The Quiz for People Who Want a Challenging Vocabulary Test


By: Elizabeth Lavis

6 Min Quiz

Image: Paul Bradbury/OJO Images/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Ah, the verbal tapestry of the English language! There are a veritable plethora of ways that we can express ourselves, so it's truly a shame when people use only the basest forms of language to get their point across. 

With the galaxy of nouns, adjectives and verbs at our disposal, some people are self-described wordsmiths who live for the art of coining the perfect phrase. This quiz was built for those folks; the most prolific and intelligent among us who know that the way we speak and write influences how others see us. Who doesn't want to be known as a literary titan of epic proportions? It's the preeminent badge of honor and the base of so many bragging rights! 

If you are the type of person who prefers to describe things are beryl or chartreuse because plain old 'green' is far too boring, we challenge you to test your vocabulary mettle against these 40 questions. Challenge your friends also, so you can prove once and for all who is the ultimate smartypants (as if there was ever any doubt)! If you think you're a walking thesaurus, get on this quiz and prove your stuff! 


What is the word for "give up power"?

Abdicate means to cede power to someone else. It's often used in the context of royalty and is generally preferable to the other options, such as bloody coups, anarchy or hostile takeovers.


It's the word for profound respect. What is it?

When you revere something, you show extreme respect and admiration for it. The term 'reverence' is often used to describe important and unquestionable leaders or people in religious institutions.


When you show sound judgment, you are exhibiting which quality?

Being prudent is one of the best qualities that a person can exhibit. It means you show sound judgment even in the face of stress or extreme obstacles. The best leaders are prudent.


Who know the name of the word for 'analyze carefully'?

When you scrutinize something, you're looking at it very carefully to make sure it is accurate. People whose job requires them to pay close attention to detail often need to employ this skill.


It's an undesirable quality that describes someone who is very self-important. What is it?

Pretentiousness is a quality exhibited by those who love to toot their own horn and make themselves seem more significant and better than they are. It's often totally transparent.


This word refers to a system of governance where free speech is restricted and the masses are ruled by fear. What is it?

Totalitarian rule is a system of government whereby free speech is curtailed, and people are controlled by fear. It is commonly used by dictators and tyrants all over the world and is mostly frowned upon by democratic nations.


When you are very cautious, you are exhibiting which quality?

Wariness can manifest itself in being able to see or anticipate potential problems, or it can be the sign of someone who is a little bit too suspicious. It's often a quality that goes hand-in-hand with street smarts.


When you are indifferent, what quality are you exhibiting?

Nonchalance is not when you throw concern to the wind, per se, but it is when you couldn't care less about the wind or the concern itself. Nonchalance is indifference and casual lack of concern.


It's the word for lasting or staying only a short time. What is it?

When someone or something is transient, it means that it lasts for only a short period. Transient things are fleeting, and transient people tend to move around a lot. It's a word that means that something is not permanent.


This word means dried out by heat, but it could also be used to describe someone who is very thirsty. What is it?

You might hear a fellow wordsmith use the word 'parched' to describe a state of being very thirsty. This word can also refer to something that is dried out by the heat or baked in the sun.


When you do something without much advanced planning, you are exhibiting which quality?

When someone is spontaneous or exhibits spontaneity, we see them as free-spirited and willing to do things on the fly. Spontaneous people will pack up their bags for a whirlwind trip and book their flights in the cab to the airport.


If something can't be avoided, we refer to it as this word. What is it?

When something is inevitable, it means that it will happen and there's nothing you can do to stop it. It's incapable of being prevented or avoided, and you have to face it head-on.


Someone who possesses this quality values their alone time above all else. What is it?

Reclusiveness is a quality that makes someone prefer solitude over the company of others. In extreme cases, it can lead to someone being considered a recluse, or someone who shuns all social interaction.


If you have this quality, you are very in-tune with the feelings of others. What is it?

Empathy is a quality characterized by being able to step into the shoes of others and feel what they are going through. Empaths make good listeners and confidants because they have a very high emotional IQ.


Those who have this in their lives are generally considered lucky. What is it?

Prosperity is another term for good fortune. It could come in the form of money, friendships, or general happiness. Those who have prosperity are generally considered lucky, but many of them will tell you they worked hard for it.


When you have a hunch that isn't yet tested, you have this. What is it?

An untested theory is called a hypothesis. In a scientific sense, a hypothesis means you have a thought or hunch about something but have not yet put in the work to prove it.


Someone who delivers a speech is known by this title. Can you tell us what it is?

An orator is someone who delivers a speech in front of a crowd. Technically, whenever you're speaking in front of people, you're orating, but this term is often saved for those who make professional speeches.


These psychic folk can perceive things that our senses can't pick up. What are they called?

