Can You Guess the Meaning of These Words That Begin and End With the Same Letter?

By: Elizabeth Lavis
Estimated Completion Time
6 min
Can You Guess the Meaning of These Words That Begin and End With the Same Letter?
Image: Pixabay by Free-Photos

About This Quiz

Calling anyone and everyone who considers themselves more than a bit of a wordsmith. For this tricky quiz, we've compiled some of the toughest words in the English language that begin and end with the same letter. Don't be fooled; we stayed away from the easy words like dad, mom and pup and really delved deep into some of the most obscure and compelling turns of phrase in the entire language. 

Only those who got a near-perfect SAT score will even have a remote chance of beating this quiz, but everyone is welcome to go ahead and try! If you think that you have a comprehensive grasp of the English language and can tell us the meaning of every word, from calisthenic to rapier and everything in between, this quiz was made for you. 

If you are able to get the majority of these questions right,  you'll earn the right to bask in the warm glow of all of the bragging rights that you'll get. Most people don't have a shot at acing this tough vocabulary quiz, and those that do are real bonafide wordsmiths. 

No peeking in the dictionary! If you think you have a million-dollar vocabulary, we want to see what you've got! 

Woman look out window
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Anyone who has ever been near or with the upper crust is familiar with the "elite." What does this exclusive word mean?
A select group of people
A cream-filled pastry
A popular brand of cereal
A synonym for book
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you are an elite, you are part of a select group of people who are admired because they have special skills, an advantage or another desirable quality. "Elite" can have a negative connotation, however, if the word is used to make others feel inferior.

Thoughtful woman
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You'll get this right if you remember your high school science class. What is a "neutron"?
A subatomic particle
Wheat-based bread
A weight loss supplement
A type of frog
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Neutrons are subatomic particles that cannot be seen by the naked human eye. They have no electronic charge, unlike protons or electrons, and they exist in just about every atomic nuclei.

Grocery Shopping
Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Stroll through the aisles in the grocery store, and you'll come across "ginseng." What does this superfood term refer to?
A specific strain of peas
A sweet and earthy root that is exceptionally healthy
A large, round pumpkin
A type of soy milk
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ginseng is a root vegetable that is wildly popular all over the world. It's quite healthy for you. It can be pickled and served alongside sushi, or ground up and added to foods or tea.


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It's a word that is just oozing with importance and weight. What does "elephantine" mean?
A movement during the Baroque period
Fine china made only in Namibia
Having certain elephant-like qualities, like being large and clumsy
A spa treatment involving elephant skin
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Elephantine" is not a positive term. It is an adjective that refers to having elephant-like qualities, such as being large, awkward or clumsy. Elephantine is also an island in the Nile River.

Woman thinking
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"Polyp" might sound like a secondary Disney sidekick, but it actually refers to something potentially severe. What is the definition?
A type of seaweed
An abnormal growth in the colon
Someone who speaks many languages
A gourmet dip
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Polyps are abnormal growths often found in the colon, and they are generally not dangerous. Still, any polyps should be checked out by a doctor to make sure that they are completely benign.

Beagle at a lake
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When we mention a "reservoir," what are we actually talking about?
A type of beagle
A method of sending packages between European countries
A natural or artificial lake used as a water supply
One of Mozart's famous symphonies
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A reservoir is a natural or artificial lake that is used as a water supply for a municipality. However, a reservoir can also be a supply or source of something other than water — even a reservoir of knowledge.


Man looking away
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The word "calisthenic" might sound delicate, but it is not. What's the meaning of this rough and tumble word?
A type of bandage
The result of a very tough exam
Referring to intense exercise that works large muscle groups
An intricate stew of root vegetables
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Calisthenic is the singular form of calisthenics, a type of extremely intense exercise that involves working large muscle groups in deliberate movements. It is tough and effective.

Pensive Woman
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Anyone who has traded barbs has instigated or experienced a "taunt." What's the proper definition of this sassy word?
An insulting remark
Pulled tightly across
A type of tennis racket
A peace treaty between two previously warring nations
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you taunt someone, you deliberately provoke them through insults or challenges. Used as a noun, a taunt is an insulting remark designed to hurt or inspire anger in someone else.

Guy sitting by window
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A "trinket" may be cherished forever, despite its price tag. Which definition is most accurate?
A large suitcase able to carry 100 pounds of weight
A small item that doesn't have much monetary value
A specific type of Danish shoe
A miniature xylophone
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A trinket is a small item or piece of jewelry that might be sentimental but has little monetary value. A trinket is generally given as a token of affection between friends or romantic partners.


Elated woman
Hollie Fernando / DigitalVision / Getty Images
This cute term has a very clear-cut, almost buoyant definition. What does "elate" mean?
To make someone extremely happy
To raise a ship through a series of locks
A type of inline skating
A variety of corn cake
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you make someone extremely happy, you elate them. "Elate" is the present-tense verb to signify extreme happiness. It is most commonly used in its adjective form, "elated."

Compassionate Eye Foundation/John Wildgoose/DigitalVision/GettyImages
Feeling a general sense of malaise? You could just be lackadaisical. What's the definition of this silly-sounding word?
A type of carnival ride
Deep-fried pickles served with mayonnaise
A large blue-footed bird
Without enthusiasm or motivation
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you lack enthusiasm, motivation or determination, you are lackadaisical. "Lackadaisical" is sometimes used to mean "lazy." This fun word is also a stand-in for laid-back and chill.

Pensive Woman
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This old-school sounding term has a unique meaning. What's the definition of "wallow"?
To completely indulge in something pleasurable
A type of candle that melts slowly
A card game using aces and kings
A baby hippo
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

We all like to wallow sometimes. Anyone who has ever settled into a long Netflix binge has wallowed in a pleasurable activity. Of course, we can also wallow in unhealthy things, such as self-pity.


Kayak in Alaska
Naphat Photography / Moment / Getty Images
Long before it was a site for searching travel deals, "kayak" was something else. What's the original meaning?
The northernmost county in Alaska
A small watercraft propelled by a person with a paddle
A type of shish kabob
The official language of Antarctica
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you love the great outdoors, you'll want to get your kayak out of storage and paddle down the river. This thin, self-propelled watercraft is a great way to get your exercise in.

Mom and daughter
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images
If you've ever been tasked with caring for a child, you know what "lull" means. Which definition is correct?
To read a story
To brush your hair
To calm down
To feed dinner
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You will often hear the word "lull" used with "to sleep." It can also mean to calm someone down completely and quickly. As a noun, "lull" refers to a calm or uneventful period of time.

Smiling Man
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It's a term that sounds a little goofy, but it actually refers to something quite serious. What does "gulag" mean?
A system of Soviet Union labor camps
A brand of diet soda
A sushi roll containing puffer fish
Spanish for "uncle"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Gulag refers to the old Soviet Union system of labor camps. They were notoriously known for being difficult places to live, and many people died there. Today, it's slang for any labor camp.


Guy running in maze
Orbon Alija / E+ / Getty Images
Anyone who has ever used their wits to circumvent something is familiar with the term "evade." What's the correct definition?
To run out of a maze
To face and fend off bullies in the schoolyard
To navigate through rough waters
To avoid or escape from something
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you successfully evade someone or something, you have successfully avoided or escaped from them. You can evade not only specific things, like enemies, but also abstract things, like detection.

Looking out window
franckreporter / E+ / Getty Images
Most people define "catastrophic" on a sliding scale, but at its core what's the actual definition?
Pertaining to cats
A type of monarchy
Exploring the microcosmic natural world
Something very unfortunate or disastrous
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If something is catastrophic, it is highly unfortunate or disastrous. The noun form of the word is "catastrophe," which refers to a massive natural event that causes widespread loss of life or property.

Woman at desk
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If someone is "demoted," what has happened to them?
They got knocked down a rank.
They were praised publicly.
They were chosen for an award.
They were pushed into the ground.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Nobody wants to be demoted, because the term means that you are kicked down a rank or two. Demotion, the opposite of promotion, generally happens after a poor performance review or as a disciplinary action.


Guy looking out window
Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images
The word "armada" rolls off the tongue and indicates something quite powerful. What does it refer to?
A type of skirt steak
An instrument similar to a harmonica
A fleet of battle-ready ships
A buttery roll
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An armada is a fleet of battle-ready ships. The most famous armada in the world was the Spanish Armada, which lost to the British in 1588, changing the power dynamics of the world.

Psychic Parlor
Busà Photography / Moment / Getty Images
Steeped in mysticism and spirituality, "tarot" refers to a specific item or practice. Do you know what it is?
A crystal ball
A deck of cards used for fortune telling
A ceremony involving parrots
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Tarot" refers to a deck of cards that is used to tell the future. Each card comes in one of the four suits — pentacles, cups, swords or wands. Tarot is popular all over the world.

Black Cat
sito / Moment / Getty Images
If someone is "superstitious," they avoid black cats, and they don't walk under ladders. What does this word mean?
Being very gifted athletically
Having a belief in certain supernatural elements
Possessing amazing verbal skills
Having superpowers
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

People who are superstitious believe in elements of the supernatural, as well as omens and signs. They may use special strategies and rituals to protect themselves and those they love.


Woman Shrug
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"Tourniquet" is a awfully fancy term for this simple thing. What's the right meaning?
A smorgasbord of incredible ingredients
A play in which the hero is uncertain
A coffee drink with cayenne pepper
A device used to stop the flow of blood
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you find yourself in a situation where you're losing a ton of blood, you will have to fashion a tourniquet. Use anything you have on hand to stop the flow of blood and save your life.

