48 Short Riddles That Will Still Stump You

Try out these quick, bite-size riddles—some are easy, and some are still pretty tricky!

Who doesn’t love the satisfaction that comes with solving a good riddle? Riddles are fun for kids and adults alike as you work through plays on words, confusing hypothetical situations, and hidden-in-plain-sight solutions. But while we love long riddles, sometimes you want a concise one-liner of a riddle, especially if you’re just looking for a quick brain exercise.

Want to test your brain with a good riddle (or ten) but don’t want to be racking your brain all day? This collection of short riddles provides lots of brain food to test your deduction skills. They vary in difficulty, with short easy riddles, short hard riddles, and a few funny riddles, but they won’t overwhelm you! If you want some riddles that are a certain difficulty level, check out these easy riddles and hard riddles. These short riddles are good for riddlers of all ages, but if you want a bit of an extra challenge, here are some riddles for adults.

Short easy riddles

1. Mississippi has four S’s and four I’s. Can you spell that without using S or I?

Answer: T-H-A-T!

2. There’s a one-story house where everything is yellow. The walls are yellow. The doors are yellow. All the furniture is yellow. The house has yellow beds and yellow couches. What color are the stairs?

Answer: There are no stairs—it’s a one-story house!

3. A girl fell off a 20-foot ladder. She wasn’t hurt. How?

Answer: She fell off the bottom step.

4. Grandpa went out for a walk and it started to rain. He didn’t bring an umbrella or a hat. His clothes got soaked, but not a hair on his head was wet. How is this possible?

Answer: Grandpa’s bald!

5. You’re in a race and you pass the person in second place. What place are you in now?

Answer: Second place.

RELATED: Brain Teasers That Will Leave You Stumped

6. What four-letter word can be written forward, backward, or upside down, and can still be read from left to right?

Answer: NOON.

7. What is at the end of the rainbow?

Answer: The letter W!

8. Name three consecutive days without naming any of the seven days of the week.

Answer: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

9. You are in a dark room with a box of matches. On a table are a candle, an oil lamp, and a log of firewood. What do you light first?

Answer: The match! Can’t light any of those things without a lit match.

RELATED: 11 of History’s Most Famous Riddles

Chess riddle on tealrd.com, Getty Images

10. Two people were playing chess. They both won. How is this possible?

Answer: They were playing two different games, against other opponents.

11. What word is always spelled wrong?

Answer: “Wrong.”

Well, if you want to get technical, it’s not always spelled “W-R-O-N-G”…if you spell it wrong! So then, is it still spelled wrong? Phew! Short riddles can still make you think a whole lot.

12. Which letter of the alphabet has the most water?

Answer: The “C.” Now, see if you can solve this tricky “how many letters are in the alphabet” riddle.

13. What invention lets you look right through a wall?

Answer: A window!

14. Where does today come before yesterday?

Answer: In the dictionary.

15. Three doctors all say Robert is their brother. Robert says he has no brothers. Who is lying?

Answer: No one—the doctors are Robert’s sisters.

16. What kind of ship has two mates but no captain?

Answer: A relationship.

That would be the perfect contender for these love riddles for romantics.

17.  A man is holding exactly $5.25, but only has one coin. How is this possible?

Answer: He has a quarter and a $5 bill.

18. I called my dog from the opposite side of the river. The dog crossed the river without getting wet, and without using a bridge, a boat, or a raft. How is that possible?

Answer: The river was frozen.

19. What two words, added together, contain the most letters?

Answer: Post office.

By the way—can you solve this “if I had four eggs” riddle?

Hand riddle on greenrd.com, Getty Images

Short “what am I” riddles

20. You can hold me in your left hand but not your right. What am I?

Answer: Your right elbow (or hand)!

21. I go around all the places, cities, towns, and villages, but never come inside. What am I?

Answer: A street.

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22. You go at red and stop at green. What am I?

Answer: A watermelon.

23. I have married many times, but have always been single. Who am I?

Answer: A priest.

24. I am higher without a head. What am I?

Answer: A pillow.

25. I have 13 hearts, but no lungs or stomach. What am I?

Answer: A deck of cards.

26. I am easy to lift but hard to throw. What am I?

Answer: A feather. (A piece of paper or a leaf would certainly qualify too!)

27. I break, but never fall. And I fall, but never break. What are we?

Answer: Day and night.

RELATED: 42 Tricky “What Am I?” Riddles

Store riddle on tealrd.com, Getty Images

Short hard riddles

28. Bella is outside a shop. She can’t read the signs, but she knows she needs to go in to make a purchase. What store is she at?

Answer: An eyeglasses store.

29. Wednesday, Bill and Jim went to a restaurant they ordered and ate their food and stuff like that. Then they paid the bill, but neither Bill nor Jim paid the bill. Who did?

Answer: Wednesday did!

30. What are the next three letters in this sequence: O, T, T, F, F, S, S—what comes next?

Answer: E, N, T. The letters are the first letters of the written numbers: one, two, three, four, five, etc. “Eight, nine, ten” are next.

31. How can you physically stand behind your father while he is standing behind you?

Answer: You and your father are standing back-to-back.

32. What type of cheese is made backward?

Answer: Edam.

RELATED: Can You Solve “Einstein’s Riddle”?

33. A girl throws a ball as hard as she can. It comes back to her, even though nothing and nobody touches it. How?

Answer: She throws it straight up in the air!

34. An electric train is headed east. Where does the smoke go?

Answer: Electric trains don’t produce any smoke!

35. What is the one thing everyone can agree is between heaven and earth?

Answer: The word “and.”

36. When is “L” greater than “XL”?

Answer: When you’re using Roman numerals.

RELATED: Math Riddles

37. How can the number four be half of five?

Answer: IV, the Roman numeral for four, is “half” (two letters) of the word five.

38. A man was driving his truck. His lights weren’t on. The moon was not out. There were no streetlights. Up ahead, a woman was crossing the street. Luckily, the truck driver stopped in time—how did he see her?

Answer: It was daytime!

39. A horse attached to a 24-foot chain wants an apple that is 26 feet away. He reaches the apple and munches on it no problem—how is that possible?

Answer: The other end of the chain isn’t attached to anything.

RELATED: Tricky Riddles for Teens

Banana riddle on greenrd.com, Getty Images

Funny short riddles

40. What has a bottom at the top?

Answer: Your legs.

41. If you drop a yellow hat in the Red Sea, what does it become?

Answer: Wet.

42. What color is the wind?

Answer: Blew.

43. What tastes better than it smells?

Answer: Your tongue.

RELATED: Challenging Detective Riddles

44. What can jump higher than a building?

Answer: Anything that can jump—buildings can’t jump!

45. Which word becomes shorter when you add 2 letters to it?

Answer: “Short.”

46. What has four wheels and flies?

Answer: A garbage truck.

47. A monkey, a squirrel, and a bird are racing to the top of a coconut tree. Who will get the banana first?

Answer: None of them—coconut trees don’t produce bananas!

48. I can be cracked, I can be made. I can be told, I can be played. What am I?

Answer: A joke.

RELATED: 60 of the Best Riddles for Kids

Isolated Color Refraction Glass Cube PrismsMirageC/Getty Images

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.