A, E, I, O, U. With the exception of "sometimes Y", the letter U always falls to the bottom of the vowel list. But, it can start a powerful noun, providing an interesting upgrade to your next piece of writing. One of your main characters can have an umbrage, or resentment, causing major upheaval in the family unit.
Or perhaps someone will be rescued from the grips of an undertow, thanks to a kindly unicorn with wings. Let's take a look at 50 nouns that start with U, after a brief pause to discuss the general function of nouns.
A noun is "a person, place, thing, or idea." Most nouns come after an article, like "a," "an," or "the." They commonly act as the subject of a sentence. For example, "An uncle should always love his nieces and nephews."
Knowing any of these words can function as subjects or objects, let's take a look at a nice, long list of U-nouns.
Udder - a baglike organ containing two or more glands, like teats on a cow
Uganda - a country in east-central Africa
Ugliness - the condition of being visually unpleasing
Ukulele - a small, four-stringed, guitar-like musical instrument
Ulcer - an open sore inside the body of a mucous membrane, like the stomach
Ultimatum - a demand which, if not met, will result in a serious consequence
Ultrasound - a medical process that uses sound waves to obtain images of internal organs
Umbrage - a resentment or annoyance
Umbrella - a piece of material stretched over a round frame that provides protection
Umpire - an official who administers the rules in certain team sports
Unacceptability - the property of being unsatisfactory
Unaffordability - the state of being too expensive to afford
Unavailability - the state of being inaccessible
Unawareness - the condition of being uninformed
Uncertainty - doubt
Unchastity - the state of being unchaste or lewd
Uncle - the brother (or brother-in-law) of someone's mother or father
Unconsciousness - the state of not being awake or alert
Unconventionality - the state of deviating from the norm or accepted standard
Undergraduate - a college student who hasn't completed a degree yet
Underachievement - an achievement that's less that expected
Underarm - an area under the arm; the armpit
Undergrowth - shrubs or plants that grow beneath the trees in a forest
Underdog - the person not favored to win
Underpayment - an insufficient payment
Understatement - when something is said that's less than what's true
Understudy - an actor who learns the role of another actor and performs when the actor is unavailable
Undertone - an underlying quality or element
Undertow - an underwater current flowing strongly away from the shore
Uneasiness - the state of being nervous or restless
Unevenness - the quality of being irregular
Unfairness - the state of being impartial or biased
Unhappiness - the feeling of not being joyful
Unicorn - a mythical horse-like animal with a horn on the center of its forehead
Unicycle - a one-wheeled vehicle straddled by a rider who pushes its pedals
Uniformity - the state of being even, equal, or similar
Unimportance - a lack of significance
Uniqueness - the quality of being one-of-a-kind
Unit - a fixed standard amount or single thing
University - a high-level school that can lead to a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or doctoral degree
Unlikelihood - the state of being improbable
Unpleasantness - the quality of being displeasing
Unrest - a troubled or disturbed state
Update - a report with new information
Upgrade - an improvement or advancement
Upheaval - a sudden and dramatic change or disruption
Upside - the advantageous component of something
Urgency - something requiring fast or swift action
Usefulness - the quality of being helpful or beneficial
Utensil - a tool used for cooking, eating, or other useful purposes
Did you know there are over 10 different types of nouns? If a noun is referring to a person or place, it's likely acting as a proper noun (e.g. Melanie, Savannah, Alaska, Spain, and Highclere Castle). An example of that would be, "Uruguay is a beautiful haven for artists and writers."
The opposite of a proper noun is a common noun. These nouns refer to general, unspecified things. In the example above, Uruguay is a proper noun. But, if that line simply read, "The country is a beautiful haven," you'd know the subject was a common noun. Common nouns are neither capitalized nor specific.
Then, there are compound nouns (e.g., uproar and underworld), countable nouns, possessive nouns, and pronouns. It's common to see both nouns and pronouns in a single sentence: "Ursula stopped the car and jumped out to hug her."
U-nouns tend to begin with "un-," but they're much more than that. Let's look at ten sentences containing U-nouns. Click on the link in each sentence to see more example sentences containing that U-noun:
As they sat on the Hawaiian beach, they listened to the soft sounds of a ukulele.
Another rainy day meant she needed her umbrella.
The entire team was mad at the umpire for his most recent call.
She was so excited to begin her next four years as an undergraduate.
He was sick and tired of always being the underdog.
The peach undertone in your dress pairs really well with your lipstick.
Your recent unfairness toward me is less than appealing.
I love the uniqueness of your apartment!
His negative attitude creates tremendous unrest in the household.
My new cell phone is a major upgrade.
The vowel U isn't quite as popular as its comrades A, E, I, and O. But, it can be the underpinning, or foundation, for your next short story or poem.
If you're ready to dabble in a little storytelling, why not see if you can pair a couple of your U-nouns with these S-nouns. The letter S is certainly a popular member of the alphabet. Perhaps one of these short story examples will be just the push you need to rise from underdog to published author.