List of English words containing Q not followed by U

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Six rows of black square keys with white letters, numbers, and symbols on them slope from the top left to the bottom right with a metallic strip in the top right corner.
Qwerty, one of the few native English words with Q not followed by U (or another vowel), is derived from the first six letters of a standard keyboard layout.
A photograph of a busy passageway leading from the foreground to the background contains people walking in both directions illuminated by elongated slats of light.
A souq in Marrakech, Morocco. Like 32 of the 71 other English words that use a q not followed by a u, souq is of Arabic origin.

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 which 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/ by an English speaker, as pinyin uses "q" to represent the sound [tɕʰ], which is approximated as [] 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 71 words in this list, 67 are nouns, and most would generally be considered loanwords;[1] the only modern-English words that contain Q not followed by U and are not borrowed from another language are 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 which 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 which is not directly followed by a U. Qaqortoq,[2] 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),[3] Nasdaq (a US electronic stock market),[4] Qantas (an Australian airline),[5] and QinetiQ (a British technology company).[6] Zaqqum (a tree mentioned in the Qur'an)[7] and Saqqara (an ancient burial ground in Egypt)[8] are proper nouns notable for their 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.

Other forms
buqshaA former Yemeni monetary unit[L]Also written bogacheArabic
burqaA veiled garment worn by some Muslim women[ODE][LC][C][AHC][OED]Also written burka, burkha, or burquaUrdu and Persian burqa, from Arabic burqu`
cinqThe number five, as signified in dice or cards[ODE][COD][OED]French cinq, "five"
cinqfoilA plant of the genus Potentilla, or an ornamental design thereof[SOED][OED]Much more commonly written cinquefoilMiddle English, from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque "five" + folium "leaf"
coqA trimming of cock feathers on a woman's hat[WI]French coq, "cockerel"
faqihAn Islamic jurisprudent[RHW]Plural faqihs or fuqaha [RHU]Arabic فقيه
faqirA Muslim ascetic[L]More commonly written fakirArabic فقير‎, "poverty-stricken"
fiqhMuslim jurisprudence[ODE]Arabic فقه, "understanding"
inqilabA revolution in India or Pakistan[C]Arabic إنقلاب
mbaqangaA style of South African music[ODE][C][W]Zulu umbaqanga, "steamed maize bread"
miqraThe Tanakh, or Hebrew text of the Bible[WI]Hebrew מקרא
muqaddamA Bangladeshi headman[C]Arabic مقدم
nastaliqAn 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
niqabA veil for the lower-face worn by some Muslim women[ODE]Also written niqaabFrom Arabic نِقاب
pontacqA sweet wine from Pontacq (France)[OED]
qababA dish consisting of pieces of seasoned meat[OED]More commonly written kebab, kebap, kebob, kibob, kebhav, kephav, kebabie, or kabobPersian کباب
qabalahA 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
qadariteA member of the Qadariyah[RHU]
qadariyahIn Islam, adherents of the doctrine of free will[RHU]Also written Qadariya [RHU]
qaddishIn Judaism, a prayer of mourning[C]More commonly written KaddishHebrew קדיש
qadiA Muslim judge[L][C][W][OED][AOX]Also written qadhi [OED], qaadi, kadi, kazi qaadee or qazi [OED]Arabic قاضى
qadiriyahIn Islam, a Sufi order[RHU]Also written Qadiriya [RHU]Arabic القادريه
qafTwenty-first letter of the Arabic alphabet[RHW]Also written qaph or qapArabic ق
qaidA Muslim tribal chief[RHW]Also written caid or kaidArabic قائد‎, "leader", "commander"
qaimaqamA minor official of the Ottoman Empire[C][OED]Also written kaymakam, kaimakam, caimacam, or qaim makamFrom Arabic قائم‎, "standing" + مقام‎ "place", meaning "standing in place"
qalamdanA Persian writing-case[C]Persian قلمدان
qalandarA member of an order of mendicant dervishes[RHU]Also written calender, or capitalised
qanatA 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 ghundatPersian, from Arabic qanāt, "channel"
qanunA type of harp[OED]Also written qanon or kanun [OED]Arabic قانون‎, rule, principle or mode
qasidaAn Arabian poem of praise or satire[C][OED][AOX]Also written qasidahArabic قصيدة
qatA kind of Arabian shrub used as a narcotic[L][C][OED]More commonly written khat, kat or gatArabic qāt
qawwalA person who practises qawwali music[ODE][C][AOX]
qawwaliDevotional music of the Sufis[ODE][C][AOX]Arabic قوٌالی‎ (qawwāli), "loquacious" or "singer"
qepiqAn Azerbaijani unit of currency[AH]Azerbaijani qəpik
qereA marginal reading in the Hebrew Bible[OED][WI]Also written qeri [WI] or qre [WI]Aramaic קְרֵי, "[what is] read"
qhatAn obsolete spelling of what[OED]
qhecheAn obsolete spelling of which[OED]
qhomAn obsolete spelling of whom[OED]
qhythsontydAn obsolete spelling of Whitsuntide (the day of Pentecost)[OED]
qiIn Chinese culture, a physical life force[ODE][C][AHC][OED]Commonly written chi or kisimplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese:
qianaA type of nylon[OED]Originally a trademark of DuPont, now generic
qiblaThe point to which Muslims turn in prayer[ODE][COD][C][OED][AOX]Also written qiblah [OED], kiblah, qiblih, kibla or qib'lah [RHU], sometimes capitalised17th Century Arabic, "the opposite"
qibliA local Libyan name for the sirocco, a southeasterly Mediterranean wind[OED]Also written ghibliArabic قبلي‎, "coming from the qibla
qigongA Chinese system of medical exercises[ODE][C][AOX]Also written chi gong, ki gong, or chi kungsimplified Chinese: 气功; traditional Chinese: 氣功
qinA classification of Chinese musical instruments[AOX]Chinese:
qinahA Hebrew elegy[WI]Also written kinah; plural qinot, qinothHebrew קינה
qindar, qindarkëAn 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 quintalAlbanian
qinghaosuA drug, artemisinin, used to treat malaria[C]Chinese: 青蒿素
qipaoA traditional Chinese dress[OED]Also written chi paoChinese: 旗袍
qirshA monetary unit of Saudi Arabia and, formerly, various other countries[RHU]Also written qurush, qursh, gursh, girsh or ghirsh
qiviutThe wool of the musk-ox[OED]Inuktitut ᕿᕕᐅᖅ
qiyasAn analogy in Sharia, Islamic law[RHW]Arabic قياس
qophThe nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet[L][C]Also written kophHebrew קוף
qormaA type of curry[Co]Much more commonly written kormaPersianUrdu قورمه
qwertyA standard English keyboard layout[ODE][COD][LC][C][AOX][OED]Plural qwertys or qwerties; also rendered QWERTYNamed after the letters on the top row of keys.
rencqAn obsolete spelling of rank[OED]
sambuqA type of Dhow, a small Arabian boat[OED]Arabic سنبوك
sheqelA unit of weight originally used in Mesopotamia. The currency of Israel, divided into 100 agorot[MW]Plural sheqels or sheqalim; more commonly written shekelHebrew שקל, Yiddish ניי-שקל
souqAn Arab marketplace[ODE][C][OED][AOX]Also written sooq, soq, suq, souk, esouk, or sukArabic سوق‎ (sūq)
talaqA form of Islamic divorce[ODE][C][OED]Arabic talaq, from talaqa, "repudiate"
taluqAn Indian estate[OED]Also written taluk or talookArabicUrdu تعلقه‎, ta'alluqa, "connection", "relationship"
taluqdarA person who collects the revenues of a taluq[OED]Also written talukdar or talookdarArabicUrdu تعلقدار‎, ta'alluq-dar, "landholder", "possessor of an estate", "lord of a manor"
taluqdariAn Indian landholding tenure[OED]
taqiyaIn Islam, the dissimulation of faith displayed for fear of one's life[RHW]Also written taqiyah [RHU], or capitalisedArabic التقية
taqlidAcceptance of Muslim orthodoxy[RHW]Arabic قْلي
tariqaA Sufi method of spiritual development, or a Sufi missionary[E][AOX]Also written tariqat [E] or tarikaArabic طريق
tranqA form of sedative[OED]Also written trank [OED]Apocopation from tranquilizer
tsaddiqIn Judaism, a term bestowed upon the righteous.[C][OED]Plural tsaddiqs or tsaddiqim; also written tzaddiq [C], tzadik or tzaddikHebrew צדיק
umiaqAn open Inuit boat[OSPD4]Also spelled umiak, umialak, umiac, oomiac or oomiak
waqfA 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"
yaqonaA Fijian intoxicating beverage, kava[C][OED]Fijian yaqona, in which q represents [ŋɡ]

