Having a rich, well-developed vocabulary is not just the act of memorization. The knowledge and understanding of language is a crucial part of this ability. So much so, that vocabulary in and of itself can be a measure of intellect and is tested on the SATs. Although this quiz is for entertainment purposes only, you may learn some interesting language tips along the way. It can help keep your vocabulary in tip-top shape. All it takes is a click below to refresh your vocabulary knowledge.
Do you know your Greek or Latin roots? How about prefixes and suffixes? Are you someone who likes knowing where a word comes from? Vocabulary is built on all of these things. In fact, learning a new language is easier if you understand the basic breakdown of a word. And with a strong vocabulary, most people find it easier to think more precisely and have the ability to grasp ideas faster. Whether it's defining a word, a synonym or describing a situation, you're sure to excel (a word that comes from the Latin word "excellere," "ex" meaning out, beyond and "celsus" meaning lofty) at this quiz. Start it now and see if you can claim the Vocabulary Crown.
"Foibles" are minor character flaws. Don't try to pass off not having done your taxes for five years as a "foible!"
So why are good sound systems referred to as "high fidelity?" Because recordings played on them have a great deal of "faithfulness" to the original sound.
As the name implies, "Francophiles" love all things French. Do Francophiles always marry Anglophiles? We wouldn't bet against it!
A pensive person might be in love. Or in mourning. But the one thing we know for sure is that he or she is thinking hard.
Stories or witness accounts often get "corroborated." This is the addition of another story or evidence that supports the original.
You'll hear this one more in its adjective form, "coherent." Or its opposite, "incoherent."
Heresy used to be a serious sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Nowadays, you'll hear it used in metaphoric ways - a heretic might reject popular political opinions, for example.
You might have noticed the (roundabout) resemblance to the word "sacred." Church buildings, altars and baptism fonts are all "consecrated" - dedicated to a religious purpose.
Needless to say, this isn't a polite thing to call someone. But like many of our insults for stupid people, it was originally a medical term: "cretinism" was an IQ low enough to make independent living difficult, like what we'd today call a "developmental delay."
"Dermis" is the Greek word for skin. Your "epidermis" is the upper layer of skin. This term debuted in the English language in the early 19th century.
You'll hear this one most often as "arable land." For example, mountainous Japan is pointed to as being an extraordinary economic success for a country with so little arable land.
You might remember this from school days, when play breaks were called "recess." But recesses can be physical as well as temporal - recessed lighting is set back in an alcove.
While "toxin" has become the darling of health gurus, it doesn't just mean "any unhealthy substance," much less "a substance that'll make you fat when eaten in excess" or "any polysyllabic ingredient." (Seriously, it's come to that). If you really want to know if something is toxic, ask a chemist, not a blogger!
Welcome to the posh part of the quiz! All four options above are tres elegant, but only one is the meaning of "praline" - the candy made with brown sugar and almonds or pecans.
The lover in question is usually illicit. You really wouldn't call someone's college sweetheart a "paramour."
"Penance" is, not surprisingly, closely related to "penitence." It's an action or actions one performs to make up for past misdeeds.
If you chose "read carefully," you were probably confused by the wholesale inclusion of "literate." It's true; the original meaning had to do with blotting out written letters. It expanded from there.
This comes from "scintilla," meaning "spark" (in Latin, what else?) You'll often hear it used as "scintillating conversation."
A "pidgin" often arises when two people speak very little of each other's language. "Pidgin English" was often spoken by natives in countries colonized by the British.
We bring this one up because "optics" has been hijacked in the past few years by media pundits; it's used to refer to the effect of a politician's public actions on his or her reputation. For a while, you couldn't turn on cable news without someone talking about the "optics" of a particular situation. Really, didn't the word "visuals" do this job previously?
"Seminal" comes from the Latin word for "seed" (and yes, it's related to "semen"). But it's almost always used metaphorically - a book that influenced an entire genre would be called "seminal."
"Os" is the simple Latin word for "bone." "Ossify" can be literal, a medical process within the body, or figurative: "Grandfather's political opinions had ossified to the point where no one could alter them."
You probably won't be surprised to learn this word is related to "vicosity." Both have to do with a thick, sticky or gluey consistency in a fluid.
The suffix "-lucent" is synonymous with "-luminous." Both have to do with shining.
In nutrition science, there are all kinds of sugars. Blood sugar is "glucose," and sugar from milk is "lactose," a term related to "lactation" (and, yes, "latte").
If you're familiar with "mire" as a synonym for "swamp," then this one should have made immediate sense. A "quagmire" is a metaphoric, not a literal, mess. It came up a lot in news stories as the Iraq war dragged on.
Astronomy lovers will know this one from its root, "nebula," meaning the giant gas clouds in space. Something "nebulous" is therefore indefinite and hard to navigate.
A furlong is one-eighth of a mile. It's a term often used in horse racing.
"Prevaricating" is one of those words we'd file under "not exactly lying," like a certain Olympic swimmer's admission that "I may have over-exaggerated" events in Rio. Someone who is "prevaricating" is "fudging" or playing fast and loose with the facts.
"Abstemious" comes from the word "abstain," meaning to refrain from something pleasant. Wine, sex, and rich food, would all qualify.
If a person has done something "reprehensible," they've done something really bad, worthy of punishment. For shame!
This old-fashioned term for alcohol addiction has fallen out of favor, and that's probably a good thing. It makes it sound unintentionally funny, like the antics of a town drunk on a sitcom, instead of a life-threatening affliction.
You'll hear this word in accident reports, which might refer to someone suffering "lacerations." Don't confuse it with "macerate," which is done to fruits in a kitchen.
If you guessed this was related to the word "quota," props to you! A "quota" used to refer to a daily requirement or demand. Quotidian can mean something that happens every day, or it can simply mean something common.
"Pulchra" is the Latin word for "beautiful." Is it just us, or is that kind of an unattractive word for a lovely concept?