An English Language Expert Should Be Able to Get 29/35 on This Quiz. Can You?

By: Monica Lee

An English Language Expert Should Be Able to Get 29/35 on This Quiz. Can You?
Image: skynesher / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you are well-versed in Latin or have a good grasp on European languages, then this quiz is for you. You may also do well if you have a comprehensive and sophisticated vocabulary, as this test is peppered with words of medium to advanced difficulty. Unfortunately, for those without these achievements and capabilities, it can be an arduous and Herculean task to command a high score. 

Be prepared to disassemble words into their roots, prefixes and suffixes. Then, you'll scrutinize the options and make the best possible decision. A score of 29 or above will corroborate your mastery of vocabulary. And we will be pleased to call you an expert. 

Some questions will be helpful in that clues will be provided within the query itself, while others may require a hint to help you verify the correct answer. From abstruse (difficult to understand) to enervate (wear down mentally) it will take indefatigable effort (unflagging vitality) to be on the winning side of this quiz. If we haven't frightened you yet, and you can see through our scare tactics, then you're ready to take the quiz. Do it now and let us bequeath the honor of Language Expert when you procure your high score.  

We hope you don't think this quiz will be abstruse. What does "abstruse" mean?
Difficult to understand
Abstruse things are difficult to understand because they are so deep and intellectually challenging. But that's for ordinary people, not those who know languages. The root word, abstusu,s is taken from Latin, meaning "hidden, concealed, or secret."
Ridiculous
Boring
Temperamental

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His adroit replies to hecklers won him many followers. What is another way to say "adroit"?
Curious
Quick and skillful
If you've ever studied French, you know that droit means "right," both as in "right of free speech" and "left and right." Adroit means both.
Callous
Sentimental

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When you hear "husbandry," what do you think of?
Marriage
Laundry
Farming
If you cultivate the land or breed animals, you are practicing husbandry. If you're versed in Old English, this word started In the 1300s with another word, “husbandman,” and came to mean a farmer.
Entertaining

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"Ignominy" looks similar to various words. How would you define it?
Ignore
Ignorance
Ignoble
Dishonor
Breaking this word down, either from the French, ignominie, or from Latin, ignominia, this word is created from the prefix "in," meaning "no or not," plus nomen, meaning "a name." Therefore, it means ruining your name or reputation.

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I will express my obdurate singularity at any cost. What is a synonym for "obdurate"?
Selfless
Charitable
Unrepentant
Obdurate is stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing. In Latin, obdurare means "to harden." A near synonym is adamant, from the Latin adamas, meaning "hard metal, diamond."
Romantic

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When would you use "ineffable"?
When you want to be politically correct
When you are furious at a person
When you find something hard to express
The Latin root of "ineffable" comes from "ineffabilis," which joins the prefix "in," meaning "not," with the adjective "effabilis," meaning "capable of being expressed." Together it means incapable of description.
When you're patronizing someone

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Siblings, spouses, or friends who are not speaking to each other may use "inexorable" to describe the person. What does it mean?
Stubborn
From Latin, inexorable means not pliant. When your spouse or sibling is impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, or reason, you may say that person is resolutely inexorable.
Adoring
Strange
Comical

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At comedy clubs, you might hear "invective" language. What is a synonym for this word?
Infectious
Abusive
Invective comes from the Latin for "abusive." If a comedian is on a rant about how stupid people are, he or she might spew invective language before getting to the punch line.
Passionate
Crazy

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To "enfranchise" is to do what?
Take away people's rights or liberties
Give rights or freedoms to a group of people
This word can be traced back to Old French when the combination of "en," meaning "make, put in," and enfranchir, meaning "to set or make free," came together to mean a group of people given the right to vote, or "to admit to membership in a state."
Make immediate provisions for medical care
Supply food to those who are impoverished

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She was an independent and often irascible author. What is "irascible"?
Melancholy
Quickly aroused to anger
Irascible comes from the Latin root "ira," which means "anger" or "rage," the same root that gives us the word ire, "anger." However, the "sc" in the middle of irascible, means "becoming." So the anger hasn't exploded yet.
Paranoid
Humorous

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When you think of "lugubrious," what's the first thought that comes to mind?
Silly and exuberant
Excessively mournful
Anything that makes you feel gloomy is lugubrious. This word is derived from the Latin verb, lūgēre, which means "to mourn."
Scared and timid
Relaxed and confident

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The latest machinations are not sly or shrewd or clever. What phrase can be used to describe "machinations"?
A complex mechanical design
A crafty plot to achieve your ends
Machination derives from the Medieval French, machina, meaning "machine." However, the word describes a crafty and involved plot to achieve usually sinister ends. It's a bit like intrigue.
A fine-tuned precision instrument
Simple architectural design

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Here's a hint: "Impugn" has a Latin root. What is another way to say this word?
Attack as false
The root of impugn is the Latin, "pugnare," which means "to fight." So when you impugn, you are fighting or attacking the idea or statement by saying that it's false or wrong.
Immunity
Idyllic
Inane

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The definition of "malinger" is easy when identifying the root word. What does it mean?
Playfully oblivious
Heartsick as well as ill
Avoiding responsibilities through falsehoods
Malinger comes from the French, "malingre," which can mean "ailing or sickly," One theory says that mal, or "wrongly," suggests the sick person is just faking it.
Promoting oneself above others

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Most people tend to stay away from mendacious co-workers. How would you define "mendacious"?
Liar
A mendacious person is one who tells lies habitually and intentionally. The root word is from the Middle French, "mendacieux," and from the Latin, "mendacium," which means a lie, untruth, falsehood, or fiction.
Gossiper
Conceited
Pessimistic

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It doesn't necessarily mean that it's not as it appears to be, only that there's a possibility of another reason. Which word describes this definition?
Systematically
Evidently
Proof
Ostensible
From French, "ostensible" means something is capable of being shown, or presentable. Here's an example in a sentence: “His ostensible purpose was charity; his real goal was popularity."

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Though "officious" sounds like official, what does it really mean?
Intrusively meddling
When the suffix, -osus ("full of"), is added to "officium," the Latin word officiosus came into being. It means"eager to serve, help, or perform a duty," but in an annoyingly eager way that is more than what is required.
Odorous
Thoughtful
Awe-inspiring

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"Nonplussed" can be confused with a negative meaning word. How do you define this word?
Not excited
Bewildered
It's confusing because in Latin, "non plus" means no more, no further or a state in which nothing more can be done. Another way to say this is perplexed or completely puzzled.
Shocked
Jealous

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"Cachet" has a very specific meaning. What is it?
Prestige
Cachet is the French word for a small seal or impression left by a seal. The meaning has evolved from "(letter under) personal stamp (of the king)" to "prestige."
Ownership
Fashionable
Stingy

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If you have "panache," you have ...
Fame
Money
Style
Panache is a word of French origin that carries the connotation of flamboyant manner and reckless courage. Specifically, from Middle French, it meant "a tuft or plume of feathers." Today, it means distinctive and stylish elegance.
Intelligence

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"Indefatigable" is another way of saying ...
Fated
Desired
Starving
Unflagging Vitality
In Latin, it was possible to defatigare or "to tire out," but only the negative version (prefixed with in- ) entered the English language through French.

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What's uncanny, is how you have breezed through these questions. What does "uncanny" mean?
Surpassing the ordinary
The word canny means "cunning" or "sly." However "uncanny" means mischievous, strange or mysterious in a strange way.
Silly
Boring
Crazy

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She was unabashed about her relationship with a convicted felon. What other word could you use for "unabashed"?
Quiet
Sleepy
Tolerant
Not embarrassed
In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, abash meant "perplex, embarrass, lose one's composure". Thus the opposite of that means not embarrassed.

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We may resort to dilatory tactics so you don't go through this quiz so quickly. What does "dilatory" mean?
Surprising
Upsetting
Contrary
Delaying
This word comes from the Latin root word, "dilator," which means someone who puts things off, or a procrastinator. So dilatory tactics would be tactics used to delay. Or in this case, we might use harder words, so you have to consider the options for a longer time.

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When "mileu" is discussed, what exactly is being described?
The cookware needed to create a souffle
The inner workings of an assembly line
Fashionable outer wear
The surroundings and conditions
From French, "milieu" means middle place. A milieu is both the surroundings and everything that makes up the surroundings. Sometimes a milieu shapes a person, as when a "milieu of abuse and poverty" inspires someone to improve things for others.

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The chief librarian could be considered a "martinet." How would you define that word?
A recluse
Someone who demands conformity to rules
Martinet was coined after General Jean Martinet (died in 1672) who invented the military drills. He was a stickler for rules and regulations. Martinet is also used to describe someone who stubbornly adheres to methods or rules.
A knowledgeable person
Someone who wants to please

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"Hoi polloi" doesn't even look like a word, but it is. What does it mean?
The masses
This may be Greek to you, but hoi polloi was originally written in Greek letters. It means the people, the general public, the common man, the masses, or simply, hoi polloi.
The fluctuations in weather
The meaningless of life
The science of social interactions

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Are you willing to abrogate your responsibilities? How would you define "abrogate"?
To negotiate for a single consensus
To abolish by authoritative action
"Abrogate" comes from the Latin root rogare, which means to propose a law. When combined with "ab," which means "from" or "away," it means to abolish by authoritative action.
To plead in defense
To harbor resentment

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It could be your little brother or it could be a conflict, but you might use intractable to describe it. What's another word for "intractable"?
Difficult to manage
The Latin root word, "tract," means “drag” or “pull,” so something that is intractable is difficult to manage.
Slightly paranoid
Increasingly despondent
Greatly agitated

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If you say a partnership is "incipient," what do you mean?
It is controversial.
It is fraught with disaster.
It is inconceivable.
It is just beginning.
Incipient comes from the Latin incipere, "to begin." The more commonly used word, "inception," means the beginning. However, incipient includes the idea that it may never be fully formed.

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When do you feel "compunction"?
When you're surprised at the outcome
When you're delighted about something
When you feel sorry for what you've done
When you feel compunction you feel very, very sorry, usually for something you did to hurt someone or mess something up. The origin of this word is from Latin, "compungere," which is to prick hard or sting,
When you're falsely accused of some act

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If you "contravene" something in practice, what are you doing?
Break the rules
This word comes from late Latin where "contravenire," or contra- + venire, means "against to come." Today, this word is synonymous with violation. For instance, "She might contravene her parents' ban on sweets if her friend offers her some licorice."
Bend the rules
Follow the rules
Change the rules

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Statistics that come from "empirical" data is what type of data?
A) Theoretic
B) Experiment
C) Observation
D) B & C
Empirical looks like empire but comes from a completely different origin. It is from the Greek empeirikos, meaning experienced. It's now used for any kind of knowledge that comes from experiment and observation.

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What comes to mind when you hear the word "enervate"?
Perk up physically
Rush around frantically
Wear down mentally
In Latin, "enervare" means “to cut the sinew” or “to cause to be cut from the muscle.” This action would weaken anyone. The word has evolved to mean to unnerve or weaken.
Feel awkward internally

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"Mendicant" can have more than one meaning. Which of the following answers is correct?
Housewife and maid
Beggar and Franciscan monk
Mendicant can refer to a beggar as well as a man belonging to a religious order, such as the Franciscan Friars who denounce all worldly goods.
Chauffeur and repairman
Socialite and Donor

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You Got:
/35

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