Clairvoyants specialize in picking up things that our senses are incapable of perceiving. Some of them claim to be able to tell the future, read minds, or even change weather patterns.


It's a name for a professional political persuader. What is it?

Lobbyists are professional political persuaders whose job it is to influence voting. They tend to be most active around hot-button issues and will work with legislators to get their agendas passed in government.


When you avoid being wasteful, you're exhibiting which quality?

Frugality is the art of not wasting anything. Those who are frugal dislike wasting money. Frugal folks are sometimes seen as cheap, but they would consider themselves to be smart consumers of resources.


If something is just not all that important, we consider it this word. What is it?

The term 'Inconsequential' is pretty subjective. What matters to some people might not matter to others. This term is used to describe something on which it is not worth wasting time or energy.


These dangerous individuals charm and brainwash their flock using charisma. What do we call them?

Demagogues are leaders who often exploit the fears of their flock to get them to conform totally to their vision of the world. Cult leaders often fall into this category. Jim Jones, for example, is one of the most famous demagogues of all time.


Someone who is highly animated is often described as this word. Do you know the word?

When someone is boisterous, they are enthusiastic and excited about the task or activity at hand. Extroverts generally exhibit this quality, and it can be infectious and spread to an entire group.


It's the word we use when talking about not doing something. What is it?

Those who abstain from things tend not to do them. The art of abstaining is generally one of tremendous self-sacrifice because the things and activities in question are usually enjoyable.


When something is not 'in your face,' we consider it which word?

If something is subtle, it is muted, understated or delicate. Subtlety can also be used to describe themes in films and movies and is interchangeable with the word 'nuanced' to describe delicately or cleverly handled situations or themes.


This quality is one that is synonymous with lack of respect. Who knows what it is?

When you have disdain for someone, you dislike them intensely and have no respect for them. Disdain usually borders on disgust but is a lot less visceral and more calculated and rational.


Extreme joy is characterized by this term. What is it?

When you are feeling extreme or intense joy, you are in a state of jubilation. This happy state of being is a wonderful feeling that can be enjoyed individually or felt as a group.


This is the word for keeping to the path and working on a task. Who knows what it is?

Diligence is the word for sticking to the path and seeing something through to its logical completion. We generally tend to pair it with perseverance and grit. Diligent people get stuff done!


When you are faced with a difficult problem, you are faced with which word?

Conundrums are problems that are not easily solved. Many people find that you need to take several steps to solve one of these thorny problems, and they generally require the input of several people to address.


People who are very arrogant are often said to show this quality. Who knows what it is?

Haughtiness is an undesirable personality trait that leads people to act in bizarre and superior ways. It manifests itself in extreme arrogance and can come across as condescension as well.


If something is of superior quality, we often refer to it as this word. What is it?

Opulent items are those that are categorized by their fabulous richness and intricacy. Generally speaking, opulent things are superior in quality and aimed at pleasing those with great tastes.


Someone who imitates another is often said to be doing which thing?

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, those who emulate are doing a fantastic job at complimenting the subject of their imitation. Emulation is mimicking the actions or behaviors of others.


When people live for a really long time, we say that they have this. Who can name it?

Longevity is the term we use to describe a particularly long lifespan. If someone makes it into their late 90s or even over 100, we consider them to have enjoyed longevity.


If a landscape is particularly dry, we refer to it by what term?

Arid landscapes are those that do not have a lot of water or rainfall. Deserts are excellent examples of arid landscapes because they lack the proper amount of water to grow most plants.


When someone is stubborn and unyielding, we call them this. Who knows what it is?

Tenacious people are unyielding and stubborn, but they can also be extremely optimistic and are known for going after their goals with unparalleled enthusiasm and grit. They make excellent leaders.


If something is really boring, we often refer to it as this. What is it?

Mundane things are ordinary and expected. This word could refer to a specific routine, or the same outcome happening over and over again. Mundane is the complete opposite of unexpected.


Do you know the word used to describe things that exist on the surface?

When things are right on the surface, we call them superficial. This term can also be an insult to describe e people who are perceived as lacking depth, intelligence, or the ability to think critically.


When someone shows kindness to others, particularly those considered 'beneath them,' we say that they have which characteristic?

Benevolence is generally used to characterize people in power extending mercy or sympathy to those perceived to be beneath them. It's a quality that is highly prized in rulers.


If someone has resentment that runs deep, he or she is this. What is it?

Rancorous isn't just a word used to describe resentment; it refers to the deep-seated cold fury that comes when unforgivable sins are committed against us or the people we love.


When you get your point across forcefully and quickly, you are being which word?

When you're pithy, you are speaking in a way that is both concise and forceful. Pithiness is an excellent quality to have if you want to win an argument, or if you need to deliver talking points on your opinion.


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