Last revision: July 9, 2014
Words containing no vowels include Q.T. (as in "on the q.t."), DJ, and RX, which MWCD10 classifies as words rather than abbreviations. (The reason apparently is that the letters are pronounced. Thus RV is an abbreviation when it stands for Revised Version, but it is a word when it means recreational vehicle.) A plural of RX is RXS, which has no vowels but three pronounced syllables.
Other words having no vowels are BRRR, GRR, HMMMM, JHVH, MR., MRS., MS, NTH, PFFT, pH, PHPHT, PHT, PSST, SH, SHH, SSSHHHHH, TSK, TSKS, TSKTSK, TSKTSKS, TV, YHWH, ZZZ, HSH (hush, W3), ST (silence, quiet, W3), TCH (vexation or disgust, W3), TCK (surprise or displeasure), and TST (hissed sound enjoining silence, W3). PHFFFT! and SSSSSSS are titles of movies from 1954 and 1973. The OED has TPRW (the sound of a horn). GRRL is in the Macquarie Dictionary, with the alternate spelling GRRRL [Charles Turner].
This web page lists words having no vowels that are playable in Words with Friends. It lists some words with W used as a vowel.
Note: In some of the following entries, the consonants l and r function as sonorants and thus fulfill the role of a vowel.
KRK is a Croatian island [Juozas Rimas].
Richard VLK of Pittsburgh profited from a vowelless last name in 1983 when he won over $20,000 by finding enough flip tops from Pepsi cans to spell his name 1,393 times.
William P. MLKVY played basketball for Temple University. He is referred to as the "Owl Without a Vowel," although the Y in his name is a vowel.
A banner held up at a baseball game read, “Hrbek, buy a vowel!” It referred to Kent HRBEK of the Minnesota Twins.
There are 8 consecutive consonants in the surname MKRTSCHJAN [Eric Brahinsky].
The longest common word without an A, E, I, O, or U is RHYTHMS, but these additional words appear in W2: SYMPHYSY, NYMPHLY, GYPSYRY, GYPSYFY. YSBYTY YSTWYTH is a small village in Ceredigion, Wales. The OED2 has TWYNDYLLYNG(S). And WPPWRMWSTE (in the OED) goes nine letters without an A, E, I, O, or U. Paul Wright found that the will of William Tyllcott of Nailstone, Leicestershire, on the 2nd of April 1547, has, “I bequethe to evry one of my god CHYLLDRYN apeyste £14....” GLYCYRRHIZIN (a constituent of licorice) goes eight letters without A, E, I, O, or U. GLYCYPHYLLIN and GLYCYPHYLLOS each goes 10 letters without AEIOU. GLYCYLGLYCYLGLYCYLGLYCINE goes 22 letters without AEIOU. (In all these words, "Y" is a vowel. Paul Wright contributed to this section.)
There are seven consecutive consonants in HIRSCHSPRUNG'S DISEASE (OED2), SCHTSCHI (variant of shchi, OED2), and TSKTSKS (OSPD3), TSINAMDZGHVRIANT'KARI (a Georgian village), SCHTSCHUROWSKIA (a genus of umbellifer), NIMPTSCHDORF (a place name in Moravia), the name Herbert SCHACHTSCHNEIDER (a German tenor), and the name Angelika KIRCHSCHLAGER (a famous mezzo-soprano) [Alan Crooke, Philip Bennett, Juozas Rimas, Dan Tilque, Charles Turner, Eric Brahinsky].
There are seven consecutive consonants in Scilla mischtschenkoana, an ornamental plant originally from Russia, the white (or Tubergen) squill [Charles Turner]. A History of the Origin of the Place Names in Nine Northwestern States (Chicago, 1908) gives an early spelling of Chicago that begins with seven consonants in a row: STKTSCHAGKO [Stuart Kidd].
These words have 6 consecutive consonants: AARRGHHS [OSPD], ARCHCHRONICLER, BERGSCHRUND, BORSCHTS, BRONKHORSTSPRUIT (a town in South Africa), CATCHPHRASE, DORFSCHNEIDER (a surname), DUFTSCHMID (a surname), ESCHSCHOLTZIA (a genus of poppies), FESTSCHRIFT, FLIGHTSTRIP, FRUCHTSCHIEFER, GOLDSCHMIDT (a surname), HANTZSCHIA (genus of diatom), HERTZSPRUNG-RUSSELL DIAGRAM, KAMPSCHROEDER (a surname), KIRSCHSTEINITE, KNIGHTSBRIDGE (a district in London), KOBITZSCHWALDE (a place name in Saxony), KOTZSCHMAR (a surname), KRETZSCHMAR or KRETZSCHMER (a surname), LACHSSCHINKEN, LATCHSTRING, LENGTHSMAN, MALITZSCHKENDORF (a place name in Saxony), MISCHSPRACHE, NACHSCHLAG, POSTPHTHISIC, SCHELLSCHMIDT (a surname), SIGHTSCREEN, TSKTSKING, VELDTSCHOEN, WATCHSTRAP, WELTSCHMERZ. A genus of rhododendron is Rhododendron camptschaticum. Ensatina eschscholtzi is a lungless salamander of the family Plethodontidae. Eleutherodactylus karlschmidti is the extinct Puerto Rican web-footed coqui, a tiny frog. There is a musical by Trisha Ward entitled NIGHTSHRIEK [Rudy Wang, Philip Bennett, Denis Borris, Charles Turner, Stuart Kidd, Eric Brahinsky].
TRKNMLI, an extinct language once spoken in Asia Minor (Pei & Gaynor, A Dictionary of Linguistics) appears to have six consecutive consonants, but the r is probably a vowel in the local language [Stuart Kidd].
ANGSTS is the shortest word with 5 consonants in a row. Some other words with 5 consonants in a row are ANGSTROM, ANSCHLUSS, ARCHPRESBYTER(ATE), ARCHPRIEST, ARCHPRINCE, ASHTHROAT, ASTRENGTHS, BACKSPLASH, BACKSPLICE, BACKSPREAD, BACKSPRING, BACKSTRAP, BACKSTREET, BACKSTRETCH, BACKSTRIP, BACKSTROKE, BACKSTROMITE, BIRTHPLACE, BIRTHSTONE, BIRTHSTOOL, BLACKSTRAP, BOLTSTRAKE, BRAUNSCHWEIGER, BREASTSTROKE, BREMSSTRAHLUNG, BRUSHSTROKE, CATCHCRY, CATCHFLY, CHECKSTRAP, CHECKSTRING, CHURCHSCOT, CHURCHSHOT, CORKSCREW, DAWNSTREAK, DEUTSCHMARK, DIRNDLS, DOWNSTREAM, DOWNSTREET, DOWNSTROKE, DOWNTHROW, DOWNTHRUST, DRAUGHTSMAN, DUMBSTRUCK, EARTHBRED, EARTHDRAKE, EARTHFLOW, EARTHGRUBBER, EARTHSHAKING, EARTHSHINE, EARTHSHOCK, EARTHSLIDE, EARTHSMOKE, EARTHSTAR, EIGHTHLY, EIGHTHS, EIGHTSCORE, ERSTWHILE, FILMSTRIP, FIRSTFRUITS, FLIGHTSHOT, FORLENGTHS, FORTHBRINGER, GHOSTSCRIPT, HAETTENSCHWEILER, HARDSCRABBLE, HEALTHCRAFT, HEARTHSTONE, HEARTSTRICKEN, HEARTSTRIKE, HEARTSTRING(S), HEARTTHROB, HITCHPROOF, HUCKSTRESS, ITCHPROOF, JACKSCREW, JACKSTRAW, JOCKSTRAP, KIRSCHNER VALUE, KIRSCHWASSER, LANDSKNECHT, LASTSPRING, LENGTHFUL, LENGTHS, LENGTHSMAN, LENGTHWAYS, LENGTHWISE, LIGHTPLANE, LIGHTPROOF, LIGHTSHIP, LONGSCHAT