Test your vocabulary

If you click on the screenshot below, you can go to a vocabulary test, which is a multiple choice test asking you. . ., well, I won’t give a spoiler. This was all over Facebook. I’m a sucker for this stuff, and, as my score says below, I did pretty well, though I invariably suck on biology tests. Anyway, see how you stack up against a sample that’s not defined!

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 6.23.53 PM

 

There are other such tests, too; a somewhat harder Merriam-Webster quiz is here. And, once again, I’m the king out dere, faddah! But don’t laud me—it’s all the laws of physics.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 12.32.57 PM

h/t: Su Gould

90 Comments

  1. Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, I got “top 0.01%” also. I think this test is badly calibrated and is way too easy for that outcome. (And it would nice if it gave you a score out of 50!)

    • Ben
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Agree, I got the same score, too, but the test looked like someone played with a thesaurus without really understanding it to create the test.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I got 30325 – top .01% too.

        I’m not sure if I got any ‘wrong’ – it doesn’t tell you. I generally had no trouble with ‘synonyms’, but some of the ‘antonyms’ were a little hard to decide between some alternatives – even though I knew (or thought I did) what each of the alternatives meant. This is often the problem with ‘opposites’, since it’s frequently context-dependent.

        cr

  2. ratabago
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    How peculiar, I got the exact same score on the vocabulary test. Yet I suspect your vocabulary is larger than mine, as I get introduced to a fair number of new words on this site.

    I’ve not looked at the Merriam-Webster quiz,for me more than one vocab test a day starts to feel like work.

  3. Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm…I just took the test and got the exact same result: 30325. Tells me we got the same percentage “right” — though I’ll also note that there was room for a bit of poetic interpretation for multiple answers here and there.

    Regardless, the test clearly isn’t precise at all nor effective at distinguishing differences at the rightmost end of the bell curve. But I suppose I’m expecting too much of an idle Internet diversion….

    b&

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      I got that too – seems a bit dodgy, fishy, suspicious, remarkable, unlikely.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Me too. So what? Not sure what this proves.

      • Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        It either demonstrates that Jerry’s readership is overly representative of the top 99th percentile or that the test significantly underestimates the actual vocabulary distributions of the population.

        As much as I’d like to pat myself on the back, and as much as it’s a reasonable suggestion that those who would participate in a Web site run by the (now-retired) top-of-the-heap in a scientific field tend to above the average…

        …I still think the latter alternative holds a lot more weight.

        Indeed, I think we might be witnessing an analogue to the way that digital cameras overexpose. Everything is nice and linear right up to the saturation point of 100% recorded brightness…and all of everything brighter than whatever it takes to reach that point gets put into that 100% bin. In histograms, you’ll see a single super-narrow spike at the right edge.

        Or, this vocabulary test has a too-limited dynamic range and might also be overreporting (“overexposing”) the percentile ranks of middle-of-the-pack test takers.

        Cheers,

        b&

        >

  4. bric
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    30150

  5. Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    To my mind, this is a disappointing and ill-conceived little quiz. First, synonyms cannot be synonyms unless they are both adjectives, or verbs, or whatever. I went through this three times, once fixing a mistake (“avulse”) and somehow got a slightly lower (that is, worse) score each time. All at 0.01%–so, Shakespeare, yeah, thanks, but I say this thing is junk.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I had to resort too long-unused limnology (“avulsion” – breaking the banks of a river) to work that one out. took a whole couple of seconds.
      And there were a couple where I thought “American English or British English?”

      • Dominic
        Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        hightail… definitely US I would say. A poor test.

  6. darrelle
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Took the first one. My English Vocabulary Size score was 30150, or in the top 0.01%.

  7. Teresa Carson
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Several of my FB friends took this test and all of them have the same score you have. At first I thought there was something fishy going on, but my husband actually got a slightly higher score (30,500), which means that it is possible to get a different score. His score did not, however, place him in a different category. I’ve just decided that all my friends and family are literate people — at least according to FB. Now I’m afraid to take the test!

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Most posts I’ve seen on FB have been in the 20ks.

      Mine was also 30,325.

