There’s Only One Letter That’s Not in Any U.S. State Name. Can You Guess It?

50 states, only 25 letters. Which one's missing?

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Ready for a quick language brain game? Quick—run through the list of U.S. states in your mind. We’re not going to ask you which state name starts with two vowelsbut we will have you guess this: what letter is not in any state name?

What letter is not in any state name?

Got your guess? Well, my trivia-savvy friends, the answer is…Q. That’s right—50 different names, and not one of them contains the letter Q. Every other letter of our alphabet shows up at least once (well, unless you count these letters that dropped out of our alphabet.)

If you guessed J or Z, though, you were close—and probably don’t live in New Jersey or Arizona, since those are the only states that contain J and Z, respectively. There are couple of other rare letters, too, that only show up twice. No states except Alabama and Nebraska have a B in their name, and California and Florida are the only state names that contain F. If X was your guess, you were also close—the rare letter makes an appearance in only New Mexico and Texas. For a tougher state trivia challenge, try to guess each U.S. state based off its nickname.

The only other letter with fewer than five appearances might surprise you: P! It’s only in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Mississippi (the latter’s double-P bumps it up to four appearances, even though it’s only in three state names). However, if the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico become our 51st and 52nd states, that’ll mean a little more representation for B, F, and P. Still no love for Q, though! Of course, there’s more to the states than just their names—just look at these facts about each of the U.S. states.

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.