Can You Define All of These Words That Start With Q?



By: Allison Lips

6 Min Quiz

Image: Pexels by Alex Andrews

About This Quiz

In English, you will find that most words with a Q follow it with U. This is because qu is a digraph, which means a pair of letters that represent a single speech sound. Q used to be seen alone more often, but over time C took over those harsher sounds. 

When you find a lone Q, it is usually a sign that the word is borrowed from another language, such as Hebrew or Arabic, that doesn't share English's peculiar habit. For example, the Chinese concept of qi, which is a vital force in all things, or qat, which is a shrub that has narcotic effects when used as a beverage. (It's also a great Scrabble word!)

Another odd fact about the q is that English did not have the letter until the Norman invasion of England. Many of the words that now begin with qu were originally spelled cwen and cwik. It is French that represents a "kw" sound with a qu. The French picked this trait up from Latin. 

Do you have a large vocabulary? Are you in need of some new Scrabble words or just have a fondness for the letter Q? Then, try your hand at this quiz and learn some new words that begin with Q!

If two siblings are quarreling, what are they doing?

Quarrel has multiple meanings. It can be a square-headed bolt or arrow. Quarrel also means a dispute or to find fault.


What type of geometric object is a quadrilateral?

In 1650, quadrilateral entered English. It is derived from the Latin quadrilaterus, which means four-sided.


If an employer wants to know your qualifications, what are they interested in?

Qualification can also mean a restriction in meaning. It was used in this sense starting in the 1530s.


If you're looking for a quintessential example, what are you looking for?

Quintessential can be used as a noun or an adjective. It was first used in its adjectival form in 1551.


When someone is assessed quantitatively, what is the standard being used?

The first recorded use of quantitative dates to the 1580s. It is derived from the Latin for quantity, which is quantitas.


If something is questionable, what is wrong with it?

In the 15th century, questionable meant inviting inquiry. The current meaning is that there's a reason for to challenge or a suspicion of something being unsound.


If someone has quintuplets, how many kids did they have at one time?

Quintuplet can also mean five of a kind. It was originally used with this meaning during the latter half of the 19th century.


Why would a quarry be using for obtaining slate or another stone?

Quarry is also a game hunt with hawks or prey. The word has been used in English since the 14th century.


Why wouldn't you want to get trapped in quicksand?

If you find yourself in quicksand, you should relax, so that your body floats. Those who fight will find that they sink faster.


If you're nervous, you may quaver during a speech, but what are you doing?

Quaver is also another name for an eighth note. It comes from the Middle English word "quaven," which means tremble.


Why might you get bored with a quotidian object?

Something that's quotidian may occur each day. Shakespeare used the word in the play "As You Like It."


Why might a comedian make a quip?

Quip is an abbreviation of the outdated noun "quippy." "Quippy" comes from a Latin word that meant "indeed." Etymologists believe that the word was often used ironically, which is how it gained its current meaning.


Oscar Wilde is often quoted, but what does it mean to quote him?

Quote can also mean stating the current price for a stock or bond. However, the previous definition was the original and first used in the 1580s.


Why might you find an artist's sense of style quirky?

Quirky was first recorded in 1873. Synonyms include offbeat, odd, kooky, and curious.


In physics, what is a quark?

In 1964, Murray Gell-Mann coined the word. Quark is also a type of cheese.


What are you doing if you're in a queue?

A queue can also be a sequence of messages waiting for processing. Queue first entered English in the 1740s.


What are you eating if you're dining on quiche?

Quiche is borrowed from French. The first known English usage was in 1933.


What type of fashion statement is a quiff?

The quiff is mostly seen on men and is related to the pompadour. It was first used in 1890.


What kind of seafood are quahogs?

A quahog is a thick-shelled clam found in the United States. Its scientific name is Mercenaria mercenaria.


What property does a quadratic equation have?

Quadratic's first recorded use was in 1668. If you are dealing with a quadratic equation, a number or variable is being squared.


What type of keyboard is qwerty?

Qwerty takes its name from the first six letters of the second row of a keyboard, which are q, w, e, r, t, and y. The word was coined in 1929.


What type of natural occurrence is quartz?

Quartz is made of silicon dioxide that formed in crystalline masses. It was adapted from the German word "quarz."


What does it mean to quell your feelings?

Quell can also mean to quiet someone. It has origins in the Middle English word for "to kill."


What does it mean to go on a quest?

Quest comes from the Anglo-French word "queste." It was borrowed in the 1300s.


Why would a ship use a quay?

The first known us of quay is from 1561. Synonyms include jetty, landing, dock and wharf.


What does it mean to qualify something?

The first known use of qualify was in 1533. The original origin of the work is the Latin "qualis." However, it entered English from the Middle French word "qualifier."


Why would an archer have a quiver?

As a noun quiver means the carrying case for arrows. This meaning comes from Old High German. However, as a verb, quiver means trembling and it comes from Old English.


Why would you use quince to make a jam?

A quince resembles a yellow apple. The tree is native to central Asia and is a member of the rose family.


What type of chemical is quinine?

Quinine is obtained from cinchona bark. It can be helpful in preventing a fever.


What type of celestial object is a quasar?

Quasar was coined in 1965. It is derived from quasi-stellar.


Why would you need to pay attention to a quota?

A quota is also a share assigned to each part of a club or other body. Synonyms include piece, portion, share and allotment.


Why wouldn't you want to get stuck in a quagmire?

The original meaning of quagmire is a soft, muddy land that moves when you step on it. Synonyms include bind, pickle, predicament and dilemma.


If something makes you queasy, what does it do to you?

Queasy was first used in the 1400s. It's handed down from the Middle English word "coysy" or "qwesye."


When you quash something, what do you do?

Quash can also refer to making something legally void. This meaning originates from "cassus," which is Latin for void.


If you are in England, what will you receive if you ask for a quid?

While the origin of quid as money is unknown, the earliest known usage was in 1688. Another definition is something chewable that is not meant to be swallowed.


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