Do You Know the Definition of These 2-Letter Words?

EDUCATION

By: Jonnathan Chadwick

6 Min Quiz

Image: Yagi Studio/ Stone/ Getty Images

About This Quiz

One of the longest words in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, and it's 45 letters long. The shortest words are "A," "I" and "O." Those are the only one-letter words recognized in English, and "O" is an interjection that is commonly spelled "oh." It may seem like there are infinite words in the English language, but most dictionaries hover around 250,000 to 300,000 entries, and thousands of those words are obsolete. One of the smallest word categories in English is two-letter words. There are a few more than 100 of them, and many are abbreviations or shortened versions of longer words.

With that being said, two-letter words are some of the most popular in English. They are the glue to our sentences and phrases, and it's impossible to speak or write without them. As popular as they are, most people take them for granted. "If," "it," "is," "in," "to" and "do" are two-letter words that we use every day, but do you know what they actually mean? If you consider yourself a wordsmith or just need some new words to use in Scrabble, put your skills to the test here. Take a look at these two-letter words, and match them to their correct definitions.

There are more than 90 million cows in America. What is a single domestic cow called?

An ox is a single domesticated bovine, raised for meat and dairy purposes. The plural is oxen, and there are more than a billion of them in the world. America alone goes through more than 30 million cows a year.

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Do you know the seven major notes of musical scales?

The musical scale is essential to reading and writing music, and our Western system of mostly two-letter words has been in use for hundreds of years. Solfege, or solfeggio, is any vocal scale with syllables assigned, as in "do, re, mi ... "

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Do you know the Scottish term for sweetheart?

The word "jo" dates back all the way to the 1500s, and it's mostly used in Scotland to address someone. It can also be used as a shortened version of the word "joy," but it is mostly used to mean "dear" or "sweetheart."

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Lava that has a rough surface, as opposed to a smooth surface, is called what?

A'a is pronounced "ah-ah," and it's a type of lava that forms from a fast flow. Another common type of lava is pahoehoe, which is distinguished by its smooth and ropy surface. Pillow lava forms during underwater eruptions.

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In what country was the xu once used as a unit of currency?

The official currency of Vietnam is the dong, and a xu is 1/100th of a dong. The xu is no longer used, however. The U.S. dollar is often used in Vietnam — the dong is pegged to the U.S. dollar, so prices in Vietnam are often quoted in USD.

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Chakra is to India as _____ is to China.

Practicing yoga, feng shui, tai chi, acupuncture or meditation is a good way to balance your qi, which is the undefinable entity within all living things that separates us from nonliving things. "Qi" is also a great word for Scrabble, if you don't have a U tile.

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How do you say "yes" in German?

The word "yes" is expressed via many two-letter words around the world. In German, Dutch and Danish, the word is "ja." Russians say, "da." In Italy or Spain, "yes" is "si." And in Korea, it is "ye."

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How do you refer to yourself and your friend at the same time?

The pronoun "we" refers to the speaker plus one or more others. When it's substituted for the word "you," though, it's seen as condescending. "How did we do that?" isn't friendlier than "How did you do that?" Also, it's not to be confused with "wee," which means little.

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If you're practicing karate or judo, you'll probably have to wear what as a uniform?

A gi is the typical "karate uniform" when you think of a karate uniform. It includes a baggy top and pants that are held with a belt called an obi. The color of the obi represents the martial artist's skill level. The highest attainable level is usually a black belt.

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Which of the following words is used to express hesitation in speech?

"Um" was first recorded in the 1600s, but it was likely in use ever since people were first able to talk. It's a filler word that expresses hesitation, and it naturally occurs in almost everyone's speech. The word "uh" can also be used to fill the silence.

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What is the fourteenth letter of the Greek alphabet?

The Greek alphabet is one of the world's earliest, differentiated from earlier alphabets by the use of both consonants and vowels. The alphabet consists of 24 letters and dates back to about 800 B.C.

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Which of these words is used to refer to yourself?

The word "me" is used by a speaker to refer to themselves. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it's one of the 100 most common words in the English language, but it isn't as common as "I," "you," "he," "she" and "all."

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Ancient Egyptians believed the soul lived long after the body. What was the soul known as in Ancient Egypt?

Ancient Egyptians went to great lengths to preserve dead royalty because they believed a human's ka could live on within a statue long after the body was dead. They believed the soul was made up of many parts, including a physical and spiritual body.

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"To ____, or not to ____, that is the question."

"To be" is an infinitive verb that means "to exist," and being is one of the most debated topics in history. Shakespeare's famous line about being, from "Hamlet," was published in 1603 and is one of the most famous in English.

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Your former boyfriend or girlfriend is known as what?

Your former partner may be many things, but "ex" defines them for sure. The word originated in Latin and eventually became a prefix to express a "former state," e.g., ex-girlfriend, ex-husband, etc. It then came to stand alone in the 1800s.

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What does the word "go" mean?

Go is a verb, noun and adjective that means to travel or leave or to make an attempt. If someone has a "go" at the test, they attempt it. If somebody has to "go" to a test, they have to travel there, and if the test is a "go," it's functioning properly.

