Category: Strategy & Tips
You often hear the phrase, “…and last, but not the least…” when introductions are made in debates, contests, conferences, and many other events. However, in the case of the English alphabet, the last letter Z is definitely the least – the least frequently used letter, that is. Come to think of it, how many words with Z do we know aside from “zebra” and “zipper”? Compared to other letters, it may take a longer time for us to think of other Z words. Because of that, Z is also one of the most difficult letters to use (or get rid of, depending on your frustration) when playing Scrabble.
You shouldn’t be deterred from playing or winning the game because Z, along with Q, is worth 10 points! Imagine if you are able to land it on a double- or triple-letter or word square; your score can greatly increase. Z may be the last letter of the alphabet and the least used, but it’s quite an interesting letter.
History of Z
The letter Z originated from the Phoenician glyph that means “a weapon”: the glyph zayin. It looked like the capital I we use these days. Later on, the glyph became the Greek “zeta,” which resembles the letter Z we use now. In 300 BC, through a process called rhotacism, Z started to be pronounced like the letter R, prompting then Roman Censor Appius Claudius Caecus to have it removed from the alphabet. After 200 years, Z was brought back to the Latin alphabet, but it was only used in adapted Greek words. Since its sound was rarely used, it was relegated to the end of the list of letters. This placement of the letter Z was simply adapted into the English alphabet.
There are two prominent pronunciations of the letter Z: “zee” by Americans and “zed” by a lot of Australian, British, and Canadian speakers. “Zed” is the older one and originated from Old French. “Zee,” on the other hand, originated from a dialect in England during the 17th century.
Number of Words with Z
Even if it is the least frequently used letter, Z can still be found in so many words. Although the exact number isn’t determined, the English word list of Project Gutenberg (an archived collection of public domain books and is the oldest digital library), has 666 words with Z, and those are just the words that aren’t names. Since this number is significantly lower than those of other letters, it can be easier to study and memorize words with Z and use them to win in Scrabble!
Words that begin with Z
Don’t be limited to “zebra” and “zoo”; it’s time for you to add more Z words to your vocabulary, and here are some examples:
The word “zoo” is the root word of many biology terms, so they can be added into your study list of words that have Z.
Words that contain Z
As with other letters, the number of words containing Z is bigger than the number of words that have Z in the beginning, and here are some examples:
None of the examples above are proper nouns, but because Scrabble now allows you to form proper nouns like places, people, and brands, you can also begin memorizing proper nouns that have Z or begin with Z.
Where to find word lists
You can check your dictionary for words that start with Z, but in this day and age, you can easily access word lists on the Internet. Sites that have Scrabble word finders can help you have an organized study of words that have Z. You can sort them according to their word length, which is a systematic way to learn them. Some sites even have the meaning of the words, providing you with an even more equipped learning process.
Z may be the last letter of the alphabet, but it doesn’t guarantee you a last place finish in Scrabble; learning words with Z can greatly affect your Scrabble experience and pave the way to more wins.
The letter K is like the less frequently used version of the letter C, although they are usually together at the end of many words. In a lot of word games, the letter K is usually worth 5 points. Sometimes, players find it difficult to form words with K. After all, it isn’t as frequently used as other letters like vowels and it is actually one of the least frequently used letters from the English alphabet. Getting to know more K words can be advantageous especially if your opponents aren’t also aware of so many words with K.
Frequency of the letter K
When the Morse Code was being developed, Samuel Morse had to know the frequency by which letters are used. He did this by counting the letters found in the type sets of printers. Based on his study, the letter K is part of the last five letters that appear the least frequently in written English.
For word games, the frequency of letters considered is their appearance in English vocabulary, regardless of how much a word is used. The result is quite close to the findings of Morse: K is the 6th least common letter found in individual English words.
While the exact number of words with K is still unknown, it is undeniable that there are hundreds of them.
Finding lists of Words with K
These days, you can already find dictionaries and a great variety of word lists online, and you can utilize the Internet to begin beefing up your vocabulary of K words.
Scrabble word finders often have the most number of organized lists of different words, depending on the letter you are searching for, and in this case, the letter K. You can search for words that have it or words that begin with it, generating more specific lists. The generated words are then grouped depending on the number of letters they contain.
Word builder sites also generate word lists that correspond to the letters you input. The words are organized depending on their total point values in specific word games like Words with Friends or Scrabble. You can also browse the generated words alphabetically or based on how long they are.
Examples of words that start with K
To begin your study and memorization of words that have the letter K, you can start with words that have K as their first letter.
You can add more words to your vocabulary by pluralizing many of the abovementioned K words.
Examples of Words that contain the letter K
The total number of words with K exceeds the number of words that have K as their beginning letter, so studying and memorizing these words can take more time, but it is rewarding.
Aside from learning the plural forms of these various words, you can also add their past tense forms and other derivatives.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of common words end with –ck. Knowing such words will also greatly enrich your vocabulary of words with K.
There are also words that have –ck in the middle like the following:
Adding prefixes and suffixes to some of these words will make these lists longer, so you can build your vocabulary of words that have K even more.
Why you should learn these words
Learning is a continuous process and even when you’re playing a game, you learn many things. Beefing up your vocabulary with these words will increase your chances of winning more word games. A good technique is to position the letter K on a multiplier square like a double- or triple-letter or word tile as this will significantly increase your score, as well as become your possible ticket to winning. Of course, you also get to improve your vocabulary in general.
The word “knockout” begins with a K and that is what you’re going to do to your opponents when you form more words with K! Whether you want to be keener or more knowledgeable, K is the beginning!