Old Wives' Tales and Superstitions Quiz

Staff

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Predicting whether a baby will be a boy or a girl based on the mother's pregnancy cravings. Opening windows if someone dies in a house. Planting rosemary near your front door. Even hanging an acorn in a window! These are just a few strange theories and behaviors that people have come up with over the years to explain the world around them or ward off scary things. But how much do you know about the various old wives' tales and superstitions that have been around for generations? Take this quiz to find out!

Old wives' tales are superstitions or traditional beliefs that are generally considered unscientific or incorrect. Before modern scientific methods existed that could account for certain phenomena or behaviors, people came up with ways to explain or protect against various events in their lives. Many — but not all — old wives' tales center on traditional interests of women, such as medicine, pregnancy and nutrition.

Despite modern-day scientific advancements, a great number of these old tales are still known to many people. Are you one of them? See if you can correctly identify these old wives' tales by taking this quiz now!

Going outside with wet hair will cause what?

It's a load of hooey that you'll catch a cold simply because your hair is wet when you go outside.

Advertisement

An old wives' tale says that a "hair of the dog" will alleviate symptoms of what?

If you have a horrible hangover, having another alcoholic drink can help you feel a bit better. Allegedly.

Advertisement

True or false: Chicken soup can serve as medicine when you're sick.

Your mom made you chicken soup for a good reason — it can sometimes lower white blood cell activity and reduce inflammation, all of which may help you feel better.

Advertisement

What does it mean if you bite your tongue during a meal?

Pants on fire! If you bite your tongue, you told a lie, or so the old wives' tale goes.

Advertisement

One tale says that a hot bath can have what effect on men?

It's been said that hot baths can make it harder for men to impregnate females, and this one is proven true by science.

Advertisement

Why should you open the windows if someone dies in your house?

You don't want that soul hanging out and haunting you, so open the windows, pronto.

Advertisement

What does it mean if you dream about fish?

Fishy dreams mean that a person you know is going to have a baby.

Advertisement

Why would you plant rosemary near your front door?

If witches are a problem in your neighborhood, rosemary may help — or perhaps a good security system.

Advertisement

One old wives' tale says that if a woman has a difficult childbirth, she is most likely to have this:

As the tale goes, boys are harder to give birth to — and there's scientific evidence to back it up.

Advertisement

Eating cheese just before going to bed can cause what?

Your mom wasn't just kidding — there's evidence to support the idea that cheese's ingredients can make your dreams crazier than normal.

Advertisement

Why would you sew a swan feather into your husband's pillow?

Swans are symbols of love, so the feather will make sure he stays true to you.

Advertisement

What will happen if you sweep debris through your back door at night?

If you're not big on strangers stopping by in the middle of the night, you should refrain from sweeping stuff out the back door once the sun sets.

Advertisement

What does it mean if a woman is carrying the baby "high" during pregnancy?

Your great-grandmother might claim that girls ride high and boys go low, but the way a woman carries the baby has zilch to do with the sex.

Advertisement

Your mom said that oily fish is especially good for what part of your body?

She always said that fish was good for your brain, and she was right. The fatty acids in fish can boost brain performance.

Advertisement

True or false: Foods with mayonnaise spoil faster.

You grandma might claim that mayo speeds the onset of rotting, but in reality mayo's mild acidity can actually slow down the spoilage process.

Advertisement

If a woman craves salty foods during pregnancy, what does it mean?

Sweet for girls and salty for boys, or so says this totally unscientific tale.

Advertisement

If you're pregnant and you eat a salad, what might happen?

If you're really ready to have that baby, chow down on some greens.

Advertisement

What good does it do to put a knife under your pillow during childbirth?

A knife supposedly wards off the pain a bit; we wish it were that easy.

Advertisement

If you see an owl during daylight hours, what is it a sign of?

It's a sign of bad luck to see this nocturnal bird when the sun is still shining.

Advertisement

Why is it bad luck to kill a sparrow?

Killing sparrows is like killing the souls of departed human beings.

Advertisement

Heartburn during pregnancy may mean what about the baby?

It's not just a tale; women who have severe heartburn during pregnancy may have hairier-than-normal newborns.

Advertisement

What should you do if you see a white moth attempting to enter your home?

Run away or face the consequences — the moth means death is coming.

Advertisement

If you blow on a dandelion, the seeds that remain on the head indicate what?

You may want to consider blowing extra hard when you realize that the remaining seeds indicate how many babies you'll have.

Advertisement

What does it mean if a soon-to-be mom has great hair and an exceptionally nice "glow" during pregnancy?

Boys supposedly add to mom's good looks, but baby girls "steal" their moms aura of beauty during pregnancy.

Advertisement

What does it mean if you see a cow lift its tail?

It might rain, but it could be sunny, too, because cows just lift their tails a lot.

Advertisement

In one tale, a "red sky at night" is evidence of what sort of impending weather?

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning," says the proverb. A red sky at night foretelling good weather is correct — if you live in the tropical zone.

Advertisement

A bird in your house is sign of what?

The next time your cat drags a live bird into the house, beware — it could portend a death.

Advertisement

If your child is born on a Saturday what can he/she look forward to?

"Saturday's child works hard for a living," says the poem.

Advertisement

If you hang an acorn in your window, it will keep what away from your home?

In addition to warding off lightning, carrying an acorn is supposedly good luck.

Advertisement

What does it mean if you see three butterflies together?

Spot three butterflies together and you should consider yourself blessed with good luck.

Advertisement

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes