You've made it to the "A" list ... the "A" Team ... the A-OK (in our book) quiz of words that star the alphabet's first letter — A! Everybody loves the "A," right? After all, it's the highest mark one can earn in school, that crowning achievement everybody hopes to see at the top of their paper embossed in bright red. But, did you know there's a mysterious side to this first vowel?
Some historians believe that the letter A got its start from the Phoenicians who used it to symbolize a strong animal known as an aleph — what we would recognize today as an ox. The Greeks later transformed the "aleph" into "alpha," which is fitting since "alpha" also means "beginning." After all of that jockeying around, we ended up with a letter that is in the top three in terms of how frequently we use it in our speech and our writing!
So, we're celebrating the alphabet's first letter with this quiz, but only when it's in a word's last position (covering all of our bases). See if you're an A student when it comes to the letter A by mastering the proper spelling of all these A-ending words. Score a majority right and we'll give you an A+!
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Which of these books would you turn to if you needed information on everything from astronomy to zoology?
We're showing our age here, but encyclopedias used to come in a bound and printed set, with each letter earning its own book. Today, of course, we have Google, which is like an online encyclopedia of everything you'd ever need to know.
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I hate being in small spaces because I might not be able to get out. Which condition do I have?
Claustrophobia is classified as an anxiety disorder, with millions of people suffering from the condition. This disorder impacts people by making them uneasy about small, confined spaces that they cannot easily get out of.
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The city hosted an annual one of these, where they went all out on everything from food to entertainment. What is it?
You just know that a city celebration with the word "extra" in it is going to be just that: extra! An "extravaganza" is typically an event that is considered to be elaborate or over-the-top.
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What is the proper spelling of the condition that causes people pain and fatigue?
For most people who suffer with fibromyalgia, they experience pain throughout their bodies along with other symptoms such as extreme fatigue. Doctors are not yet sure what causes this condition.
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This part of a cell gives us the energy to keep going, even on a Monday! What is it called?
Mitochondria are present in all of our cells, performing vital functions to keep us going. One thing they do that's particularly useful is accepting nutrients and cranking out energy for the cells. Fun fact: Mitochondria is the plural form of "mitochondrion."
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This Greek pie usually features spinach, cheese and onions. How is it spelled?
If you're ever in Greece, be sure to try this traditional dish known as spanakopita. It's usually made with spinach, cheese, onion and egg with a flaky phyllo crust. Be sure to save a bite for us!
One of the most expensive pieces of this ever sold was a Babe Ruth jersey that hauled in more than $4 million. What is it called?
Sports memorabilia is big business. Just ask collectors of things like that Babe Ruth jersey that sold for more than $4 million or Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball, which pulled in a cool $3 million.
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If your house has its own library, you might have this condition. How's it spelled?
We admit it: We think we're guilty of this one. The urge to buy and keep books, known as bibliomania, is strong. In some cases, it can even border on hoarding and become an unhealthy fixation.
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Plenty of people admire Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton for their sense of style. Which of these words might we call them?
There's no doubt that both Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton are fashionistas who inspire the rest of us in our wardrobe selections. If only we had a bigger bank account to accommodate!
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You learn something new every day: Which of these is the proper spelling for a cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes?
Originating in Italy, traditional mozzarella cheese comes to us from the milk of the water buffalo. Fortunately, you can make mozzarella in the privacy of your home — no water buffalo milking required.
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Which of these is the proper spelling of the flower we most commonly associate with the Christmas season?
The poinsettia, which is most commonly seen in blooms of red or white, is frequently associated with the Christmas season. Many attribute this to a legend of a little girl offering a bouquet of the flowers to baby Jesus.
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The name behind this mushroom might have been nothing more than a marketing ploy. How do you spell it?
According to some reports, the word "portabella" was created to help increase mushroom sales in the 1980s. Portabellas are perfect for stuffing or, if they're large, for use as a "bun" for a burger.
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This infection in your lungs can get pretty serious. What is the proper spelling?
There are several types of pneumonia, including bacterial and viral varieties, as well as "walking pneumonia," which is a mild type that typically doesn't sideline you for quite as long.
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Chicken, sausage and shrimp, oh my! What is the proper spelling of this popular Louisiana dish?
Jambalaya is pretty common in the south, a mixture of chicken, shrimp, sausage, rice, spices and whatever else the cook throws in. The word "jambalaya" has mixed reviews on how it originated.
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This word is the plural form of the word that means "1,000 years." How do we spell it?
A period of a thousand years is known as a millennium. The plural form of "millennium," which would mean more than one period of 1,000 years, is "millennia." Either way, that's a lot of years.
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How do you spell the name for a knife that can be used to cut herbs?
A mezzaluna is a type of knife that originated in Italy, used to help finely dice herbs and other kinds of food. The term "mezzaluna" is Italian for "half moon," which is appropriate since the knife features a half-moon-shaped blade.
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Which of these is the proper spelling of a group of musicians who play instruments ranging from the flute to the violin?
An orchestra is a group of musicians who come together, with various instruments to practice and perform musical selections. Many people consider the orchestras in Vienna, London and New York among the best in the world.
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A person who performs the style of dance that involves arabesque, développé and grand jeté is known as a what?
There are few things more graceful than watching a ballerina skilled at her craft. In Italian, a male ballet dancer is known as a ballerino. Many ballerinas begin training in the discipline as young as two or three years old.
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Whether it's in high school or in real life, these eating places often get a bad rap. What are they called?
Let's face it: Cafeterias are good for one thing, and that's variety. The only problem may be that they don't have the types of food you're interested in eating. Hey, at least you get to serve yourself.
