Test Your Mental Mettle With These Ridiculous Riddles

By: Robin Tyler
Image: MirageC/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Riddle me this... and riddle me that!

Through the ages, the riddle has been a cherished way to stump your friends with some wicked wordplay that normally hides a very simple answer. And riddles are nothing new. The earliest riddle ever found was written on a stone tablet from Mesopotamia which dates back to 2350 BC! That's unbelievable! The riddle is this...  “There is a house. One enters it blind and comes out seeing. What is it?” So what do you think is the answer? It's a school! To date, 24 other riddles have been found of Sumerian origin. 

Riddles are certainly not only found in the English language either. For example, in Germany, a riddle is called a "rätsel" while in Dutch it is known as a "raadsel".  When it comes to riddles, they fall into two categories. These are the enigma, a riddle that is metaphorically expressed and then the conundrum, a problem riddle with a pun either in the answer or the question. 

Now the question is, just how good are you at riddles? Obviously, the task is a little easier thanks to the multiple choice variety of the quiz, but there are a few tricky ones to keep you on your toes.

Are you ready? Then let's begin. 


What is always coming but never arrives?

Well, it just makes sense doesn't it? By the time tomorrow comes, it has become today. And then, there is another tomorrow. So, does tomorrow even exist then? Just think about that!

Everybody has me but I’m impossible to lose. What am I?

As Cat Stevens once said, " Oh, I'm bein' followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow." Certainly, if there is a strong source of light around, then we are going to have a shadow. But why? Well, any object that light cannot pass by forces the light around it and essentially, that is how a shadow is cast.

What can you catch but cannot throw?

The general saying in English when you get the sniffles is to say that "You caught a cold". Now you cannot throw that at someone, can you? Interestingly, the common cold can be caused by 200 separate viruses.

My hands move but I can’t clap. What am I?

Yes, a clock has hands. And they certainly can't clap. But they can do something else a human hand and finger and do... and that is the point but at the time only! Clapping, or applause was first thought to have started with the Romans.

What runs around a house but does not move?

OK, this riddle only works if a fence really goes around the whole house. What if it is only for the front of the house? Just kidding! It's a great little rhyme, especially for young kids.

If you have it, you want to share it. If you share it, you don’t have it anymore. What is it?

Isn't this riddle so true? How many times have you been told a secret that you just want to tell someone? Every single time, right? And when you do, it's no longer your secret. Plus, the person who told you is probably going to get mad that you shared it. A secret is only a secret if you keep it!

What is something that you are forever leaving behind but still always have?

Isn't it amazing that every single person in the world has unique fingerprints? Just think about it. There are 7.7 billion people in the world and each of them has their own fingerprints, never to be repeated. Interestingly, the first time fingerprints were used to solve a crime was in 1892. And in Argentina!

I will crack if you drop me. If you smile at me, I’ll smile back. What am I?

I bet you know a few people who would be lost without their mirror. Mirrors, as we know them today, are silvered-glassed and were first invented in 1835 in Germany by a chemist called Justus von Liebig.

What is at the end of every rainbow?

If Irish mythology is to be believed, its a pot of gold and a possessive leprechaun that you would find at the end of every rainbow. But in the world of the riddle, it is simply the letter "w".

If you say my name, then I don’t exist anymore. What am I?

Oh man, isn't this just the greatest riddle. Why? It's just so profoundly true. Sometimes, silence is all that is needed. The unspoken word is often the best, especially when dealing with people that are extremely close to such as family members or your wife/husband for example.

What is it that nobody wants but nobody wants to lose either?

When I go to court, I like to put on my best lawsuit! OK, silly joke! Sometimes simplest of riddles can have us stumped for hours! This riddle is a great example of that. When the answer finally dawns on you, its a case of "How did I not get that"?

You can see me, but I weigh nothing. If you put me in a bucket of water, I’ll make it lighter. What am I?

Again, such a simple, logical riddle when you think about it. It reminds me of that classic song, "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza," which, although it was a children's song, was actually recorded by Harry Belafonte once.

The more you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?

Did you know that the word riddle actually comes from the Old English word, ræ̅dan. This meant to interpret or guess something.

I can be broken without being touched or even being seen. What am I?

So true! A promise is easily broken. And that's the easiest way to destroy a relationship! Riddles don't only have to be funny, they can also have some serious truths to them, just like this one.

Which month has 28 days?

You definitely knew this one right? Not only is this a riddle but it is a simple test of logic, and for that reason it is a favorite question in logic tests.

The person who made it doesn’t want it, the person who paid for it doesn’t need it and the person who needs it doesn’t know it. What is it?

