How Will You Do On This Difficult General Knowledge Quiz?

Olivia Seitz

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Calling all trivia junkies! Let’s jump right in and see just how smart you are. Can you name which math symbol has no value? What about the U.S. state that’s home to Area 51? Can you give the name for a group of ravens? What’s the capital of Australia?

If you answered zero, Nevada, congress or unkindness, and Canberra, then you’re probably a trivia master.

But here’s a “trivial” question for you: Do you know where the word “trivia” comes from? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word comes from the Latin trivialis, meaning “found everywhere, commonplace.” This is derived from the Latin noun trivium, "a meeting place of three roads.” The general belief is that this meeting place, or “crossroads,” would be about the same as a modern-day street corner, where so-called “common” folk would pass through and have everyday, common (hence, “trivial”) conversations. This is why the word “trivial” carries a meaning of “little value or importance,” according to the Oxford Dictionary.

That said, we like to think that no matter how seemingly “unimportant” trivia facts are, that doesn’t make ’em any less interesting or fun. In fact, we believe that being a trivia master earns you the ultimate bragging rights among your friends. After all, if you can recall, for example, which U.S. president made the first presidential radio broadcast, then you must be pretty smart!

So, take pride in your general knowledge abilities!

But, being a trivia master is so much more than memorizing facts and being smart. If you’re good at trivia, then you probably have at least a few of the following qualities. You have a love of knowledge and, if you don’t have an answer, you have a burning desire to find one. You’ve always got your eyes and ears peeled for new information, soaking it up like a sponge. Books are your best friend; you read voraciously. You’re not afraid to explore new topics — you might be an expert in ’80s movies and WWII planes, but you’re still willing to learn about world languages (by the way, do you know the most widely spoken language in the world? It’s Chinese). You stay on top of current events and have plenty of sources for your news. You most likely killed it at Brain Quest as a kid. There’s a lot of information out there, but you know how to soak it up, compartmentalize and build a database, and then recall the facts quickly when needed.

So, are you still up to trying the Hardest General Knowledge Quiz You’ll Take Today? Think you might know which creature can lift up to fifty times its body weight? Or, where the Serengeti is located? Or which vitamin is responsible for giving carrots their bright orange color? Or, which bug sometimes has six legs and sometimes eight? Or, what was the first music video played on MTV?

If any of those questions ring a bell, don’t wait — see if you’re smart enough to ace this quiz!

Where is the Eiffel Tower located?

La Tour Eiffel was constructed in 1889 for the World's Fair, and it has graced Paris' landscape ever since. At the time, it was the tallest structure in the world, standing almost one thousand feet tall.

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The sun rises in the east and sets where?

If you ever need to figure out which way is north, all you have to do is watch the sun. Its position actually comes from the Earth's rotation, not the sun's movement, but this memory device is still a great way to keep your directions straight.

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Dorothy and her dog Toto are characters from which famous movie?

Dorothy and Toto are the stars of "The Wizard of Oz," which came out in 1939. As Dorothy and Toto follow the yellow brick road, they meet the Lion without courage, the Tin Man without a heart, and the Scarecrow without a brain.

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Every living thing is made up of...

Cell theory states that all living things are made of cells, so for something to be alive, it must consist of at least one cell. Bacteria are a great example of single-celled organisms considered to be alive.

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Which ingredient helps baked goods rise?

Yeast consume some of the sugar used in baked goods, along with oxygen, releasing carbon dioxide in the process. These bubbles try to rise to the surface, causing the food to rise with it.

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Who co-founded the tech company Apple?

Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple, along with Steve Wozniak. Jobs, who lived from 1955 to 2011, created quite a few jobs with his company. An adopted child, he spent several years finding his direction before creating the company in 1976.

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Which one of these aquatic creatures needs to breath air?

Whales need to surface regularly in order to breathe air; that's why you can see their spout above water. They clear air out of their lungs, creating a gush of water vapor, then they take in as much air as they can before submerging again.

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What vegetable is used to make pickles?

Cucumbers are submerged in brine to create pickles - in other words, pickles are just pickled cucumbers! Of course, other veggies can be pickled, but they're never referred to as just "pickles."

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What color is traditionally believed to make bulls angry?

Spanish toreadors wave red capes to enrage bulls, but bulls are actually colorblind. They're attracted to motion, not to color.

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Which creature can lift up to fifty times its body weight?

Ants can lift up to 50 times their body weight, but that's not even the most impressive weightlifting feat in the animal kingdom. Mites can lift up to 1,180 times their weight, an unimaginable accomplishment!

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Where is the Serengeti?

Serengeti National Park, located in Tanzania, is home to wildlife such as zebras and wildebeests. The name loosely translates to "endless plains" in Maa, the language spoken by the Maasai people.

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Athens, Greece, was named after which Greek deity?

