GrammarPhile Blog

Words in Orbit

Posted by Conni Eversull   Sep 17, 2019 8:15:00 AM

Hello, GrammarPhile blog subscriber,

Many of you have not subscribed to our Words! Words! Words! quizzes. So, I thought you might like to see what you're missing. If you'd like to subscribe, please go to the "Subscribe to Email Updates" block to the right and select the Words! Words! Words! subscription. 

I hope you enjoy this quiz. Let me know how you did in the comments section.


On September 17, 1976, NASA publicly unveiled its first space shuttle, the Enterprise, during a ceremony in Palmdale, California. Development of the aircraft-like spacecraft cost almost $10 billion and took nearly a decade. In 1977, the Enterprise became the first space shuttle to fly freely when it was lifted to a height of 25,000 feet by a Boeing 747 airplane and then released, gliding back to Edwards Air Force Base on its own accord. Try our word quiz and see how high you can soar and how far you can glide.

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Topics: word test, word quiz, vocabulary quiz

Happy (belated) Earth Day!

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Apr 23, 2013 5:35:00 AM

Will there ever be a Mars Day on Mars? What would they do? Rake red dirt all day? Just something to ponder as you consider today's list of earthy words.

1. meliorism: (a) marked by or showing concern for the environment; (b) advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment; (c) the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment; (d) active demand by two or more organisms or kinds of organisms for some environmental resource in short supply.

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test

Vocabulary test -- Spilled Catchphrases

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jul 23, 2012 5:45:00 AM

It's happened. You're in a five-way conversation and somebody pipes up with something like "Yeah, it's a Catch-22. You just can't get a job if you don't live in Florida." Trouble is, you know it's not a Catch-22, that the guy's blowing smoke, but you can't quite remember precisely what a Catch-22 is. So you keep quiet and everybody goes along. Well, study up and next time be the one in your cube-farm who doesn't mangle these common expressions. Read on!

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test

Why English Is So Hard to Learn

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Dec 13, 2011 5:30:00 AM

The bandage was wound around the wound. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. After a number of injections, my jaw got number. Any wonder why English is so hard to learn? How well will you do on this week's vocabulary test?

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test

Vocabulary Test: Political Words

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 20, 2011 5:30:00 AM

Are you the reigning politico among the political junkies around your office water cooler this week? Or have you sworn to watch nothing but movie channels, ESPN Classic, and (is it this bad?) those cable sales channels? If the former, read on and test your savviness. If the latter, well, put that "Donald Trump is MY President" bumper sticker on your car, and reach for your clicker right now.

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test

Vocabulary Test: ConGRADulations?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jun 28, 2011 5:30:00 AM


By this time in June, many people have left their schools for good, after years of study. Did people at Yale, for example, "graduate Yale" or did they "graduate from Yale"? Or did Yale "graduate them"? And if one is attending a "commencement" ceremony, why is it called that? Isn't the ceremony all about the end of their college careers? What are they commencing, anyway? Take our test, and see if you graduate with highest honors.

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test

Vocabulary Quiz: Travel Much?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 29, 2011 5:30:00 AM

Are you traveling this month? Going on the road? Going home? When traveling, remember: don't carry items for strangers, check in for your flight two hours early, and report all bad relative, adverbial, and Santa clauses to ProofreadNOW.

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test, vocabulary

Word Test - Oil. It's on the Brain These Days.

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 7, 2010 5:00:00 AM

The price of oil. The countries that have it. The companies that produce it. The people who buy it. Talk is everywhere. Try this slick vocab quiz and see how much your brain is worth per barrel.

1. hydrocarbon: (a) a residual product (as from the distillation of petroleum); (b) a chemical isolated or derived from petroleum or natural gas; (c) an organic compound (as acetylene or butane) containing only carbon and hydrogen and often occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens; (d) carbon derived from seawater.

2. oil cake: (a) the solid residue after extracting the oil from seeds (as of cotton); (b) a cake whose ingredients include canola oil, peanut oil, molasses and ginger; (c) an oil (as linseed oil) that changes readily to a hard tough elastic substance when exposed in a thin film to air; (d) dipstick.