PINE, MATCHSTICK, MELANCHTHONIAN, MILLSTREAM, MUCKSPREADER, NIETZSCHEAN, NIETZSCHEANISM, NIETZSCHEISM, NIGHTCHURR, NIGHTCLOTHES, NIGHTCLUB, NIGHTDRESS, NIGHTFLIT, NIGHTGLOW, NIGHTSHADE, NIGHTSHIRT, NIGHTSTAND, NIGHTSTICK, NIGHTSTOCK, NIGHTSTOOL, NIGHTTRIPPING, OFFSCREEN, OFFSPRING, OFFSTREAM, OUTLENGTHS, PACKTHREAD, PHENOLPHTHALEIN, PINTSCH, PITCHBLENDE, PITCHSTONE, POSTPHRAGMA, POSTPHRENIC, POSTSCRIBE, POSTSCRIPT, POSTSCRIPTUM, POSTSPHENOID, POSTSPHYGMIC, POSTSPLENIAL, POSTSPLENIC, POSTSTRIKE, POSTSTROKE, RINGSTRAKED, ROUGHSTRING, SALTSPRINKLER, SCHWARZSCHILD RADIUS, SCOTCHFREE, SCRATCHBRUSH, SCRATCHPROOF, SHEIKHDZHEILIA, SHORTSCHAT, SNATCHPROOF, SONGSTRESS, SPORTSWRITER, STRANGHTHS, STREINGTHS, STRENGTHFUL, STRENGTHLESS, STRENGTHS, STRENNCTHE, STRETCHPROOF, SUBPOSTSCRIPT, SWITCHBLADE, SWITCHGRASS, TERNSTROEMIA, TERNSTROEMIACEAE, THOUSANDTHS, THUMBSCREW, TRICKSTRESS, TURNSCREW, TWELFTHS, WARMTHS, WATCHFREE, WELLSPRING, WELLSTRAND, WINDSCREEN, WINGSPREAD, WITCHCRAFT, WITHSTRAIN.
LIGHTSTORM, with five consecutive consonants, is a strain of Cannabis, the name of James Cameron's film production company, and the title of a Peter F. Hamilton short story. PEWTERSCHMIDT is the name of a family on the TV show Family Guy.
Some proper names with 5 consonants in a row are AHLSTROM, ALTSCHULER, ARMSTRAD, ARMSTRONG, BARTSCH, BASSINGTHWAIGHTE, BERGSTRAND, BERGSTRESSER, BERGSTROM, BERKSTRESSER, BERTSCH, BETSCHKE, BORGSTROM, BRANNSTROM, BRAUNSCHWEIG, BURTSCHI, BURTSCHY, DUCHSCHERER, EDINBURGHSHIRE (also called Midlothian, an administrative district of Scotland), FERNSTROM, FILTSCH, FISCHTHAL, GOLDSTRICH, GOLDTHWAITE (place name in Texas), GOLSCHMANN, GÖTSCHL, GOTTSCHALK, GOTTSCHEWSKI, GULLSTRAND, GOTTSCHEWSKI, HACKENSCHMIED, HAGGSTROM, HALLSTROM, HENTSCHEL, HERBSTREIT, HERRSCHER, HERSCHBACH, HERSCHKOWITSCH, HERSCHTAL, HILLSTROM, HIRSCHFELD, HIRSCHHORN, HOCHSCHILD, HOCHSPRUNG, HOFMANNSTHAL, HOLDSCLAW, HOLTSCLAW, IMSCHWEILER, JANTSCH, KALLSTROM, KIRKCUDBRIGHTSHIRE (a county in Scotand), KLEINPÖTZSCHAU (a place name in Saxony), KLEINSCHMOGRAU (a place name in Silesia), KONWITSCHNY, KRETSCHMER, LONGSTREET, MALMSTROM, MELANCHTHON, MESSERSCHNITZ, MISCHLJENOVATZ, NIETZSCHE, NITSCHKE, NITZSCHE, NORDSTROM, OBERSCHLEISSHEIM, OLSCHWANGER, PERTHSHIRE (a county and burgh in Scotland), PETSCHNIKOFF, PIETZSCH, POETZSCH, QUARNSTROM, ROCKSPRINGS (a town in Texas), ROTHSCHILD, ROXBURGHSHIRE, SALTZSTEIN, SCOTTSBLUFF (city in Nebraska), SOUTHSTREET, STEINSCHNEIDER, STELLPFLUG, TELTSCHIK, TERPSTRA, TREITSCHKE, WILDSCHÜTZ, WILHELMSTRASSE, WINDISCHGRÄTZ.
