CLOSE
Original image

55 Two-Letter Combinations That Actually Count in 'Words With Friends'

Original image

"THAT's a word?"

If you play Words With Friends and are frequently demoralized by opponents scoring very big points using very small words, this list will help you up your game. If you don't play Words With Friends, perhaps you can work these into conversation.

Aa – Noun of Hawaiian origin describing volcanic rock consisting of angular blocks of lava with a very rough surface.

Ae – A Scot adjective meaning “one.” (The game appears to have an affinity for the Scots.)

Ag – An informal noun, short for “agriculture,” or an informal adjective, short for “agricultural.”

Ai – An “ai” is one of four species of three-toed sloth. They are native to Central and South America and one-degree toeier one than two-toed sloths.

Ar – The most likely definitions of “ar” that this could represent: a variant of “are,” or the spelling of the letter ‘R’ (see “ef” below for further commentary).

Aw – An interjection expressing sympathy, tenderness, disapproval or disbelief. (As in, “Aw, a rookie player unfamiliar with the fact that ‘qi’ is likely to be used in all our games. Poor thing.”)

Ay – An archaic adverb meaning “always” or an archaic interjection used as an expression of sorrow.

Ba – A noun referring to an aspect of the soul in Egyptian religion represented as a bird with a human head. Also, the second letter of the Arabic alphabet.

Da – From the Italian and Portuguese, a preposition meaning “from” or “of” – we see this mostly in names like Leonardo Da Vinci.

De – A French, Spanish, and Portuguese preposition meaning “from” or “of,” often used in surnames – we also see this in names like Danny DeVito (a fellow Renaissance Man).

Ed – An informal shortening of “education,” as in “driver’s ed.”

Ef – The spelling of the letter “f.” (As in, “Why the ef would they accept the spellings of letters?”)

Eh – An interjection expressing questioning surprise or seeking the repetition or confirmation of a statement or question.

Em – The spelling of the letter “m”

En – Another letter spelling (If your opponent employs all of these, you can tell him or her to go straight to aitch.)

Er – An interjection used to represent a pause, hesitation, or uncertainty. (The second-most popular word in Public Speaking 101, right after “like.”)

Et – Not sure if the game is accepting “et” as the nonstandard past tense of “eat” used primarily in the North Atlantic, South Midland and Southern United States or as a noun suffix having a diminutive force (as in “tablet”) Either way, weird.

Ex – Short for "excluding."

Fa – The syllable for the fourth tone of the diatonic scale (A.K.A. "A long, long way to ruuuun.")

Fe – No idea why this is accepted, but it is the symbol for iron.

Gi – A two-piece garment, usually white in color, worn by barefooted martial arts participants consisting of pants and a wraparound jacket with a cloth belt – short for keikogi or dogi. (I am not sure what they call it when the individual slips on some shoes.)

Hm – They are actually accepting this as an interjection expressing thoughtful absorption, hesitation, doubt, or perplexity. I always thought it had many more ‘M’s.

Ho – An interjection used as a call to attract attention (as in “Westward, ho!"), to exclaim delight or surprise. Or to tell a horse to stop.

Id – The Freudian component of consciousness that seeks satisfaction according to the pleasure principle. Probably the reason you are playing Words With Friends in the first place.

Jo – A Scot word for “sweetheart.” (As in, when the Jersey Shore cast does Season 12 in Scotland, Sammi will be “Sammi Jo.”) Its plural, “joes,” is also accepted.

Ka – A spiritual entity that is part of an individual believed to live within the body and survive after death.

Ki – The Earth goddess in Sumerian mythology.

Lo – An interjection meaning “look!” or “see!” Usually used as a part of the expression “lo and behold.” (Lo! Look how many two-letter interjections there are!)

Mi – The syllable for the third tone of the diatonic scale (A.K.A. "A name I call myself.")

Mm – I am not sure why this is accepted but it sure is handy to know. Maybe it's like “hm,” but used to express that something is yummy. I also thought this word had more ‘M’s.

Mu – The 12th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Na – Appears to be accepted as a variant of “no.”

