Is Quo a Legal Scrabble Word?

Scrabble letters Q, U, O

Photo taken by Beth Wiggins for WordFinder

Got Q’s blues? It can be tough to slot that 10-point beauty into anywhere useful on a game board. It's especially tricky in Scrabble, as Words With Friends and other digital imitators have more generous lexicons than their inspiration. So the question is, what about the word "quo"? Is “quo” a Scrabble word? Is it an underused treasure or a tempting but futile mirage?

Is "Quo" Legal?

Alas, quo, despite appearing in many reputable dictionaries (including ours, obviously) as a component of "quid pro quo," "status quo," or an archaic-er form of the already archaic quoth, does not appear in the OSPD (Official Scrabble Players' Dictionary). We therefore regret to inform you that if you're looking to play “quo” in Scrabble, you're out of luck.

(For those wondering, it's not a playable word in Words With Friends either.)

10 Things to Do With Quo Instead

Don’t let quo’s lack of use discourage you though. We at WordFinder are not in the habit of leaving our readers with bad news and no options. Here are 10 entirely legal and clever ways to put the letters Q, U and O to work for you in your next game of Scrabble.

  • ALIQUOT - Feeling obscure? This archaic word for a given amount of medicine or other chemical will let you play big, even with an awkward Q in your hand.

  • LIQUOR - The dictionary is short enough on words that contain "quo." Words with "quo" that don't start with Q? Buried treasure. Better yet, unlike "aliquot" or "quokka," "liquor" is a common enough word to avoid being challenged.

  • QUOD - Latin for "because" or "since," "quod" is both the Q in QED and a British slang term for prison. The latter derives from a corruption of "quadrangle," if you’re wondering. It's also unique on this list: It takes one letter, that singular D, to turn "quo" into this entirely Scrabble-legal play.

  • QUOIT - A quoit is a ring designed to be thrown, and occurs everywhere from carnival sideshow games to the battlefields of Sikkim. It should also be a staple of any Scrabbler's lexicon, since it takes only two common letters, I and T, to turn "quo" into playable gold.

  • QUOKKA - Honestly, if your hand includes a Q and two Ks, our heart bleeds for you. Not all hope is lost, however. Even with that wretched of a draw, if you can just dredge up a common-as-chips A tile, you have yourself an adorable marsupial just waiting to be deployed.

  • QUOLL - Another marsupial! Australia evidently has a lot of QUOs to dispose of. This is a wonderful way to rid your hand of excess Ls as well.

  • QUORUM - You may have heard this one on the news: it's a parliamentary term meaning "the number of people that have to be present to do a particular thing." This 6-letter import from Latin is no small achievement on a Scrabble board, but if the opportunity offers, it's a chance to get big points fast.

  • QUOTA - A QUOTA is simply a given number of things set as a goal. Everyone from sales executives to census takes have quotas to fill, and, requiring only two abundant letters, A and T, it should appear on every serious Scrabbler's word list.

  • QUOTE - Everything about QUOTA goes double for QUOTE. Requiring only a T and the game's commonest letter, E, this word for "a given statement" is a perfect way to clear your hand of Q, U and O.

Q&A About Quo’s Cousins

Knowing that “quo” isn’t a legal Scrabble word brings up an important question: What other short Q words are valid in Scrabble? With Q’s usage as limited as it is, the question is a big one. Whenever that question pops while playing Scrabble, your best option is to check WordFinder’s Scrabble word list. For now, we can answer that question for some of the most common short words that start with Q.

Is Qua a Scrabble Word?

Answer: Yes

"Quo qua quo," believe it or not, is a grammatically correct phrase. Quo qua quo, that is, "quo" in and of itself, with no external influences applied, is not a Scrabble-legal word. "Qua," the conjunction meaning "in and of itself," is.

Is Qi a Scrabble Word?

Answer: Yes

We’ve covered this word in another article. Qi is pretty special in both Scrabble and Words With Friends, as it’s the only valid two-letter word that starts with Q. “Qi” is a variant of “chi,” a spiritual force from Chinese and Taoist medicine.

Is Que a Scrabble Word?

Answer: No

Despite the fact that it would be a useful word for the game, “que” is not a valid word to play in Scrabble. It commonly stands for “Quebec.” It is also the Spanish word for “what,” an appropriate question to ask when one finds out that the word isn’t legal in Scrabble.

Is Qui a Scrabble Word?

Answer: No

As of now, “qui” is not considered a valid word in Scrabble. This is most likely because it is an outdated form of “equi,” a prefix to describe something as being equal with something else.

Is Qo a Scrabble Word?

Answer: No

As explained above, “qi” is the only valid two-letter word that starts with Q in Scrabble. “Qo,” which commonly stands for “quality operations,” will simply need to wait its turn to be added to the game.

Quos in Repose

There's a good argument to be made that QUO should be a legal Scrabble word. The argument against it is less "it's not a real word" than "a three-letter word with a Q in it would dramatically change the game, especially at the tournament level." Heck, Scrabble didn't allow what is probably the single most commonly spoken word on Earth, OK, until 2018. And, there was audible grumbling from the seriously Scrabulous even then.

Point being, Scrabble isn't about declaring what words are and are not "real." It's about what you can do with the letters. QUO is a valuable draw. Use any of the 10 entries above to make them work for you. If you need still more help disbursing a deviant Q, try our article on whether QA is a word.

Matt Salter has been a professional writer for over 10 years. He is a gaming and technology expert, and world-class word nerd.


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