Is Ja an Acceptable Scrabble Word?

confused man JA scrabble word

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Understandably, high-value letters are highly valued by Scrabble and Words With Friends players. When you pull a J out of the letter bag, you might wonder if JA is a valid Scrabble word. The German and Afrikaans word for “yes,” JA is also an abbreviation for judge advocate, junior achievement, joint account or Jamaica. But, can you play JA in Scrabble? It depends.

Is JA a Word in Scrabble? 

While longer words may look more impressive, the best short words are what will win you the game. This is especially true if you can count those high-value letters twice, building words both horizontally and vertically. In the case of JA, it depends on what game you’re playing and what dictionary you’re using.

  • JA is not a valid word in the Scrabble US dictionary.

  • JA is a valid play in the Scrabble UK dictionary. 

  • With games that don’t differentiate between the US and UK word lists, JA is usually a playable word. 

So… it’s complicated. Contrast this to a word like QA, which is not a playable word in either Scrabble or Words With Friends. Full stop. Similarly, ZA is an acceptable word in both games. It’s a slang term for “pizza.” If only everything in life were so straightforward (and delicious).

Each update to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD) and the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) word list can introduce notable changes. So, it’s possible that JA may be added to the official Scrabble US dictionary at some point. 

Can You Play JA in Words With Friends?

In addition to a more forgiving word list, Words With Friends has different letter values and tile distribution compared to Scrabble too. If Words With Friends is your preferred word game, then you’ll be happy to hear that JA is playable in Words With Friends.

Combining J With Other Vowels

What if you don’t have an “A” tile to go with your “J” tile? Can you still form a two-letter word to capitalize on that 10-point “J” scoring potential?

  • JE is not a valid Scrabble word, but JE is playable in Words With Friends. It's an abbreviation for June or Jeremiah. 

  • JI is not playable in Words With Friends or Scrabble.

  • JO is a valid word in both Scrabble and Words With Friends. It’s a Scottish term for “sweetheart.”

  • JU is not a valid word in Scrabble or Words With Friends.

3-Letter Words With JA

If JA isn’t an acceptable Scrabble word with the US dictionary, what can you do with those two letters? Just add one more letter and you’ve got some awesome playable words with JA!

  • JAB: A short, straight punch

  • JAG: A sharp, tooth-like projection

  • JAM: A preserve made from whole fruit and sugar

  • JAR: A container made of stone or glass

  • JAW: The two hinged bones that frame the mouth

  • JAY: A type of strikingly colored bird, like the blue jay

More Scrabble Words Containing JA

This list of JA words is not exhaustive, but it should give a good sense of how you might best play these two letters in Scrabble or Words With Friends. Here are a selection of 4-letter and 5-letter words to add to your repertoire. 

  • JACK: A machine used for lifting something heavy

  • JAMB: The framing that makes the side of a door or window

  • JAPE: To joke, jest or play tricks

  • JARL: A medieval Scandinavian chieftain or nobleman

  • PUJA: Forms of worship consisting primarily of prayers and offerings to a god

  • RAJA: A prince, chief, ruler in India or the surrounding area

  • HIJAB: A head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women

  • JABOT: A trimming or fill attached to the neck of a blouse or bodice

  • JACAL: A thatch-roofed hut found in Mexico and the southwest United States

  • JALAP: The dried root of a Mexican vite of the morning glory family

  • JAPAN: To add a dark, smooth and hard gloss to a metal object

  • RIOJA: Wines, particularly dry red wines, produced in a region of northern Spain

Not sure if the word you want to play is valid? Verify your word with our handy Scrabble dictionary. You’ll get the number of points and the definition too. And don’t forget about the “save word” feature for later reference too.

Any Letters Can Spell “Win”

One of the biggest lessons you can learn from Scrabble is that you can (almost) always find a way to win. You can’t control what letters you get, but you can control how you choose to play them. By building up a strong and varied vocabulary, you can capitalize on every opportunity and score the most points possible.

Ready to add to that lexicon? If you find yourself short on consonants, familiarize yourself with WordFinder's list of Scrabble words with all vowels. Sometimes, getting rid of a few vowels can pave the way for a better move next turn.

Michael Kwan is a professional writer and editor with over 14 years of experience. Fueled by caffeine and WiFi, he's no stranger to word games and dad jokes.


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