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Can You Pass This High School English Quiz?

We've been saving up these words, from the Princeton Review's Word Smart: Genius Edition test-prep guide, for our most confident quiz takers.

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1. What does “umbrage” mean?

A: resentment
B: bright sunshine
C: utter confusion

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Answer:

[A] resentment. Why did your team take such umbrage at being called the underdogs? If this one stumped you, make sure you brush up on the 24 things you’ve been saying wrong this whole time.

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2. What does “sobriquet” mean?

A: nickname
B: tight bandage
C: barbecue coal

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Answer:

[A] nickname. After seeing him before he’d had his coffee, I can’t imagine how Paul possibly got the sobriquet Grumpy! Aced this question? Hooray! Take this Mensa quiz to find out if you’re a genius.

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3. What does “feckless” mean?

A: bold and daring
B: of clear complexion
C: weak and ineffective

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Answer:

[C] weak and ineffective. In formal debate, “Oh yeah?” is a rather feckless rebuttal. You’ll also love learning these slang words you didn’t know were in the dictionary.

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4. What does “bailiwick” mean?

A: special domain
B: holiday candle
C: dugout canoe

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Answer:

[A] special domain. “Ask me anything about grammar,” the curmudgeonly copy editor said. “That’s my bailiwick.” That copy editor also wants you to know that you’re using these 70 words and phrases wrong.

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5. What does “onus” mean?

A: proof of residency or status
B: burden
C: unique entity

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Answer:

[B] burden. “The onus,” Mr. Peterson barked, “is on your boys to fix my broken window.” This word somehow sounds even more unreal than this completely fake word that was added to the dictionary anyway.

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6. What does “ductile” mean?

A: of plumbing
B: easily shaped
C: weak and ineffective

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Answer:

[B] easily shaped or influenced. Decisive? No. Tara’s opinions are sometimes as ductile as Play-Doh. Loving this old-school vocab quiz? See if you know these middle school words most adults don’t know.

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7. What does “troglodyte” mean?

A: cave dweller or reclusive person
B: bird of prey
C: know-it-all

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Answer:

[A] cave dweller or reclusive person. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Jerry a troglodyte, but he’s definitely on the shy side. If this word makes you giggle, you’ll also love the funniest words recently added to the dictionary.

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8. What does “paean” mean?

A: fervent prayer
B: lowly worker
C: song of praise

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Answer:

[C] song of praise. Let us raise a toast and a rousing paean to Jay and Cathy’s wedding! If you’re acing this high school vocab quiz, test your knowledge of high school grammar!

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9. What does “sangfroid” mean?

A: snooty attitude
B: coolness under pressure
C: French chef

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Answer:

[B] coolness under pressure. With unrelenting sangfroid, Andrea remained a pro at the poker table despite the high stakes.

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10. What does “redoubtable” mean?

A: unquestionable
B: dubious
C: formidable

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Answer:

[C] formidable. The pitcher shuddered as the redoubtable Albert Pujols strode to the plate. Since it has the word “doubt” in it, “redoubtable” is one of the words that don’t mean what you think they do.

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11. What does “imprecate” mean?

A: curse
B: famous
C: pester or distract

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Answer:

[A] curse. Before being banished, the witch ominously threatened to imprecate the town for five generations.

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12. What does “modicum” mean?

A: small portion
B: middle path
C: daily dosage

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Answer:

[A] small portion. All I ask is a modicum of cooperation with the housework. If you’re acing this quiz, you might be ready to move on to these trivia questions only geniuses will get right.

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13. What does “somnambulist” mean?

A: a sleepwalker
B: hypnotizer
C: historian

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Answer:

[A] sleepwalker. For a somnambulist, Lady Macbeth is rather talkative. Never want to be unsure of a word’s meaning again? Here’s how long it would take you to read the entire dictionary.

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14. What does “restive” mean?

A: comfortable
B: leftover
C: fidgety

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Answer:

[C] fidgety. Peter got so restive during the SAT, he chewed his pencil almost to the lead.

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15. What does “anomie” mean?

A: arch foe
B: mutual attraction
C: social instability

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Answer:

[C] social instability. Apparently, there’s too much anomie in Congress for the bill to be passed.

How did you do?  9 and below: Neophyte; 10-12: Apprentice; 13-15: Mastermind

Ready for another vocabulary lesson? These are 50 words you think are synonyms but aren’t.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest