Family Fun Things To Do

Trivia Quiz: 20 Questions on Words!

Welcome to Expat Living’s weekly quiz. How about challenging a friend or family member? You can get together with them over Zoom, Houseparty or Google Hangouts. This week, it’s 20 trivia questions on words – go on, test yourself!


#1 Which letter of the alphabet is used most frequently in English? 

#2 What word (particularly relevant this year) comes from an old Italian term for the 40-day period that a ship used to be kept in isolation if it was thought to be carrying sick passengers? 

#3 What 11-letter word starts and ends with the letters “und”? (Hint: dig around and you might get it…)

#4 If you say “meri kurisumasu” to someone, what are you wishing them, and in what language?

#5 The dot over the letter “i” is officially known as a tittle, jittle or swittle?

#6 What’s the only number in the English language that has the same number of letters in its written name as its value?

#7 What English word is derived from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet?

#8 What product did Jacques Nicot introduce for the first time into France in the 1500s?

#9 What word can mean all of the following: to give a negative review of a movie; to search for gold; a cooking utensil 

#10 What common three-letter word is the only definite article in the English language?

#11 “Queueing” is a relatively common word, but what is its very uncommon feature?

#12 In Cockney rhyming slang, what do the following phrases mean: “bag of fruit”, “trouble and strife”, “butcher’s hook”?

#13 Triskaidekaphobia means having an irrational fear of which number?

#14 A “couch potato” is someone who sits in front of the television for long periods of time. What does a “mouse potato” do? 

#15 What 10-letter word starting with “t” can you spell by just using the top row of a QWERTY typewriter?

#16 Which of these words has the most definitions (over 400, in fact) listed in the dictionary: set, hand or fall?

#17 Make a five-letter word using the letters ABCDEF and without repeating any letter.

#18 What’s the technical word for having a rumbly tummy: borborygmus, brucellosis or bruxism?

#19 Which animal appears as the very first word in many dictionaries?

#20 On a similar theme, the word that often appears last in the dictionary is “zyzzyva”. Is it a type of insect, a breeze or a musical instrument?


What am I?
(If you can answer correctly on the first clue, you get 10 points, but you lose a point for each additional clue you require after that.)

I’m a word of six letters. (10)
I describe a common feeling. (9)
While I’ve officially been in use since the 1950s, I was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018. (8)
I’m what is known as a portmanteau, or a combination of two existing words. (7)
I’m the name of a 2019 book with the subtitle “5 Simple Steps to Balance Your Hormones and Restore Your Joy”. (6)
A recent Snickers chocolate bar ad campaign played on the effect I can have on people. (5)
I’m thought to be the result of a decrease in the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood, triggering an increase of cortisol and adrenaline. (4)
I start with “h”. (3)
My definition is “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger”. (2)
I am the word “h____”. (1)

All the answers (no cheating!)

#1 The letter “e” (for every appearance of “q” in English, “e” is said to appear 56 times)
#2 Quarantine (“40” in Italian is “quaranta”)
#3 Underground
#4 “Merry Christmas” in Japanese
#5 Tittle
#6 Four
#7 Alphabet (alpha and beta)
#8 Tobacco (the word “nicotine” comes from his surname Nicot)
#9 Pan
#10 The
#11 It has five consecutive vowels
#12 “Bag of fruit” is a suit; your “trouble and strife” is your wife; a “butcher’s hook” is to have a look at something
#13 13
#14 Sits in front of a computer for a long period of time
#15 Typewriter
#16 Set
#17 Faced (we’ll also pay “decaf”, though we won’t drink the stuff…)
#18 Borborygmus (brucellosis is a contagious infection and bruxism is teeth-grinding)
#19 Aardvark
#20 Insect (it’s a type of weevil)

BONUS: Hangry

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