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Unusual and Obscure Words Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Unusual and Obscure Words Quizzes, Trivia

Unusual and Obscure Words Trivia

Unusual and Obscure Words Trivia Quizzes

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Are you a logophile or lover of words? If so, this category is for you!
122 quizzes and 1,708 trivia questions.
  Irksome Words   great trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Pray, what is the profundity of your lexical repository? Might you endeavor to correlate these recondite, antiquated, or infrequently employed lexemes with their respective signification?
Easier, 10 Qns, reedy, Apr 26 24
reedy gold member
Apr 26 24
305 plays
Medieval Words and Concepts
  Medieval Words and Concepts    
Photo Match
 10 Qns
"Here are some of my favorite Medieval words...I hope you enjoy the particularly bizarre terminology. Enjoy!" - original author, thejazzkickazz
Tough, 10 Qns, spanishliz, Nov 28 23
spanishliz editor
Nov 28 23
137 plays
  Cultivated Words for the Lexically Clever editor best quiz   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Unusual Words Beginning With C
All the words in this quiz begin with the letter C, and are a bit on the unusual side - though not overly obscure. How many of them are you familiar with?
Average, 10 Qns, LadyNym, Aug 13 23
Recommended for grades: 11,12
LadyNym gold member
Aug 13 23
532 plays
  Whatchamacallit   best quiz  
Photo Quiz
 10 Qns
We call them whatchamacallits, thingamebobs, thingamejigs, whosits, whatsits, doodads and thingimes, but they have real names too. Your mission is to figure out just what these whatchamacallits are really called.
Tough, 10 Qns, Tizzabelle, Jul 28 16
Tizzabelle gold member
1677 plays
  Unusual Words Test Your Knowledge   top quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Can you match these unusual words, most of which found their way into the English language over time, with their meanings? Clues given. Have fun.
Very Easy, 10 Qns, Creedy, Sep 19 16
Very Easy
Creedy gold member
1854 plays
  Obfuscated Orthology    
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Welcome to my Obfuscated (unclear) Orthology (correct use of words) quiz! Can you match up the unusual 'O' word on the right with its definition on the left?
Easier, 10 Qns, reedy, Mar 01 21
reedy gold member
Mar 01 21
1115 plays
  'Esoteric' Words   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I love strange and esoteric words! This quiz is an attempt to satisfy that passion by highlighting words that are synonymous with 'esoteric'. Do you know your 'esoteric' etymology?
Average, 10 Qns, thejazzkickazz, Aug 09 07
thejazzkickazz gold member
5146 plays
  Down With Webster's Dictionary   popular trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
The English language is full of fun, silly words. This quiz is for those who would like to add a few gems to their vocabulary. All ten words can be found in the Webster dictionary though most are rarely used.
Easier, 10 Qns, BigTriviaDawg, Apr 01 20
BigTriviaDawg gold member
Apr 01 20
543 plays
  I Have No Idea What This Word Means   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
There are a lot of unusual and obscure words in the English language. How many of them do you know?
Average, 10 Qns, Joepetz, Jan 07 20
Joepetz gold member
Jan 07 20
1672 plays
  Do You Know Me?   great trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
You may have come across some of these words in your travels, some may be less familiar. A number have crept into English from another language.
Average, 10 Qns, looney_tunes, Oct 23 22
looney_tunes editor
Oct 23 22
253 plays
trivia question Quick Question
If someone complained that another person responded to them in a way that was not condign, what would this mean?

From Quiz "Stephen Donaldson's Luxurious Lexicon "

  Watchamacallits of the Human Body   popular trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
You know what I mean. Those little doodads that are parts of our bodies that you see every day, but of course someone, somewhere has given them a name. Can you match each whatsit with its correct name?
Easier, 10 Qns, stredman, Oct 23 21
stredman gold member
Oct 23 21
515 plays
  Can You Define These Words 2   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here are ten more words I'd never heard of until recently. Do you know their meanings? I certainly didn't. These are tough, but clues are given in the questions.
Easier, 10 Qns, Creedy, Aug 11 16
Creedy gold member
1258 plays
  Unusual Words 2   popular trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Can you match these unusual words, all beginning with B, with their simpler meanings? Clues given for some. Have fun.
Easier, 10 Qns, Creedy, Nov 26 16
Creedy gold member
1301 plays
  Ten Very Unusual Words   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Can you work out the meaning of these ten most unusual words from some of the given clues? Good luck!
Average, 10 Qns, Creedy, Feb 27 15
Creedy gold member
2066 plays
  It's a whatch-amacallit, you know?   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Oddball and humorous names that are given to people and things.
Easier, 15 Qns, Pick61, Dec 26 23
Dec 26 23
1662 plays
  Old Occupations   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
While researching the family tree I came across some unusual occupations. Do you think you can help me with these?
Average, 10 Qns, dcpddc478, Jul 01 18
Jul 01 18
2715 plays
  An Iota of Obscure Words   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here is an iota of obscure words that can be found in an English dictionary, but can you guess what they mean?
Average, 10 Qns, Plodd, Jan 10 24
Jan 10 24
2975 plays
  Ten Interesting Words    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here are ten words which I find interesting. I will give you the word, and you pick the correct definition from among the four choices.
Average, 10 Qns, chessart, Jul 07 16
chessart gold member
9836 plays
  Sesquipedalius' E Words   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Uncle Sesquipedalius, who loves to impress others with his vocabulary, has posed numerous single questions in the New Question Game. He has a superfluity of highfalutin words beginning with the letter E. How many of them can you sort?
Average, 10 Qns, FatherSteve, Aug 31 22
FatherSteve gold member
Aug 31 22
247 plays
  Misleading Words   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here are ten misleading words and phrases that aren't even remotely connected to the areas that they suggest. See how many you know. Have fun!
Average, 10 Qns, Creedy, May 27 18
Creedy gold member
May 27 18
1794 plays
  Stephen Donaldson's Luxurious Lexicon editor best quiz   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
A quiz containing a small selection of obscure words liberally used by Stephen R. Donaldson in "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" books. No knowledge of this series is required, as these are all real albeit rarely used English words.
Average, 10 Qns, agentofchaos, Feb 23 21
agentofchaos gold member
Feb 23 21
484 plays
  The End of The Word is Nigh   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
As the rapidly-spreading contagion known only as the Babel Virus takes a stranglehold, we find ourselves losing the English language one letter at a time. Words are diminishing! Can we save them before time runs out?
Average, 10 Qns, kyleisalive, Apr 30 14
kyleisalive editor
742 plays
  Useful but Obscure Words   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Some more or less interesting words, which you may find less or more interesting.
Average, 10 Qns, thejazzkickazz, Jul 23 18
thejazzkickazz gold member
Jul 23 18
5118 plays
  Sesquipedalius' D Words   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Uncle Sesquipedalius, who loves to impress others with his vocabulary, has posed numerous single questions in the New Question Game. He has a superfluity of highfalutin' words beginning with the letter D. How many of them can you sort?
Average, 10 Qns, FatherSteve, Jun 04 22
FatherSteve gold member
Jun 04 22
271 plays
  Goofy Words   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Some English words are peculiar either in sound or appearance. Can you guess the answer to the following questions containing some goofy words?
Tough, 10 Qns, ralzzz, Apr 16 20
ralzzz gold member
Apr 16 20
4153 plays
  Take this Unusual Words Quiz    
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
I'll give you the definition of ten obscure words. You drag the correct word from the list given to its rightful spot next to each definition. Have fun.
Average, 10 Qns, Creedy, Mar 16 16
Creedy gold member
1045 plays
  In Two Words: Alliterative Reiterations   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I will describe a situation. See if you can guess which two word phrase (three if you count the article) sums it up. Be sure to check out the engrossing etymology in the interesting information section.
Average, 10 Qns, uglybird, Mar 09 16
2667 plays
  Start a New Dictionary   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here are ten words, nine of which I've never heard of before. Have you? Good luck!
Average, 10 Qns, Creedy, Jun 08 13
Creedy gold member
1357 plays
  Uncommon Words for Common Stuff    
Match Quiz
 15 Qns
Match the definitions with the correct uncommon word.
Average, 15 Qns, nyirene330, Jun 25 19
Jun 25 19
333 plays
  Weird Words Born in the USA   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I'll provide the definition and you pick the good old American word to which it refers or vice-versa.
Average, 10 Qns, nyirene330, Oct 23 20
Oct 23 20
1274 plays
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Unusual and Obscure Words Trivia Questions