3. crack: (a) to disperse (as an oil) in an emulsion; (b) to break up (chemical compounds) into simpler compounds by means of heat; (c) an oil well with a copious natural flow; (d) a constriction in an outlet (as of an oil well) that restricts flow.

4. copra: (a) dried coconut meat yielding coconut oil; (b) a yellow fatty oil obtained from the germ of Indian corn kernels and used chiefly as salad oil, in soft soap, and in margarine; (c) a usually glass bottle used to hold a condiment (as oil or vinegar) for use at the table; (d) a fragrant essential oil (as from rose petals).

5. baba ghanoush: (a) thick slices of bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, often topped with tomatoes and herbs, and usually served as an appetizer; (b) bituminous material occurring in shale and yielding oil when heated; (c) an appetizer or spread made chiefly of eggplant, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon; (d) (capped) the prime minister of oil-rich Oman.

6. holy oil: (a) petroleum oil produced in the Holy Land; (b) petroleum oil high in myrrh; (c) mineral spirits; (d) olive oil blessed by a bishop for use in a sacrament or sacramental.

7. sweet crude: (a) crude oil light in sulfur content; (b) crude oil light in hydrocarbon content; (c) crude oil light in sodium content; (d) crude oil heavy in sucrose content.

8. Brent crude: (a) crude oil produced in Brent County, Texas; (b) crude oil produced in a part of the North Sea; (c) petroleum oil traded for Krugerands in South Africa; (d) crude oil drilled by a guy named Brent.

9. cresset: (a) a usually glass bottle used to hold a condiment (as oil or vinegar) for use at the table; (b) consecrated oil used in Greek and Latin churches especially in baptism, chrismation, confirmation, and ordination; (c) a framework or tower over a deep drill hole (as of an oil well) for supporting boring tackle or for hoisting and lowering; (d) an iron vessel or basket used for holding an illuminant (as oil) and mounted as a torch or suspended as a lantern.

10. derrick: (a) a graduated rod for indicating depth (as of oil in a crankcase); (b) a framework or tower over a deep drill hole (as of an oil well) for supporting boring tackle or for hoisting and lowering; (c) a building and equipment for refining or processing (as oil or sugar); (d) the head domino.
See how well you did. Click here for answers.
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Topics: word test, vocabulary

Word Test -- What does YOUR last name mean?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Aug 17, 2010 5:00:00 AM

Okay, so your last name is Farmer. Duh. But what if your last name is Crocker? Some long-lost ancestor was into making pottery crocks. Read on - the list gets more interesting.

1. cooper: (a) one that makes or repairs wooden utensils; (b) one that makes or repairs book bindings; (c) one that makes or repairs wooden casks or tubs; (d) a keeper of records.

2. chandler: (a) a maker or seller of tallow or wax candles and usually soap; (b) a collector of natural dyes, especially yellow; (c) a person who cans food; (d) an instructor.

3. tinker: (a) a silverworker; (b) a usually itinerant mender of household utensils; (c) a person who makes knives and scissors; (d) none of the above.

4. farrier: (a) a person who shoes horses; (b) a person who collects and sells feathers (for bedding); (c) a person who raises and trains falcons to hunt wild game; (d) a maker of gloves.

5. smith: (a) a barrelmaker; (b) a wheel maker; (c) a worker in metals; (d) a seller of metal goods.

6. currier: (a) one that dresses furs; (b) a glassworker; (c) a person who shoes horses; (d) one who cleans the coat of a horse.

7. wainwright: (a) a maker and repairer of wagons; (b) a maker and repairer of boats; (c) a maker and repairer of farm equipment, especially plows; (d) one who dowses for water.

8. packman: (a) thief; (b) peddler; (c) minstrel; (d) musician.

9. draper: (a) a man who guides a plow; (b) a man who operates a loom; (c) one who operates a saw mill, especially a water-powered mill; (d) a dealer in cloth and sometimes also in clothing and dry goods.

10. clark: (a) cartmaker; (b) soldier; (c) lawyer; (d) clerk.

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test

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