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How good is your English vocabulary, really?
January 29, 2014 2:04 PM   Subscribe

In a move sure to delight MeFites everywhere, Ghent University in Belgium has created an online, almost arcade-game-like test of word knowledge which is almost BS-proof. Know the word? Press J. Don't? Press F. But don't lie! You will be punished.
posted by grumpybear69 (332 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
86% - 7% = 79%

I have no idea how good or bad this is.
posted by griphus at 2:11 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Share your score:
You said yes to 57% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 57% - 0% = 57%.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:11 PM on January 29


Huh, only 65%. They tell you in the results (it said 65% was still pretty good even for a native speaker, so I'm guessing 79% is stellar griphus).
posted by mathowie at 2:12 PM on January 29


Bah. I disagree that blunch is a non-word, even though I said no to it. It should be a word.

I didn't say yes to any non-words, which I guess is good. I was a little skeptical of some words that were words, so I ended up with an 83%. If there hadn't been as much scary, "WE WILL KNOW IF YOU LIE" warnings up front I may have said yes to some more real words.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:12 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


89%! I missed a few real words; zero false positives on non-words. I am chuffed.
posted by Shepherd at 2:13 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


I got a 75 but I am mad about 'manikin.' Who spells it like that, really.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:13 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


80%-0%=80%, which I guess is good, but there were several moments when, by going too quickly, I recognized a word an instant after pressing "F".
posted by Navelgazer at 2:13 PM on January 29


88%, and I had some finger twitching errors that I knew were wrong as I did them.

Shoulda woulda coulda (none of those are real, BTW).
posted by mondo dentro at 2:13 PM on January 29


80%
posted by entropicamericana at 2:14 PM on January 29


I was too conservative. I was able to understand the meaning of many of the words, but wasn't sure if they were "officially" words when they were. Not cromulent enough.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:14 PM on January 29 [43 favorites]


87%

I am annoyed that one of the words was "g", which I didn't know how to answer. Also, another word was Scots, which isn't English.
posted by Thing at 2:15 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I thought "ulnate" was a word, and I feel like I could come up with a reasonable definition of it, if I knew latin.

I got a 76% beyond that.
posted by muddgirl at 2:15 PM on January 29


Nonwords your[sic] responded yes to: Seconds

huh?
posted by nightwood at 2:15 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


84% - 0% = 84%. Not bad but I hope I can bemeliorize my score in the forthtime.
posted by theodolite at 2:15 PM on January 29 [16 favorites]


Exactly my problem Blue Beetle.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:15 PM on January 29


Interesting distinction between "words I know the definition of" and "words I recognize as real words."
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:15 PM on January 29 [28 favorites]


Also, another word was Scots, which isn't English.

Sure, it's English, in that it's a word that we use in the English language.
posted by muddgirl at 2:15 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


79%! No non words. I'll take it.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:16 PM on January 29


I thought "ulnate" was a word, and I feel like I could come up with a reasonable definition of it, if I knew latin.

It's that thing masseuses do under your shoulder with their forearms.
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


90%, no false positives!

Although I'm not convinced that aerograph is a real word - their link to the dictionary finds nothing, and google is showing me a particular brand of airbrusher.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:16 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


82%! Some of those nonwords should be words:
mipplechow!
extolpients!
shasmate!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:16 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


78%...I said yes to 7% of the nonwords. Though in my defense, I totally thought that said starsurfer, which I am totally willing to believe is a real thing.
posted by phunniemee at 2:16 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


It looks like I missed "renascence," which is merely a bullshit spelling of Renaissance. I think I've seen Lewis Mumford use it and nobody else.
posted by theodolite at 2:16 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Nonwords your[sic] responded yes to: Seconds

So you're not going back for seconds?
posted by resurrexit at 2:17 PM on January 29


83% - 3% for one non-word for 80%. False negatives on a bunch of words I figured were real but couldn't define. I'm happy enough.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:17 PM on January 29


You said yes to 91% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 91% - 0% = 91%.

You are at the top level!

How gratifying, Ghent!
posted by stirred for a bird at 2:18 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Sure, it's English, in that it's a word that we use in the English language.

No, I mean that the word was from the Scots language, not that the word was "Scots".

I thought "ulnate" was a word, and I feel like I could come up with a reasonable definition of it, if I knew latin.

"Of or relating to the forearm"?
posted by Thing at 2:18 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


79%.
twitched on a few, but only chose 1 nonword
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:18 PM on January 29


Favorite nonword: freedorable.