1. The U.S. Air Force song, "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder", ends "In echelon we carry on! Hey! Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps!" What is meant by "echelon"?

From Quiz
Sesquipedalius' E Words

Answer: forces in a diagonal line

Captain Robert Crawford wrote "The Army Air Corps Song" in 1939. The words "Army Air Corps" were replaced by the words "U.S. Air Force" concurrently with the change in that branch's name. An echelon formation is an arrangement of forces diagonally, each unit to one side and slightly behind the other. The formation was used for infantry and cavalry by Hannibal, Alexander the Great, and the Confederate army at the Battle of Gettysburg. Ships and aircraft may be similarly deployed in echelon. The term entered English in the 18th century from the French "eschelon", meaning the rung of a ladder, which probably derived from the Latin "scala", meaning stairs.

2. When Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose partnered to thwart the evil designs of Boris Badunov, Natasha Fatale and Fearless Leader, they were described by the announcer as "our dauntless heroes." What does "dauntless" mean?

From Quiz Sesquipedalius' D Words

Answer: fearless, with bravado

The adjective dauntless means without fear, bold, brave, and unintimidated. It is not a popular usage; the reference in "Rocky and Bullwinkle" is tongue in cheek. The prefix "daunt-" derived (in about the 13th century) from the Old French "danter", meaning to fear. The suffix "-less" is used to form words meaning without, absent, or free from. Dauntless has been used in English from the late 16th century.

3. In "The Worm Ouroboros" (1922), by Eric Rücker Eddison (1882-1945), Jalcanaius Fostus describes Helteranius as colubrine. What does colubrine mean?

From Quiz Sesquipedalius' C Words

Answer: related to a snake, snakelike

Jalcanaius Fostus recalls an event nine years prior in which Helteranius meant to attack him from the rear. He describes this treachery as done "with cunning colubrine and malice viperine and sleights serpentine." He means that Heltreranius is a snake. The Modern English word "colubrine" derives from a Portuguese word imported from the Latin "colubra" meaning snake. Merriam Webster says it "slithered into the English language in the 16th century" for which observation they should be ashamed.

4. The spoon and fork have two portmanteau words that can be used. "Spork" is one and what is the other?

From Quiz Portmanteau? Don't Mind if I Do

Answer: Foon

A "spork" has the round shape of a spoon with tines like a fork. Samuel Francis patented the first spork in 1874. His design also included the edge of a knife. "Spork" didn't make it into the dictionary until 1909.

5. He loved working with his yelve in the garden. Which gardening tool is a yelve?

From Quiz Can You Define These Words 2

Answer: Fork

For those of you who love gardening, there's nothing quite as satisfying as digging up a pesky weed or turning over rich soil with a garden fork to aerate it, is there? And nothing like the aroma of that lovely rich soil as well. They should bottle it. Garden forks are also known as pitchforks. A common sight out in the fields in days gone by was farmhands tossing cut hay up onto wagons with their yelves. Today that is all done by machinery. Less back breaking work, of course, but not nearly as picturesque looking. Yelve was a word in use for at least 800 years in European countries, but began to fade from the everyday from the late 19th century, probably coinciding with the rise of the agricultural machines that replaced manual labour.

6. Don't think about this too long. Can you define the word "omphaloskepsis"?

From Quiz Ten Very Unusual Words

Answer: Meditation practised while gazing at your navel

Omphaloskepsis is a meditation method from the East, found for the most part in the Hindu belief structure. Those who practise this trance invoking skill go off into a deep trance while staring fixedly at their belly buttons. Unfortunately, those of us who are of a slightly chubbier frame than the average can't even see our navels, let alone practise staring at them.