  8. Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I just re-took the test and intentionally answered with the most absurd option available. And it reported a 0, so at least it’s not completely miscalibrated….

    b&

    • Dave
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I would expect it to catch that case. I used a random number generator and got a score of 2250.

      • Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Well, it therefore seems clear that developing a methodology to determine the test’s calibration should be straightforward for anybody with the time and inclination to do so.

        Anybody have any students to throw at the problem? It’d make a great exercise.

        b&

        >

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          With the random number generator, then one would expect a score of around 6000, if it were a simple multiplication of the score. So we now know that the calibration function has got a moderate negative skewness.
          I got 29975 ; others got 30325, 30325, 30325, 30325, 30325, 30150, 30150, 30500, 30325. bin them, rank them and I get differences of 30500-30325 = 175; 30325-30150 = 175, and 30150-29975 = 175 again.
          First hypothesis for the scoring scheme is that above a threshold, you score 175 points per correct answer, and below that, some lower value.
          who used the PRNG? Dave. His datum suggests that 12.5 correct answers earned (2250/12.5=) 180 points each. Or, since it should be integers for the count of correct answers, 173.08 or 187.5 points a go.
          We need someone to salt the game again at least once with either a 0.4, 0.6 or 0.8 PRNG to check the lower range, and where the transition is.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            With the random number generator, then one would expect a score of around 6000,

            Ooops – foot shot. I was assuming that the reader’s scores (plus PCC(E)) were all nearly perfect. That was an error.

  9. KD33
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmm I got 30500, which is amazingly close to your score, and identical to that of another commenter. I think I missed one word. So can this resolution be real?

    • Carey Haug
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I got 30500 as well. I have a good vocabulary, but it’s hard to believe I am in the top .01 percentile.

    • Sastra
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I got that as well.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Likewise. Had to guess ‘avulse’ and thought some of the ‘correct’ synonyms and antonyms were a bit of a stretch.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Yeah love is not the same as like!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:55 am | Permalink

          Yeah but that one was obvious since the other three options were impossible.

          But a *lot* of people on this site got 30325. A couple got 30500, which means I got at least one ‘wrong’ – I’d love to know which, because I thought I knew all the meanings, but there were some ambiguous ‘antonyms’ where it wasn’t completely clear which of the options was most antonymical.

          cr

  10. Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I got exactly the same scores as you on both tests. I don’t think all of the words listed in the first test were actually synonyms or antonyms – more like thesaurus level similar or differing meanings.

  11. Foppe Haitsma
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I scored 22.800, which places me in the top 5.33%. Not too bad for a non-native speaker living in the Netherlands I think.

    • Barry Lyons
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Gee, I’m a native speaker and did onl;y a little better than you: I got 23250, which puts me in the top 4,67%. But there were a few words that were new to me — avulse? — and so there you have it.

      • Dominic
        Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        New to me too – & I had to work out what an antonym was – despite having a language degree!

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Me, in a similar situation: 22,500.

    • Luis Servín
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Non native speaker here as well. I scored above 29,000 or in the top 0.15%. Although I must say that I did live in the UK for three years and have read a lot of literature in English since I was a teenager.

  12. Alan GE
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I learned the word opprobrium in this blog. Thanks.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Well, there’s heaps of it laying around.

      • Dominic
        Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        🙂

  13. MarkT
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    30,150

  14. Petrushka
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m not surprised that readers of this blog score better than the top one percent.

    Most such tests do not discriminate well among very high scorers, but that doesn’t mean the test isn’t valid.

  15. Chris G
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    29,800 – and that included way too many guesses. Lots of words I’ve never encountered before, my brow is still very creased!
    Chris G.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I think part of it is I disagreed with the word choices they gave for synonyms.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        The antonyms seemed more clearly “anti” than the “synonyms” seemed “sym,” to me. Which is something I’ve long thought about Roget too, from my trawls through it in the past.

    • John Taylor
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I got 29,800 also. I don’t have the crowd that reads this website is representative of the general population.

      • John Taylor
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Think

  16. Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    29,975 (Top 0.12%)

    Not bad for a Mexican! There seems to be no Spanish test though, so I can’t really compare against my native tongue.