I got 75%, but would have gotten 79% if I hadn't misread "relared" as "related" and realized my error just as my finger was pushing the button.
posted by sunset in snow country at 2:18 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


86%. I shoulda pulled the trigger on deiform and cubbishness.
posted by Iridic at 2:19 PM on January 29


This was kind of interesting, because it wasn't just a test of vocabulary, but of word formation. There were several words that I had never seen used, but were logical valid formations, like "compatriotic". And the only 3 I missed were cases where I was too conservative about saying yes to such formations:

embosom
estipulate
blusterously

since I knew that their roots were all valid and their -fixes as well. I might take it again and be more rigorous about allowing all words with such valid parts. Though their math is a bit odd, I wasn't tricked by any false words and only missed 3 out of 100, but I got a 96 rather than 97.
posted by tavella at 2:19 PM on January 29


Also 86% with 0% non-words
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:20 PM on January 29


85%!!

I AM SO SMART S-M-R-T
posted by Kitteh at 2:20 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


well they're all words now!
posted by rebent at 2:22 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Missed three:
plashy
tiddler (which is crap, really)
pluviometer (what's wrong with rainmeter?)
posted by echo target at 2:22 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I got 78%, and hovered for 2.93 seconds over 'resistivity'. I also thought 'osaid' and 'undereared' were actual words when they are patent nonsense.

Undereared, adj: Having insufficient quality or quantity of ears, or lacking aural function.
posted by somekindofwizard at 2:22 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I wonder if it's somehow at least partly a test about handedness.
posted by aniola at 2:22 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


You said yes to 96% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 96% - 0% = 96%.

96%. That's respectable. I didn't know furless (which I kicked myself on right after saying no to), plashy (marshy, wet) and aliphatic (something about organic chemistry).
posted by gauche at 2:23 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Ah, Seconds is the table heading - as in "Number of seconds you took to respond to this one", and not a non-word you missed
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:23 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


90%!

I knew all that time spent practicing for the spelling bee in high school would pay off someday.
posted by mogget at 2:23 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


86%-0%=86%
posted by 256 at 2:23 PM on January 29


I got 67%. No non-English words. But I was really hesitant and some of the words looked like English to the point I could guess their meaning, but wasn't sure if it was a real word
posted by Hoopo at 2:23 PM on January 29


90%!

This makes me think of the old episode of Blackadder with Robbie Coltrane as Dr Johnson, who announces that he's included ALL the words in English in his new dictionary, and Blackadder offers him his most enthusiastic contrafribularities.

Contrafribularities, mefites!
posted by meronym at 2:24 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


96%. That's respectable.

And by "respectable" you mean "likely in the top 0.1%"? Or was that a humblebrag?
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


I wonder if it's somehow at least partly a test about handedness.

I thought that too, because they ask about handedness. They could randomize j and f each time I suppose.
posted by gauche at 2:24 PM on January 29


I know 91% of words and was not fooled by any of the fake words. I am telling myself that I am still pretty good since the ones I missed were all science words and we all know that science doesn't count.
posted by Frowner at 2:24 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Holy shit. My belated new year's resolution/mission in life is to nonchalantly work "embosom" into conversation.
posted by eugenen at 2:25 PM on January 29


89%, no nonwords. I am willing to argue with them about this, though. I erred on the side of saying no for trendy but not well accepted words.
posted by bearwife at 2:25 PM on January 29


81%, I really don't like some of the portmanteau words, they look made up and it made me conservative.
posted by biffa at 2:25 PM on January 29


And by "respectable" you mean "likely in the top 0.1%"? Or was that a humblebrag?

I hadn't, until you mentioned it, thought about percentiles. I was just excited to get an A.
posted by gauche at 2:25 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Also jost is totally a word, come on. If I'm like, hey, wanna jost? You know what I'm sayin.

Pfft, prescriptivists!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:26 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Holy shit. My belated new year's resolution/mission in life is to nonchalantly work "embosom" into conversation.

"The starlet is certainly more embosomed than she was this time last year."
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:26 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


94 (97% words, 3% non-words)

Failed to recognise alidade (a topographic surveying instrument) and whinchat (a small brown songbird).

But frissiness needs to be a word - probably meaning a kind of fussy prissiness.
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:26 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I reject the notion that durbar is an English word despite what this test claimed.
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on January 29


91% Missed four real words (dugong, happing, karri, renitent) and I honestly thought sideswept was a real word. Maybe I've been reading too much fanfic....
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:26 PM on January 29


"How many words...does you know?"
posted by echo target at 2:26 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


cith·er (sĭth′ər, sĭth′-)
n.
A cittern.

Well that's cleared up.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:26 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


Oh, hey, I sit approximately 2 meters away from the graduate student and postdoc who coded this website. I'm sure they'll be pleased to know they made Metafilter.