7. Which distinctly American word can be defined as 'to leave abruptly'?

From Quiz Weird Words Born in the USA

Answer: absquatulate

Absquatulate means to depart in a hurry, often taking something along, or to abscond. It came from a trend in America in the 1830s when people decided to put words together to sound like they came from Latin origins; so added to the word 'squat' or stay, was the prefix 'ab-' meaning off or away and the verb ending '-ulate' suggesting a quick departure. It is rarely used nowadays, but I find it quite expressive and am hoping for a comeback.

8. What in the world is a molebut?

From Quiz Poppycock and Balderdash!

Answer: A sunfish

The sunfish is the largest and heaviest fish that is not made of cartilage. Its scientific name is mola mola, which gave the sunfish its nickname. It weighs around 1,000 kg! If you guessed the rear end of the mole, the rest of the quiz is not going to go well.

9. What is the meaning of the word "abecedarian"?

From Quiz An Iota of Obscure Words

Answer: A member of an old German Anabaptist sect

Abecedarians were members of an old German sect who pooh-poohed all human knowledge and believed that if God wanted them to learn anything, he would reveal it to them in visions. They believed that even learning the alphabet was a form of worshipping idols. I know some students today who would simply love to join a sect such as this. Abecedarian is also the name given to a person who is learning the letters of the alphabet.

10. The only word in this quiz that I had already heard of is skirling. Do you know what this word means?

From Quiz Start a New Dictionary

Answer: A sound made by bagpipes

The word most associated with skirling is the high, haunting, and rather beautiful, sound that the bagpipes make when played. The word has also been used to refer to shrill laughter or screams, none of which is particularly flattering when associated with bagpipe music. Then again, some people could be said to laugh like bagpipes instead. In one of the old English dialects, a skirl is also a small trout or salmon.

11. What is a pussywillow?

From Quiz Misleading Words

Answer: A tree which produces catkins

A pussywillow is a small tree which is native to Europe, the north west of Asia and the northern parts of the USA. It produces lovely fluffy little flowers known as catkins. When the leaves emerge after the catkins have finished blossoming, they're a lovely rich green colour, greatly favoured in Chinese decorations in particular. In many northern European countries, because palm trees do not grow well in such climates, flowering pussywillow branches are used as substitutes during the Christian celebration of Palm Sunday.

12. I've always liked the sound of the word 'loblolly'. Any idea what it might be?

From Quiz It's a whatch-amacallit, you know?

Answer: A thick porridge

The word loblolly seems to come from combining lob, a Yorkshire word meaning to boil, and lolly, an old Englisjh word for a soup or stew. The term also came to be applied to a swampy area, where the footing was similar to that of a cooked gruel. In the days of sail the assistant to a ship's surgeon was often called the loblolly boy, in reference to the food he would serve to sick and injured sailors.

13. To keep busy after retiring, nannywoo bought a free-range chicken farm. What adjective does she use to scientifically classify her barnyard fowl?

From Quiz Bodacious Word Endings

Answer: gallinaceous

Gallinaceous means "resembling domestic fowls and pheasants"; camphoraceous has to do with camphor; avaricious means greedy. The hens' eggs are nutritious, one hopes, not nonnutritious.

14. We'll start off with A. What is the only seven letter word to contain four As?

From Quiz Loads of One Letter

Answer: atalaya

It is a type of watchtower. It is also the longest word to contain more than half As in the OWL Dictionary.

15. This word contains a double v, and it means smart.

From Quiz Unusual Letter Combinations

Answer: savvy

Some other words containing double Vs in the OWL are revving and skivvies.

16. A bright idea may help you to say: which is the right definition for the word 'actinism'?

From Quiz Daffy Definitions

Answer: Property by which light produces chemical changes

Perhaps the adjective, actinic, would have sounded more familiar? The property of actinism is best illustrated in photographic film, in which chemical changes form an image in response to light. The clue 'bright idea' was intended to give you the comic book idea of a light bulb. The 'artistic movement' and 'infective mechanism' are inventions; the 'combined power' is a loose description of synergy.

