Beyond “i before e, except after c!”

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


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.

Source : Link , Question Author : John B Joyce , Answer Author : tchrist

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