Ever get stuck with an “X” tile in a game of Scrabble? Or a "Z"? Or — the worst — a "Q" without a "U"? These high-value tiles can make any player start feeling the pressure — unless they’re familiar with lots of two-letter words.
The official Scrabble dictionary has 107 two-letter words. One of the best ways to improve one’s overall score, according to tournament Scrabble players, is to memorize a lot of those words. The following are the 12 highest-scoring two-letter words in the game of Scrabble.
Though this term may not sound familiar, the definition is. “Za” is just a slang term for “pizza.” “It’s Friday night, and we’re ordering up some hot and cheesy ‘za.” It may not catch on outside the confines of the Scrabble board, but these tiles are worth a whopping 11 points.
Another high-scoring two-letter word worth 11 points is “qi.” According to the official Scrabble dictionary, “qi” is “the vital force that in Chinese thought is inherent in all things.” This is one of the few words where a “U” does not follow a “Q.” It can also be spelled “ki,” though that two-letter combo is worth only six points.
Not all two-letter words are stumpers. Most folks have probably seen or used an ax for chopping wood or other types of cutting. This knowledge will help a Scrabble player earn an easy nine points.
In Vietnam, xu is a monetary unit. It’s equal to one-hundredth of a dong, to be exact. It’s also worth a big nine points on the Scrabble board.
“Xi” is a letter of the Greek alphabet. Scrabble players are welcome to use the names of other Greek letters, such as “mu,” “nu,” and “pi,” but “xi” is the highest-scoring option at nine points.
This Scottish term for “sweetheart” or “darling” comes from the 1520s and is probably linked to the word “joy.” “Jo” will also score nine points for any darling player.
Though “ex” is often used as a prefix, and prefixes are not allowed to be played alone in Scrabble, the word “ex” also means “to cross out.” That’s why this two-letter word is an excellent way to score nine points.
For most players, spotting this word among their tiles should be simple. An ox is a hoofed mammal. This familiar term will rack up an easy nine points.
This word is not only a preposition but is also defined as “a pass in certain card games” in the official Scrabble dictionary. So don’t count “by” out, because it’s worth a not-too-shabby seven points.
The possessive form of the pronoun “I” is good for another seven points.
Many players don’t realize that Scrabble allows slang terms. “Hm” is one example — and it’s worth seven points. The Scrabble dictionary defines it as an official word related to “hmm.” Basically, this is the sound a person makes when they’re thinking about something. Another option worth slightly fewer points is “mm,” which is a term “used to express assent or satisfaction.” Note that both words are also vowelless, which means they can come in handy in tricky Scrabble situations.
The last term on the list is worth six points, but it’s no slouch either. “Ka” is “the spiritual self of a human being in Egyptian religion.” It’s related to the lower-scoring “ba,” which, in Egyptian mythology, is the name of the eternal soul.
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