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One of the latest trends in marketing is this form, which sounds rather animalistic. What is it?
Typically, the word "guerrilla" (also sometimes spelled "guerilla") is used to refer to doing something spur-of-the-moment that you didn't have permission to do. Guerrilla marketing is taking an unusual approach to getting consumers' attention.
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She described her feeling at seeing the ocean for the first time as which of these properly-spelled words?
A feeling of "euphoria" is a pretty intense emotion, wouldn't you say? You might feel euphoric when you get married, have a baby or travel to a beautiful destination for the first time.
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You most frequently see this word as an abbreviation at the end of a list, but which of these is how you actually spell it?
Not that you're ever going to need to spell it out when you can quickly abbreviate it "etc.," but it's always useful information to know. "Et cetera" is from the Latin for "and the rest."
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This beverage is made from the blue agave plant, but doesn't really have a worm in its bottle. How do you spell the name of this drink?
Made from the blue agave plant, tequila does not, contrary to popular opinion, come with a worm in its bottle. That honor is bestowed on tequila's less expensive "cousin," known as mezcal.
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The Pantheon in Rome is known for having one of these structures. What is it called?
A rotunda is simply a round structure affixed with a dome on top. Many U.S. capitol buildings have a rotunda structure as part of their design, and the Pantheon in Rome has a rotunda as part of its structure.
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This Central American spice can add big flavor to your cooking. How it is correctly spelled?
Paprika is made by grinding up peppers into a fine powder. Like most spices, there are several varieties including the regular type and a smoked version that lends more, well, smoke flavoring to a dish.
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This was the cartoon cat Garfield's favorite meal. How do you spell it?
The word "lasagna" is the singular form of the word "lasagne," which refers to the type of pasta used to make the dish. In the U.S., typically when someone refers to lasagna they are referencing a one-pan dish of layered pasta, meats and cheeses. Yum.
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If you need certain gear for a hobby, you might call it which of these words?
This is a tricky word because we usually pronounce it without inserting that sneaky second "r" that lives inside of it. Paraphernalia is any type of tools or resources needed for an activity such as hunting or fishing.
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You've probably heard about "Taco Tuesday," but how about this word designated for Fridays?
Fajitas are all about the grilled meat, which can be combined with grilled veggies and rolled up into a tortilla. The word "fajita" can be confusing to spell because the "j" sounds like an "h" when it is pronounced.
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Bang! Splash! Thud! These words are all examples of which properly-spelled language term?
Onomatopoeia — that's a fun word to say, but perhaps not to spell. This device is used to describe words that are spelled the way that the associated sound sounds, such as "slam," "babble" or "cuckoo."
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People with this condition can have a hard time breathing. How do you spell it?
Asthma is a condition that affects an individual's lungs, making it difficult for them to breathe or causing wheezing or shortness of breath. Many people with asthma carry an inhaler to help combat these symptoms.
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Need some shade in your backyard? Maybe you need one of these! Which is the correct spelling?
A loggia is really just a fancy way of saying "porch" or "balcony." These structures are typically attached to a building on one side and have open walls on all the other sides, giving you shade but a nice breeze to go along with it.
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This grain might remind you of rice, but it's actually a seed known as which of these?
O.K., we're the first to admit that the word "quinoa" looks nothing like it sounds: keen-wah. But, this grain-like or seed-like food (depending on who you ask) has taken the U.S. by storm as a replacement for rice.
If you see it in the store, it might remind you of a potato, but it's actually known as this. Which is the proper spelling?
This is another of those Spanish words where the "J" sounds like an "H," given you a pronunciation more like "hee-cuh-muh" than "jee-cuh-muh." Regardless, this is a crunchy vegetable that is a mash-up of a potato, sweet potato and apple rolled into one.
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Which of these hats was favored by Michael Jackson and Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones?
There's nothing like a fedora to class up an outfit. These soft hats feature a wide brim and a top that has a pinched look, which made it easier for M.J. to make it look cool on stage.
You probably call it "the movies" or the "movie theater," but which of these words could it also be?
The word "cinema" comes from the French word "cinématographe," which was used to represent the concept of movement when movies first started to become a big deal. This is appropriate since movies used to be called "motion pictures."
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Ever had to make a difficult choice between two things? Then, you've had which of these to contend with?
Going out or staying in? Takeout or delivery? Paper or plastic? These are just some of the difficult decisions, or dilemmas, you might find yourself confronted with. Adulting, man.
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Which of these words is both the name of a city in Italy and the term used to describe a sandwich meat?
Oh, bologna! You've probably also seen people spell it "baloney" when they're exasperated. But, in this case, we're talking about the region in Italy and the mysterious lunch meat hanging out in your local grocery store's coolers.
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I'm on a first-name basis with this person who makes my coffee. How is it spelled?
Thank heaven for baristas, am I right? Baristas are those blessed souls who stand behind the counters of our neighborhood coffee shops, making all of our Mondays possible. A barista is someone who makes and serves your coffee beverages.
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This root vegetable is an interesting substitute for a potato. How do you spell it?
A rutabaga is a root vegetable like potatoes, sweet potatoes and turnips, with a carrot- or sweet-potato-like flavor. Try cooking one, mashing it up and adding butter and brown sugar.
Pixabay by Aksel Lian
If you love Italian food, you've probably been to one of these plenty of times. How is it spelled?
A pizzeria is exactly what it sounds like: A restaurant that makes and sells pizzas. The word originates with the Italian, of course, combining the "pie" of a pizza with the ending "-eria," which means "a place of." Thus, "a place of pizza," which is a beautiful place indeed.
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