Uses in Scrabble[edit]

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 which may not contain all the words listed here.

In Scrabble in North America, the number of accepted words changes when the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary is updated every five years – for example in a 2003 interview, John D. Williams, Jr. pointed out that "QI is not good in North American SCRABBLE play, only the rest of the world."[9] Qi was added to the official North American word list in 2006.[10] Qi is the most commonly played word in Scrabble tournaments.[11]

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.[12]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ David Sacks (2004). Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of our Alphabet from A to Z. Random House. ISBN 0-7679-1173-3. 
  2. ^ Lynn Kauer. "Qaqortoq". Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Agree to Merge, Creating $87 Billion Global Technology Leader" (Press release). Hewlett-Packard. September 3, 2001. Retrieved October 4, 2008. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Qantas frequent flyers get microchip cards, heralding new era in faster travel". The Independent (UK). November 13, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2010. 
  6. ^ Andrew Buncombe (October 25, 2006). "Former CIA Chief Joins the Board of QinetiQ". The Independent. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ Mulla Sadra Shirazi (2010). Divine Manifestations: Concerning the Secrets of the Perfecting Sciences. ICAS Press. p. 151. ISBN 1-904063-35-7. 
  8. ^ Toby A. H. Wilkinson (2001). Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategies, Society and Security. Routledge. p. 259. ISBN 0-415-26011-6. 
  9. ^ Q&A With Bob Levey. The Washington Post. March 11, 2003. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  10. ^ "Scrabble players adjust as official dictionary adds ' za , 'qi ' and 3,300 others." Virginia Linn. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 9, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  11. ^ Playing the 'Q'. Huub Luyk. Sun.Star Baguio. October 5, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  12. ^ Words with a Q not followed by a U. Australian Scrabble Players Association. May 8, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]