The origins of words and phrases from the English Language gets a nice twist with Etymologic, a fun online quiz that can be difficult to master. The site consists of a series of questions with two to four possible answers, most of which seems plausible. You have to show an uncanny knowledge of English (or be incredibly lucky with your educated guesses) to get all the questions correct.

There are 10 questions awaiting the viewer, and if you get one wrong the site provides you with the correct answer. The homepage explains the art of etymology, which is the study of words, and notes that the answers are set up to be close to what people would expect, even if the correct answer initially seems implausible. Truth is stranger than fiction, in some cases. (Did you know that triskaidekaphobics fear the number 13? I do, thanks to a lucky guess).

In the Classroom

This site would be a fine supplementary resource for the study of English, or any language, and you might even have students create their own simplified version of Etymologic for classmates. I like how a lot of the words and phrases have origins in other languages, allowing for a discussion about cross-pollination of words. There is even a form at Etymologic for visitors to submit their own questions to the quiz generator.


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