17. As "the Strife of Love in a Dream" begins, I come to my first puzzling words as Poliphilo gives his introduction describing things he saw. Which words mean "architectural elements decorated with reliefs and often decorative in nature"?

From Quiz "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili" and Me

Answer: zophori and friezes

All of these are architectural words, however a frieze is a "horizontal band that runs above doorways and windows or below the cornice. The frieze may be decorated with designs or carvings." And a zophori is a frieze that has "representations of people or animals."

18. What does the word farcy mean?

From Quiz Defining Words

Answer: a disease

When used as a noun, farcy is a disease of animals, usually but not always of horses. It has similar symptoms to glanders. It was first used in the late 15th century in Britain. If used as a verb, farcy means to stuff.

19. RUDDLE has a nice ring to it - what do you think its meaning is?

From Quiz More Marvellous Meanings

Answer: Red ochre

This is a name for red ochre. It was used to mark sheep (and still is in some places), particularly after mating to show which ewes had been served. Thomas Hardy describes its use in his book "The Return of the Native" where there is a character called Diggory Venn who is a ruddleman or reddleman. Because his clothes and person are stained red some believe him to be the devil. It can also be used as a verb - as in to colour with ruddle, to ruddle.

20. Well! Someone told me I am a plantigrade! Is he insulting me? Which is the correct meaning of the word?

From Quiz (Ety)Mological Miscellany

Answer: I walk on the soles of my feet

Plantigrade can be an adjective and mean walking fully on the soles of the feet or it can be used as a noun to describe an animal that does this, thus humans are plantigrade. It comes from Latin from plantar (relating to the feet) and gradus (walking). So, no, I wasn't being insulted at all!

21. After a night on the town, Sam and Mary were engaged in an argument. It was due to Sam's crapulent behavior earlier in the evening, that Mary was upset about. What would be the best meaning of the word "crapulent"?

From Quiz Goofy Words

Answer: Sickness or behavior resulting from overeating or drinking, particularly alcoholic beverages.

The word "crapulent" is from the Latin word "crapulentus" meaning "very drunk" or "sick from drinking".

22. With all these words, you have to pick the right meaning - or say that it doesn't exist. Right, here's the first: Hodmandod.

From Quiz From the Hidden Depths (of the dictionary)

Answer: A snail

Rather ordinary, but I like it.

23. A bane is someone who is...

From Quiz All Boggled Up II

Answer: A nuisance

A bane is someone or something that is a nuisance or causes death. It comes from the Old English 'bana', a slayer or cause of death.

24. What are you doing if you're pandiculating?

From Quiz More Fun with Words

Answer: stretching

Specifically, the stretching motion associated with yawning. I guess if you stretch without yawning, it's just plain "stretching".

25. What is a "Francium"?

From Quiz Unusual Words and their Meanings - No. 2

Answer: A radioactive element

A Francium is a radioactive element of the alkali metal group. It was first identified in France!

26. What is the meaning of the word "grebe"?

From Quiz Unusual Words and their Meanings

Answer: A diving bird with a long neck

A grebe is any diving bird of the family Podicipedidae, with a long neck, lobed toes, and almost no tail.

27. What does PANNOSE mean?

From Quiz Odd Words

Answer: Like felt

This is from the Latin pannus which means cloth

28. Where would you find a gnomon?

From Quiz Fun with Words

Answer: On a sundial

A gnomon is the raised part of a sundial that makes the shadow. Definitely not an everyday word!

29. This term comes from the Greek meaning literally 'Hand bubble', you can surely use it in the same sentence with cheirospasm.

From Quiz Rare Words

Answer: Cheiropompholyx

Cheiropompholyx is a common but ugly eczema caused by sweaty hands...or a vesicular palm....Monoplegia is another word for a writer's cramp, let me see you try to work all of the words into one sentence.

30. Gummata comes from the word gum, yet I hardly think you would wish to chew this thing. What is this rubbery thing?

From Quiz Difficult Words

Answer: syphilitic wem

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