89%, no nonwords.
posted by logicpunk at 2:26 PM on January 29 [31 favorites]


84%, no false positives. What the fuck is a "doubletree"?
posted by figurant at 2:27 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


91%, but they penalized me on sideswept, which is actually a word.
posted by winna at 2:27 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


89%. I said yes to 0% of the nonwords because I was afraid of being punished.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:27 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


85%

In my defense, hatchward should be a word. "The captain sent the first mate hatchward to see what the commotion is."
posted by Thorzdad at 2:27 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Well, it's really hard to know all sciences. You may get galoid, but you'll be tripped by martensitic, or vice versa (both of which Firefox thinks aren't words).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:27 PM on January 29


I reported the single word I got wrong because it actually is a word. And linked to the dictionary entry. I think this officially makes me way way too nerdy for life.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:28 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]


89% - 0% = 89%. Go me, I guess.
posted by BlueDuke at 2:29 PM on January 29


I said yes to 89% of the existing words.

I said yes to 7% of the nonwords.


But one of the two words I said yes to was "predecation" which still seems right to me and the other was "whisting" which I read as "whistling" so I'm not going to feel too bad.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:29 PM on January 29


they penalized me on sideswept, which is actually a word.

VALIDATION!!!!
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:29 PM on January 29


My only false positive was reaking, which to conflated with reeking.

79%
posted by Danf at 2:30 PM on January 29


89 - 3 = 85%!

I'm also good at math.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:31 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


93% - 3% = 90%

I should note English is not my first language.
posted by needled at 2:31 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Flasket should absolutely be a word. I mean, what do you call the wicker container that flasks are displayed in at flaskeries?
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:31 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


I love tests like this but I hate these threads. Everyone sitting around bragging about their scores. It just feels, well, it feels like I need to go home and shower.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:31 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


93% - 0% = 93%.

Next time I'm in a restaurant, I'm going to have to leave the waitress a cumshaw. Since I just learned that word.
posted by edheil at 2:31 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


84% = 94% - 10%. Guess I'm 10% bullshitter.
posted by grubby at 2:31 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Flasket should absolutely be a word. I mean, what do you call the wicker container that flasks are displayed in at flaskeries

See I would have thought I remembered it from that nursery rhyme I heard so often as a child:

A tisket, a tasket, hand grandpa his flasket.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:32 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I love tests like this but I hate these threads. Everyone sitting around bragging about their scores. It just feels, well, it feels like I need to go home and shower.

Oh come on, it's like those first nights in college when you try to find out what your dormmates got on the SAT.
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:32 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


they penalized me on sideswept, which is actually a word.

VALIDATION!!!!


Sideswept isn't a word, people. The past tense is "Sideswiped".

They got y'all!
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on January 29


Ha! I got to correct them, second time around. Werefowl is a valid english word, and a used one. Not *often*, I grant, but used. Bastards ruined my quest for a perfect score!
posted by tavella at 2:33 PM on January 29


77%. My one nonword I said yes to was Skanner, which used to be a local alt. newspaper in Portland.

Also, I got butt as a word.
posted by perhapses at 2:33 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


They gave me hiricine, and I thought, "Hey, I know that one! It means 'like a goat'!" But no, that's hircine.

94% - 7% = 88%, which is some interesting math but that's as may be.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:33 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


81% - 0% = 81%

There were a few oddities there. Not my first language.
posted by flippant at 2:34 PM on January 29


This is an amazingly great and accurate test. It has to be, as I scored highly.
posted by jcworth at 2:34 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 86% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 86% - 3% = 82%.


Evidently not a math test, but I'll take it!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:34 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


You said yes to 90% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 90% - 0% = 90%.

I sorta didn't understand at first. I answered no to a couple of words that I was pretty sure were words but that I didn't know exactly. I mean I know "countermark" is a word, but if someone held a gun to my head and asked me to define it, it would be an educated guess at best. To me that's the standard of "knowing" a word.

I'm sorta sad so many of those nonwords are nonwords.
posted by dry white toast at 2:36 PM on January 29


84% with no non-words, but I am really annoyed that I missed "arbalester" and "desquamate", both of which I do actually know now that I see them for more than a second or two.

Feel less bad about "workpeople". Why would we have an alternate Britishism for "workers"?
posted by WidgetAlley at 2:36 PM on January 29


Noooo they forgot to list "American Sign Language" in the "which of the languages do you speak best" so I just had to click English.

