Can You Pass This Millennial Spelling Test?

EDUCATION

Emily Maggrett

7 Min Quiz

This vegetable, which is actually a single-seeded berry, is the main ingredient in guacamole. Some people like putting it on bread. What's the name of this dish?

As you probably know, a passion for avocado toast recently swept the nation! While the popularity of this dish is often attributed to millennials, people in Central and South America have been enjoying it for thousands of years.

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You use this adverb when you're about to describe something in simplified terms. How's it spelled?

Don't feel basic if you got this one wrong. Most English adverbs work by adding "ly" to the end of an adjective, but this one adds an extra l and a. Why? It's unclear. English can be a quirky language!

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While attending a party, you notice signs of dangerous activity. Your friend says, "Let's FOH." What does he mean?

In their article "40 Ways to Speak with (and Connect with) a Millennial," BestLife writes, "When you want to say you’re getting the 'eff outta here,' but are too polite to put it in so many words, the millennial acronym FOH does the job for you."

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Got ink? What is an individual unit of ink called?

"Tattoo" was originally a Polynesian noun, which came to English in 1769 via the diaries of the famous explorer Captain James Cook. In Samoan and Tahitian, the word was spelled "tatau."

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This group of people, born between 1977 and 1983, don't identify with the Gen X or millennial generations. What's their name?

As reported in USA Today, Pew Research Center identifies Xennials as a microgeneration, born after Gen X but before millennials. This group's childhoods were free of social media, like Gen X's, but they're just as tech-savvy as millennials. Occasionally, Xennials are referred to as "old millennials" in online contexts.

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You're answering the phone, you're paying your bills on time and you work out three times a week. How do you describe your newfound competence?

According to Urban Dictionary, "adulting" means "to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc)." They go on to insult people who say this word, claiming that it's "exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time."

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Do you know what JOMO stands for?

MacMillan Dictionary describes JOMO as "the joy of missing out, [i.e.] the pleasure you get from not worrying about missing out on what other people are doing or saying." JOMO may have been developed as a counterpoint to FOMO, which stands for "Fear of Missing Out."

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Recently, millennial activists have called for an end to this practice, which involves redrawing the boundaries in a political district in order to give your party an advantage. How do you spell it?

A truly bizarre word, the fun spelling of "gerrymandering" hides its sinister implications. Dictionary.com writes, "Gerrymandering explains why President Trump won the electoral vote but lost the popular vote ... To help solve it President Obama and former attorney general Eric Holder launched the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and the organization's goal, in partnership with Organizing for Action, is to 'restore fairness to our electoral maps.'"

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What do you call a picture of yourself?

As you doubtless know, a "selfie" is a picture you take of yourself and post to social media. Etymology Online says that this word has been in use since 2002. Oddly enough, although selfies are extremely common, they often produce unflattering photographs.

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Brands that market to millennials claim that it's very important that their content reflect this quality. Can you spell it correctly?

In order to seem cool and youthful, many companies embrace a highly casual presence on social media. However, Marketing Land reports that "the impulse to capitalize on popular trends and to reach audiences on their own terms often drives brands to improperly use cultural idioms or otherwise present themselves and their products in a manner deemed 'inauthentic.'"

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You just sent your crush a racy photo. You tell your best friend about it and she texts back "SMH." What's she saying?

Your best friend is shaking her head! According to Oxford Dictionary, SMH is used to express "disapproval, exasperation, frustration, etc." Apparently your friend thinks you shouldn't have sent that photo.

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Bitcoin, which runs on blockchain technology, is which kind of money?

"Cryptocurrency" may sound like a sinister word, but it's basically just digital money which isn't controlled by any one government or institution. Instead, blockchain technology is used to track financial transactions made with cryptocurrency. Because of this, some governments are concerned that it may be used for illegal purposes. However, it's possible that cryptocurrency will come into wider use in the future.

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These plants, which thrive in arid conditions, have become all the rage among millennial decorators. What are they called?

As The Ringer reports, succulents have become ubiquitous: "The various species can be found in Airbnbs, bridal bouquets, activewear ads, WeWorks, and restaurants around the world." Why are they so beloved? It's obvious: their drought-resistant, hard-to-kill nature makes them a natural for millennials who live in warm climates and lack gardening experience.

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When someone tells you that they're "ace," how do you interpret this description?