  17. Rupinder Sayal
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    30150.

  18. Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Another 30325 – which is a little sad given that the language has apparently got around 1.025 million words (per a quick google search of questionable veracity), so that’s only 3%

    Per the economist most native english speakers are in the range 20-35,000….

  19. docbill1351
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    30326

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:58 am | Permalink

      30326???

      So what’s the extra word you know that nobody else knows?

      cr

      😉

  20. Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    29625 also non-native speaker, but there was some guessing rather than knowing involved towards the end.

  21. mfdempsey1946
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    30325 for me, too.

    Tie-breaker: synonym or antonym for

    hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Antonym:

      hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophZulus

      And that’s without actually knowing the dictionary definition.

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Antonym:

      hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophilia

      And that’s without actually knowing the dictionary definition.

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I report, without captiousness or merriment, a score of 30500.

  23. kansaskitty
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I got 30,150, and it also said I was in the top 0.01%.

  24. darrelle
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The 2nd test is too easy. My graph looked almost exactly identical to Jerry’s, except for age. I’d guess most, or at least very many, people get all 10 correct in which case that test just comes down to speed. I don’t think speed is a very good indicator of vocabulary aptitude. Though it would certainly cut down on cheating on an internet test.

  25. Kevin
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I guessed them all right, but I had to put my hand over the answers because I could not be timed. This is a serious problem with testing dyslexic people. I tend to think of all the uses of each word and daydream about other synonyms rather than focus on solving the problem quickly.

    Timed tests also make smart people lazy. Medium intelligence people have always had to work hard to get the answer so they are more used to working longer than smart people.

  26. phoffman56
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the quiz being too easy, the moron who wrote the quiz apparently is confused about the difference between “the” and “a” (or “an”). Should it not be ‘a synonym—‘ and ‘An antonym—‘??

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Lord, I didn’t think I’d see all this kvetching about a silly quiz! Did people take their grumpy pills this morning?

      • Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        grumpy adjective

        he can be quite grumpy in the morning: BAD-TEMPERED, crabby, ill-tempered, short-tempered, crotchety, tetchy, testy, waspish, prickly, touchy, irritable, irascible, crusty, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, bearish, surly, ill-natured, churlish, ill-humored, peevish, pettish, cross, fractious, disagreeable, snappish; informal grouchy, snappy, cranky, shirty, ornery. ANTONYMS good-humored.

        b&

        >

      • phoffman56
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Yup, I take them morning, noon and evening.

        But just slightly more seriously, my dyslexia (if you want to call it that) causes me to continually pause and wonder ‘Am I being asked to assert that there are no other synonyms? Maybe the answer should really be NONE or DEPENDS!’

        An example might be being asked to answer yes or no to the truth of ‘2 is the number whose square is 4’. (True for those ignorant of negative numbers.)

        Learning to communicate accurately might be a prerequisite to writing up vocabulary tests!

    • Dave
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      You forgot to mention your score.

      • phoffman56
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        It was 30xxx, where the xxx passed through and out of my consciousness in 10**-2 seconds. Sorry!

  27. Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Got exactly the same score – 30325

  28. Dave
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    30150

  29. jwthomas
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    30150 Something fishy here…
    But these were not hard questions and it’s possible that
    many college grad/professionals could have received the same score.

  30. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m a dumb ass and got: 29800 so everyone just settle down.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Odd. With your classics, I’d have thought you’d pick up some of the more outre Latin or Greek roots to pick up words some of the rest of us tripped on.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        I think it probably did help me but I suspect I made stupid mistakes like selecting a synonym when we were in the antonym section.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 16, 2016 at 3:27 am | Permalink

          Well, they did colour code it too – which probably made it more confusing.

  31. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Low resolution test: I got 29975/Top 0.12%, and like many here english (well, “English” if we are speaking tests) is a 2nd language.

  32. aljones909
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    A 30,325 as well. We are all geniuses!

  33. Karen Bartelt
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    29,275. My daughter got 30,500.

  34. Mike McCants
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    30150.

    I suspect I mis-guessed 2 or 3. Perhaps 30500 is perfect and 30325 is “missed one”.