Anyway, I took the test twice and I found it much harder when I challenged myself to actually give the definitions for the words that I recognized as English instead of just recognizing the word as English in origin/structure/whatnot.
posted by Conspire at 2:36 PM on January 29


84 - 3 = 81%

but i did protest - "fros" IS a word - plural of "fro", slang term for "afro"

well, i've used it before, anyway
posted by pyramid termite at 2:36 PM on January 29


Cumshaw
From Chinese (Amoy/Xiamen dialect), kan (to be grateful) + hsieh (thanks). The term was used by beggars in Chinese ports and picked up by visiting sailors during the 19th century. Earliest documented use: 1839.

Probably the mandarin 感谢, or ganxie (feeling + thanks = (being) thankful, transitive)
posted by flippant at 2:37 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Nope, Justinian, valid word. It's even in Merriam-Webster: "SIDESWEPT. : pulled or arranged to one side —used esp. of an asymmetrical clothing design or a hairdo."
posted by tavella at 2:37 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


64% - 0%. Unyay for including misspelled real words (or maybe I see unthings).
posted by hat_eater at 2:37 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


96% on my second try. Just say Yes to anything that looks well-formed and that you suspect might mean something. The 'No' words are mostly just weird-looking; a lot of them have letters in very unlikely spots.
posted by pipeski at 2:37 PM on January 29


Ohhhhh

Yes, that is indeed a valid word! They must have done exactly what I did initially and see it as nothing but a failed attempt at conjugating "sideswipe". But, yeah, you can have sideswept hair.
posted by Justinian at 2:38 PM on January 29


It's a neat test but I think it's worded poorly.

The first time through, I clicked that I did not KNOW the word because I feared I would be quizzed on its definition.

My second test score was nearly perfect once I realized they meant "KNOW IT IS A WORD".
posted by surplus at 2:38 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


Sorry, researchers, "clockness" is a word. It has quite a number of hits on Google ngram. I have indicated my displeasure on this subject and look forward to receiving my missing points in the mail, forthwith!
posted by delicious-luncheon at 2:39 PM on January 29


I got a 93, then an 86. I keep at it and I'll get down to zero.
This is definitely more about "what look like words" and "how words are formed" than it is about vocab per se. It would take me much longer to define all the words I identified there as words.
posted by chavenet at 2:39 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


tiddler (which is crap, really)

There's a show on CBeebies where the presenter refers to the young children guests as 'tiddlers'. "Come on, tiddlers!" he says in a lovely accent. Although if we listened to them then 'compostarium' would also be a word.
posted by Thing at 2:40 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, second time through 74, third time 84. I can't honestly say I "know" those words though. Some of them I couldn't define. Some of them are sketchy; compound words that look like they may have been used like 3 times ever but you can sort of get a meanign out of them. If you just say "yes I know that word" to those even if you've never seen it before it works.
posted by Hoopo at 2:41 PM on January 29


54-0=54%. Missed a bunch of nonstandard noun forms of adjectives, like "complexness" as a synonym for "complexity."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:41 PM on January 29


I'm reading Finnegan's Wake at the moment, so the distinction between words and non-words is a bit blurry to me.
posted by WalkingAround at 2:43 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


84% - 0%; but I missed on Vu, which I'm still not buying as a word.
posted by gteffertz at 2:43 PM on January 29


78% -- My only false positive was "shrieving," which, well, what do people do on Shrieve Tuesday?

Also, "spiderman" -- all lowercase, no hyphen -- is apparently an English word according to this test.
posted by kewb at 2:43 PM on January 29


It penalized me for claiming to know the supposed non-word "realigner", which is in fact a word.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:44 PM on January 29


93 % of existing words correct, 0 non words named. Not bad for an older lady! On the first try.
posted by mermayd at 2:44 PM on January 29


I missed one real word ("bema") and OK'd three non-words. All of which could definitely be words. One of which ("trucky"), I'm pretty sure is a word in a sort of loose "does this fly in English" sort of way.

89%, BTW.
posted by Sara C. at 2:45 PM on January 29


Upon further examination, I am confusing shrieve, an archaic word for sheriff, with Shrove. But still, surely a shrive can be, uh, shrieving in the line of duty?
posted by kewb at 2:45 PM on January 29


71% for me, with 0 errors on non-words.
posted by Fully Completely at 2:45 PM on January 29


Oh come on, it's like those first nights in college when you try to find out what your dormmates got on the SAT.

No, what it is is pretentious. Sorry, Mefi - I need a break from you :(
posted by IvoShandor at 2:46 PM on January 29


No fair! I figured beedie is just an alternate spelling of beedi. 90% w/o that tricky one.
posted by sid at 2:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


("trucky"), I'm pretty sure is a word in a sort of loose "does this fly in English" sort of way.

