Are You Brainy Enough to Pass This Vocabulary Quiz?

Tasha Moore

What word means "a departure from the norm?"

"Aberration" first appeared in the 1590s to mean "a wandering" or "a straying." The word comes from Latin "aberrationem," which means "a wandering."

Which word is a synonym for "immature?"

"Callow" is derived from the Old English word "calu," which means "bare" or "bald." The word was first used in the year 1580.

Which word is synonymous with "narrow-minded?"

"Insular" was first used in 1611 to mean "relating to an island." The word comes from Latin "insula," which means "island."

Which of these choices means "an open, contemptuous disregard?"

"Flout" appeared as a verb in the 1550s to mean "to scorn." Its origin is likely from the Middle English word "flouten," which means "to play the flute."

Which word is similar in meaning to the word "generosity?"

"Largess" is a 13th-century word that meant "generosity" at the time. That definition still stands, and its meaning also includes "a liberal giving of money or gifts to someone is or who is perceived as inferior."

Can you identify the word that means "weakly sentimental?"

"Maudlin" implies insincere emotion that's due to blatant insincerity or emotional impairment, as if drunken. "Maudlin" is a variation of "Mary Magdalene," who is widely perceived as an emotional, repentant sinner.

What word is the opposite of "forbid?"

"Acquiesce" is a word from the 1610s and is derived from the Latin "acquiescere," which means "to become quiet" or "to remain at rest," which implies "satisfaction." The word's first and existing meaning is "implicit submission and compliance."

Which word describes "the quality of appearing to be true?"

"Verisimilitude" is "the state of seeming true or real." The prefix "veri-" is from Latin "verus," which means "true or genuine." "Verisimilitude" first appeared in the 1570s to mean "the quality or state of being true."

Can you choose the word that is synonymous with "declaim"?

"Inveigh" is a 1520s word that means "to speak or write about something in a tremendously hostile manner." "Declaim" is similar in meaning, but the synonym further implies "making impassioned rhetoric as if to an audience."

Can you spot the derogatory term that means "self-righteous?"

"Sanctimonious" describes "deliberately making a show of being morally superior to others." The word first appeared around the year 1600.

Which word means "melodramatic in style?"

"Histrionic" was first used in 1648 to mean "willfully affected." The word is derived from the Latin "histrionicus," which means "concerning an actor."

Can you identify the word that means "inappropriately bold in manner?"

"Impertinent" also means "rude" and "arrogant." The term first appeared in the late 14th century to mean "irrelevant." "Impertinent" is derived from the Old French "impertinent," which means "not belonging" or "not to the point."

"Cautious" and "discreet" are synonyms for which word?

"Circumspect" is an adjective that means "carefully considering potential consequences, and to avoid risk." "Circumspect" first appeared in the early 15th century and is derived from the Latin "circumspectus," which means "guarded," "intentional" and "well-considered."

Can you choose the noun meaning "a rule from an authoritative source?"

"Dictum" was first used in 1586 to mean "a formal pronouncement" or "notable statement." The word's Latin meaning is "prophecy, proverb" or "an order."

Which word means "to secretly allow something illegal to occur?"

"Connive" is from the Latin "connivere," meaning "to wink." The word first appeared in 1601 to mean "to pretend ignorance" or "fail to address that which one should oppose."

What is a synonym for the word "astonished?"

"Flabbergasted" is the past participle form of the verb "flabbergast." "Flabbergasted" first appeared as a trendy word in a 1772 magazine article. "Amazed," "astounded" and "dumbfounded" are related words.

When a task is a "failed accomplishment," what is the best word to use to describe the task?

"Abortive" is an adjective that means "failing to accomplish an intended result." "Abortive" is a 15th-century word that was first used to mean "prematurely born."

Which of these choices means "void of flavor?"

"Dull" or "uninteresting" are synonyms for "insipid," which was first used in the 1610s to mean "without taste." "Insipid" is derived from the Late Latin "inspidus," which means "tasteless."

Which word means "to appear or sound sad or mournful?"

"Lugubrious" implies an exaggerated mournful state. The word was first used in 1585 to mean "mournful." "Dismal" and "melancholy" are related terms.

"Secret" and "hidden" are synonyms for which term?

"Arcane" means "understood by select few," "mysterious" and "esoteric." "Arcane" first appeared in the 1540s and is derived from the Latin "arcanus," which means "concealed" or "private."

