Appendix:Glossary of two-letter English words

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The English language contains various two-letter words. The number is reduced somewhat by the "three letter rule". Here is a list of such words. Some of these words are debatable, because they are archaic, slang, proper names, or words borrowed from other languages.

The common two-letter words are: am, an, as, at, (ax), be, by, do, go, he, if, in, is, it, me, my, no, of, on, or, ox, so, to, up, us, we.

English words[edit]

  • aa – a type of lava having a rough surface (pronounced "ah - ah" and properly spelled "`a`a")
  • Ab – alternative Romanization of Av
  • ae – one adj. (chiefly Scots)
  • ah – an interjection used to express various emotions such as surprise, delight, disgust, or pain
  • ai – a three-toed South American sloth
  • al – East Indian tree; also a hirsute creature said in Persian mythology to devour the souls of unborn children
  • amfirst person singular present indicative of the verb "to be"
  • an – the indefinite article used before vowel sounds
  • Ao – the god of the clouds in Polynesian mythology
  • ar – the letter "R"
  • as – a preposition meaning "to the same extent or degree"
  • at – a preposition meaning "in the area occupied by"
  • Av – a month of the Hebrew calendar (see Ab above)
  • aw – an interjection used variously to express sympathy, tenderness, disapproval, or disbelief by means of slight differences in pronunciation
  • axaxe
  • ay – alternative spelling of aye
  • ba – part of the Egyptian soul; also to kiss (archaic); in some dialects, father
  • be – to exist
  • bo – friend; also a weapon used in martial arts; also a sacred Indian]] fig tree
  • by – preposition meaning "near to"
  • ch – I (obsolete)
  • da – a heavy Burmese knife; in some dialects, father
  • de – preposition meaning of or from in names and in phrases recently borrowed from the Latin or French (de jure, de facto, coup de grace)
  • do – to execute; also first tone of the diatonic scale
  • ea – a river (obsolete); also (with initial capital) the ea, god of water in Babylonian mythology.
  • 'e'e – an extinct Hawaiian bird
  • ef – the letter "F"
  • eh – an interjection used to indicate lack of understanding
  • el – the letter "L"; also the god of rain in Canaanite mythology; also short for "elevated train"
  • em – a type of dash used in typesetting; the letter "M"
  • en – a type of dash used in typesetting; the letter "N"
  • er – an interjection expressing hesitation
  • es – the letter "S"
  • et – a past tense form of "to eat"
  • ew – an interjection expressing disgust
  • ex – the letter "X"; also one's former spouse or love interest; also used to mean "out of" in such phrases as ex cathedra or ex libris.
  • fa – fourth tone of the diatonic scale
  • fy – an interjection expressing disgust (fie)
  • Ga – a language spoken in Ghana
  • ge – alternative spelling of Gaia
  • gi – a judo or karate costume
  • go – to move; also an oriental board game
  • gu – a simple violin used in Shetland (gju, gue)
  • ha – an interjection expressing triumph or laughter; also (with initial capital) the god of the deserts in Egyptian mythology
  • hethird person singular masculine nominative pronoun; also an onomatopoeia of laughter
  • hi – hello
  • hm – an interjection expressing thought (hmm); also (as HM) used as an abbreviation of "His (or Her) Majesty"
  • ho – interjection used to attract attention; also a contraction of hoe (high ground) as in Aynho; also a contraction of whore (slang)
  • Hu – the god of the creation word in Egyptian mythology
  • id – one of the three components of the psyche, also I'd contraction of I would or I had.
  • if – a conjunction meaning "in the event that"
  • I'm – contraction of "I am"
  • in – a preposition meaning "inside"
  • io – an interjection; (all the following are with initial capital) the daughter of Inachus in Greek mythology; also a moon of Jupiter; also an alternative spelling of Kiho; also a Hawaiian species of hawk
  • isthird person singular present indicative of "to be"
  • it – third person singular neutral pronoun
  • Ix – one of the Bacabs in Maya mythology
  • jo – dear, sweetheart (Scots)
  • ka – Part of the Egyptian soul
  • ki – alternative spelling of qi from Japanese
  • Ku – alternative spelling of Tu from Hawaiian
  • ky – cattle (Scots)
  • la – sixth tone of the diatonic scale
  • li – a unit of distance; also (with initial capital) an ethnic minority in southern China
  • lo – an interjection meaning "look!"
  • mamother; also used in some dialects to mean "my"
  • me – first-person singular objective-case pronoun; a variant of "mi"; also a concept in Sumerian mythology; also used in some dialects to mean "my"
  • mi – third tone of the diatonic scale
  • mm – an interjection expressing satisfaction
  • mo – more
  • mu – a letter in the Greek alphabet; also (with initial capital) the name of hypothetical vanished continent in the Pacific Ocean
  • myfirst person singular possessive adjective
  • na – no, not (obsolete)
  • – born with the name of (the male form of "née")
  • no – not any; also a general negative response; no. is also an abbreviation of the word "number" ; also a Classical Japanese musical drama.
  • nu – a letter in the Greek alphabet; also (with initial capital) the god of the ocean in Egyptian mythology; also (with initial capital) an ethnic minority in China
  • Ob – a river in Siberia (one of the largest rivers in the world)
  • od – an alleged power used to produce mesmerism; also the husband of Freya in Norse mythology
  • oe – one; wind (Faroe Islands)
  • of – derived from or belonging to
  • oh – an interjection indicating surprise
  • oi – a cry of joy (whee); also a sub-genre of punk music
  • om – a mystic syllable used by Hindus and Buddhists in various religious rites
  • on – a preposition meaning "above and in contact with"
  • oo – a rare Hawaiian bird (pronounced "oh-oh"); also a Scottish word for "wool"
  • or – a conjunction used to indicate an alternative; also a tincture in heraldry
  • os – narrow ridge of gravel and sand (esker); also orifice
  • ou – an interjection expressing concession
  • ow – an interjection indicating sudden pain
  • ox – a bovine mammal with hooves
  • oy – an interjection to draw someone's attention
  • Oz – Mythical land that Dorothy travels to in The Wizard of Oz
  • pafather
  • pe – a letter in the Hebrew alphabet
  • pi – a letter in the Greek alphabet and a mathematical constant
  • po – a chamber pot
  • qi – Chinese life force (chi)
  • Ra – the god of the sun in Egyptian mythology; also an alternative spelling of Roua
  • re – second tone of the diatonic scale; also an alternative spelling of Ra
  • ri – a mythical creature said to be half human and half jellyfish
  • Ro – a constructed language of the "philosophical" type (words from similar categories begin with similar letters), invented by the Rev. Edward Powell Foster with his wife
  • Ru – a fertility god in Polynesian mythology
  • sh – an interjection urging silence
  • si – a note in the diatonic scale; also (with initial capital) the god of the moon in Mochican mythology
  • so – to the amount or degree expressed or understood; also a question asking what logically follows from a statement; also fifth tone of the diatonic scale
  • st – an exclamation of impatience
  • ta – thank you (Commonwealth)
  • te – seventh tone of the diatonic scale
  • ti – a small tree; also the seventh tone of the diatonic scale
  • to – towards
  • Tu – the god of war in Polynesian mythology
  • Ua – the god of rain in Polynesian mythology
  • ug – to cause hatred
  • uh – an interjection expressing hesitation
  • Ul – the god of the moon in Polynesian mythology
  • um – an interjection expressing hesitation
  • un – one
  • up – to increase; a vertical direction opposite of down
  • Ur – a city in ancient Mesopotamia
  • us – the first person plural objective-case pronoun
  • ut – musical tone in French solmization system
  • ve – a less common alternative to sie; (with initial capital) the brother of Odin in Norse mythology
  • Wa – an ethnic minority in southwestern China
  • we – the first person plural nominative-case pronoun
  • Wi – the god of the sun in Lakota mythology
  • wo – alternative spelling of woe
  • Wu – a dialect of the Chinese language
  • xe – alternative spelling of sie
  • xi – a letter in the Greek alphabet
  • xu – a Vietnamese monetary unit
  • ya – yes; also you
  • ye – you (subject or nominative); also the (archaic spelling), using y for the letter thorn)
  • Yi – a minority language in China
  • yo(US) interjection used to call attention
  • yu – a precious jade
  • zi – a type of pseudonym used in Imperial China
  • zo – a Himalayan cross between a yak and a cow (also dzo or dzho)

English use in a foreign phrase[edit]

Several more of our two-letter words exist as parts of set phrases imported from other languages.