It's the English word for El Camino
posted by Hoopo at 2:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Oh, on second run I got 94%-20%. That's cheating and should be punitivized more harshfully.
And blueray is not a word Google knows of much.
posted by hat_eater at 2:47 PM on January 29


80% - 0% = 80%, but I want to go back and do a less conservative run. I was suspicious that it would give me "icecream" and then shout "No, you cretin, it is clearly two words, preferably iced cream", in the way that Mr. Burns pronounces dough-nut. So I discounted anything word bearing even a whiff of trickery.
posted by pemberkins at 2:47 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


89% - 3% = 85%.
One false positive: "wintercloud."
Quibble: I don't think "lacto" is a word. Prefix, yes; word, no.
posted by obloquy at 2:47 PM on January 29


90%

I said yes to one of the non-words, only because I think "cowdom" should be a word.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:48 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


My guess is that this is actually a test of reaction time related to vocabulary and handedness.
posted by jjwiseman at 2:48 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


This is all a bunch of buncombe.
posted by cacofonie at 2:49 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 99% of the existing words.

You said yes to 7% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 99% - 7% = 92%.


I screwed up with the nonwords before I realized that they weren't asking anything special.
posted by Archer25 at 2:53 PM on January 29


You said yes to 96% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 96% - 3% = 92%.

You are at the top level!
posted by brundlefly at 2:54 PM on January 29


"furtherer"? Seriously?
posted by brundlefly at 2:55 PM on January 29


It claimed I said yes to a non-word, but the non-word is "aper", which is commonly defined as a person who imitates another. Not a non-word at all! Disappointing to have them make such a mistake.
posted by Ery at 2:57 PM on January 29


I thought "ulnate" was a word, and I feel like I could come up with a reasonable definition of it, if I knew latin.

You just explained the basic gist of the game Balderdash, no latin required. Just good bullshitting skills.
posted by mediocre at 2:58 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I thought this was the slideshow for Buzzfeed's '100 Words That Might or Might Not be Used by Your Parents'.
posted by davemee at 2:58 PM on January 29


It claimed I said yes to a non-word, but the non-word is "aper", which is commonly defined as a person who imitates another. Not a non-word at all! Disappointing to have them make such a mistake.

It looks like there's a way to report issues with each word.
posted by brundlefly at 2:59 PM on January 29


Oh I am the best at Balderdash.
posted by muddgirl at 2:59 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I think "cowdom" should be a word.

Yeah, this is definitely a word, in a formal linguistics context.

You say "All of cowdom seemed to be part of the stampede." I understand that what you're saying is that it felt like every cow ever was stampeding. So, OK, a word.

Considering that "whitely" was one of the words I said yes to and it counted as a word, I feel like "cowdom" and "trucky" should be fine.
posted by Sara C. at 2:59 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


So I discounted anything word bearing even a whiff of trickery.

Why on earth did I write "anything word bearing"? You know what, maybe I'll just stick with my original 80% score and pretend I know English. Words, if not grammar.
posted by pemberkins at 3:00 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


78%
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:00 PM on January 29


I want to know more about what makes a word English. How large a community must use a word before they include it as a word?

How do you feel about "compactify"? (totally a word, in my world).

(87%, no nonwords mismarked, hesitated longest on things I kinda though might be words but wasn't sure about; a bunch of those were words, and a bunch weren't. I think there's a "how gutsy are you" component here, too).
posted by nat at 3:01 PM on January 29


What the fuck is a "doubletree"?

A fatty bo-batty blunt containing double the normal amount

$40 SAIT
posted by lordaych at 3:02 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


fecundatedly shouldn't be a word...
posted by ennui.bz at 3:03 PM on January 29


Oh I am the best at Balderdash.

Me too, my reputation as the arbiter of all knowledge trivial and wellspring of bar bet resolution skills may put me in an unfair position however. If it is ever played within my circle, I have a pre-existing reputation for being right about things.
posted by mediocre at 3:03 PM on January 29


87% - 3% = 84%

I did not know bibcock and a few others.
My only nonword: seran.
posted by debagel at 3:04 PM on January 29


A failed at filling out the form.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:04 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I wouldn't stake much on this test. Mine decided "tae" was an English word. Spoiler: "tae" is not even part of an English word.
posted by phooky at 3:05 PM on January 29


86%, no non words. I just didn't recognize a bunch. "Leno" is a word related to weaving?
posted by clvrmnky at 3:07 PM on January 29


Some of those "real words" seemed odd to me. 77 - 0 = 77. Oh well.
posted by mrhappy at 3:07 PM on January 29


Mine decided "tae" was an English word.

Maybe we were unknowingly drafted as beta testers.
posted by hat_eater at 3:09 PM on January 29


This is not a fair test at all when taken on an individual basis. The words "you did not know" tend to be one of: obscure/old vocabulary, regional/local language, or technical jargon. It's the metric that's wrong, in that a person's vocabulary cannot be adequately understood in terms of how many words (for some ad hoc decided set of words of the English language) you "know"; that's plain unscientific in that a fundamentally wrong question is being posed. Quantitative is not sufficient for scientific. The FAQ page actually explains the research goals in a reasonable way, but the test results (especially the bar) too easily communicate an impression that people are supposed to know lots of words.
posted by polymodus at 3:09 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I got 86%, with no "yes" responses to any false words.

I learned a few new words today.

Interesting - I guess I should've gone with my gut because on several of the ones I said no to, I thought they could be English words but didn't have a definition of them come to mind so I said no.
posted by nubs at 3:09 PM on January 29


How is wiremonger not a word, if you can buy a "kiss me I'm a wiremonger" t-shirt? wtf.

88% - or double infinity if you tilt your head sideways.
posted by nikoniko at 3:10 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I got 91-3, which is 88, the luckiest number.

Those words that were not words? They were totally words in my head.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:12 PM on January 29


89% - 0%
posted by peacheater at 3:12 PM on January 29


86 + 3 = 89

Some of the choices were a guess though. They seemed familiar, but I dunno...
posted by Benway at 3:13 PM on January 29


The list of actual words I said were not words (but which I actually know are words!) tells me that at some points, my brain decided to reverse F and J (or possibly, left and right). I'm slightly dyslexic, so that isn't that surprising, I guess.
posted by rtha at 3:14 PM on January 29


Hmph, some cheats in here. In particular, I know the word "kopi" well from Indonesian, but it's definitely not an English word despite what they say.

Still, a solid 88%.

> compactify

In point-set topology (a branch of mathematics), this word is used quite frequently.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:14 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


The thing is, non-words have to be crafted in such a way as to appear as though they could be true words, but some of those same ways yield perfectly good words, even if unused. Like 'wiremonger': there's no reason why 'monger' can't be attached to almost any noun to yield a word. Catmonger. Listmonger. Wordmonger. Beingmonger (think god). Disappointmentmonger. And so on.
posted by Thing at 3:17 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


84% because I "didn't know" that these "are" English words:

x

horloge

seiner

plash

Does every French word or alphabet letter count?
posted by anthill at 3:17 PM on January 29


Like honestly, "brainworker"--apparently means someone who has to think at their job to solve problems. No, sorry, that's not a word, that's something the village idiot uttered.
posted by Hoopo at 3:18 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


93%-3% (one of them a misclick, but) for a corrected score of 90%

In my current mental state, this reads less as a good thing and more as a warning to go outside and meet people for fuck's sake
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:18 PM on January 29


weltanschauung

Yes. That is clearly an *english* word that I should have recognized.
I'm seeing some problems with this test, but overall it was pretty neat.

Also 81%-7%=75%? GUESS WHO SUCKS AT MATH ENGLISH DORKS WHO MAKE INTERNET TESTS? YOU!
posted by Big_B at 3:18 PM on January 29


Brainworkers are much sought after in the new knowledge economy.
posted by Thing at 3:19 PM on January 29


96%-0%=96% Woo-hoo!
posted by pbrim at 3:19 PM on January 29


Also I learned "bosomy" is a word. But I don't think I should ever use it. Anywhere.
posted by Big_B at 3:20 PM on January 29


"'tae' is not even part of an English word."

It's a Scrabble word, I know that. So is tael, I believe.
posted by Eyebeams at 3:21 PM on January 29


> compactify

In point-set topology (a branch of mathematics), this word is used quite frequently.


Which is exactly the issue. If a word is technical jargon, then not knowing it should not be used against anyone. Human vocabulary isn't a flat set, it contains structures and relations. A scientific test should help enlighten these subtleties, not hide it.
posted by polymodus at 3:21 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


86%
posted by furtive at 3:21 PM on January 29


I wish to note that I received a score of 96% - 1 false positive (chilns) for a total of 93%. As someone above mentioned, chuffed is a good word for how I feel.

Also, a seiner is a type of fishing boat.
posted by cult_url_bias at 3:22 PM on January 29


90 - 0 = 90%. I said no to "Maffia" because I've never seen it spelled with two Fs.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:22 PM on January 29


I got 88%. The only false word I responded yes to was 'gruntle', and well, here's the thing: there's so much discussion of how you can be disgruntled but not gruntled that as far as I'm concerned, gruntle *is* a word at this point. I sat and thought about that for a second. Or .762 seconds, apparently, and decided it had entered the lexicon, but apparently, they disagreed.

