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What Is the Only Letter That Doesn’t Appear in Any US State Name?

The solitary letter that eludes every US state name is 'Q.' This quirky linguistic fact highlights the unique composition of state names, reflecting a rich tapestry of linguistic origins. How does this absence shape our perception of language in geography? Join us as we unravel the alphabet's role in America's cartography. What might this reveal about cultural influence and history?
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

Out of all 50 US state names, there's just one letter that doesn't appear even once - the letter "Q." The other 25 letters are featured in at least one state name. Thanks to Arizona and New Jersey, even "Z" and "J" are included. "X," "B," and "F" each appear in two US state names – Texas and New Mexico, Nebraska and Alabama, and Florida and California, respectively. But not a single state has the letter "Q," nor will you find it in the name of any state capital.

The letter "Q" does, however, appear twice in the name of the 32nd-most-populous US city – Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico. "Q" is also found in Mesquite, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) and Quincy, Massachusetts (a Boston suburb).

“Q” is the only letter that doesn’t appear in the name of any of the 50 US states.
“Q” is the only letter that doesn’t appear in the name of any of the 50 US states.

For an added challenge, can you guess the one US state that begins with two consecutive vowels? Here are some hints – it's in the Midwest and is nicknamed the Hawkeye State. Yep, it's Iowa, named after the Ioway people, a Siouan Native American nation.

A state by any other name:

  • On the other hand, the letter "A" appears the most frequently in US state names.

  • Louisiana and South Carolina are the states with the most vowels in their names. Each has six vowels, with all six in a single word in Louisiana.

  • The states with the shortest names are Utah, Iowa, and Ohio, each with four letters. Massachusetts, North Carolina, and South Carolina each have 13 letters.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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    • “Q” is the only letter that doesn’t appear in the name of any of the 50 US states.
      “Q” is the only letter that doesn’t appear in the name of any of the 50 US states.