some words that start with the letter Q

I happened to be riding in the car with a friend of mine today, and he told his fellow passengers that at school this week their class had made a list of a hundred words that began with the letter T!  Looming over his weekend, however is the prospect of having to do the same next week with the letter Q– a rather more difficult task.

So here’s a little head start, with quote and quotation, quill and quilt, quaint, question, quart and quarter, with quirt, a small whip carried by cowboys, quotidian (concerned with the mundane and everyday), quorum (the number of organization members who must be present to vote on business) quarrel (either an argument or the bolt fired from a crossbow) and my favorite Q word, queue, meaning a line or a pigtail braid, and which is pronounced “Q”.

Then my husband came home from work and we gave the matter further thought while I cooked dinner, with quake and quaff and quack and quit.  How did I forget queen and quite, quiet and quality, quell and queer and queasy, quibble and quiver and quartz, quantity and quinine (the stuff that makes tonic water taste like tonic water, and also the medicine they give you for malaria)? And then there’s quick and quad and quadrangle and quarry and quadrant and quizzical and quip. And quail. And query and quandary.  And quiescent, which neither of us could quite remember how to spell, though I got it right the first time when I typed it.

If I’m counting right, there’s 45 or so pretty good English Q words to get you started. Good luck, little dudes.  My guess is you may have to cheat add some proper names like Quentin and Quetzalcoatl and Qumran, which is the name of the place where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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12 Responses to some words that start with the letter Q

  1. Wolfie says:

    Qat- a plant native to the horn of Africa that the locals love to chew in great quantities.
    Quisling- a traitor who collaborates with an enemy occupying army. Named after Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian politician.
    Qix- An early video game where the player had to enclose areas of the game board without being touched by an enemy.

  2. Rick Santman says:

    Sounds like quite a quiz

  3. Rick Santman says:

    Lessee now. What else comes to mind?

    Quagga (sp?) South American critter related to horses, quahog (See most episodes of Family Guy, it’s a species of clam), Quaker, qualify, quixotic, quotient, quince, quintuplets, quoits (game kinda like horseshoes) and my favorite, quiff (Actually a curly lock of hair, but used as slang for a prostitute)

    All right, maybe not that last one for gradeschoolers…..

    • Pam Bliss says:

      Awesome– quince was actually on our list and just didn’t get transcribed, but we missed qualify, quotient, quintuplets, and quoits from the no-debate list. You also came up with some bang up obscure words (tho’ I believe the quagga was actually African), proper nouns, and words of questionable content for the younger set.

  4. Wolfie says:

    quark- the most fundamental of elementary particles.

    I would also argue that qat and quisling aren’t actually foreign words. They are foreign loan words, yes, but since we lack a domestic equivalent, they should stay.

    • Pam Bliss says:

      Quark is another one we should have got. I’ll buy your argument on quisling, but I think the loan word name of the drug is more normally transcribed as kat or khat, though I’ve seen the q spelling as well … and no drug words at preschool anyway!

  5. Meg says:

    While many of these q words are excellent choices, I fear many of them may not be within the grasp of a 4 year old’s vocabulary. Also, one doesn’t want to be “that mom” who is clearly feeding words to the child in the hopes of having a longer list than other kid’s moms.
    The real challenge is to find a preschool appropriate object to send to represent the letter Q. I think there will be many quarters.

  6. Pam Bliss says:

    Don’t worry– I wasn’t expecting that all these words, or indeed most of them, were actually going to go to school! The question just got me thinking–could a bunch of well educated grownups do with Q what the 4 and 5 year olds did with the much more prosaic T? I think if you count all the variations as individual words we as a group came pretty close without resorting to the dictionary. But yeah, the list is almost automatically heavy on serious words with Latin roots that won’t be in the daily use vocabulary of the original audience.

    Still, quill and quilt and quart all lend themselves to hands on encounters, and you could find pictures of quail and a quarry and stretch everybody’s horizons a bit. And if you want to talk about the Queen, I bet somebody has some Canadian change.

  7. quid – maybe that is English English.

    • Pam Bliss says:

      “Quid” as in slang for a GBP is British English. “Quid” as in a use-size portion of chewing tobacco is American English. Though that’s not a great word for the younger set!

      • I did not know about the American usage. I agree, not so good for the younger set!! On the other hand, I would accept a reasonably substantial pile of British quid in my hands right now.

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