Also, I apparently stared at "affectionateness" for over 13 seconds before finally deciding (incorrectly) that it wasn't a word.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:23 PM on January 29


Brainworkers are much sought after in the new knowledge economy

Maybe in the knowledgery economy
posted by Hoopo at 3:23 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


then not knowing it should not be used against anyone

Used against anyone for what? This is a test of how much English you know. Jargon words are part of english, as are slang words and even regionalisms.
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


84% - 3% (false yesses) = 81%
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:24 PM on January 29


(Or rather, how many words you know, which is part of but not the whole of a language.)
posted by muddgirl at 3:26 PM on January 29


I find it strange that the methodology complainers on this thread are irked over the inclusion of technical and antique terms. The test is for completeness, no? It seems like a proper test to describe how much of the sum total of the English vocabulary would include something from all the weird little nooks and crannies in those branches.
posted by cult_url_bias at 3:29 PM on January 29


I got the same as griphus! With the same breakdown. So, if loti is the currency of Lesotho, where is that? I think that's a made up place name.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:32 PM on January 29


Houseline? What am I, a pirate???
posted by pullayup at 3:33 PM on January 29


80% - 7% = 73%, but I was screwed. The two "non-words" that I said were words were "emittic" and "leaklessly". "Leaklessly" is obviously a word. "Emittic" I admit is not; when I said I knew it, I was thinking of "emetic".
posted by Flunkie at 3:33 PM on January 29


Also all of you know that I use Windows XP now *cries*
posted by pullayup at 3:36 PM on January 29


So, if loti is the currency of Lesotho, where is that? I think that's a made up place name.

Lesotho the Landlocked!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:38 PM on January 29


90% - 3% = 87%.

I said yes to "rousably." Fairly certain my brain went "risibly! jab that j!" and sent the (in)correct nerve impulse down to the ol' right finger.
posted by erlking at 3:41 PM on January 29


Lesotho the Landlocked!

Ruled by King Letsie III.
posted by pullayup at 3:42 PM on January 29


So, if loti is the currency of Lesotho, where is that?

This is just dumb. So are öre, złoty and haléř English words now, and if not, why not?
posted by hat_eater at 3:42 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I still think "improvableness" should be "improvability".
posted by uosuaq at 3:43 PM on January 29


Improvabilisation. Sorry, I need some fresh air.
posted by hat_eater at 3:44 PM on January 29


I said yes to 'meep'. The test tells me that meep is a nonword and I am wrong for that. There is a distinct error in this assessment.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:45 PM on January 29


Fun! But oh, so many little nits to pick.

It sounds like it's pulling from online corpuses too... going by usage rather than dictionary. Plus it also has obsolete or technical terms, which I'm guessing are coming from dictionaries.

I definitely wish they'd had a "I'm not sure if you are counting this word as okay" button, or something like "I recognize this is a properly-formed word for English and I can tell what it would mean, but I've never seen it actually used".

I also got a few that were lower-case versions of proper nouns or brand names, and I can imagine some people are voting "yes" just based on that ... when the definitions linked to those words at the end of the quiz show they're not thinking of the proper noun or brand name.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


the test is cromulent. also embiggening.
posted by chavenet at 3:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Can't wait to find out which words mean I'm a racist.
posted by pwnguin at 3:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 83% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 83% - 0% = 83%.

You are at the top level!

However, "christmastree" is NOT a word, even according to the link provided. Also, "moderato" is NOT an English word. Grrrr.
posted by janey47 at 3:47 PM on January 29


> compactify

In point-set topology (a branch of mathematics), this word is used quite frequently.

Which is exactly the issue. If a word is technical jargon, then not knowing it should not be used against anyone. Human vocabulary isn't a flat set, it contains structures and relations. A scientific test should help enlighten these subtleties, not hide it.


Yup, my point exactly; we string theorists also use the word "compactify" all the time, but many of my non-mathy-sciency friends think it's hilarious when I do. (To be fair, I use it in all sorts of totally inappropriate situations). So, they must have some definition of when a word is English vs. when it is not; to pick something more relevant to this community, what about 'eponysterical'?
posted by nat at 3:47 PM on January 29


80%, and I maintain that "wilily" is not a word.
posted by contrarian at 3:47 PM on January 29


FatherDagon: "I said yes to 'meep'. The test tells me that meep is a nonword and I am wrong for that. There is a distinct error in this assessment."

Indeed.
posted by chavenet at 3:48 PM on January 29


You said yes to 86% of the existing words.
You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 86% - 3% = 82%.

