560-8.
- [WI]: Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster. 2002. ISBN 0-87779-201-1.
- David Sacks (2004). Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of our Alphabet from A to Z. Random House. ISBN 0-7679-1173-3.
- Lynn Kauer. "Qaqortoq". Retrieved April 6, 2011.
- "Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Agree to Merge, Creating $87 Billion Global Technology Leader" (Press release). Hewlett-Packard. September 3, 2001. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
- Michael J. De la Merced (February 18, 2011). "Nasdaq and ICE Hold Talks Over Potential N.Y.S.E. Bid". Dealbook. The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- "Qantas frequent flyers get microchip cards, heralding new era in faster travel". The Independent. UK. November 13, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- Andrew Buncombe (October 25, 2006). "Former CIA Chief Joins the Board of QinetiQ". The Independent. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
- Mulla Sadra Shirazi (2010). Divine Manifestations: Concerning the Secrets of the Perfecting Sciences. ICAS Press. p. 151. ISBN 1-904063-35-7.
- Toby A. H. Wilkinson (2001). Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategies, Society and Security. Routledge. p. 259. ISBN 0-415-26011-6.
- Robinson, Philip (1997). Ulster-Scots: A Grammar of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language. The Ullans Press. Archived from the original on 2004-03-14.
- Playing the 'Q'. Huub Luyk. Sun.Star Baguio. October 5, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010. Archived March 19, 2012, at Archive.today
- "Scrabble players adjust as official dictionary adds ' za, 'qi ' and 3,300 others." Vargia Linn. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 9, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Words with a Q not followed by a U fArchived 2010-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. Australian Scrabble Players Association. May 8, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- Eckler, A. Ross (1976). "Must You Join the Queue?". Word Ways. 9 (2): 113–115. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Quinion, Michael (2003). "Q followed by U". World Wide Words. Archived from the original on October 7, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Quinion, Michael (2009). Why is Q Always Followed by U? Word-perfect Answers to the Most-asked Questions about Language. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-84614-184-3. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Scrabble Word Lists Q without U – Parker Brothers, attributed to: Joe Edley; John D. Williams, Jr. (2009). "Chapter 6: Your Fourth-Grade Teacher, Mrs. Kleinfelder, Lied to you: You Can Have Words with a Q and No U". Everything Scrabble: Third Edition. pp. 56–58. ISBN 978-1-4165-6175-0.
- An extended list of English words containing Q not followed by U: