Can You Pick the Word That Matches the Given Category?


By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: Tara Moore / Stone / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Did you know that the number of words you recognize from the age of 1 to the age of 3 grows by 1,900 percent? And from age 3 to age 5, it increases another 900%? Of course, you'd expect that in the formative years, right? That's the time when you're learning all about the world around you and eating knowledge for breakfast! (OK, not literally.) Teachers and parents help kiddos learn all of these words by using categories — you know, learning your colors, your letters and numbers, animals, shapes and so forth.

But, as we get older, the learning doesn't stop. Scientists believe that even adults learn at the rate of one new word every single day. By the time we reach 60, our vocabulary reaches approximately 48,000 words — a 95,900 percent increase from when we're just barely toddling around. The thing is, as adults, we don't really learn words by category, although we certainly should be able to categorize them once they're part of our vernacular. 

So, let's throw it back to our childhood days. See how many of these categories you know by matching the words that belong to them. Which is an animal? A food? A musical instrument? A germ? (Kidding on the last one.) It is categorically impossible not to have fun with this one!

Creepy crawlies! Which one of these winged things falls in the "insect" category?

It might sound like a body part, but an earwig is actually a terrifying little insect equipped with both wings and pincers. Luckily, earwigs are not considered dangerous or venomous, but we'd like to avoid them just the same.


Looking for a new vegetable to add to your salad? You might try this one, a member of the "veggie" category. What is its name?

Arugula, known for its peppery or slightly bitter flavor, is a member of the mustard green family. For us, arugula pairs best with a light coating of olive oil, lemon, seasoning and a cheese such as parmesan. Yum!


You might recognize this guy from a video game, but he is an "animal" in real life. Which one is it?

Have you ever heard of Crash Bandicoot? No worries if you haven't. He was the title character of a series of video games first released in 1996. "Bandicoot" might sound like a nonsense word, but it's an actual marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea.


If you wanted to take up a musical instrument, you might opt for one of these. Which one is considered a "musical instrument?"

Not only are castanets considered musical instruments, but they're also part of everyone's favorite instrument category: percussion! Castanets are a member of the clapper family and are often featured in Italian and Spanish tunes.


This member of the "tool" category is a machine used to shape materials such as metal or wood. What is it called?

Let's face it — you're probably not going to have a lathe in your garage (although that would be cool). A lathe is frequently used by those in woodworking or metalworking to help shape pieces of material accordingly.


At first glance, this fruit might resemble a strawberry. Which of these is a "fruit" from the soapberry family?

The outside of the lychee, native to areas of China, resembles a strawberry; however, its taste is more reminiscent of citrus with floral notes. Lychee is a member of the soapberry (yes, soap!) family.


The Beach Boys sang about a "little deuce" one of these, a member of the "car" category that features two doors and a rear roofline that slants downward. What word are we looking for?

"Little deuce coupe/You don't know what I got" are the first lines from the Beach Boys song, "Little Deuce Coupe." In the automotive world, a coupe simply denotes a two-door vehicle that's rear window slopes downward, such as on a Mustang.


Two oars in the water propelling a boat forward is known in the sports world (and our "sports" category) as which of these?

If you're in a boat moving forward through the water with two oars, that is known in the sporting world as "sculling." To take it a step further, the boat — and even the oars themselves — may be referred to as sculls.


Sledding is never more fun than on one of these. Which one would fall into the "toy" category?

In certain parts of the country, a "toboggan" is considered a hat (no, really!) But for this quiz, we're using the word "toboggan" as it is known in many other parts of the world, as a narrow sled used for gliding down snow-covered hills.


The name of this color is derived from a type of Chinese ceramic. Which of these green shades lives in our "color" category?

The word "celadon" originated in China as early as the 10th century, when potters used celadon to glaze their wares. The glaze earned the name celadon, which we also associate today with a pale green shade.


You might want to grab a jacket for this one! Which of these terms fits into a "weather" category?

It might sound like a derogatory comment at first, but the word "nimbus" actually refers to a type of cloud. Nimbus clouds are the ones that appear when precipitation such as rain or snow falls to the ground.


Do you remember the periodic table of elements from science class? Which of these words belongs in our "scientific elements?"

Antimony is, in fact, not what happens when two people exchange vows (that's matrimony). Antimony is, however, an element with the atomic number 51 and the symbol Sb. This element was discovered as far back as 1600 B.C.


This "plant" term represents the green leaves we associate with ferns or palm trees. What is it called?

The term "frond" sounds pretty fancy. Yet, it merely means the leaves from a plant such as a fern or a palm. Fronds, specifically, are leaves that appear to be divided down the center. (You're looking up a fern frond right now, aren't you?)


It's not just the name of a building near Washington, D.C. It's also the name of a "shape." What is it?

Ever wondered how the Pentagon got its name? Look at it from an aerial view, and you'll notice it's a building with five sides, just like the geometric shape by the same name. Fun fact — the Pentagon was originally intended for a different parcel of land that required that shape but retained the shape once the location was moved.


There are a lot of gadgets and appliances you might consider "household items." Which of these terms represents something you might find in a household?

Admit it: That rotisserie chicken at Walmart gets you every time. Did you know you can buy your own rotisserie to have at home? A rotisserie is sort of like an oven with a rotating interior piece that helps whatever's inside be evenly cooked.


This unit of measurement is actually smaller than a teaspoon. Which of these words fits our "measurements" category?

