The White Queen’s Dictionary of One-Letter Words, from
a per se [a] means “a by itself makes the word a.”
Z a medieval Roman numeral for 2,000.

When the White Queen of Looking Glass fame bragged that she could read words of one letter, she beseeched Alice not to be discouraged, promising “You’ll come to it in time.” Indeed, the Queen’s one letter word vocabulary was more comprehensive than one might first assume.

A word is any letter or group of letters which has meaning and is used as a unit of language.

So even though there are only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet, they stand for over seven hundred distinct units of meaning.

(Via Incoming Signals.)


  1. o?

  2. X?

  3. In Czech, my native language, we have quite a lot of one-letter words in comparison to other languages I know and the words belong to the most common:
    a – conj. means “and”
    i – conj. means “and also”
    k – prep. means “to, towards”
    o – prep. means “about”
    s – prep. means “with”
    u – prep. means “by, near”
    v – prep. means “in”
    z – prep. means “from”

  4. Thank you, otaflegr. I’ve glanced at Czech books without knowing the language and I was impressed with those one-letter prepositions and conjunctions, about half of which I was able to guess.

  5. Personally, I like the dictionary of all consonant words.

  6. Pfft.

  7. Welsh has:
    a – conj. “and”
    â – prep. “with”
    e – pron. “he/him” (South)
    i – prep. “to/for”
    i – pron. “I/me”
    o – prep. “from/of”
    o – pron. “he/him” (North)
    w – interj. “you know/you see?”
    y – art. “the”
    w is a vowel in Welsh, so “crwth” really shouldn’t be in the all consonant list. I’m going to see a crwth player tonight, w.

  8. Swedish has a two one-letter nouns (which seems rare, judging from the above):
    å = stream
    And one one-letter preposition:
    i = in

  9. I might be a bit late with this comment, but I’ll give it a try.
    In a Danish dialect from south western Jutland it is apparently possibly to produce the following utterance:
    a æ å æ ø å æ å
    In ‘standard’ Danish it would be: jeg er på øen på åen
    Or in English: I am on the island on the river.
    (In the dialect form, ‘æ’ is the definite article, and it comes before the noun, as in English, unlike the typical enclitic definite article of Danish. In other words, ‘æ ø’ means ‘the island’, rather than ‘øen’. This is typical of Vestjysk/West Jutish.)
    The sentence itself is apparently feasible, but constructed as a bit of a joke. Even so, how many other languages/dialects/whatever can do the same thing, I wonder?!!

  10. Yum!
    ((starts plotting to spring this on the unsuspecting in her next Scrabble game))

  11. One from Afrikaans – ‘n means “a”. (Short for een, one).

  12. John Cowan says

    I found this trying to find where Empty talks about his one-letter pseudonym. Updated link.

  13. Updated; thanks!

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