Five-Letter “Q” Words to Help You Win Your Next Word Game

Thursday, May 263 min read

It’s no fun to get stumped during a word game, and a repeat culprit for Scrabble losses is undoubtedly the letter “q.” Conversely, knowing a few key “q” words can score you some big points in word games. “Quail,” “queen,” “quirk,” “quilt,” and “queso” might pop up on your Wordle grid, but what about lesser-known words? Check out these Scrabble dictionary-approved five-letter “q” words to use during your next game night.

“Q” Without “U” Words

Players might think that if they don’t draw a “u” to play with the “q” they have to forfeit the points from the high-scoring tile, but there are plenty of words that fit the bill. Many of these words are borrowed from languages that don’t rely on the “qu” construction.


A “qadi” is a Muslim judge whose decisions are based on Islamic religious laws. “Qadis” is the plural version of the word. It comes from the Arabic word qāḍī, which has been around for centuries. These judges were an essential part of early Muslim society since at least the seventh century.  


As another word of Muslim origin, a “qaid” is a tribal chief or senior official. The word originated in North Africa from the Arabic qāid.


This spelling variation of the word “kayak” made headlines in 2014 when it was added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. This word is found in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, described as a “more authentic” version of the original Inuit word.


A “qanat” is an underground tunnel used to move water (as in an aqueduct), especially for irrigation. The word is more commonly used in the Middle East, and it comes from the Persian word with the same meaning, qanāt.


In English, “qapik” is an alternative spelling of the word “gepik.” It is a monetary subunit of the manat, the currency of Azerbaijan.


In the Muslim religion, “qibla” is the direction of the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, toward which Muslims face for ritual prayer. It comes from the Arabic word qiblah.


Also spelled “korma,” this curry dish consists of meat or vegetables cooked in a creamy yogurt-based sauce. It comes from the Urdu language of Pakistan and India.


Qoph” is the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet — “qophs” is the plural version. It comes from the Hebrew word qōph.

Don’t Forget the “U”

These five-letter “qu” words might be more recognizable, and it’s worth memorizing a few of these for word game play.


Quaff” means “to take a hearty drink of something, especially alcohol,” as in, “He quaffed the pint of ale.” It can also be used as a noun to describe a beverage that is being enjoyed. It has been in use since the 16th century.


As another word for a quantum bit, “qubit” is the basic unit of information in a quantum computer. This relatively new term has only been in use since 1994.


A “quern” is a primitive type of hand mill that was used for grinding grain in Neolithic times (since at least 5600 BCE). It is a Middle English word that came from Old High German quirn.


This is the plural version of the Scottish term “quey” that is interchangeable with the word “heifer” for a young female cow. Its Middle English root quy came from the Old Norse language.


A “quoin” is an architectural term that describes the exterior angle of a building, especially one with decorative stones or bricks, whose purpose is ornamental.


A “quipu” is an Incan counting tool that was first used around 2500 BCE. This English translation comes from Quechua (an ancient language) khipu, meaning “knot.” It was made of one long primary cord and many pendant cords.


In the late Middle Ages, “quire” was a popular word for a short book. Specifically, it was 1/20 of a ream, or 24 to 25 sheets of paper.


A “quoll” is a spotted marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea. These furry carnivores gained their name from the word je-quoll from the Australian aboriginal language Guugu Yimidhirr.

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