Woman Outside
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If you travel in certain spiritual circles, you've heard the word "aura." What does it mean?
A person's energy field
A pudding made with figs and dates
A special area of physics
Another word for green-blue
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An aura refers to the energy field that is supposed by some to drift around people and manifest in a burst of color. It is often referenced in New Age practices. Places and things may have auras, as well.

Smiling happy woman
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"Equine" is a lovely old-fashioned term. What is its definition?
A happy feeling
A type of French dessert
A fancy loveseat
A term that refers to horses or things related to horses
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Equine" is an adjective that refers to horses or members of the horse family. As a noun, "equine" can refer to the horse itself, but this particular word is most often used as an adjective.


Pensive Businesswoman
Terry Vine / DigitalVision / Getty Images
The fun word "kiosk" means this oddly specific thing. Which option best defines it?
A type of bear native to Asia
A small booth in a public space
A high-end camera
A blackberry flavored ice cream
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Visit any mall in the United States, and you will probably come across a kiosk. A kiosk is a small, standalone booth that exists to sell specific goods or services within a larger public structure.

Woman with cat and pulpy fruit
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"Pulp" is a cute little word with this weird definition. What's the correct meaning?
A kitten born with extra toes
A mass that is soft, wet and without shape
The capital of Denmark
A platform for people to preach from
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Pulp is a wet, soft and shapeless mass of material. Fruits and vegetables may be reduced to pulp by cooking or pureeing. You can buy orange juice with no pulp, some pulp or a lot of pulp included.

House with fireplace
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This homey word is used in conjunction with care and comfort. What does "hearth" mean?
The area in front of a fireplace
A hearty soup featuring potatoes
A type of tent used in the woods
A method of protecting your heart health
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The cozy spot right in front of your fireplace is known as the hearth. Cute sayings about the comforts of home often contain the term "hearth," as it has warm and safe connotations.


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"Libel" is a legal term that protects day-to-day folks and is connected to the First Amendment. What does it mean?
A book written about the law
The defamation of someone in print
A rule against posting too many pictures on Facebook
A specific label
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Libel refers to the defamation of someone in print. It is the written version of slander, which refers to defaming someone in speech. Both libel and slander are covered under the First Amendment.

Pensive Woman
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"Salacious" is a musical-sounding term. What's the correct definition?
Very salty or spicy
Covered in water
Inspiring an inappropriate interest in risque things
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Salacious" is one of those words that you've probably heard over and over again, but you're not quite sure what it means. It means arousing inappropriate interest in risque or bawdy things.

Outer Space
NASA via WikiCommons
It's a term that sounds straight out of outer space. What does "cryogenic" mean?
An extremely low temperature in which molecular motion stops
An alien life form, devoid of bones
Being overly pragmatic
The study of sleep paralysis
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Cryogenic" relates to an extremely low temperature: the temperature at which molecular motion stops. Cryogenics is the study of molecules at this level. Cryotherapy is therapy that involves cold.


Women cocktail dresses
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Anyone who appreciates the finer things in life will know the value of a good "aria." What is it?
An oceanic wave pattern
A style of knitting
A solo in an opera
A type of goats' milk cheese
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An aria is an important part of an opera because it allows the diva to shine. An aria is a solo song, generally accompanied by music but featuring only one voice. It often conveys a vital plot point.

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You've surely heard the term "larval" tossed around, but what does it actually mean?
The immature form of an insect
A hazelnut spread
Pertaining to space
Another word for lava
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Most insects go through a larval stage, which occurs before they make the metamorphosis into adulthood. Larvae are generally worm-like and not fully formed — maggots are one example.

Human eye
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"Dilated" is a common technical term, used in fields from medicine to photography. What is it defined as?
Started a string of events
Made more open
Minced vegetables for a stew
Shut completely
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Dilated" refers to a state in which something has been made more open or widened. It's often used in its present tense, "dilate," and can refer to body parts, such as eyes or nostrils.


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Like pirate movies? If so, there's a good chance you've seen a "rapier." What's the best definition?
A creaky old pirate ship
A foul-mouthed parrot
A sentimental locket
A thin sword
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A thin, light sword that's perfect for stabbing is called a rapier. A rapier is deadly because it is easy to wield in experienced hands, and the blade can be moved quickly because it's so light.

Guy shrugging
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What does it mean if something is "conic"?
Prone to panic
A shade of brown
Of or like a cone
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If something is conic, it is shaped like a cone. In geometry, a conic section is any piece sliced out of a cone. Of course, ice cream is tasty when it's served in a sugary conic waffle.

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