Elle Magazine reports that the slang term "ace" has been in use since roughly 2001. Originating in online communities for ace people, the term is gradually becoming more widely known, especially by millennials and members of Gen Z. The term comes from the longer "asexual," but is emblematic of a larger spectrum.

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Many millennials admire the political systems found in Nordic countries and claim that the U.S. should follow their example. What's the name for these systems?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "In the modern era, 'pure' socialism has been seen only rarely and usually briefly in a few Communist regimes. Far more common are systems of social democracy, now often referred to as democratic socialism, in which extensive state regulation, with limited state ownership, has been employed by democratically-elected governments (as in Sweden and Denmark) in the belief that it produces a fair distribution of income without impairing economic growth."

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This aesthetic is popular in both millennial clothing and living spaces. How's it spelled?

The idea behind minimalism is simplicity: instead of garish patterns or elaborate decoration, one opts for objects with simple, clean lines. Minimalist clothing brands include Madewell and Calvin Klein, while minimalist home decor companies include Blu Dot, Article and Apparatus. Lifestyle guru Marie Kondo's book on decluttering, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," is seen by some as embodying the minimalist philosophy.

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What do you call the mood you get in when you need to eat and it's making you irritable?

"Hangry" is simply a blend of the words "hungry" and "angry." It seems to a modern invention, but according to Oxford Dictionary, "hangry" was first coined in the 1950s.

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Many internet users believe that all internet sites should be equally accessible. Can you name the term for this belief?

Net neutrality is not difficult to grasp: right now, we don't pay to visit particular websites or struggle to connect in most areas. But if net neutrality didn't exist, a corporation who provides internet service could, as CareerFoundry reports, "pay to prioritize the traffic of their video streaming service over Netflix’s [Netflix is an email, but this could be any website at all]. This could mean that Netflix’s service would be terrible in that area, forcing users to sign up to the internet provider’s service instead." Net neutrality was repealed in the United States in 2018.

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You want to dismiss someone. What do you say?

Bustle reports, "You can thank Ice Cube for the phrase. 'Bye, Felicia' is a line uttered by the actor in the 1995 flick Friday. Here's the gist: Felicia (Angela Means-Kaaya) wants to borrow a car. Smokey (Chris Tucker) says no way. Then Felicia wants to borrow a joint. Again, Smokey refuses. To dismiss Felicia, Jones (Ice Cube) waves her off with 'Bye, Felicia.'"

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What snapshot, which shows you the position of each planet in the zodiac when you were born, can supposedly reveal all the secrets of your personality?

Like many difficult-to-spell English words, "astrological" has a Greek origin. In its earliest usages, "astrology" referred to the study of astronomy, but over time, it came to mean the study of the stars as they pertained to personality and human affairs.

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How would you describe a curvaceous person?

Have you ever been called thicc? Don't be insulted! According to Dictionary.com, "Thicc is a slang term for a full-figured body, specifically a big butt and curvy waist. It is both used [seriously] and humorously."

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A word which means "to rule," millennials often mix it up with a homonym that means "horse's leash." What is it?

Lately, English speakers have been confusing "reign" with "rein", a spelling issue which didn't occur in bygone eras, due to horses being a much bigger part of life. As Oxford Dictionary's blog describes the problem succinctly: "Nowadays, the concept of a monarch’s reign seems to have more immediate relevance to us than the reins used to control a horse."

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You need to complete work on several projects at once. What's the term for that?

Many people pride themselves on their ability to multi-task. However, Time Magazine reports that, "For nearly all people, in nearly all situations, multitasking is impossible. When we think we’re multitasking, most often we aren’t really doing two things at once—but instead, individual actions in rapid succession." Cognitive scientists suggest that instead, you focus on doing one complex task at a time.

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In most contexts, this word simply refers to a piece of paper that proves you made a purchase. Millennials, however, use it to mean "evidence of hypocrisy." Can you spell it?

The term "receipts" seems self-explanatory: after all, it basically just means "proof" or "evidence." It can be tied to the experience of returning clothes or other goods, when the clerk at the return counter typically asks to see your receipt for the item, as proof you actually purchased it.

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On the internet, this word means "content which inspires users to engage, often at the expense of accuracy or journalistic integrity." Do you know it?

Have you ever clicked on an article with a title like "Princess Kate Confirms Rumors!" only to find out it's a boring piece about something inane, such as which designer will be making Kate's next gown? If so, you've been tricked by clickbait: content whose sole purpose to grab eyeballs rather than convey information. It's a uniquely internet-based phenomenon, as the "click" part is associated with the reader's mouse.

