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.