Two-letter words for SCRABBLE® enthusiasts and PR pros

For communicators looking to truncate their writing, or win a game of SCRABBLE®, here are the 105 most overlooked short words, and their less perfunctory definitions.

It’s amazing what random knowledge you collect in PR.

That’s good, considering non-PR professionals expect you to be a beacon of wisdom in literature, grammar, advertising (not the same as PR, by the way), and all other things people mistake for public relations.

One place this fact manifests is the SCRABBLE® board. While a SCRABBLE®-loving PR professional is likely aware of “quixotry” or “syzygy,” only top competitors have mastered the oft-overlooked two-letter words.

Did you know that two-letter words can be worth up to 33 points, such as “qi” or “za,” played on a triple word score? Or that Scrabble has added nine of them since the 2001 edition of the game?

The next time a jealous competitor asks, “If you’re in PR, then what does ‘aa’ mean?” you can confidently state that it is a rough, cindery lava, before brushing the dirt off your shoulders and playing for the triple word score. Or, casually slip “Oy, ae ai in an al et my ma — mm” into your next news release.

Here are all these two-letter SCRABBLE® words accepted by Merriam-Webster’s SCRABBLE® Word Finder:

Aa: Rough, cindery lava

Ab: An abdominal muscle

Ad: An advertisement

Ae: One

Ag: Agriculture

Ah: Aah

Ai: A three-toed sloth

Al: An East Indian tree

Am: To have actuality

An: Used before words beginning with a vowel sound

Ar: The letter R

As: The letter R

At: In the position of

Aw: Used to express protest, disgust, or disbelief

Ax: To work on with an ax (a type of cutting tool)

Ay: Aye

Ba: The eternal soul, in Egyptian mythology

Be: To have actuality

Bi: A bisexual person

Bo: A pal

By: A pass in certain card games

Da: Dad

De: Of; from — used in names

Do: The first tone of the diatonic musical scale

Ed: Education

Ef: The letter F

Eh: Used to express doubt or surprise

El: An elevated railroad or train

Em: The letter M

En: The letter N

Er: Used to express hesitation

Es: Ess

Et: A past tense of eat

Ex: To cross out

Fa: The fourth tone of the diatonic musical scale

Fe: A Hebrew letter

Gi: A white garment worn in martial arts

Go: To move along

Ha: A sound of surprise

He: A male person

Hi: Used as a greeting

Hm: Hmm

Ho: Used to express surprise

Id: A part of the psyche

If: A possibility

In: To harvest

Is: To have actuality

It: The 3d person sing. neuter pronoun

Jo: A sweetheart

Ka: The spiritual self of a human being in Egyptian religion

Ki: Qi

La: The sixth tone of the diatonic musical scale

Li: A Chinese unit of distance

Lo: Used to attract attention or to express surprise

Ma: Mother

Me: The objective case of the pronoun I

Mi: The third tone of the diatonic musical scale

Mm: Used to express assent or satisfaction

Mo: A moment

Mu: A Greek letter

My: The possessive form of the pronoun I

Na: No; not

Ne: Born with the name of

No: A negative reply

Nu: A Greek letter

Od: A hypothetical force of natural power

Oe: A whirlwind off the Faeroe islands

Of: Coming from

Oh: To exclaim in surprise, pain, or desire

Oi: Oy

Om: A mantra used in contemplation of ultimate reality

On: The side of the wicket where a batsman stands in cricket

Op: A style of abstract art

Or: The heraldic color gold

Os: An orifice

Ow: Used to express sudden pain

Ox: A hoofed mammal

Oy: Used to express dismay or pain

Pa: A father

Pe: A Hebrew letter

Pi: A Greek letter

Po: A chamber pot

Qi: The vital force that in Chinese thought is inherent in all things

Re: The second tone of the diatonic musical scale

Sh: Used to urge silence

Si: Ti

So: Sol

Ta: An expression of gratitude

Te: Ti

Ti: The seventh tone of the diatonic musical scale

To: In the direction of

Uh: Used to express hesitation

Um: To hesitate or pause in speaking

Un: One

Up: To raise

Us: The objective case of the pronoun we

Ut: The musical tone C in the French solmization system now replaced by do

We: 1st person pl. pronoun in the nominative case

Wo: Woe

Xi: A Greek letter

Xu: A monetary unit of Vietnam

Ya: An Asian pear

Ye: You

Yo: Used to call attention or to express affirmation

Za: A pizza

What games do you love to play to keep your wordsmithing skills sharp, PR Daily readers?

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