In this article
- Significance of the Letter Q
- Two Letter Q Words
- Three Letter Q Words
- Common Q Words
- Q Words Without U
- Invalid Q Words in Scrabble
- How to Find More Q Words
- Tips for Playing Q Words
Significance of the Letter Q
The Q letter tile is one of the most powerful and popular in Scrabble. Players have a love-hate relationship with it because, on the one hand, it's sometimes very tricky to play in games. However, on the other hand, it's a great scorer being worth a total of 10 points. This makes it perfect for creating high-scoring words and securing a game-win.
To help players out with this tile, I've put together a list containing some of the best Q words to play within this article. It covers everything from two and three-letter Q words, all the way up to bingo opportunities.
Two Letter Q Words
In Scrabble, there is only 1 two-letter Q word that's acceptable to be played. This makes the Q tile all the more problematic, as two-letter words are often a great way to easily get rid of letter tiles.
Qi is worth remembering off by heart as it's the easiest and only valid way to play the Q in a two-letter word.
The word qi refers to a life force in traditional Chinese philosophy, culture, medicine, etc, related (but not limited) to breath and circulation. It's commonly referred to as the life force that flows through all living things.
What makes qi all the more powerful is that it doesn't require the letter U. This is uncommon for Q words in the English language and makes qi perfect for those looking to easily use the Q character.
Three Letter Q Words
The Scrabble dictionary contains a total of 5 three-letter Q words for players to use. This is a good step up from the single two-letter Q word but still makes Q words rare in comparison to similar tiles like the Z which have 50 three-letter options.
Here are all 5 words:
- Qin - any of the traditional Chinese musical instruments, most commonly a seven-stringed instrument called the guqin (12 points).
- Qat - a shrub whose leaves are used as a mild stimulant when chewed or brewed as tea (12 points).
- Suq - a street market, commonly in Arabic- or Somali-speaking countries (12 points).
- Qua - meaning as in the capacity of (12 points).
- Qis - the plural form of the previously mentioned word qi (12 points).
Common Q Words
I've picked these words as they commonly seem to come up in my own games of Scrabble. So hopefully they are helpful ones to remember.
Quiz is one of the most common ways you'll see the Q and Z tiles combined into a single word. It's short, yet high-scoring. If you're lucky enough to draw both these characters, getting this word across a double or triple square is a must as it'll score 44 or 66 points respectively.
Quiz is defined as a competition in the answering of questions (noun) or to question closely and interrogate (verb).
Quay, like quiz, creates a good opportunity to combine higher-value letters. In this case, it's the Q and Y tiles.
It's defined as a structure on navigable water used for loading and unloading vessels (noun). A synonym of quay is wharf.
Not as high scoring as those previously mentioned, but queen is a common Q word due to its use of frequent letters in Scrabble.
A queen is defined as a female monarch, such as Queen Victoria or the wife or widow of a king. Some alternative definitions are the most powerful piece in a chess game or the queen playing card (card marked with a Q).
Sequins is a classic example of how multiple vowels and common letters can be combined with the Q to make a 7-letter word. This makes it super powerful for those going after Bingos.
It's defined as a sparkling spangle used for the decoration of ornate clothing.
Similar to sequins, require is one of the most likely to occur 7-letter words using the letter Q. It has a high concentration of R's and vowels making it perfect for bingos.
It means to ask (someone) for something or to demand or insist upon having something.
Q Words Without U
One of the most common traps that cause players to struggle with Q's is the fact that approximately 98% of Q words also require the letter U.
This would not be an issue if it was any other vowel, as these are common in Scrabble. However, there are only 4 U's in a traditional Scrabble set.
I've listed every Q word without a U below sorted from lowest to highest scoring as these will likely come in handy for you.
Invalid Q Words in Scrabble
Although Scrabble has many acceptable Q words, not all are valid per the official dictionaries.
Playing an invalid Q word runs the risk of forfeiting a turn should your opponent challenge it. This can potentially lead to a loss of points for a round of the game.
Here are some common Q words we see mistaken in games to help you avoid making an easy mistake.
- IQ, short for "Intelligence Quotient," is unfortunately invalid because it is an abbreviation.
- QA, again another abbreviation, short for "Quality Assurance."
- QU usually short for "question" or "quarter" is not valid.
- QUE is an abbreviation for the Canadian province of Quebec.
- QUO is an invalid phrase meaning the "status quo."
In summary, be careful not to use these words in Scrabble as they run the risk of losing you vital points.
How to Find More Q Words
As we've previously mentioned Q words are difficult. They are rare enough as it is but are made increasingly worse by the fact so many require a U (the rarest vowel in Scrabble).
One way of finding more words with a Q is to use a word list. I've linked several below ranging from 2 up to 7 letters in length:
For those of you looking to do a more advanced or specific search, try out our word finder which is good for solving complex anagrams from random letter tiles. Or our word cheat which can find words starting with, containing, and ending in specific letters.
Tips for Playing Q Words
Here are some of my favourite tips and tricks I apply in the Scrabble games I play to help me get the most from Q words.
- Always play on multipliers - this will double or triple the value of the word you're playing making it so much more valuable. Without them, you'll only be scoring 10-20 points.
- Play short 2-3 letter words - many players shy away from these thinking longer is better. Sometimes that isn't the case. If you're really struggling with a Q, it's better to play a short word than be stuck with an awkward tile for the rest of the game.
- Reserve a U - if I pick up a Q tile and happen to have a U on my rack, I make sure I don't use it elsewhere in other words. It gets considerably easier to play the Q when coupled with a U.
Hopefully, you're now better equipped to crack out some amazing scoring and unique Q words in the next game you play. Make sure to remember those 2 and 3-letter words, as they'll come in handy.
As always, happy playing!
Word definitions in this article are sourced from Wiktionary.