Athena was said to have beaten Poseidon, the god of the sea, for patronage over the town by offering its residents an olive tree. As the goddess of wisdom, she saw the many benefits they would enjoy from olives.

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Which vitamin is responsible for giving carrots their bright orange color?

Beta-carotene, a great source of Vitamin A, gives carrots their bright orange color. It's also the reason that beets are purple and apricots are, well, apricot.

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Who was the second president of the United States of America?

After George Washington declined a third term as president, John Adams took his place in 1797. While in the White House, Adams famously wrote, "May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."

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Which cartoon character encouraged children to eat their spinach?

Popeye the Sailor Man got his start in newspapers and was based on a real person! He was so popular that American children's third-favorite food was - believe it or not - canned spinach.

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The "universal donor" blood type is...

People with O- blood don't produce any surface proteins that would be recognized and attacked by the recipient's immune system. AB folks, on the other hand, can receive any type of blood transfusion because their bodies already produce any surface proteins that could be a problem.

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Milk was first delivered to homes in what type of container?

Before glass bottles, if you wanted milk, you had to carry your pail to the farmer to get it! At first, many businesses were worried about the glass bottles breaking, but after a while the government mandated glass delivery.

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Which famous singer was known for many hits, including "My Way" and "New York, New York?"

Sinatra was a classic triple-threat, thrilling audiences with his singing, dancing and acting. An Oscar and Grammy winner, he created art that is still appreciated today.

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What is on the national emblem of the United States of America?

A common myth exists that Benjamin Franklin desperately wanted a turkey to be on the emblem instead of a bald eagle. In reality, he commented in a letter to his daughter that the drawing of an eagle looked more like a turkey.

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The common term for an extraterrestrial being is what?

Aliens, or extraterrestrial life forms, have captured our imaginations for centuries. In sci-fi movies, they're often seen flying around in unidentified foreign objects, aka UFOs.

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What word do the British use instead of "cookie"?

The Latin words from which the word "biscuit" is derived translate to "twice cooked." A British biscuit is like an American cookie -- especially the crispier ones.

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What is the fourth planet from our sun?

The planets, from closest to furthest from the sun, are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto was demoted from "planet" to "dwarf planet" and is no longer included in our solar system's planet count.

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Which of these dinosaurs had a really long neck?

The brachiosaurus stood approximately 40 or 50 feet tall, and scientists thought at first that it was aquatic because of its great mass and nostril placement. It is now thought to have been a land dweller, but how it supported its weight is something of a mystery.

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Which of the following is a primary color?

Red, blue and yellow can be mixed to make other colors, but you can't mix other colors to make red, blue or yellow. They're called "primary" because you have to start with them to get everything else!

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Which country's astronauts landed on the moon first?

American astronauts set foot on the moon's soil first, but the Russians were the first to land any object -- Luna 2 -- on the moon.

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What is it called when a woman gives birth to four children at the same time?

The record for the most births from a single human pregnancy is eight. In 2009, "Octomom" Nadya Suleman birthed octuplets (the result of IVF and medical malpractice).

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What is the main ingredient in ice cream?

You can't have ice cream without milk in some shape or form. Traditionally, ice cream is made with cow's milk, but it can also be made with coconut milk or soy, for those with allergies to dairy.

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Which war spurred the development of the internet?

Originally, the internet was used as an information "weapon" in the Cold War. Over time, it developed into the giant "interconnected network" it is today!

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Which of the following is not a type of tooth?

Incisors, molars, premolars and canines are the different types of teeth you'll find in your mouth. Teeth are coated with enamel, a hard substance made of calcium phosphate.

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What is the shape of the Earth?

From the behavior of the stars to the pictures from NASA, we have all the evidence we need to know that the Earth is round. Fun fact: gravity as we know it wouldn't exist if the Earth were not a massive sphere!

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What is the German word for "bless you"?

"Danke" means "thank you," "bitte" means "please" or "you're welcome," and "gute Nacht" means "good night." Then there is "Gesundheit," which actually means "health," but it's commonly used at moments when English-speakers say "bless you" -- following a sneeze.

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The word "butt" could refer to...

Merriam-Webster lists several entries for the word "butt," including both nouns and verbs. It has a history of wide and varied use outside the colloquial American term, referring to one's underside.

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There are two types of this bug: six-legged and eight-legged. What is it?

Spiders crawl around on eight legs, butterflies have six. Ticks have six legs in the larval stage, then later, as adults, they have eight. Yech.

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What term does Wall Street use to describe a downward-trending market?

A "bear market" is one that is trending downward, in the same way that a bear would attack by swiping its paw down. A "bull market" is one trending upward, just like a bull would raise its horns high.

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What chemical is no longer used in thermometers, due to safety concerns?

Mercury thermometers provided a more accurate measurement of temperature than alcohol thermometers, but they posed a substantial health risk if they were to break. They were finally discontinued even for industrial use in 2011.

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