I’ve done plenty of creating about words on this webwebsite. Time to break things down to the even more granular level of letters. (Then perhaps, sooner or later, I’ll break things dvery own to the individual shapes within the letters. “Letters with at least one straight vertical line are 3.7x more well-known than letters with one to two curves.”)

A kindred soul named Peter Norvig analyzed Google Books to compile a veritable smorgasbord of statistics on the frequency of words and letters in the English language. He wound up analyzing 743.8 billion words using 3.56 trillion letters, you understand, just in case someone could dare to throw up the “little sample size” alert at only 3.4 trillion letters.

You are watching: What letter begins the fewest words in the english language

He broke down his results right into numerous different charts, yet the one I’m focusing on today is the in its entirety frequency of letters. That suggests it’s eexceptionally usage of each letter, regardmuch less of its place in a word.

Unsurprisingly — specifically for anyone who’s watched Wheel of Fortune — E is the many frequently used letter. Approximately one out of eexceptionally eight letters is an E.

But I’m looking at the other end of the range. Here are the 11 least-used letters in English, 3 or maybe 4 of which are decently surpincreasing.

1 | Z, ~1/1111 letters used

Apparently Dr. Seuss publications weren’t included in the study. That guy is Z ca-razy. Like Michael Scott pulling out an imaginary gun in eextremely improv scene, Dr. Seuss busts out a made-up word featuring 2 to 17 Zs at eexceptionally feasible chance.

2 | Q, ~1/833

For what it’s worth, Norvig uncovered that Q can exist without U. While QU is the a lot of widespread pairing with Q, at leastern one book had a word that paired Q essentially every various other letter. Tright here are only 6 exceptions; no book has actually a word containing JQ, QG, QK, QY, QZ or WQ.

3 | J, ~1/625

J is the only letter that doesn’t show up on the regular table. Ooh, someone need to figure out just how generally letters appear on the regular table and then compare that to the frequency in various other words. I would certainly do it myself however I’m rather busy. With… I don’t know… let’s say job-related and also discovering swing dancing.

4 | X, ~1/435

You’d think X can be better, and also it could be if this were only taking into account just how generally each letter starts a word. Tright here are precious few words that begin through X. It’s why every one of my son’s alphabet books need to usage cheats, choose “eXtinct” for A-Z pets. Or “xylophone” in basically every various other instance, regardless of just how apropos it is. (“I expect, I guess a book of America From A-Z can incorporate xylophone. People here… um… play them sometimes?”)

5 | K, ~1/185

I guess the examine didn’t look at as well many type of comedy publications. Everyone knows K is the funniest letter.


6 | V, ~1/95

V really gets a rise from all the consumption of “I’ve.” Never before doubt the power of drafting off people’s — especially writers’ — egocentrism.

7 | B, ~1/68

My initially surpincrease of the list. I mean to check out the letters from the finish of the alphabet on this list. They’re the negative youngsters sitting in the earlier of the bus, throwing paper airplanes or doing whatever the poor kids perform this day. Meth? Probably meth. But seeing B, the second letter of the alphabet, in this ignoble spot? Blasphemy.

8 | Y, ~1/60

Y is my fifty percent surpclimb. Perhaps if the study were more skewed towards existing (not, as I assume, generally older, public domain) works, contemporary AdverbMania would’ve given Y the boost it so plainly, undisputedly deserves.

9 | W, ~1/60

If I were to anthropomorphize letters, W would certainly sit about all day bitter at U, bitching around how it’s literally bringing twice as much to the table but gaining a portion of the usage. That’s the attitude I assume Boutros Boutros Ghali had actually whenever before he was about someone whose name was just one Boutros. Wow. This paragraph on W really went off the rails.

See more: You Should Have Seen It In Color Song : Jamey Johnson'S 'In Color'

10 | G, ~1/53

I’ll contact G my second surpclimb. I suppose, it’s worth two points in Scrabble. That’s reduced than four letters that aren’t on this bottom 11 list (C, M, F, H) and also tied with D, which likewise isn’t on this list. If we can’t trust scrabble, that deserve to we trust? Plus every “-ing” word has actually a G. And it still only landed here? Won’t somebody think of the gerunds?

11 | P, ~1/47

For the final surpclimb, I wouldn’t have actually guessed P would be in the bottom half of letter consumption. Although on that note, here’s a random “Everyone Hates P” trivia fact: Believe it or not, tbelow are just 3 UNITED STATE state names that contain the letter P. I’d tell you which ones however that’s no fun.

You may additionally like…

11 Movie Titles With Numbers Awkwardly Substituted For Letters