    Note that 30500-30325 is 175 and 30325-30150 is also 175.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      That had occurred to me (without actually having worked it out, but the endings xx00, xx25 and xx50 immediately suggested a scoring system that allocated scores at some-multiple-of-25 points per word).

      cr

  35. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The test took me about 6 minutes and I’m pretty sure I got at least one answer wrong because I lost track of whether it was asking for an antonym or synonym, but I still got 30,325 or some such as my vocabulary after about 6 minutes of taking the test, and the designation of “Shakespeare”. I’m a tad skeptical of the accuracy of this test. 🙂

  36. Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Jerry *is* “the king our dere” (awesome link to that, BTW).

    Here’s me on the harder quiz:

    Jerry is the biggest influencer on my vocabulary these days, as I read his prose more frequently than anyone else’s. Guessing that’s the case for most of us lucky WEITers.

  37. Posted July 14, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I scored 30325 as well!!! But I want to know, where did I err?

  38. Craw
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Too easy to discriminate. I got 30325, which seems to be the top score possible. Only one difficult word (starts with a).

    • boggy
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 3:26 am | Permalink

      Avulse probably. I knew this because when a tooth is knocked out, we dentists say it has been avulsed.

  39. Posted July 15, 2016 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I quit. Their idea of “synonym” is not mine. To me, that means they mean the same thing. The opposite for “antonym”. The antonym of “old” is “young” and that is neither “tell” (a verb”, “small” (some old things are small too), “age” (a noun, a qualtity of “old”) nor “new”, altho I suppose you could make a case for that latter.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      YES! Deeply flawed test…

      try your ‘mental age’ now!

      http://www.arealme.com/mental/en/

      • Posted July 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Hey, I liked that one. Says I’m 34, which is less than half of my true age! I must have cheated…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:28 am | Permalink

      Synonyms and antonyms are very context-dependent. The antonym of “old” can be “young”, it can be most certainly be “new”.

      For an example of context-dependence, “original” is a real handful – it can either mean “new” as in ‘an original work of art’ or “old” as in “I replaced the transmission seal, the original one was leaking”.

      cr

  40. bobkillian
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    May I commend to your attention the always-insightful observations of Gin&Tacos, and the hilarious commentary that follows. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10154415983321677&id=359134596676

  41. Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    30150 with one good (?) guess.
    Perfect score on the second one by M-W.

  42. Posted July 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Where’s the quiz that rates how much you dislike silly web quizzes? 😉

  43. Stonyground
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    This is such a busy website, I spotted this post during my break at work and thought that I would take a look at it when I got home. Only a few hours later and it is already filed under ‘earlier posts’. Anyway, my vocabulary isn’t quite as good as jerry’s, just over 29,000 I scored.

    I am a bit of a sucker for these quizzes too, you can find quite a few of them here:

    http://offbeat.topix.com/?tr=misc/main-logo/////,1465592539,7b4i7648

  44. Mike
    Posted July 16, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    30150 whatever that means.lol

  45. jcook@napanet.net
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I took it twice and now find I’m in the top 4.6%. Whoop de do.

  46. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Oooookay. The Merriam-Webster I got 3840 – eventually, after six tries.

    The first couple of tries I got 2800. Then I figured – 1. The questions are mostly quite easy, so quick selection works
    2. Speed is a major factor.

    So I switched to a different browser that doesn’t have 12 tabs open and got out my mouse (much quicker than a trackpad).
    Got 3700. Almost PCC level.

    My fourth test I got 3300 despite not knowing ‘Zaftig’ (sounds like a small East German car to me)

    I also realised that some questions were easier than others, specifically if the ‘right’ answer was obvious immediately without having to eliminate alternatives.

    My fifth test was hampered by this –
    Catatonic = emotionless (?)
    Divine = predict (not = believe ?)
    Assiduous = busy (?)
    – score 3680.

    Sixth test, the meanings all lined up and I got 3840.

    That’s enough. To get 4200 you would have to be frickin’ quick *and* lucky.

    cr


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