What is the meaning of the word "contiguous" in the following sentence? "Overnight train transport is only available within 13 of the 48 contiguous states."

The adjective "contiguous" comes from the Latin "contiguus," which means "touching," "near" or "bordering upon." "Contiguous" was first used in the early 1600s to mean "in actual contact with."

Can you identify the word that means "depraved act or practice?"

"Turpitude" is a noun that is synonymous with "depravity." "Turpitude" first appeared in the 15th century to mean "innate evil."

"Benevolent" and "charitable" are synonyms for which word?

"Munificent" first appeared in the year 1565 to mean "lavish giving." The word is derived from the Latin "munificus," which means "liberal" and "bountiful."

"Polite" and "meek" are antonyms for which term?

"Peremptory" means "authoritative" and "abrupt"; "arrogant" is a related term. "Peremptory" was first used as a legal term in the mid-15th century to mean "precluding a right of action."

Which of the following words means "cheerful?"

"Sanguine" implies "confident optimism." The word first appeared in the 14th century as an adjective to mean "blood-red." In the 15th century, it was used as a noun to define a "moderate to saturated tone of red."

"Deceitfulness" and "treachery" are similar in meaning to which word?

"Perfidy" is a noun that also implies "untrustworthiness." "Perfidy" was first used in 1592 to mean "a state of being disloyal or faithless." The Latin term "perfidia," meaning "falsehood" or "faithlessness," precedes "perfidy."

If something is "difficult to understand," which of the choices is the best word to describe it?

"Abstruse" first appeared in 1549 to mean "difficult to understand." The word is derived from the Latin "abstrusus," which means "concealed."

Which word of the choices means "to beg?"

The verb "cadge" implies that one is not entitled to receive what is requested or obtained. The noun "cadge" is used in falconry and is "a padded wooden frame used to transport hooded hawks to a field."

What does the word "tenuous" mean?

"Tenuous" first appeared in the year 1597 to mean "not compact." The word is derived from the Latin "tenuis," which means "thin." "Delicate" and "insubstantial" are related terms.

What word means "to spoil the quality or productivity of?"

The Latin word "vitiatus" precedes "vitiate," which was first used in the year 1534 as a transitive verb to mean "to make faulty or defective." "Vitiate" also means "to debase morally."

"Out of control" and "noisy" are definitions for which word?

"Obstreperous" is an adjective used around the start of the 17th century to mean "marked by particularly unruly noisiness." "Obstreperous" is derived from the Latin "obstreperus," which means "clamorous."

"False earnestness," "oily" and "plastic" are all definitions for which word?

A more conventional definition of "unctuous" is "ingratiatingly flattering," which also implies unpleasantness. "Unctuous" is a 15th-century word that was first used to mean "oily."

Which word is an adjective that means "headstrong?"

"Contumacious" is "stubbornness" to the point of rebelliousness. "Contumacious" was first used in this fashion in the year 1583. Other new words from the same year include "generous" and "pertinacious."

"Enduring" and "ceaseless" are synonyms for which word?

"Unremitting" is an adjective that was first used in 1670 to mean "constant." The prefix "un-" means "not"; "remitting" is the present particle form of "remit," which means to "send back," "restore," "subside" or "refrain."

"To bewilder someone" is the definition for which word?

"Complicate," "baffle" and "befuddle" are synonyms for "obfuscate," which first appeared in the year 1536 as a transitive verb to mean "to throw into shadow." In the intransitive sense, "obfuscate" means "to be unclear or evasive."

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About This Quiz

Vocabulary quizzes are always fun! We invite you to define your amusement level with this quiz. Confirm your knowledge of terminology that folks rarely get to wrap their mouths around. Here's your chance to brush up on high school vocab that most brainiacs adore. Are you a proud "cerebral" type? If so, this quiz should be a "zephyr."

Perpetual students of the vocab life are also welcome to give this test their best shot. We mainly tackle adjectives, synonyms and nouns to at least keep the word forms simple. But beyond that, it's all uphill from there! So here are a few pointers to see you through, even if you boast an expansive vocabulary. Even a vague memory of these words will get you very far. Deconstruct unrecognizable words into simpler root words and affixes, like prefixes, as best as you can. The smaller words are the trickiest since they sound and look a lot like more conventional terms used daily; do a double-take on these to elude the pitfalls, and you're good to go!

Now, go scroll on and see which words stand to trip you up and which ones will take up residence in your noggin from now on! 

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