  • ao – in ao dai (the Vietnamese garment)
  • et – in et cetera, et al
  • id – in id est (the expanded form of i.e.)
  • la – in sao la, a Vietnamese ox of the genus Pseudoryx, first discovered in the 1990s
  • mi – in mi casa, su casa
  • pu – repeated in pu pu platter
  • se – from per se
  • su – in mi casa, su casa
  • vu – as in déjà vu

Abbreviations[edit]

Many two-letter words are abbreviations, or apocopations of longer words. They are frequently slang or informal words.

  • ab – an abdominal muscle (slang)
  • adadvertisement
  • ag – pertaining to agriculture
  • bibisexual (slang)
  • ec – economics (especially after "home")
  • ed – education (informal); also editor
  • ep – episode (slang)
  • eqequalizer (for music recording)
  • mo – moment
  • np – no problem
  • op – operator (slang); also operation; opportunity (as in photo op); optical (as in op art); or opinion (as in op-ed)
  • Oz – nickname for the land of Australia
  • phpH (potential for hydrogen; power of hydrogen) a measure of acidity
  • 'za – an abbreviation from the end of pizza

These sorts of lists are useful for some letter games, such as crossword puzzles or anagrams, or in word games, such as Scrabble.

Words acceptable in Scrabble[edit]

The following are lists of two letter words allowed in Scrabble (US, UK and International). See the Wikipedia's Scrabble article for an explanation of the different word lists and their applications.

OSPD - Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary (US)[edit]

This chart is taken from the OSPD, 3rd edition [1]. In addition, the 4th edition added five new acceptable two-letter words: FE, KI, OI, QI, and ZA (italicized).

Note that rows C and V and columns C, J, K, Q, V and Z completely empty.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A AA AB AD AE AG AH AI AL AM AN AR AS AT AW AX AY A
B BA BE BI BO BY B
C C
D DE DO D
E ED EF EH EL EM EN ER ES ET EX E
F FA FE F
G GO G
H HA HE HI HM HO H
I ID IF IN IS IT I
J JO J
K KA KI K
L LA LI LO L
M MA ME MI MM MO MU MY M
N NA NE NO NU N
O OD OE OF OH OI OM ON OP OR OS OW OX OY O
P PA PE PI P
Q QI Q
R RE R
S SH SI SO S
T TA TI TO T
U UH UM UN UP US UT U
V V
W WE WO W
X XI XU X
Y YA YE YO Y
Z ZA Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

OSW - Official Scrabble Words - Chambers[edit]

As of 2001, the UK and Australia no longer use this list (see below), but some English-speaking countries in North America still limit play to the OSW list.

  • AA AD AE AH AI AM AN AR AS AT AW AX AY
  • BA BE BI BO BY
  • CH
  • DA DI DO
  • EA EE EF EH EL EM EN ER ES EX
  • FA FY
  • GI GO GU
  • HA HE HI HO
  • ID IF IN IO IS IT
  • JO
  • KA KO KY
  • LA LI LO
  • MA ME MI MO MU MY
  • NA NE NO NU NY
  • OB OD OE OF OH OI OM ON OO OP OR OS OU OW OX OY
  • PA PH PI PO
  • QI
  • RE
  • SH SI SO ST
  • TA TE TI TO
  • UG UM UN UP UR US UT
  • WE WO
  • XI XU
  • YE YO YU
  • ZO

SOWPODS/OSWI: a combination of OSPD and OSW (UK, Australia, etc.; international competition standard)[edit]

The UK and Australia have now (the UK most recently in 2001) joined most other English-speaking countries outside North America, as well as the international tournament standard, in using SOWPODS/OSWI, that is, they allow all OSPD words as well as OSW ones.

  • AA AB AD AE AG AH AI AL AM AN AR AS AT AW AX AY
  • BA BE BI BO BY
  • CH
  • DA DE DI DO
  • EA ED EE EF EH EL EM EN ER ES ET EX
  • FA FY
  • GI GO GU
  • HA HE HI HM HO
  • ID IF IN IO IS IT
  • JO
  • KA KO KY
  • LA LI LO
  • MA ME MI MM MO MU MY
  • NA NE NO NU NY
  • OB OD OE OF OH OI OM ON OO OP OR OS OU OW OX OY
  • PA PE PH PI PO
  • QI
  • RE
  • SH SI SO ST
  • TA TE TI TO
  • UG UH UM UN UP UR US UT
  • WE WO
  • XI XU
  • YA YE YO YU
  • ZO