The Qu-Word list

If you have a good one to add to this, not counting technical words or words directly from Latin or a modern Romance language (indirect is okay), or if a definition needs correction, leave me a note. It may take a while to get to it, what with all the other stuff I'm doing, but I'll get to it eventually. You're welcome to go to my words front page or my home page.

Someone has already suggested quinoa, the South American form of goosefoot (Chenopodium). It's a great, high-protein cereal grain we should be eating more of, but it's pronounced keen'-wa, and thus is not a 'kw' word. (Similarly, the Inca accounting device quipu: kee'-pu.) Another example : the common word quiet sounds right, but is straight from the Latin quietus (so is 'quit').

Please note that some of these words have several forms; I list my guess at the most original form by placing it first, but it's just a guess. The qu/wh switch indicates either Norwegian or Icelandic roots; in those languages' dialects, kw and hw switch around sometimes (ModEng wh used to be OE hw, which was spoken 'chw' before that, so the switch is a reversion) Also, the East Anglian dialects of English were slow to go qu- --> wh-, even into the 18th century. Several of the meanings are not secure at all, as I had to decipher them from someone's talking, based on context.

I have etymologies (word origins) for each of these words, but some of them are vague guesses. Check them out at the Q word origins page. If you have anything solid on them, again, please send me a note.