Left Handed Words – The Finale

In my last post, I explained my intrest in finding words that can be typed using just the left hand on a qwerty keyboard. Apparently I am not alone in my quest. Many others also have tried to solve the same mystry. A few that came to my attention are…

My Method to find the answer

I used a much more geeky way to come to the answer. If you have seen my other blog, you may already know that I use Linux OS. One not-so-well-known file in the Linux OS is the ‘/usr/share/dict/words‘ file. This contains almost all words in the English language – alphabetically sorted. Now all I have to do is run a command to search through this file for all the words that has only the letters ‘qwertasdfgzxcvb’.

Enter grep. For those who are have not used Grep(or regular expressions), please avert your eyes – this is going to look like swearing to you…

cat /usr/share/dict/words|grep -Pi '^[qwertadsfgzxcvb]+$'

What this does is search through the entire word list for words that have just the given letter(qwertadsfgzxcvb) from beginning to end. An image to make things clearer…

Regular Expression Explaination

I am not going to make this post a regular expression tutorial – but if you want to study Regular expressions, this site is a very good one for it. And if you are a programmer, I recommend that you study Regular expression – it will save you a lot of time. And if you are not a programmer, I am surprised that you have not already left the page. Anyway some of the biggest words I found using this method…


Update: Its official – the longest word that can be typed with the left had is ‘Stewardesses’

More Linux Commands

More Linux command that can be used to do this job…

cat /usr/share/dict/words|grep -Piv '[yuiophjklnm]'

Looks for words without the any of the other letters – ‘yuiophjklnm’

cat /usr/share/dict/words|grep -P '^[qwertasdfgzxcvb]{11,}$'

Finds only the largest words – 11 letters or more.

cat /usr/share/dict/words|sed '/[yuiophklnm]/d'

Uses another program – ‘sed‘ to do the same job.

cat /usr/share/dict/words|sed -n '/^[qwertadsfgzxcvb]*$/p'

Another way of doing it in sed.

6 thoughts on “Left Handed Words – The Finale

  1. Very interesting!

    I just noticed that the longest word I ever typed using keyboard is “reverse”, so I googled the “left-hand word” and find your blog.

    In fact, I first found your the other article “Left Handed Words”, and was thinking maybe I could write a little C program parsing the /…/dict text file, then I came to here and got the answer: regular expression, very smart and powerful!

    Thanks and wishes.

  2. Thanks so much for pulling this information together. I have been looking for words that I can type with my left-hand. Why? For a similar reason as you. I wanted password options. I, too, am lazy and want a word that I can type with just my left hand. This will be a great help!

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