Can You Answer These Real Jeopardy! Questions About Words?

Back in 2019, Jeopardy! phenom James Holzhauer parlayed his smarts and gambling skills to be correct 97 per cent of the time he answered a question. Wonder how you would rate? We curated a pop quiz of word questions to see how you stack up. We even included one that stumped the champ...

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word play

Word play for $500: A letter added to a kidnap victim’s salvation produces this window above a door

Back in 1985 on season one of Jeopardy! Bruce Rhodewalt, a musician from Los Angeles, California, gave the correct response to the hint: “What is transom?”

At the time, the highest amount a contestant could win in the first round was $500.

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4 syllable words

4-Syllable Words for $100: From the Latin for “follow,” it’s a campaign to subjugate a people because of their religion or race

A triple stumper! Not one of the three contestants in 2015 knew the correct question: “What is persecution?”

Check out these Latin phrases that will make you sound smarter.

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tree words

Tree Words for $500: You wood wood like like this 1966 Neil Diamond hit if you heard it

Doug Lach, a product development manager from Columbus, Ohio (whose four-day cash winnings total $73,400) gave the right response in the Double Jeopardy! round in 2000: “What is ‘Cherry Cherry’?”

Find out the most popular song from the year you were born.

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words of the 2000s

Words of the 2000s: In 2008 Time Magazine described this new practice as “one part social networking and one part capital accumulation”

The correct answer for this Final Jeopardy! clue was: “What is crowdsourcing?” Pete Vanderhyden wrote “online banking” and lost it all. Carol Hansen believed it began with cyber and came in second and James Holzhauer bet $35,000 and won the game with $82,381.

Surprise—these “modern” words are much older than you thought!

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word origins

Word Origins: An Italian word meaning cool and fresh gave us the name of this art of painting on plaster

Back on season seven in 1996, Molly Redfield, a PhD candidate from Claremont, California, had the correct response: “What is fresco?”

How extensive is your vocabulary? Take our Word Power challenge!

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f words

F-Words: Some guitarists “worry” about these ridges on their fingerboards

Tricia Schroyer, a housewife and freelance seamstress from Pensacola, Florida gave the correct question on season 14 in 1983: “What is frets?”

If you’ve answered every one of these questions correctly, you should check out the Jeopardy! categories that stump everyone.

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visual vocabulary

Visual Vocabulary: A Latin word for a sea creature, in photography, it’s a colour that conveys nostalgia

All of the contestants knew that the correct question in the Final Jeopardy! round in 2017 was “What is sepia?”

The Etymology Dictionary says “sepia” means “rich brown pigment,” and that it was originally adopted into the English language from the Italian word “seppia” for “cuttlefish,” which came from the Latin and Greek “sepia,” meaning the same thing. Somewhere along the line, the term was applied to the colour of brown paint or ink prepared from the cuttlefish’s fluid secretions.

If you already knew that, you’re probably ready to tackle Reader’s Digest‘s toughest general knowledge quiz questions.

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word origins

Word Origins: This eight-letter word for a reaction against a trend comes from an engineering term for a jolt caused by a gap in machine parts

None of the three contestants knew the correct question for the Final Jeopardy! clue: “What is backlash?”

Consider yourself a word nerd? See if you can match these adjectives with their proper definitions.

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Oxymorons: Abbreviated VR, it was coined by computer scientist and musician Jaron Lanier

The correct question for this clue in the Double Jeopardy! round in 1998 is: “What is virtual reality?”

Check out these brain games guaranteed to boost your brain power.

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wutz mispelled

Wutz Mispelled: I have an abhorrence of the appearence of misspelled words; let’s have no recurrence

Jeff Henderson, a retail manager from Calgary, Alberta, Canada quickly answered: “What is recurrence?” However, he was incorrect. Laura Hertzfeld, a journalist from Venice, California got the correct response: “What is appearence?” James Holzhauer didn’t buzz in–just saying!

Find out the 15 hardest words to spell in the English language.

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16 letter words

16-Letter Words: Look at a map of the contiguous U.S. and you’ll see that this 16-letter superlative adjective applies to Maine

This clue was one of the infamous $2,000 questions that James Holzhauer answered with the correct response: “What is northeasternmost?”

Besides Holzhauer, these are the contestants who won the most money on Jeopardy!.

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words from mythology

Words from Mythology: This term for a cure-all bears the name of a daughter of Asclepius

Liz Levin, an attorney from Los Angeles, California selected this Daily Double on a game against Holzhauer whose big game wins relied on Daily Doubles. Though she stole the opportunity from Holzhauer, when Alex Trebek encouraged her to say something, she responded, “Uh…” The correct question was: “What is panacea?”

Check out these Jeopardy! questions only Star Wars fans can answer.

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geographic terms

Geographic Terms: A rugged mountain pass is a gap, and an especially rugged gap is a notch, like this one just east of Burlington

This clue was one of the questions that James Holzhauer answered incorrectly. His response was: “What is Dixville Notch?” The correct question is: “What is Smuggler’s Notch?” For the record, it was a triple stumper.

Next, try your hand at 20 real Jeopardy! questions about geography.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest