The Old-Timey Words Quiz


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: GCShutter/E+/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Nothing is more fun than going back in time and taking a look at the words we used to use. You might have the best of modern day vocabularies, but how will you do in face of words you might have never heard before? After this quiz, you'll know if you are an old-timey word expert or if you should stick to next year's newly added words. 

You might find some of these old-timey words a little on the hilarious side. Others might make you scratch your head. No matter what your reaction or your familiarity with the words we present, it's up to you to do your best to figure out what each of the old-timey words means. 

Whether you are planning to be a contestant on "Jeopardy," or you simply love words, this quiz is sure to expand your vocabulary. It's always good to have a few old-timey words in your arsenal. Your friends will be both impressed and envious of the new words you've added to your every day speech. 

Do you have what it takes to muddle through or are you going to hie right through it? After you get started, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. How many of these old-timey words do you know? 

When Sarah heard the neighbor knock, she started to scurryfunge. What did Sarah do?

When Sarah's neighbor unexpectedly knocked on the door, she began to frantically clean. Scurryfunge means to clean in a panicked manner before opening the door to unexpected guests.


Ian thought his boss was full of poppycock. What was Ian's boss full of?

Although Ian wanted to believe his boss, he found that his words were foolish and his ideas were even more farfetched. Ian was sure his boss was full of poppycock because he was not making any logical sense.


Criminals are sent to jail. Which word also means jail?

When criminals are arrested these days, they go to jail and they do not pass go. You don't get to collect $200 when you are on your way to the hoosegow.


Fill in the blank: Maria could not stop talking. She was known to be a ________.

Although many of her coworkers wished Maria could be quieter, she was known as a blatherskite around the office. She liked to blather on and on about the most trivial things, including her entire weekend.


Les asked Katie to be honest because he was tired of her humbuggery. What does humbuggery mean?

Katie had been behaving in a deceptive manner; consequently, Les asked her to explain her humbuggery. Despite her words, Katie's actions were seemingly false. She was practicing humbuggery.


Bob was tired of the salesman's bafflegab. What was Bob tired of?

When Bob was speaking to the salesman, he simply wanted the facts and the price. He grew tired of hearing the salesman's gibberish, small talk and bafflegab.


What is a whippersnapper?

Instead of texting the neighbors to get the neighborhood kids off your lawn, back in the days of old, you ran out on your porch and screamed, "Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!" A whippersnapper is a youngster.


Even though she had been married twice, Elana's coworkers thought she was a spinster. What's a spinster?

Although Elana had been in two different marriages, her coworkers had no idea she was divorced. Instead, they thought she was an old spinster who had never walked down the aisle.


What would a bibliopole sell?

Before the invention of the internet, people actually read books. When they needed new books, they headed to the local bibliopole's shop and loaded up on new material.


The crime was ruled death by bodkin. What is a bodkin.

If a crime were ruled death by bodkin, it would also be known as death by stabbing. A bodkin is a a sharp, blunt dagger that dates back a few hundred years.


Aunt Sophie always kept a basket of clews by her couch. What are clews?

Aunt Sophie loved to knit and to crochet. She enjoyed it some much that she kept a basket full of yarn balls, or clews, near the couch. Collecting colorful clews was her favorite pastime.


What would a Cordwainer make?

If you were to take a trip back in time and order a custom pair of shoes from a Cordwainer, you would be at the local cobbler's shop. Cordwainers were the shoemakers of ye olde days.


You might have a some darbies in your nightstand. What are darbies?

Although it might not be your thing, some folks like having a set of handcuffs in their nightstand drawer. You never know when you'll have to handcuff a burglar until the police arrive.


If you have a doxy, what do you have?

Don't worry, we won't tell anyone. If you have a doxy, you have a mistress or a secret lover. It's no one's business but your own.


What does a husbandman do for a living?

Although the term is no longer used all the much, a farmer was once also known as a husbandman. Whether tending to the crops or the animals, a husbandman was committed to the farm.


Fill in the blank: The teenager was sluggish and ______.

Despite his mother's attempt to get the teenager moving, he was still behaving like an otiose sloth. In fact, his mother was convicted that sloths are less lazy.


Juan was none for being the office quidnunc. How was Juan known?

Around the office, Juan liked to make sure that everyone stayed informed about everyone else's lives. He had earned the reputation of being the gossipy quidnunc.


What is a taiga?

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of life, consider taking a visit to the local taiga. Spending time in the forest might help you to relax.


Who do you visit when you visit a tapster?

Visiting your local tapster is always a good time. If you visit your tapster enough, they will know which kind of drink to pour when they see you walk in the bar.


I wake up every morning to a tocsin. What is a tocsin?

Waking up in the morning is always more pleasant when you do not have to hear an alarm going off. Some tocsins are so annoying, they are quite scary and make for rude awakenings.


What is served for dipping in sauces or soups?

It's always nice to be served a side of bread with your soup or a saucy pasta. Having sippets on hand help to fill up faster, and they are great for dipping.


The wedding guests did not like having to use the jakes. What are jakes?

The wedding guest were open to an outdoor wedding, but they were not thrilled with the outdoor toilets. They would have preferred indoor facilities and not the jakes the were forced to use.


Whitney was a great melodist. What was Whitney?

The great Whitney Houston was a talented melodist. Her singing set the charts on fire with every release.


When you see a kine, what are you seeing a group of?

We're betting that when you see a kine, you announce it to the whole car. You can't help but get excited when you see a field full of cows.


If you find a wild grimalkin, what do you now have?

Although you might not want to approach a feral cat, it's always nice to give them a little treat. Wild grimalkins can be a little shy at first.


Men look great when they wear a filibeg. What is a filibeg?

Even if haggis isn't your thing, you have to admit that men wearing filibegs look pretty sharp. Although, no one really knows what they wear under their kilt.


James was happy with his garth this year. What is a garth?

James was thrilled with the way his garth was growing this year. He had meticulously watered the garden throughout the dry season, and his efforts were paying off.


How much money would be considered a doit?

Although $20 really isn't much, it's not quite the doit as 14 cents. A doit is a small, minuscule amount of money.


Which word also means buss?

Your sweetheart would love it if you were to lean over and give them a buss. Kissing is one of the most primal ways to show love.


A gammer lived in a shoe. What is a gammer?

The old woman lived in the shoe. We don't know if she would prefer the term gammer better than old woman, but we'll ask her the next time we see her out with her dozens of children.


Some roads glaciate during the winter. What does glaciate mean?

When temperates dip low enough and precipitation is overhead, many roads freeze over. The term glaciate means to freeze over with ice.


Which word means go quickly?

Running late for work can see you going quickly. You hie yourself to work at the speed of sound. You could break records for getting ready.


If you are wearing a kirtle, what are you wearing?

Although it sounds like a breed of turtle, when you are wearing kirtle you are wearing a tunic. More specifically, kirtles for men are tunics, and kirtles for women are gowns.


Marty was known as the class mooncalf. What is a mooncalf?

Although a mooncalf might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, it is indeed a foolish person. Marty was known as the class clown and the class mooncalf.


What is a palfrey?

A palfrey is a horse, but it's not just any horse. A palfrey is a sweet, well-behaved and docile horse. We think the term palfrey makes it sound more dignified.


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