Quick, name one word that isn't.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 15, 2019
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Queen. Quack. Quibble. Inquisitive. Acquiesce. Loquacious.

No matter what level of Scrabble expert you are, you're likely having a hard time naming a word that has the letter "Q" followed by a letter othe than "U."

We headed over to Dictionary.com to get to the bottom of this quirky mystery and here's what we found: "In English QU is always used as a digraph (a pair of letters representing a single speech sound) for the sound /kw/," a post explains. "Q's pairing with U is a Latin invention that has its origin in Greek. The letter Koppa, which Q is based on, would appear before a rounded vowel where otherwise a sound like /k/ or /g/ would be used."

Eventually, letters like "C" also functioned to indiciate this same sound using different groupings of letters. With "C" becoming more and more popular, "Q" was relegated to its linking with "U" in written and spoken word.

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Ah, we guess this isn't so much of a quagmire, after all.

Language junkies, check out 9 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter.