Is Qa a Valid Scrabble Word?
Let's get the bad news out of the way. To the frustration of quality assurance professionals and mystical students of Hebrew scripture alike, "qa" is not a playable word in Scrabble. Don't lose hope! Scrabble takes two-letter words very seriously (and rightly so). They only got around to adding "ok" in 2018. There may be hope for "qa" yet.
More importantly, here are 9 ways to win with "qa" in your hand.
English, as the worthy James Nicoll put it, doesn't borrow from other languages. It chases them down alleyways and mugs them for loose vocabulary. Arabic is no exception. Written Arabic is an abjad (itself a fine Scrabble word); a script without written vowels. When a language has no U, it can hardly be expected to have rules like "no Q without U." Here are three pieces of Scrabble gold courtesy of the world's sixth most common language.
QADI - A "qadi," in addition to being a Q followed by three of the most common letters in Scrabble, is a judge in a Muslim religious court.
QANAT - That's a type of underground canal. Canals of all kinds are an big deal in lots of Arabic-speaking countries. In the drier spots, the qanats were in the country before Arabic was. Extra bonus fact: if they existed (historians say it's complicated), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon didn't hang. Rather, they were terraces of beautiful greenery rising out of the desert, watered by an ingenious system of qanats.
QAT - A stimulant herb, "qat" is not unlike leafy chewing tobacco.
Keep It Short
Often with high-scoring letters, you're better off playing a short word across a bonus than fishing for a bigger play that may never come. "Qa" can provide the basis for these signature shorties.
QAID - Another gift from Arabic, "qaid" means a regional governor or representative.
QI - If you have a Q, be on the lookout for the body's energy as considered by traditional Chinese medicine. That's "qi."
QUA - This hard-to-translate little bugger is a direct import from Latin, where it means roughly "functioning as." It endures in highfalutin idioms like "sine qua non" (a requirement; literally "without which the thing doesn't work") and "thing qua thing" (the thing functioning as itself; no outer influences need apply).
In English, the letter Q is strongly associated with questions. As with so many things in English, it starts in Latin, where "cui," "quid," "quis," "quo," and "quare" were your who, what, when, where and why. When you question how to turn "qa" into a playable word, try looking at question words themselves.
EQUATE - Show the word "equate" to a veteran Scrabble player. Then, hand them a napkin, because they may start drooling. "Equate," meaning to identify two things as identical, is a Q surrounded by some of the most common letters in the game. Employ liberally.
QUANT - That's someone who does math professionally; a human calculator. The lovely thing about "quant" is its inflections. It can be "quantity," "quantify" or, if you're very lucky, even "quantitative." Calculate the points on that.
QUAERE - This old fashioned but entirely Scrabble-legal word most often occurs as a note in a text, meaning to "ask further questions about this; look more deeply into this topic." We propose a second definition: "Word you use to turn a whole bunch of useless, hand-clogging vowels into serious Scrabble points."
Much of serious Scrabble play is optimizing the placement of high-value letters like Q and high-utility letters like A. "Qa" may not be a legal word, at least not yet, but having a Q and an A in your hand can rack up points at least nine ways. Happy gaming.
Matt Salter has been a professional writer for over 10 years. He is a gaming and technology expert, and world-class word nerd.