Offbeat Two-Letter English Words…

200px-scrabble_tiles_woodenHave you ever played a word game in your life? Scrabble perhaps. It is one of the most well-known word games and board games as well. And if you are a Scrabble junkie (like I used to be) you will be aware of the handiness of two-letter words especially if you face a distress when you have no vowels or no consonants in your tile rack. In such distressful condition the good thing to do is to skip your turn and to change your tiles up or you can do next to the good thing which is to recall all your two-letter English words in your vocabulary.

Two-letter English words are very common and it is not difficult to find them. Since you were first introduced to the language through your fusty English lesson books decades ago, you had already been conversant with some basic two-letter English words such as: “we“, “us“, “he“, “it“, “on“, “in“, “at“, “if“, and whatnot. Unfortunately having only such basic words in hand usually fails to boost the scoreline and sometimes it is nearly as bad as if you don’t know all of them at all.  To break away from such impasse down the line the best thing you can do is to beef up your vocabulary with those of two-letter words beyond the basics. Of course you cannot mistake two-letter words for two-letter acronyms. The pseudo-words (acronyms) such as “U.K. (United Kingdom)”, “I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient)”, “A.C. (Alternating Current)” and so on are not legit for most word games notably for  Scrabble. That’s because they are acronyms. But the words like “op (operator)”, “bi (bisexual)” “ex (ex-wife, ex-husband, ex-boyfriend, etc.) are legit since they are short forms of a word and they are NOT acronyms. From those two sets of words given above you will readily tell an acronym from a short form of a word apart.

Now, let’s demystify the nonbasic two-letter words  by listing them below. On the list you will see various two-letter English words that might be beyond your ken. Ranging from rather acceptable words in your perception up to the incredibly rummy words. Largely the rummy words are obsolete words and were not in use after the Middle English period (ending in circa 1500). The obsolete words might usually appear in old English literature. This sort of words will appear in red and if you use them in a word game you’d better use them with discretion in that they are subject to rejection.

These are some of the (acceptable for word games) nonbasic two-letter English words:

aa =  rough cindery lava
ac = oak (plural: aec)
ad = advertisement
ae = one (Scottish)
ak = oak (dialect)
au = awe
ba = soul in mythical Egypt
bo = a kind of fig tree
bu = former Japanese coin
ca = calf (Scottish. Plural: caas or cais)
co = jackdaw
cu = cow
cy = cows (plural of cu)
da = Indian fibre plant
de = of, from
du = do (Scottish)
dw = do (Scottish)
dy = gaming die (plural: dyce or dys)
ea = river, stream (dialect)
ec = also, too
ee = eye (Scottish. Plural: een)
ek = eke
eu = yew
ew = ewe (dialect)
ey = water (dialect)
fo = area measure (dialect)
fu = Chinese district
fy = fie (an interjection)
gu = go (dialect)
gy = guide-rope (Scotish)
hu = Chinese liquid measure
hv = how
hw = yew
hy = hie (Scottish)
ia = jay (Scottish)
io = Hawaiian hawk
iv = in, of (dialect)
ja = jaw, talk (dialect)
jo = darling (Scottish. Plural: joes)
ka = spirit in mythical Egypt
ki = liliaceous plant
ko = Chinese liquid measure (Plural: ko)
ku = ulcer in the eye (dialect)
li = Chinese length unit (Plural: li)
lu = listen (Orkney)
mo = moment
na = no (Scottish)
ne = not
ob = wizard
od = hypnotic force
oe = small island
ol = hydroxyl atom group
om = mantra syllable
oo = wool (Scottish)
oy = grandchild (Scottish)
po = chamber pot (plural: pos)
py = pie
qi = life-force in Chinese philosophy
re = note in music scale
ri = Japanese measure of distance
ro = repose (Scottish)
se = Japanese measure of area
sh = command to silence
si = note in music scale
st = attracting attention
ta = thank you
tu = Chinese distance measure equals 250 li
ty = tie
ua = woe
un = one; him.
uo = foe
ut = music note C.
va = woe (Scottish)
vi = Polynesian fruit
vo = size of book
wa = Siamese measure
wo = recalling a hawk
xi = Greek letter ‘x’
xu = Vietnamese coin
yl = isle
yo = expressing effort
yu = Chinese wine-vessel
za = pizza
zo = hybrid yak (plural: zos)


3 responses to “Offbeat Two-Letter English Words…

  1. Hmmm…I only recognize a few of those words. Thanks for the insight, Pak… Hopefully I’ll be using them in my next scrabble games 😀

    • Actually Scrabble has its own dictionary unfortunately it is not easy to find the dictionary here in our country. But if you are interested you can buy it online there are only a few clicks between you and the dictionary today.

      Some of those two-letter words are even not included in the Scrabble Dictionary, however these words are evidently found in other advanced dictionaries… 😀

  2. Dear Author !
    What do you advise to me?

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