Here are some more word quizzes for you. Most of them are multiple-choice — think carefully about them and choose the answer which you believe is correct. Watch out for hidden tricks!


Use your dictionary, discuss with friends or class-mates, but please DO NOT look for the answers before you have really had a good think about the difficult ones. And the easy ones.


Boost your WordPower 1


1 In the word ‘telescope’, the prefix tele- means:

Sending and receiving information?

At or over a distance?

Travelling through the air?


2 The same word is used to denote (a) the moon and (b) a human-made device which is sent up into space. What is that word?


3 'Span' can relate to duration or distance. It can also mean a team of oxen pulling a plough. Spaniels are popular and friendly dogs. How did they get their name?


4 Poodles are lively, intelligent dogs. Where did their name come from?

— They were once called Puddle Hounds.

— When they bark, they make a strange howling noise.

— The unpleasant smell of their thick fur when it hasn’t been washed.


5 Midday means noon. Amidst means ‘in the middle of’. A midwife is a person who helps mothers at childbirth. What is a midden?


6 When the explorer Marco Polo returned to Europe in 1295, he spoke of a place he called Terra Australis. What had he seen or heard about?

— A terrifying place.

— A land in the south.

— A new country which reminded him of Austria.


7 The three wooden stumps used in the game of cricket are called wickets or the wicket. This is because:

— The word is related to wicca, an Old English word for witch, because the game is based on an ancient magical ritual which died out when Christianity reached Britain.

— They represent a wooden gate.

— It is a quick and lazy way of saying ‘weaker’.


8 Are any of these real names for actual sports? If so, what other sport(s) are they related to?

— hurling

— shinty

— twitch


9 Which part of your body is named after a baby whose mother dipped him in the Styx, a river which ran through Hades?


10 ‘Going by Shanks’s pony’ means:

Doing handstands or somersaults?

Bouncing up and down on your bottom?



Boost your WordPower 2


1 If you eat exotic food, you eat food which is:

— Exciting

— Naughty.

— Foreign.


2 Birds are kept in an:





3 Which one of these is not a vegetable?

— Broccoli.

— Cauliflower.

— Jerusalem artichoke.

— Pumpkin.

— Tomato


4 ‘Kosher’ mean ‘fit for use’. It applies specifically to food eaten by:







5 What do these have in common?

— hide

— kid

— pelt


6 You would find a horse in a field; a seahorse in the sea; and a horse-fly in the air. Where would you find a clothes-horse?


7 When you marinate, you:

Travel to the planet Mars?

Take a long journey by sea?

Soak meat or fish in a liquid?

Argue with someone who has made a mistake?


8 A catechism is:

A type of surgery performed on female cats?

A synonym for cataclysm, meaning a terrible disaster?

A series of questions put to someone in order to find what they believe?

The swooshing noise made when a projectile leaves a catapault?


9 A lyrebird gets its name from the fact that:

— Its beautiful call sounds like a musical instrument called a lyre.

— Its strong tail feathers were used in ancient times to make musical instruments called lyres.

— Its mating behaviour is unreliable.

— When it spreads out its tail feathers they make a shape like a lyre.

— It continually adopts a defensive crouching position which makes it look as though it’s lying down.


10 In horse-riding, dressage gets its name from:

— An old French word meaning ‘to prepare’.

— The fact that the rider has to dress in a particular style.

— The name of an old city in Germany.

— Very old Scandinavian words meaning ‘wise horse’.


Boost your WordPower 3


1 What do drainpipes, flares, knickerbockers and plus-fours have in common?


2 What do these have in common and which is the odd one out?

— Chow

— Lhasa apso

— Pekingese.

— Shih-Tzu.


3 Which is the odd one out, and why?

— dearth

— famine

— paucity

— plethora


4 An oesophagus or esophagus is:

A stone coffin?

A passage leading down to your stomach?

A collection of ancient Greek stories designed to instruct?

A rare type of rodent found only in the Andes?


5 The same word, placed after each of these words, explains what they are. What are they?

— Abyssinian

— Cheshire

— Manx

— Tortoiseshell


6 Spot the mistake in each of these statements:

— Entomology is the study of the origin and use of words.

— Geneology is the study family histories.

— Meteorology is the study of heavenly bodies in orbit.


7 The second word in the name of this website and the first name of the person who compiled it are an example of an:







8 The following words are called portmanteau words because they are combinations of two other words. Which two words were combined to make:

— Avionics

— Denim

— Heliport

— Moped

— Permafrost

— Sitcom

— Smog.


9 What is the original meaning of ‘portmanteau’ and why would we include these in a list of related words:

— attaché

— brief

— Gladstone

— suit.


10 You might one day encounter a polymath. What do you expect to see?

— A parrot which can recite multiplication tables.

— A rare sea creature from the western side of the Indian Ocean.

— A person of great and diversified learning.

— An unpleasant eruption on an area of your skin which has been exposed to too much sunlight.


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Wordpower 1 Answers

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