Can You Pass This High School Vocabulary Quiz?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

6 Min Quiz

Image: Digital Vision. / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

High school is one of the most important times in everyone's life. Whether you love it or hate it or loved it or hated it, there's no denying the significance it plays in American life. Even if you never went to high school, you've likely seen the movies and heard the stories of all the wild parties, lunchroom gossip, relationship drama and strict teachers. Somewhere in between all of that fun stuff is vocabulary, and high school vocabulary isn't exactly exciting. If you want to pass the SAT test, you need to know what words like dubious and pitiable mean. Everyday high school will test you on the meaning of words like freewheeling and egregious. It can't be described as a ton of fun.

If you thought high school English threw a bunch of big words at you, what about science class? That's where you'll learn the meaning of words like photosynthesis, symbiosis, meiosis and mitosis. History will teach you about amendments and pharaohs. Math is the class to learn about hypotenuses and circumferences and English is the class where you'll forget how to spell everything and fail your vocabulary test.

But if you didn't forget everything, this is the quiz for you. A lot of vocabulary is taught during high school. Let's see what you know.

If you're browsing embarrassing topics online, you can open what type of browser window to hide your activity?

Incognito is an adjective that describes someone whose identity is hidden. It is also a noun that defines a false identity. Using a privacy browser to surf the web is commonly known as browsing incognito.


The tiny structure that carries the genetic instructions for living things is called a what?

Humans have two sets of 23 chromosomes to total 46 chromosomes. The structure carries the genetic instructions for living things and can be found in almost every living thing. Some animals have hundreds of chromosomes and some only have a few.


The two days of the year when day and night are equal in duration are called what?

Equinox stems from the Latin words aequus and nox, which mean equal and night. The equinox is the day of the year when night and day are equal length. There are two equinoxes each year (in September and March).


How does someone usurp the throne?

Usurp is a verb meaning to illegally take something by using force, and the person who does the usurping is known as a usurper. Common synonyms for usurp are overthrow, oust, topple, unseat or dethrone.


What political technique consists of talking, talking and talking about nothing in an attempt to delay progress?

A filibuster is a political tactic that weaponizes speech to obstruct opposing legislation. Politicians use filibusters all the time in an attempt to block legislation they oppose. Senator Strom Thurmond holds the record for longest filibuster at more than 24 hours. He did this in 1957.


Jessica had an epiphany when she saw the clock strike eight and Mark was late again. What does epiphany mean?

An epiphany is a sudden realization and it stems from the Greek word meaning to reveal. The Epiphany is a religious holiday that commemorates the day Jesus Christ was revealed as the human incarnation of God.


Mary likes Tupac, Madonna and Garth Brooks. What kind of taste in music does Mary have?

Eclectic is an adjective that is commonly used interchangeably with weird or unusual, but it actually describes something that is influenced by a wide variety of sources. Someone who likes music of every genre has an eclectic taste in music. Someone who likes burp music has a weird taste in music.


A 100-foot boat equipped with 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, two kitchens, an elevator, Jacuzzi, helipad and full staff is better known as a what?

A yacht is defined as a medium-sized sailboat but most people today are familiar with super yachts measuring hundreds of feet long and fully equipped with jet skis, elevators, swimming pools and more. It is a luxury water vehicle.


Jake is a Libertarian, Alice is a Democrat and Beth is nonsectarian. What does nonsectarian mean?

Nonsectarian is an adjective that describes anyone or anything that is not associated with a specific religious or political sect. Sectarian is an adjective that means the opposite of nonsectarian. Sectarian can also be a noun that defines a member of a sect.


Sister Mary is the paradigm of good behavior. What does paradigm mean?

Paradigm in this sentence is used as a synonym for model. The word is a noun that defines an example or pattern. The "g" is silent and the only way to know that is by knowing the word and the weird rules of the English language.


Some plants are able to "eat" sunlight because of what scientific process?

Photosynthesis is a process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. The word is a noun and it has Greek roots meaning to assemble with the help of light. Synthesis is the conversion of one chemical into another and photo is something produced by light.


Brad prided himself on his high self-confidence, but his blind date took it as hubris. What does hubris mean?

Hubris is a noun meaning excessive confidence and is also known as conceit or being cocky. There's a very thin line between confidence and hubris and it could be the difference between being liked or hated.


What is another word for trickery?

Chicanery is a noun that defines trickery for financial or political gain. Chicanery isn't simple trickery for the sake of trickery but is sophisticated, calculated and strategic trickery for some type of gain at another's loss.


Shakespeare's characters are known for speaking their thoughts aloud while alone, which is also known as what?

Shakespeare was well known for his use of soliloquy and his plays, "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" are all famous for their soliloquies. Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy might be the most famous soliloquy in the history of literature.


Some lizards let insects feed on their skin. The insects get their nutrients and the lizards get exfoliated. This type of relationship is known as what?

Symbiosis is the interaction between organisms living in close quarters with each other. The relationship is called a symbiotic relationship and is usually beneficial to all parties involved. There are plenty of symbiotic relationships in the world.


Frederic Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven were highly skilled in their crafts and each can be considered a what?

A virtuoso is someone who is highly skilled in a particular art. The word stems from 16th century Italian and was used to distinguish someone with impeccable artistic talent. The plural form of the word is virtuosi or virtuosos.


The governor was able to redraw district lines within the state to ensure he would win each county by significant margins. What is the governor guilty of?

Gerrymandering is a political tactic used to manipulate voting districts by literally redrawing district boundaries. There are many ways the political parties in control can employ gerrymandering tactics, and although unethical, they're widely used.


Life is meaningless.

Nihilism is the philosophical viewpoint that rejects the desire of many things in life. The philosophy has been debated for centuries and somewhat resembles parts of Buddhism that reject all desire and satisfaction.


How are works of art categorized?

A genre is a category of art works. Horror is a genre of film, classical is a genre of music, cubism is a genre of painting and romance is a genre of fiction. Genre can simply be used as another word for category or type.


Brian is one of the shyest kids in school, but his sister is known as Laura the Loquacious. What does loquacious mean?

Loquacious is an adjective used to describe someone who talks a lot. Its synonyms are verbose, wordy and talkative, and it isn't used as a compliment. Loquacious people don't just talk a lot. They talk excessively.


What is nomenclature?

Nomenclature is the standard lexicon of a specific field or industry. It is similar to jargon, but jargon tends to border on slang. Nomenclature, however, is more formal and official. To be a successful lawyer, you need to know the nomenclature.


Bob thought high school was boring and college would be awesome, but his first college class was a jejune lecture about dirt that lasted three hours. What does jejune mean?

Jejune is an adjective and in this sentence, it describes something that is boring, dull, uninteresting, or tedious. Jejune lectures are the least fun part of college. The word can also be used as an adjective that means naive, superficial, or simplistic.


Cells inside of living things routinely get worn out, but fresh cells quickly take their place by way of what scientific process?

Mitosis is a five-step process in biology where one cell splits into two identical cells. It is the opposite action of meiosis, which is the process in which a chromosome is reduced in half so it can bind to its counterpart.


Jim does every single thing the boss asks and praises him at every chance he gets. What is Jim guilty of doing to his boss?

To kowtow means to act in an excessively subservient manner. The Cantonese phrase kau tau means to bow so low in admiration of someone that your forehead hits the ground. Someone who kowtows is known as a kowtow.


What is the longest side of a right angle called?

The longest side of a right angle, which is the side directly opposite of the right angle, is called the hypotenuse. The word originated in the 16th century but is of little use in everyday speech. It is rarely used outside of geometry.


The world saw an explosion of art, math and science out of Europe between 1300 and 1600. The period is known as what?

The Renaissance was one of the most important explosions of art, math and science the world has ever seen. Name anything that was invented, created or discovered and there's a good chance it happened during the Renaissance.


Someone who has mastered the art of belly dancing knows how to do what with their stomach?

Undulate is a verb meaning to move up and down in a smooth motion. If you can roll your belly, you're undulating your belly. As you watch waves form, swell and crash in the ocean, you're watching the water undulate.


If your boss doesn't like to interfere in company disputes and just likes to see how events play out, it can be said he displays what kind of attitude?

Laissez-faire is a noun. It stems from a French businessman in the 17th century who was known for his laid back attitude to complex matters. The term eventually gained traction and is used to define things like government policies and economic strategy.


High school students are required to write many research papers and are taught how to properly _______ sources.

To cite something means to reference someone or something. Cite can also be used as an abbreviation for citation. A site is a location and a sight is something that someone sees. They can't be used interchangeably.


What are emojis from the year 3000 BC called?

There are close to 3,000 official emojis in today's language and there have been about 1,000 Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs discovered. Hieroglyphics were the Ancient Egyptian formal writing system and they consisted of pictograms similar to today's emojis.


When Brian's girlfriend asked him where he was last night, he chirped a witty remark then began laughing. How did Brian act?

Facetious is an adjective that describes the act of responding to a serious issue with inappropriate humor. Some people laugh when they're nervous or embarrassed or don't know what to do, but that is different than being facetious, which is like being flippant or glib.


Each individual person found an unexpected surprise. The above sentence is an example of what?

Tautology is the practice of redundancy, i.e., the useless repetition of words and phrases. The above sentence is full of redundant words and should read: Each person found a surprise. Tautology is also known as redundancy or superfluity.


Jessica didn't deign to respond to the taxi driver's greeting. What does deign mean?

Deign is a verb meaning to do something one thinks is beneath their worth. Jessica might not feel like the taxi driver is equal to her and can't even fathom having a conversation with him, let alone being caught actually having one.


What type of war consists of rebel groups, irregular fighting, sabotages, raids and skirmishes?

A guerrilla is a noun defining the member of a military group that engages in guerrilla warfare. The word is a tricky one to spell but just remember it has two "r"s and two "l"s. A gorilla is a type of ape that lives in Africa.


Josh's gauche attitude around women makes me want to cringe. What does gauche mean?

Gauche (pronounced gosh) is an adjective that describes unease, gracelessness and social awkwardness. Someone who has gauche table manners is someone who has no grace at the table and may make others feel uncomfortable.


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