Rarest last letters of place names

A recent blog by someone who goes by the handle problogic was about cities whose name ends with I. Looking at only medium and large cities (min size 150K), he found some 200 of them. That got me to thinking about the rarest last letters of city names.

The rarest last letters for English words are Q and J in that order. There’s less than 50 of each, even if you scour the OED and other unabridged dictionaries. So it’s not too surprising that I couldn’t come up with very many with those two letters.

The only Q-ender I know of is a very small place in Greenland (Qaanaaq) and I only know of that one because it’s a rare Q-palindrome. No doubt there’s others in Inuit lands or Arabic-speaking countries. But not Iraq. That’s a country, not a city.

For J, the only one I could think of is Cluj, Romania. Again, there are likely others in various other countries, India, perhaps.

Other rare letters in English are X and Z. For Z I thought of Fez, Morocco and Valdez, Alaska. For X, there’s Phoenix, Halifax, and Bordeaux. Probably with more thought I could think of more.

The next four rarest letters in English are K, V, B, and P. Compared with the other letters discussed here, K is quite common. New York, York, Innsbruck, Dunkirk, Selkirk, Norfolk, Kennewick WA, Kennebunk ME, and many more. So I’m not that interested in K.

V, though, seems to be only represented by Kiev. Perhaps there’s others in Russia or somewhere.

B. McComb MS, Macomb IL, and Babb MT.

P. Islip NY and Puyallup WA. Places that end in -thorp in England. Thorp is an old word meaning “village”.

C seems to be somewhat rare: Passaic NJ, Cadillac MI, and Fond du Lac WI. Shediac, New Brunswick. Maybe Quebec, but that usually goes by Quebec City, I think.

F: Flagstaff AZ and Red Bluff CA. Düsseldorf. But that brings up that Dorf is a German word for village, cognate with thorp. So there’s probably plenty of dorfs in Germany. Also other Bluff’s and Cliff’s.

Any additions? Except for K. Don’t tell me about any Ks. Way too common.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Also, can’t throw a rock without hitting a -v town in Russia

Greenland’s full of 'em (well, relatively). Here are some:

  • Kangerlussuaq
  • Narsarsuaq
  • Sermersooq
  • Maniitsoq

I thought of that one about 10 minutes after posting. But I was in bed trying to sleep and it wasn’t worth it to get up.

I supected as much.

Thought of another Z: Veracruz.

I mean there’s Rostov. Not quite as big as Kiev, but definitely bigger than Plovdiv.

ETA the OP mentions English words, but English letter frequencies have little to do with international place names

It’s not the same question you’re asking, but some time ago I tried to find the most populous city or town in the US ending in each letter. I never did find any places in the U.S. ending with J or Q. By far the smallest town on my list is the entry for V: Askov, Minnesota.

letter city population
A Philadelphia 1,584,000
B DeKalb, IL 43,000
C Passaic, NJ 70,000
D Portland, OR 653,000
E San Jose 1,030,000
F Flagstaff, AZ 74,000
G St. Petersburg 265,000
H Fort Worth 895,000
I Miami 471,000
J ? ?
K New York 8,399,000
L St. Paul 308,000
M Anaheim 352,000
N Houston 2,326,000
O Chicago 2,706,000
P Puyallup, WA 42,000
Q ? ?
R Denver 716,000
S Los Angeles 3,990,000
T Detroit 673,000
U Honolulu 347,000
V Askov, MN 353
W Broken Arrow OK 109,000
X Phoenix 1,660,000
Y Oklahoma City 649,000
Z Santa Cruz, CA 64,000

Other x-ending places in the US: Apex, NC; New Lenox, Illinois; Fairfax, VA; Thibodaux, LA; Middlesex, NJ; Sussex, WI; Lenox, MA

other z-ending places in the US: Schertz, TX; New Paltz, NY; Martinez, CA; Natchez, MI; Allouez, WI; Lititz, PA; Cortez, CO

Other b-ending places in the US: in various states, several named Macomb, McComb, or similar

Other c-ending places in the US: Pontiac, MI; Fond du Lac, WI; Lompoc, CA; Tamarac, FL; Manitowoc, WI; SeaTac, WA

Other p-ending places in the US: Lathrop, CA; Gallup, NM; Alsip, IL

C-ending in Canada: Lac-Mégantic, QC

La Paz (there are several of those around, but the one in Bolivia is probably the largest).
Badajoz, Spain
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Graz, Austria
Shiraz, Iran
Chemnitz, Germany
Bydgoszcz, Poland
Metz, France

Meaux, Périgueux, Bayeux, Dreux, Clairvaux, and Foix are all in France.

How about Å

Nunavut has two hamlets that end in -q: Qikiqtarjuaq and Sanikiluaq

Mastic, NY
Peconic, NY

both on Long Island

Moosic, PA

Shishmaref, AK

What about it? It’s a letter in Scandinavian alphabets, but I’m talking English here.

Anyway, I thought of a few more:

B: I think there’s a McNab somewhere (checking Wikipedia) yes, about three of them, plus McNabb IL

C: Oconomowoc WI, Frontenac (several places) I expect there’s more in various French speaking lands.

J: Miraj, India

I expect there’s plenty more Z’s, especially in Spanish speaking areas. Right now it looks like J and B are the frontrunners for rarest final letter. I would not have expected B to be so rare.

There’s Bene Beraq, Israel.

Cardiff is capital of Wales and home to a few hundred thousand people.

I was in Bulgaria for a holiday job one year in college. Hence - more personal salience (though I do want to get to Russia some time. Not this year!)

It’s much more commonly spelled “Bnei Brak”.

Piqqi, piqqi, piqqi. :smile: