Only an English Major Can Pass This U.S. Spelling Test!


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Each year, young people from around the world take part in the dramatic Scripps National Spelling Bee, near Washington, D.C. There, kids no older than 14 will step into the glare of the spotlight, and under the gaze of thousands people, try to spell words like “gladiolus,” “marocain,” and “kaumographer,” without stammering with anxiety. Do you think you can stand up to the heady challenge of our spelling quiz?

English is a strange language, one that provides more than 1,000 ways to spell only a few dozen distinct sounds. In other words, it’s no wonder that a lot of people struggle with spelling. Sure, there are guidelines like “I before e,” but it’s not a hard and fast rule – words like “seize” and “weird” make a mockery of such oversimplifications. Can you spell “oversimplification” without looking? Probably not, and that’s OK, because no one else can, either.

Did you know that “misspell” is one of most commonly misspelled words? A lot of people can’t remember how many of the letter “s” to include in that one. And don’t even get us started on “receive” or “kaleidoscope,” because those quickly stamp out the hopes and dreams of most average spellers.

Let’s see how your spelling skills match up against our eighth-grade-level quiz. Maybe you’ll know exactly how to knock out “abbreviate” and “antihistamine,” or maybe you’ll become “hysterical” and experience a “catastrophe” at the hands of these oddly difficult words. Take our spelling quiz now!

Katniss is a wonderful shot with a bow, she has a high degree of _____.

In fighting for her people, Katniss hones her deadly bow skills. Her accuracy is unequaled among the other rebels.


Which commander gives orders for the navy to attack?

When countries go to war at sea, they rely on gutsy admirals to make brave leadership decisions amidst the raging seas. Admirals are often the highest-ranking officers in navies around the world.


What tool would you use to spy on your attractive neighbor?

You know, it's against the law to peep on your neighbors using a telescope. But it's not illegal to just knock on his door and then stare at him in awkward silence.


What is another word for your job?

Your job, your livelihood, your occupation -- you gotta do something to pay the bills, it might as well be something that you enjoy, like confusing people on the Internet regarding the proper spelling of "occupation."


Nuclear weapons are not considered which kind of weapon?

Conventional weapons are things like machine guns and rifles. Nuclear bombs are weapons of mass destruction.


If you see a strange man in a dark alley, you might feel this way.

Don't worry, I'm sure that weird guy in alley is totally normal. Nope, wait, he's dragging a dead body, that's definitely a little suspicious.


It leaves a sticky residue behind when you remove a piece of tape.

An adhesive makes things, like tape, stick to other surfaces. Often, removing the tape leaves a gummy residue that's a byproduct of the adhesive.


Fast-talking lawyers and smooth politicians have which dominant trait?

When the charisma kicks in and the glad-handing begins, watch your back. Persuasive lawyers and politicians will say anything to get what they want.


It's a word that describes both terrible New York gridlock and a disgusting head cold.

Congestion is never fun, especially if your have a sinus infection AND you're sitting motionless on an overcrowded L.A. freeway.


Before police take a criminal in for booking, they will try to figure out exactly who he is.

Police must identify perpetrators before they can book them into a jail. But many criminals make positive idenification a challenging problem.


When you're sick, your doctor will check your _____ rate.

Your respiration (breathing) rate varies depending on your overall health. When you're sick, your respiration may be shallow or abnormal in a way that helps your doctor make a diagnosis.


It's what high schoolers become when they're fed up with some parts of their lives.

Tired of adults telling you what to do all of the time? You're disgruntled and disillusioned, maybe you should run join the French Foreign Legion!


It's a sound that's so quiet that you can't really hear it.

Sure, you know those two people from across the room are whispering about you. But because they are so far away, their words are inaudible.


When a dark thunderstorm rolls across the plains, it has a scary look to it. The clouds appear _____.

Boiling clouds in a thunderstorm are an ominous warning sign to all living creatures. Run for your lives!


The gas station isn't open right now. What an _____!

Wow, not much of a "convenience store," is it? They closed at 5 p.m., so, thanks to that inconvenience, we'll have to go all the way around the block to buy two-week-old hot dogs.


It's how you feel about a spouse who just drags you down all the time.

Some people complain about their "ball-and-chain" spouse. Others use the term anchor, which might be more merciful because at least then you drown right away.


If that beer makes you fall down on the floor, it's because it contained too much of which substance?

Look, cowboy, if you can't drink more than two beers without getting out control, you just can't hold your alcohol. Maybe it's time to switch to tea.


When police are keeping a close eye on criminals, they are performing which task?

It's a tough job, surveillance, which requires immense patience and keen eyes. The best police officers have a mind well-tuned for surveillance practices.


It's a label that's appropriate for the local pastor who condemned politicians for accepting bribes...while%0Dembezzling money from his own church.

If you say one thing but do another, your actions might be hypocritical. Or, you might just be a politician, in which case, carry on.


It's a word that describes when you know a lot about particular subject.

Sure, you might be knowledgeable about biology or physics, but can you actually spell "knowledgeable" without Googling it?


When the toddler's behavior is wild and wacky, it is this.

Feed that kid before he has a tantrum! A toddler's outrageous behavior will only get worse unless he eats that whole bag of Cheerios. Or Cheetos, depending on what kind of parent you are.


It's the big box you use to store your fresh foods.

The refrigerator is one of modern life's necessities. Unless, of course, your diet consists mostly of beef jerky and canned beans, in which case your health is probably just fine, no matter what your doctor says.


It's a word that describe someone who is equally adept with both hands.

Ambidextrous basketball players -- like Larry Bird -- have huge advantages over defenders, because they can switch hands at will, shooting and passing from any angle.


If something is this, it must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer.

Every good zombie knows that brains just rot away to nothing in a matter of days. Don't let that perishable cerebellum go to waste! Put it in the fridge and consume it within seven days after opening.


North America hasn't been struck by this many tornadoes in 100 years. It's a rare ______.

It's a rare occurrence when 2,000 twisters strike in just a single year. And for safety's sake, let's hope those tornadoes hit Russia instead.


It's a fancy style of writing.

Some people take up calligraphy as a sort of hobby, spending hours making fancy swirls on paper. But how many of those fancy writer types can actually spell "calligraphy"?


For werewolves, a full moon is an ____ time to go on a murderous rampage.

Full moons are known to trigger werewolf activity. It's an opportune time for these creatures of the night to steal maidens from the castle.


It's what you do with Russians to help rig an election.

You know, that Vladimir Putin guy really has a good heart. Let's have lunch with him and see if we can collaborate with his fellow countrymen to bring about the New World Order.


At one point, he was so good in a boxing ring that Mike Tyson was the ______ heavyweight champion of the world.

No one can argue against Tyson's dominance in the ring -- he was the undisputed champion. He was also indisputably nuts.


It's another word for "push."

See that big red button in the Oval Office? If you depress that button, you will probably destroy all of human civilization. Double-dog dare ya!


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