Words with Four vowels in a row

A friend of mine posted on his LiveJournal:

There aren’t many English words with four vowels in a row.

Of course, geek that I am, I thought ‘hm, that sounds like a challenge.’

Using egrep and /usr/share/dict/words, I came up with the following:

In my /usr/share/dict/words, it looks like:
4: 159
5: 3 (cadiueio, Chaouia, Guauaenok)
6: 1 (euouae)

Excluding proper nouns (or at least, things capitalized in the first letter), we get 110, 1, 1. Of the four-vowel words, 7 have only 5 letters; another 6 have only 6 letters.

An arbitrary selection of 4-vowel words: homoeoarchy, obsequiousness, palaeoencephalon, queue, lieue, rhythmopoeia, exsanguious.

(Normally, I’d have done a random selection instead of an arbitrary selection, but `sort` on OS X doesn’t have the -R option, sadly, and I didn’t happen to have an ssh connection to elsewhere open at that particular second.)

This feels like the kind of question I’d love to use as a job interview question someday.

19 Responses to “Words with Four vowels in a row”

  1. David Larochelle Says:

    I’ll go one better ‘queueing’ it has 5 vowels in a row.

  2. Toff Says:

    The correct spelling for “queuing” has only four vowels in a row. The last “e” in the infinitive “queue” is dropped when using the present participle. This is the general rule for verbs ending in “e”, such as shaking, baking, raking, driving, etc.

  3. Jack Says:

    Aqueous also has 4 vowels

  4. Steve Says:

    Hawaiian should have been one, right?

  5. David Webster Says:


  6. Bg Says:


  7. Boisfeuillet Says:

    The word “châteauesque” has its own Wikipædia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teauesque although I would argue it’s not really an English word.

  8. William Sudbrink Says:

    Looking for word with the following definition: inclined to laugh; ability to laugh. The word had four letter “i’s in it and I believe it started with “sim …
    Can’t recall word need help.

  9. Danny Garrett Says:

    How about sequoia?

  10. Brian Rosenthal Says:

    plateaued (as in, his performance plateaued in mid-march)

  11. Matthew Says:

    @William: Risibility?

  12. Haley Crystal Says:

    gooier and gooiest

  13. Mark Says:


  14. ella Says:

    queued! and the repetition of ue ue is pretty unusual too I thought :)

  15. Stacy Says:

    Queueing IS a thing!
    Either is ok.

  16. WQW Says:

    maeiusophilia is spellled wrong.

  17. The Drunkard Kid Says:

    If you count Y as a vowel, there’s also “yoyo(s)” and “yoyoing.” I throb the latter is a word.

    “Yoyoed,” maybe?

  18. Jacinta Says:

    I believe that ‘Y’ isn’t a vowel in this content if you were to use it in another way maybe it would be classed as a vowel but ‘Y’itself OR with a word isn’t a vowel in he case

  19. Jacinta Says:

    In this case*

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