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What do you call a person who enjoys luxury goods?

According to Oxford Dictionary, this term comes from 1960s African-American slang. It means, "Exhibiting qualities attributed to the middle class, especially pretentiousness or conventionality." In essence, it's a shortened form of the word "bourgeois," which carries the same meaning.

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Millennials are often accused of using digital platforms to impulsively condemn both celebrities and each other, sometimes in reaction to relatively minor offenses. What's the name for this kind of reaction?

This is another confusing one, because of differences between American and British English. Brits spell this word "judgement" while Americans spell it sans e, as "judgment." It comes from the Old French word "juger", which means "to judge."

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An adverb that originated on the West Coast, this word is a good substitute for "very." Can you spell it?

The Daily Meal writes, "Before No Doubt turned this phrase in to a pop song in the mid-2000s, only West Coasters said this phrase, which basically means 'extremely.' If you use this when not singing along to the radio, it’s a sure sign you grew up in California."

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You can find the acronym OOTD on Instagram, where it's usually accompanied by a hashtag. What does it mean?

Urban Dictionary claims that "OOTD" originated on fashion blogs, but an argument could also be made that it comes from Tumblr. Whatever its source, this acronym is a convenient way to abbreviate photo captions which has morphed into a highly useful hashtag for fashionistas.

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Coined by former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, this phrase has been condemned as a twisted piece of political jargon. Do you know it?

According to Dictionary.com, "alternative facts" was first used in January 2017 by Kellyanne Conway, during an interview on Meet the Press. She said they weren't lies, but instead another way to explain information. As a result of this statement, she received considerable criticism in the media.

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Millennials seem to adore this adverb, but they often can't spell it. Can you?

"Defiantly" means "rebelliously," so it's important to spell-check this one! "Definitely" carries a pleasantly positive connotation, so it would be a shame for your readers missed out on this meaning.

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Now that specialty cocktails are in fashion, it seems like everyone's bar carts are full of this word, which is a synonym for "special accessories." Can you navigate its difficult French spelling?

In British English and French, "accoutrements" is actually correct, but Americans have adapted this elaborate word by swapping the placements of its e and r. According to Dictionary.com, it comes from a Middle French word meaning "soldier's gear." Over time, its meaning has migrated, and now it can be used to discuss many types of equipment.

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This term refers to a person who has between 2,000 and 50,000 followers. What is it?

According to Forbes Magazine, which reported on this issue in 2018, marketers have recently become more interested in micro-influencers than in influencers, since micro-influencers tend to be more engaged with their audiences. In other words, their endorsements can help companies target niche audiences.

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A synonym for "chill," this adjective has exploded in usage recently, but few seem to be able to punctuate correctly. Do you know how to?

"Low key" means "low intensity," "calm," "serene," etc. In many ways, it's the descendant of "cool," which also designates a low level of emotion as being desirable. The opposite of low key is "high key," which is used to add emphasis. i.e., "I high key want a raise!"

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When the internet wants to indicate that a celebrity has fallen from favor, they say that they're what?

Americans spell this word with one l, but Canadians, Brits and Australians spell it with two. However, all of these groups spell "cancellation" the same way! So don't feel bad if you missed this one; it's confusing. As for the phenomenon of "canceling" people, well ... you'll have to take that up with Twitter.

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Image: Plume Creative / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Are you basic, but for spelling? When it comes to knowing how to spell common millennial words, are you the equivalent of a yoga pants-wearing pumpkin spice latte drinker, or do you know exactly how to write the latest slang, flawlessly executing it in perfect cursive with your bespoke rose gold pen?

In this quiz, we're testing you on your knowledge of millennial words, covering everything from mysterious acronyms like FOH to smushed-together portmanteaus, goofy California slang, zodiac terms and digital technology jargon. Along the way, we'll discuss modern design aesthetics, the art of self-photography, overdone culinary trends, harsh Twitter attacks and more.

If you're from Gen Z or Gen X, you'll find this quiz challenging, but if you're a baby boomer, it may be totally incomprehensible! Even for true millennials, this quiz won't be a cake walk, since we've purposefully included a few questions to trip you up, such as ordinary words that your cohort frequently misspells. However, whether you were born between 1981 and 1996, in 1946 or in 2001, we guarantee that you'll learn something interesting. So, are you ready to test your millennial spelling powers? Put away your iPhone, stop drinking that cold-pressed grapefruit juice and take this quiz!

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