[Contributors to the lists of five consecutive consonants are Byron Davidson, Denis Borris, Rudy Wang, Stuart Kidd, Todd Heimarck, Charles Turner, Dan Tilque, Eric Brahinsky, Jeb Bishop].
FLORIDA and RHODE ISLAND are the only names of states which begin with two consonants [Dean Mayer].
According to Paul Wright, the longest words with no consonants repeating are: SEMIAUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (20 letters), DIETHYLCARBAMAZINES (19 letters), and these 18-letter words: BOURGEOISIFICATION, DIETHYLCARBAMAZINE, OVERSIMPLIFICATION, and OVERSPECIALIZATION.
The Croatian word OPSKRBLjIVAČ (supplier) has 7 consecutive consonants [Vjekoslav Babic].
A Croatian dialect word mrklj (snot; booger) is standardized as mrkalj merely because the Croatian standard allows for the syllabic r, but not the syllabic lj. (The syllabic l is allowed rarely, in a few exceptions such as bicikl - bicycle.) [Bojan Kopitar]
According to Jan Pulkrábek, a high school teacher of the Czech language, the longest Czech word without a vowel is ČTVRTHRST (quarter-handful). He says it is not commonly used, but possible.
In Czech, ČTVRTKRUH (quadrant) has seven consonants before the first vowel [Brian Kell].
In Czech, ZMRZLINA (ice cream) has five consonants before the first vowel [Pablo Martín-Francés].
In Czech, three sentences which have no a, e, i, o, and u vowels, provided by Stanislav Tvrdík, Jan Pulkrábek, and Paul Wright, are:
Strč prst skrz krk. (“Put your finger through your throat.”)
Vlk prv strhl srst srn, zhltl hrst zrn. (“At first the wolf ripped coat of does, then he/it devoured handful of grains.”)
Smrž pln skvrn zvlhl z mlh. (“Morel full of spots dampened from fogs.”)
plch zdrhl skrz drn, prv zhltl hrst zrn
chrt pln skvrn vtrh skrz trs chrp v ctvrt Krc
Mark D. Lew writes, “If you allow that "r" is a consonant (which is debatable), then words beginning with four consonants are commonplace in Czech, as are words consisting entirely of consonants. (KRK, PRST, SMRK, SMRT, SRDCE). Words beginning with five consonants are not too rare either. ČTVRT means quarter, and Thursday is ČTVRTEK. There is a professional volleyball player named Bob CTVRTLIK. The same is true of Serbo-Croatian, to a lesser extent. (CRKVA=church, MRKVA=carrot, TRG=market, ŽRTVA=victim). The great king of medieval Bosnia was named TVRTKO. Polish also has many common words beginning with four consonants, and a few beginning with five, though most of these include digraphs (PSZCZOLA=bee).”
The Dutch words SLECHTSTSCHRIJVENDE and ZACHTSTSCHREIENDE (that of some people there is one weeping the lowest) have 9 consecutive consonants [Fred Pruis].
The Dutch word ANGSTSCHREEUW (a cry of fear) is a widely known word with 8 consecutive consonants or 6 consecutive consonantal phonemes. A Dutch word with 7 consecutive consonantal phonemes is HERFSTSPREKER (speaker in autumn). It is not an official word however [Oscar van Vlijmen].
The French word SCHTROUMPFS (plural of smurf) is a monosyllabic word containing one set of 5 consecutive consonants and another set of 4.
The Georgian word GVBRDGVNIT ("you tear us into pieces") has 8 consecutive consonants.
In Georgian, GVPRTSKVNI (you peel us) is a one-syllable word [Benjamin Schak].
The German words ANGSTSCHWEISS and RECHTSSCHWENKUNG have 8 consecutive consonants [Darryl Zurn].
In Slovak, ODSTVRTVRSTVIT has 11 consecutive consonants. It means "to remove a quarter of a layer." The same word in Czech is written as ODČTVRTVRSTVIT [Miroslav Sedivy].
The Slovenian word RAZZVRKLJATI (to prepare the egg for baking, making omelettes; a hacek over the second z) has seven consecutive consonants [Rok Gajski].
In the Slovenian language ČMRLJ ("bumble bee") consists only of 5 consonants.
In Slovene, these words have no a, e, i, o, u vowels: ZVRST (kind, sort, type), ČVRST (strong, muscular, robust), ČMRLJ (bumblebee), RT (cape, as in Cape of Good Hope), RŽ (rye), SRB (man from Serbia), GRK (man from Greece), VRT (garden), and TRG (market place). In these words, R is called a vowel R.
The Swedish word VÄRLDSSCHLAGER (a kind of world music) has 8 consecutive consonants.
The Tashlhiyt dialect of Berber is known for its vowelless words, such as TZGR (she crossed) and RGLX (I locked). Among the longest are TKKSTSTT (you [fem.] took it off) and TFTKTSTT (you sprained it) [Benjamin Schak].
Robert G. Wirth writes, "In Ukrainian, beet soup is called BORSHCH. So I can say: 'In Minneapolis there are two good borshchs, at the Ukrainian Hall and at Kramarczuk's Sausage Company.' Trouble is, in gaining the extra H we sacrifice the T; but the plural still has six consonants."
In Welsh, Bydd y cyllyll yn y cwpwrdd wrth y bwrdd ("The knives will be in the cupboard by the table") does not use the vowels a, e, i, o, and u. In 2014 Paul Wright lengthened the sentence to Bydd y cyllyll gwyrdd tywyll yn y cwpwrdd wrth y bwrdd gwyrdd tywyll (“The dark green knives will be in the cupboard by the dark green table”). He further lengthened it to Bydd y cyllyll gwyrdd tywyll yn y cwpwrdd gwyrdd tywyll yn y stryd wrth y bwrdd gwyrdd tywyll (“The dark green knives will be in the dark green cupboard in the street by the dark green table”).
AFTERCATARACTS (plural for a condition that sometimes follows cataract surgery), TESSERADECADES and TETRASTEARATES are the longest words which can be typed using only the fingers of the left hand. The first word appears in a Merriam-Webster medical dictionary; the second is in W2. Other such words (some of which are not in dictionaries) are ABSTRACTERS, ABSTRACTEST, AFTEREFFECT, AFTEREFFECTS, AFTERTASTES, AFTERWARDS, ASSEVERATED, ASSEVERATES, BEGGARWEEDS, CASEBEARERS, CRABGRASSES, DATABASES, DECEREBRATE, DECEREBRATED, DECEREBRATES, DESECRATERS, DESEGREGATE, DESEGREGATED, DESEGREGATES, DETARTRATED, DEVERTEBRATED, EFFERVESCED, EFFERVESCES, EXTRAVASATES, GAZETTEER, READDRESSED, READDRESSES, REAGGRAVATES, REASSEVERATE, RESEGREGATE, RESEGREGATED, RESEGREGATES, REVEGETATED, REVEGETATES, REVERBERATE, REVERBERATED, REVERBERATES, SASSAFRASES, STAGECRAFTS, STATECRAFTS, STAVESACRES, STEWARDESSES, SWEATERDRESSES, SWEETBREADS, TERRACEWARDS, TRADECRAFTS, VERTEBRATES, WASTEWATERS, WATERCRAFTS, WATERCRESSES.
JOHNNY-JUMP-UP (a fast-growing flower or a brand name for a type of toy) is the longest word found in abridged dictionaries that can be typed using only the fingers of the right hand. Other such words (some of which are not in dictionaries) are HOKYPOKY, HOMONYMY, HOMOPHONY, HOMOPHYLY, HYPOLIMNION, HYPOPHYLL, HYPOPHYLLIUM, HYPOPHYLLUM, HYPOPYON, ILLINIUM, ILLUMINOPOLY, KINNIKINNIK, LOLLIPOP, LUPULINUM, MILLIMHO, MILLIOHM, MIMINYPIMINY, MINIKINLY, MINIMILL, MONOHULL, MONOPHONY, MONOPOLY, NIPPONIUM, NONILLION, PHYLLOPHYLLIN, POLLINIUM, POLONIUM, POLYONOMY, POLYPHONIUM, POLYPHONY, UNHOLILY, UNUNNILIUM, and UNUNUNIUM.
Names of countries which can be typed with one hand are GREECE and QATAR [Alan Hochbaum].
Names of national capitals which can be typed with one hand are ACCRA (Ghana), BASSETERRE (St. Kitts and Nevis), CARACAS (Venezuela), RABAT (Morocco), TARAWA (Kiribati), WARSAW (Poland), and ZAGREB (Croatia) [Alan Hochbaum].
The only last names of Presidents of the U. S. which can be typed entirely with the left hand are TAFT and CARTER. The only last name of a President of the U. S. which can be typed entirely with the right hand is POLK.
The only name of a state that can be typed with the right hand is OHIO. The only name of a state that can be typed with the left hand is TEXAS. The only name of a state capital that can be typed with one hand is HONOLULU. [Alan Hochbaum]
The only names of chemical elements which can be typed with the fingers of one hand are HOLMIUM and POLONIUM [Alan Hochbaum].
Dmitri Borgmann gives this sentence which is typed using only the right hand: In July, oh my kill-joy Molly, I’ll look in upon my jumpy polo pony up in hilly Honolulu [Stuart Kidd].
TYPEWRITER can be typed using only the top row of keys on the keyboard. The following ten-letter words with this feature all appear in W2: PEPPERROOT, PEPPERWORT, PERPETUITY, PEWTERWORT, PIROUETTER, PREREQUIRE, PRETORTURE, PROPRIETOR, REPERTOIRE, REPETITORY, TETTERWORT. These words have also been suggested: PROPRIETORY, PROTEROTYPE, RUPTUREWORT, PITUITOTROPE, UROPYOURETER. Chris Cole (Wordplay) gives TEETERTOTTER, although MWCD10 spells the word with a hyphen. A person who rides a teetertotter would be a TEETERTOTTERER [Stuart Kidd]. A reader of this page suggests POWERTRIPPER, although this word seems not to be in dictionaries.
EUROPE can be typed using only the top row of keys. PERU and EIRE are the two names of countries which can be be typed using a single row of keys. The only state with this property is ALASKA. [James A. Landau]
The only words which can be typed using the bottom row of letters are ZZZ (to indicate sleeping), which is found in at least one dictionary, and the interjection MM, which is in the OED. There are no vowels in the bottom row. [Mark Brader]
SHAKALSHAS (plural of Shakalsha, a people emigrating from Phrygia and colonizing Sicily in early times) is the longest word which can be typed using only the middle row of letters on the keyboard. Other such words: HAGGADAHS, FLAGFALLS, HADASSAHS, GALAGALA, GALAHADS, HASKALAH, and ALFALFAS.
DEEDED can be typed using one finger. Some other such words: HUMHUM, HUMMUM, MUHUHU, ZZZ, ECCE, CEDED, MUMMY, UNNUN, YUMMY, YUMYUM, and MUUMUU.
DISMANTLEMENT is typed by alternating the use of both hands. Other such words are ANTIENDOWMENT, ANTIFORMANT, ANTISKEPTICISM, ANTISOCIAL, ANTISUDORIFIC, ANTIVISITOR, AUTHENTICITY, AUTOTOXICOSIS, CHAIRMAN, ENCHANTMENT, ENFLAMEMENT, LEPTOTHRICOSIS, LEUCOCYTOZOANS, NEUROTOXICITY, PRODUCIBLE, PROFICIENCY, PROFICIENT, RHAPSODIAL, RIFLEMAN, SHENANDOAH, SKEPTICISMS, SUBPROBLEMS, SUSPENSORIAL [Patrick Coston, Stuart Kidd].
Byron Davidson suggested that EIGHTY-SIX might be the largest number which when spelled out is typed with alternating hands, ignoring the hyphen. However, Jay E. Lynch recently pointed out that EIGHTY-EIGHT is larger.
POSTMUSCULAR is the longest word typed using alternating hands, two letters at a time.
PLEASING is typed by using each finger one time. Some other such words (all of which consist of eight letters and include the letter P) are SCALPING, CLASPING, LIFESPAN, BIPLANES, CAPTIONS, PANELIST, and JACKPOTS. Bill Teschek suggested these entries, and has a longer list at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~teschek/words.htm.
NEBEPASIDARYSIMASIS (19 letters) is, according to Juozas Rimas, possibly the longest Lithuanian word alternating consonants and vowels that can be formed according to legal grammatical rules. It means "a thing of masculine gender that will not be made by oneself anymore". The meaning is obscure but possible, eg if Robinson Crusoe had found a manufactured spade on his island, his idea of making a spade by himself would be [the long word]."