Ne – I'm not sure exactly why "ne" is accepted. But it is. I swear. I saw it. It's the symbol for neon and the abbreviation for Nebraska, but neither appears to be the reason it's allowed.

Nu – The 13th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Od – A hypothetical force formerly believed to pervade all nature and be manifested in magnetism, mesmerism, chemical actions, etc. Also known as vital energy or life force. (“May the od be with you” may be a fun new joke to test out among your Star Wars-loving friends. Let us know how that goes.)

Oe – In addition to being the abbreviation for Old English (both the language and the malt liquor), oe is an interjection of Scottish origin used to express dismay, pain, annoyance, or the like. Along with “oi” (also accepted), it is a variant of “oy” (also accepted).

Oi – See above.

Om – The supreme and most sacred syllable in Hinduism and Buddhism believed to be the spoken essence of the universe.

Op – As far as I can tell, this is a shortened form of the word “optical” used in the phrase “op art,” which describes a style of abstract art where lines, forms, and space are organized in a way that creates optical illusions of an ambiguous nature. It is also listed as an abbreviation of “opus.”

Os – A plural noun that can mean a bone or a mouth/orifice.

Oy – se “oe” and “oi” above.

Pe – The 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Pi – 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816
40628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172
53594081284811174502841027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109756
65933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213
39360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789
25903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094330572703657595919530921
86117381932611793105118548074462379962749567351885752724891227938183011
9491

Qi – Noun variant of “chi.” (This word appears to be used in upwards of 100% of games played, much to the dismay of newbies who are unfamiliar with the term.) The plural, “qis,” is also accepted.

Re – The syllable for the second tone of the diatonic scale (A.K.A. "A drop of golden suuuun.")

Sh – An interjection used to urge silence.

Se – It’s the symbol for the element selenium but I can't tell you why it’s accepted. That was just a fun fact.

Ta – The third letter of the Arabic alphabet. Also a British slang interjection used to express thanks.

Ti – The syllable for the seventh tone of the diatonic scale (A.K.A. “A drink with jam and breeeead.")

Ut – The syllable once used to express the first tone of the diatonic scale, now most frequently referred to as “do.” “Ut” is not considered to be another term for a deer, a female deer.

Wo – An alternate form of the archaic noun “woe” meaning grievous distress, affliction or sorrow.

Xi – The 14th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Xu – An aluminum coin and monetary unit in Vietnam, worth 1/100 of a dong.

Ya – An alternate form of the pronouns “you” and “your” and the 28th letter of the Arabic alphabet.

Za – An American slang abbreviation for “pizza” and the 17th letter of the Arabic alphabet.

Note: While there are 105 total two-letter words accepted in the game, we figured 55 was just plenty for now. Baby steps.
* * * * * *
Words With Friends accepts more than 173,000 words and uses as the basis for its vocabulary list the Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE), which calls itself “the most researched, and therefore the most authoritative word list available.”

The Words With Friends website does indicate that they have added some of their own words, such as “zen” and “texting,” and players have the opportunity to suggest additional words here. I already checked—“poo” is already accepted; I am out of suggestions for the time being.

Original image
Michael Campanella/Getty Images
arrow
Lists
10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
Original image
Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.

1. ON SCIENCE

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.

2. ON NASA FUNDING

"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles

3. ON GOD AND HURRICANES

"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole

4. ON THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY INVENTED FOR USE IN SPACE

"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles

5. ON THE DEMOTION OF PLUTO FROM PLANET STATUS 

PBS

"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

6. ON JAMES CAMERON'S TITANIC

"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole

7. ON DEATH BY ASTEROID

"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles

8. ON THE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND AMERICA'S MOONSHOT

"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

9. ON INTELLIGENT LIFE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."

10. PRACTICAL ADVICE IN THE EVENT OF ALIEN CONTACT 

A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
Original image
Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
40 Fun Facts About Sesame Street
Original image
Getty Images

Now in its 47th season, Sesame Street is one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame facts from previous stories and our Amazing Fact Generator.

Sesame Workshop

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2". (Pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon.)

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS' funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmere, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student, Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Thanks to Stacy Conradt, Joe Hennes, Drew Toal, and Chris Higgins for their previous Sesame coverage!

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios