Quiz: Do You Know Where These English Words Are Originally From?

The history of words is, in many ways, the history of the world.
November 23, 2020
Quiz: Do You Know Where These English Words Are Originally From?

The English language is a patchwork. Despite being a Germanic language, its linguistic influences come from all over. Words we use every day might have originated in Greece, Japan, Polynesia or any number of other places. The good news is, you don’t really have to know about the origin of a word to use it. But learning more about word history can be a fascinating way to discover more about language and how it came to be. And what better way to learn than with a word etymology quiz?

Whether you’ve read the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology from end to end or consider yourself more of a neophyte, our etymology quiz has something to offer. We provide insight into each of the questions so you can find out more about where the words come from and what they originally meant.

A brief note before we start: Etymology can be very messy, and words can go through many different languages before they make it to English. We try to be as specific as possible in this quiz, so make sure you’re reading each question carefully.

English Word Etymology Quiz

Learn a new language today.
Author Headshot
Thomas Moore Devlin
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.

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