Sometimes riddles can be pretty involved and have lots of different aspects that can throw you off the path to the answer. That's when keeping logical is the best way to find the answer. And in the case with this one, logic says that the answer is a coffin.

What gets thrown out when it’s needed but stored away when it’s not?

An easy one. Anchors are thrown overboard to secure the boat when not moving, hence the thrown out part. And when not in use, it is stored somewhere on the boat. Makes sense, right?

I have a head, but I don’t have a body. I have leaves but no branches. What am I?

Lettuce talk about this riddle ... see what I did there? Because you may have heard this riddle before, we just going to leaf it here!

What tree do we all carry in our hand?

This is certainly a riddle that is a bit more obscure than most, but that's not to say it's not correct. Hold up your palm and look at it. All those lines running along your skin do look the branches of a tree.

I can’t be seen but I can be heard. I won’t answer until spoken to. What am I?

Who doesn't love a good echo? Despite what you might have heard to the contrary, a duck's quack does echo, just not as loudly as other sounds.

What has 42 eyes and 12 faces?

Simple to see the answer, right? Take one die, now add the numbers on it. So that is 1+2+3+4+5+6. That is equal to 21. But we have two dice, so that is where the 42 eyes (dots) come in. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

I start off dry but emerge wet. I go in light but emerge heavy. What am I?

One of life's simple pleasures is a nice cup of tea, don't you think? This clever riddle, which had us stumped for days, explains exactly what happens to a tea bag when making that cup of tea!

What has branches but no bark?

Short and simple, this riddle is another example off how everyday words can pertain to many things. Did you know that there are two types of riddles? The enigma, a riddle that is expressed metaphorically and the conundrum, a riddle that has a tricky problem in which a pun is found in the answer or the question.

I have a neck, but I don’t have a head and I wear a cap. What am I?

Now this one had us stumped for a long time! Eventually, however, we worked it out. And yes, a bottle does have a neck, it even has a cap, until you open it that is, but it certainly has no neck! Did you get this one right?

What has 13 hearts but no other organ?

Well, reading that riddle, something with 13 hearts sounds like a massive monster or something scary! But, on closer inspection at the answers, it's obvious that it must be a pack of cards.

In a house, what room do ghosts avoid?

This is such a great little riddle and perfect for kids, don't you think? It is the perfect example of a conundrum type riddle, with a pun-based answer. And let's face it, anything "punny" is just the best!

What is as light as a feather but can’t be held by anyone for very long?

Yes, you certainly can't hold your breath for very long... well, unless you are a free diver. Did you know that riddles form an intricate part of other languages as well? In Germany, a riddle is called a "Rätsel".

Of the options below, what has four legs, one head and one foot?

Well, technically not all beds have a headpiece but for the purposes of riddles, they do! And the foot? That refers to the foot of the bed, doesn't it? This is another perfect riddle to stump kids with, and it explains the different parts and areas found on a bed! And a riddle that teaches is the best riddle of all!

Joe’s father had three sons. Two were named Snap and Crackle. What was the third son's name?

This is a brilliant example of a multilayered riddle. It cleverly uses a few lines, and more words than usual, to try to disguise what is essentially, a very simple answer. Did you get it right?

I often run but I don’t have legs. I don’t need you, but you need me. What am I?

Now, this riddle certainly is very tricky. If you look closely and have a good think it's the 'run' part that gives it away. Well, certainly when you look at the other answer options. These riddles certainly would have been a lot tougher to figure out without multiple choice, don't you think?

What is never borrowed but often returned?

Returned with thanks! That's where this riddle comes from. Did you know, in Holland they love a good riddle. A riddle in Dutch is called a "raadsel".

I start with M and end with X and have an infinite number of letters. What am I?

Wait! OK, I get it now! Filled with letters, that is what a mailbox would have in it! So when were riddles first used? Well, it seems since the beginning of time really. The oldest riddle ever discovered was written on a clay tablet from Mesopotamia and dates to around 2350 BC.

What type of lion never roars?

Dandelions definitely don't roar! Now, why would it have that name.. Well it actually stems from the French word for this flower, which is "dent de lion." Meaning "lion's tooth," it refers to the leaves of this flower that have serrated edges.

Cut me and I won’t cry, but you will. What am I?

Nothing quite like the tears produced while cutting an onion, is there? And while all sorts of home remedies and other gadgets say they can stop onion tears, nothing really does!

Pick me up and scratch my head. I’ll turn red and then black. What am I?

What we have in this riddle is a simple explanation for striking a match! The red signifies the flame and the black is the burnt wood after the flame has been extinguished. Another great riddle for kids!

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