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Which of the following words can be used to say "with regard to"?

The word "re" is used as a preposition, but it is also known as the second note in the musical scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do). As a preposition, the word is used to mean "about" or "on the subject of."

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Do you know what word can be used to tell someone to be quiet?

"Sh" is an interjection that is usually expressed with a few more Hs to tell someone to be quiet. It's an ultra abbreviated version of "shush," which means the same thing. The word "hush" is also used to demand silence.

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Television commercials, billboards and radio promotions are all examples of a what?

"Ad" is short for "advertisement," a public announcement that promotes a product or service. It's estimated that the average American is exposed to thousands of ads each day, and billions are spent creating them each year.

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What word can you use to express delight and affection at the same time?

The word "aw" can be spelled with as many Ws as you see fit, but it's officially recognized as being spelled with one. The exclamation can be used to express sympathy, dismay, affection, pleasure, disappointment and more. It's a pretty versatile word.

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The number 3.14 is commonly known as what?

Pi is the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. It's commonly expressed as 3.14, but the actual number goes on forever. Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3/14) every year. Pi is also the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet.

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Jeff didn't do what _____ was told because ____ didn't hear the instructions.

Science fans might recognize "He" as the symbol for helium, which is one of the most abundant elements in the universe. In the English language, the word is used as a pronoun to refer to a male or anyone who identifies as such.

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Which of the following words is another way to say "you" or "your"?

How ya doin'? "Ya" is an informal version of "you" or "your" that is hardly ever seen in written form; it's mostly spoken. When both letters are capitalized, it's an abbreviation for "young adult," as in YA novel.

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I am, you are, and she _____.

I exist, you exist, and she exists. The word "is" is the third-person singular form of "to be," which means "to exist." The concept of existing is expressed via many words, depending on tense and number. "Am," "are," "was" and "were" are all states of existence.

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If you want to say "yes" or "maybe" without actually saying "yes" or "maybe," you can use which of the following words?

The word "mm" is more of a sound than an actual word, but it is recognized in casual conversation as an acceptable way to respond "yes" or "maybe." Whether "mm" means yes or maybe depends exclusively on the tone of voice of the speaker.

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Which of the following words can be used as a prefix to create an opposite meaning?

The Latin for "one" is "unum," and today the word "un" has lasted to mean "one." Un can also be used as a prefix to create the opposite or reverse meaning of whatever word it is prefixing. If you are decided, you have made a decision; if you are undecided, you have not made a decision.

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Meet me _____ Brian's place _____ 6 p.m.

The word "at" can be used to express a specific time or place. You can meet me at Brian's house at 6 p.m. It is a preposition that has several definitions, including expressing a certain condition or the object of a thought.

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New York City has the subway, London has the Tube, and Boston has the T. What does Chicago have?

"El" is a noun that defines an (el)evated railroad, and Chicago's metro system is commonly known as the "L" since it is mainly above ground. NYC's metro is known as the subway because of its extensive underground system. London's metro trains run through tube-shaped tunnels.

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Jake thought he had beaten the red light, but, ____ and behold, an officer appeared as soon as he crossed the intersection.

"Lo" is an old exclamation that is almost exclusively used in the phrase "lo and behold" these days, used to preface a grand statement. It is a shortened version of the word "look" and stems from Old English.

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What word defines the situation when someone or something is enclosed by something?

The word "in" has at least a dozen meanings and can be used as almost every part of speech. It is most commonly used to describe something that is enclosed, either in abstract or physical terms. You could be in the thick of things or just in your house.

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If you want someone to agree with your statement, you may add what word to the end as a little nudge?

It's a stereotype that Canadians say "eh." It comes at the end of a sentence to garner agreement, express disbelief or ask for something to be repeated. Americans also use the word, although it's usually used to express indecision. The word "meh" is used to express a lack of enthusiasm.

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If you want to express almost any emotion on Earth, which of the following words can you use?

The word "oh" might be the most versatile in the world when it comes to expressing emotions. The word can be used to express everything from indifference or sadness to ecstasy or terror. It is also one of just three words recognized as a one-letter word — "O."

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"Jane's dress is beautiful." Which of the following words could be added to emphasize the dress's beauty?

Like many two-letter words, "so" has about a dozen meanings. It's used as an adverb to add emphasis but is also commonly used as a conjunction. The word "so-so," meaning mediocre, is a different matter, consisting of four letters.

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Which of the following words is the best choice for listing options?

The word "or" is used as a conjunction to list possibilities or choices, as opposed to the word "and," which is used as a conjunction to connect things. It's not an alternative spelling for "ore," but it is used for a few abbreviations.

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Do you know what word is recognized all over the world as an exclamation of agreement?

"OK" is one of the most universal words in the world because almost every language has an O, a K and a long A sound. It is also one of the weirdest words because it's often spelled in all caps, with the letters individually pronounced. "OK" or "okay" may be an abbreviation of "oll korrect" or "Old Kinderhook," depending on which expert you ask.

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