A "dram" is a unit of measurement you probably don't hear about frequently, mostly because it's so small. A dram is considered one-eighth of an ounce, which isn't much to drink ... or do anything with, really.


You'll find this term in our "organs" category, as well as in your small intestine. What word are we talking about?

The duodenum is part of the small intestine, tasked with chemical digestion that allows nutrients to be absorbed by the small intestine. You can't actually see this body part, but trust us, it's there.


If you live in a particularly cold region of the world, you'll probably want one of these, a member of our "clothing" category. What is it?

OK, you got us. An "anorak" is just a fancier way of saying "jacket." The word is believed to derive from Greenland Eskimos, who called this warm, waterproof gear an "anoraq." You can call it a jacket, though ... we don't mind.


A Brit hired to live in Israel and represent the British government is known by this job title (also part of our "jobs" category)?

You've heard of a consulate, right? If you're an American traveling in Germany and run into a problem, you might choose to visit the American consul in Munich. Consuls are government-appointed representatives of a country inside another country.


This member of our "flower" category was named in honor of a Greek goddess who cried tears that turned into star-shaped flowers. What word are we looking for?

"Aster" is a star-shaped flower, named in honor of the Greek goddess, Astraea. According to legend, Astraea was upset and cried tears that turned into star-shaped flowers once her tears hit the earth. That's how the aster got its name!


If you're feeling overworked or harassed on the job, you might be feeling this emotion. Which word belongs in our "emotions" category?

We've likely all felt harried at some point. You know the feeling — rushed, harassed, overworked, (underpaid?), stressed out! You might feel harried, for example, if you're given a new project just before 5 p.m. that's due tomorrow. Yikes.


The "book" category may be one of our faves. What is an illustration in a book before the title page called?

Have you ever seen an illustration near the front of a book, opposite its title page? Did you know that actually has a name? The "frontispiece" appears on the left side of a spread, while the book's title appears on the right.


This hobby involves gluing small bits of colored paper in patterns. Which of these fits our "hobbies" category?

The hobby known as "decoupage" comes from the French word “decouper,” which means "to cut." People who like to decoupage channel their inner kindergartner, with loads of colored paper and plenty of glue. Hey, we're not judging!


Which of these, derived from bell peppers, falls into our veritable "spice" rack, er, category?

Paprika is a blend of sweet and spicy notes, which is perfect since it's derived from bell or sweet peppers. You'll recognize this spice as red in color, with health benefits in the form of vitamin A and capsaicin.


It's BOGO! This member of the "fabric" category is a textile that's patterned on both sides. What is it known as?

Damask fabric is reversible, which makes it a versatile textile for things like table linens or window treatments. The word "damask" comes from the town of Damascus, where the fabric was first created.


You can use this item in the "furniture" category to store clothing or jewelry. What is it called?

An armoire is a piece of furniture similar to a wardrobe and used for storing clothes. Original armoires were tall cabinets, often with a hanging rod inside to help keep your clothes nice and neat.


Take a walk through our "shoe" category and identify this footwear noted for its rope soles. Which word represents this shoe?

Espadrilles are casual shoes noted for their rope-based soles. You've probably seen them most recently in a wedge style. The term "espadrille" is derived from "esparto," the type of role used in its making.


Drink up! Which of these drinks, in our "beverage" category, is most often associated with Christmastime?

The hot mulled cider beverage known as wassail is frequently associated with the feel-good holiday season. The name of the drink itself came from the act of "wassailing," a "good luck" ritual for the next year's apple harvest.


If you find yourself standing on a flat, elevated piece of land, you might call it by this "geographic" category word. What is it?

You sometimes think of a plateau as a time in your life when things are neither moving forward or backward, but there's also a geographic element here. Plateaus are elevated, level tracts of land that appear all over the globe.


We hate to bring math into the equation, but do you know which of these "math" category words represents "the length of the adjacent side divided by the length of the hypotenuse?"

We don't claim to know much about math; in fact, we prefer words. But, a "math" category is a good one to include since we use it often in our daily lives. Maybe not the "cosine" equation, necessarily, but if you're ever on "Jeopardy!" perhaps you'll remember this.


This medical condition might come as the result of a stroke or a motor vehicle accident. Which "medical" category word is it?

Paralysis is the loss of muscle movement in some part of your body. It can be one of the early signs of a stroke or come as the result of an accident, such as a wreck or an injury while playing sports.


Galileo Galilei devised the "theory of ________," part of our "astronomy" category. Which word fills the blank?

Galileo Galilei's theory of inertia was that an object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Isaac Newton later refined the theory into what we know today as his first law of motion.


We know you've had to distinguish yourself as human by completing one of these. What word belongs in our "computing" category?

Captcha with pictures, math equations or simple checkboxes — we've seen it all. These online tools allow websites to determine whether you're a human or a computer ...and we certainly hope if you're reading this, you're ALL human!


Brush up on our "finance" category: When economic decline sweeps across a country, it is known as what?

You probably hear the word "recession" tossed around on the news or in newspapers from time to time. A recession is nothing more than a decline in economic activity, which can cause consumers to stop spending and businesses from becoming more wary.


You've probably been camping, but never like this. Which "military" category term refers to a makeshift shelter without any covering?

A "bivouac," pronounced Biv-Whack, is a makeshift campsite typically set up by soldiers that usually does not include any roof or covering. Think of it like a temporary military camp, derived from the German word "beiwacht."


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