Quiz: Can You Guess the Meaning of These Bizarre Words?
Can You Guess the Meaning of These Bizarre Words?
By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Did you know that a "yarborough" is a hand of cards that contains no card above a nine? Or that "noctambulist" is just another name for someone who walks in their sleep? And, can you guess the word that perfectly sums up the chatterbox in your life?

Most native speakers just intuitively understand their language, because it sounds right to them even if they can't explain to you why that is. Gender isn't important in English, which can be hard to remember for an English speaker learning Spanish or French, but English is notoriously difficult to learn. How so? There are a lot of ways to talk about the future in English, which is confusing. And when it comes to vocabulary, the words that are familiar language tools for you can be a bit perplexing. For instance, there's no "ham" in a hamburger, you don't pronounce the "k" in knife, nor are words that are spelled the same, such as "bough," "cough," and "dough," always pronounced the same way.

In the U.S., the average 20-year-old who is a native English speaker knows 42,000 words that you'd find in the dictionary -- in fact, on average, you can expect your vocabulary to continue to grow until you're about 60 years old, at which time you'll know around 48,000 words. But are cattywampus, flibbertigibbet, or, yikes, quomodocunquizing among them? It's not that they're uncommon words, although some may sound like bunkum and balderdash (which means 'nonsense'). One person's gibberish, though, is another person's piece of cake. So let's stop futzing around, and get started. See how many weird (and wonderful) words you know!

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