What letters of the alphabet are followed the most by the letters ei?

  • 2
    Or when like "a", as in "neighbor" or "weight". – Hot Licks Apr 6 '15 at 21:53

The answer is r, largely due to productive prefixes like re- and pre-.

Per the OED, words with a letter followed by ei occur with this frequency for each such letter:

 981 r
 586 l
 518 h
 478 w
 394 s
 366 c
 349 v
 341 n
 315 t
 224 d
 149 m
 145 f
 140 b
 139 e
 124 p
 114 g
  81 o
  73 k
  67 u
  51 a
  50 y
  24 i
  19 z
   4 j
   2 x

This includes words like reification, reillumination, reimpregnation as well ones like Reichstag, reindeer, reine. Because hyphens don’t count, words like pre-install are included, since these can be spelled without the hyphen as well.

The main j-word is jeistiecor. There are also cross references (older spellings) of jeig for jig, jeine for jean, and jeit for jet.

The two x-words are exeime for exeme and hexeity for haecceity.

  • 2
    What happens if you don't count words like reiterate with that productive prefix? – Andrew Leach Apr 6 '15 at 21:18
  • @AndrewLeach Well, if I do that then you will want me to throw out words like centreing, too, eh? :) – tchrist Apr 6 '15 at 21:42
  • 1
    Actually I don't think centring should be in the list at all. – Andrew Leach Apr 6 '15 at 22:05
  • Cool. How do you get lists like that out of the OED? Do you have to have a paid subscription to access that tool? – Brian Hitchcock Apr 7 '15 at 7:23

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