Tuesday, July 05, 2016


I've been watching a bit of the British TV show QI lately, and they mentioned the fact that the word "typewriter" can be written using the top row of keys on a QWERTY keyboard.

This got me wondering about what commonly-used words are the longest for each row. In addition to "typewriter", other 10-letter words you can type exclusively on the top row include "perpetuity" and "repertoire". Claims for "teeter-totter" seem to be cheating, as it is almost always written with a hyphen. The OED lists a few more such words, but none that are common ("pepperwort"?).

For the middle row, the longest seems to be "alfalfa".

The poor sad bottom row seems to have no examples at all, unless you include "zzz", which is sometimes used to indicate the sound of sleep.

On a French AZERTY keyboard, one can type the English words "appropriate", "perpetrator", "preparatory", "proprietary", as well as the winner, "reappropriate". The longest French words on their national keyboard seem to be "approprieriez" and "pirouetterait".


Jeffo said...

Restricted typewriter challenges like this are pretty common on Will Shortz' Weekend Edition puzzles. The weekly puzzle once asked for the most creative and meaningful English sentence written only with the left hand; the winner's entry involved Bart Starr and Brett Favre (Green Bay Packers quarterbacks) if I remember correctly.

JimV said...

On my middle row I can do Galahad's (including the apostrophe), as in "Galahad's sword was called Espee as Estrainges Renges." One could do that with alfalfa also, but less naturally, I think. Maybe names of persons shouldn't count, though, since they can be made up.

Alon said...

also for the middle row, there's shahada (in Islam), haggadah (in Judaism), and shakalaka (often preceded by "boom")