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Origins of Some English Words

Created by chessart

Fun Trivia : Quizzes : Etymology
Origins of Some English Words game quiz
"Here are questions on the origins of some English words."

15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit  



1. 'Sesquipedalian', meaning 'having many syllables', is derived from Latin words meaning what?
    being long-winded
    seventy years old
    foot and a half long
    walking very fast


2. 'Rostrum', meaning 'a stage for public speaking', is derived from the Latin verb 'rodere', which means what?
    to rotate
    to speak
    to gnaw
    to persuade


3. 'Careen', meaning 'to sway from side to side', is derived from the Latin 'carina', meaning what?
    flutter
    nutshell
    turn
    fruit


4. 'Supercilious', meaning 'patronizingly haughty', is derived from the Latin 'super', meaning above, and 'cilium', which stands for which body part?
    finger
    elbow
    belly button
    eyelid


5. 'Penumbra' is derived from the Latin word 'umbra', meaning what?
    gray
    shadow
    smooth
    oily


6. 'Cynosure'. meaning a 'guide', or a 'center of attention', meant what in Greek or Latin?
    dot
    dog's tail
    leader
    power


7. 'Megalopolis', meaning a densely populated area, was the name of an actual city in what ancient land?
    Babylon
    India
    Greece
    Egypt


8. 'Desultory', meaning 'marked by lack of a definite plan', comes from the Latin word desultory which meant what?
    a fast runner
    a meandering river
    a circus trick-rider
    a winding road


9. 'Subjugate' was derived from the Latin 'jugum', meaning what?
    hand
    mountain
    island
    yoke


10. Which planet gave its name to a word meaning 'having rapid and unpredictable changes of mood'?
    Mars
    Saturn
    Mercury
    Venus


11. Of special interest are words derived from real people or characters. For example, the word 'quisling', meaning a traitor, especially someone who betrays his own country by cooperating with an occupying enemy, was derived from Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), who was from what country?
    France
    Belgium
    Denmark
    Norway


12. The word 'gerrymander' was derived from Elbridge Gerry, who created an artificial-looking voting district in which locale?
    Massachusetts
    Scotland
    Ireland
    Virginia


13. 'Malapropism', meaning 'the ridiculous misuse of words, is derived from a character in a play by whom?
    Oscar Wilde
    William Shakespeare
    Richard Sheridan
    Christopher Marlowe


14. 'Spoonerism', meaning the unintentional interchange of sounds, often initial sounds, was derived from W. A. Spooner (1844-1930), who was what?
    a minister
    a doctor
    a lawyer
    a Congressman


15. 'Quixotic' is derived from Don Quixote, a character in a novel by whom?
    Cervantes
    Mark Twain
    Dickens
    George Bernard Shaw


16. We finish with some animal references. 'Alopecia', meaning 'baldness', is derived from a Greek word for which animal?
    squirrel
    fox
    wolf
    bear


17. 'Gossamer', meaning delicate or flimsy, is derived from a Middle English word for which animal?
    snake
    spider
    goose
    hummingbird


18. 'Lupine' is derived from the Latin 'lupus', which means what animal?
    wolf
    badger
    cat
    bear


19. 'Porcine' is derived from the Latin 'porcinus', meaning which animal?
    dog
    horse
    pig
    cat


20. 'Simian' is derived from the Latin 'simia', meaning which animal?
    pig
    ape
    frog
    snake


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Compiled Dec 26 12