Nonwords your responded YES to
prologed


Shouldn't that be non-words?
posted by unliteral at 3:48 PM on January 29


And as people are pointing out, some of the nonwords are homophones of real words, which seems to cut against the use of online corpuses (which I take to be a more descriptivist approach to which words are English words)... Insisting that people know the proper spelling of an English word in order to count it in their vocabulary seems counter to the spirit of descriptivism, since spelling in English is so chancy and so many competent speakers nevertheless suck at spelling.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:49 PM on January 29


80%, and I maintain that "wilily" is not a word.
Why not? People who are wily do things wilily.
posted by Flunkie at 3:50 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


90%, but they included "environ" which my big dic says is obsolete in the singular form. That's what I thought, so I said no. My list also included "ovenbird" and "turnstone". Apparently they're names for some species of birds. Well, maybe. Once you get into regional names for animals you're really pushing the limits of what an English word really is.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:53 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


80% - 0 = 80%. I missed these: incurrent, karakul, engraftment, frond, delftware, strabism, incuse, peduncle, tri, enthetic, hamadryad, stapling, nevoid, and gilet.

I knew "delftware" but missed it because it wasn't capitalized. I should've gotten "frond" because I know "Bevis Frond" but I'm not sure what it means (a band?). I'm not counting "tri" as a standalone word because their What Does This Word Mean? link is a 404. The rest are so obscure I can live without knowing what they mean.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:55 PM on January 29


you don't want to know what karakul is
posted by hat_eater at 3:56 PM on January 29


See, like I said!
posted by kirkaracha at 3:57 PM on January 29


90%, no false positives.

A little bit annoyed that they chose "maffia" instead of the much more common "Mafia" spelling. It looks like they just scraped freedictionary.com for the words.
posted by Anoplura at 3:57 PM on January 29


79% - 0 = 79%

I missed "jejunely", but I thought this was a made-up form of jejune (along with "husbandman", "excrescent", "heathenish", "meagerly" and "caddishly") that were words meant to trip up the test-taker.

Felt pretty good about getting through the test without any false positives.

Fun test, thanks for posting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on January 29


91% - 7% = 85% (I imagine the math errors are due to rounding.)

I am frankly surprised that 'threstle' and 'sogless' are not words.
posted by rifflesby at 4:01 PM on January 29


91 - 0 = 91%.

More importantly, doing this test inculcated in me a compulsion to pick up another Jack Vance novel.
posted by dfan at 4:06 PM on January 29


I am a little grumpy at the getting "telenovela" wrong. I mean, sure, its usage has become relatively common in the States, but still.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 4:07 PM on January 29


81%. Tripped up by cogon, floccus, karri, and impasto as the most notable. My takeaway: my knowledge of biology and art is weak.
posted by TwoStride at 4:07 PM on January 29


Well I got a fantastic score with no errors, so clearly whatever this is testing is just great. I'm for it, whatever it (handedness, slightly dodgy words that aren't common, entire English corpus at once) is.
posted by librarylis at 4:09 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 91% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

That's what we do in a thread like this, right? Whee.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:10 PM on January 29


You said yes to 96% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 96% - 3% = 92%.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:15 PM on January 29


96%. But then I did it again and got just 92%, so it's not entirely self-consistent. Mind you, I caught them in an error on the second run--they had "monstrosed," which I will admit I ummed and ahhed over, but I finally clicked "yes" and they had it as a non-word. But they're wrong, as a quick Google will confirm.
posted by yoink at 4:17 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Just took it again, 89% - 0% = 89%, but...
you don't want to know what karakul is
... "karakul" actually came up, and I only knew it was a word because I had read this thread. Thank you Metafilter! Because you, me fail English unpossible!
posted by Flunkie at 4:18 PM on January 29


I didn't know furless (which I kicked myself on right after saying no to), plashy (marshy, wet) and aliphatic (something about organic chemistry).

"Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole."

90, no non-words. Misses were shameful gutlessness. I suspect I would do better a second time, but then again, what if I don't? Then I'll feel stupid and become addicted to the damn thing.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:18 PM on January 29


97%: A perfectly cromulent result
posted by Renoroc at 4:21 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


plashy (marshy, wet)

the word is "Splashy". Possibly "Splishy splashy".
posted by Hoopo at 4:22 PM on January 29


Nonwords your responded YES to: spousing

"Spousing" is too a word! I've done it in MeFi several times over!
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:24 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


The thing I'm slightly annoyed about is the "false negatives", as mentioned above. There were a bunch of words that I hadn't seen before but could figure out what they mean, but I didn't know if by "nonwords" they meant "unusual combinations of legitimate roots and prefixes/suffixes/etc". If I'd said "yes" to all the words whose meaning I could extrapolate, I would have done better. Still, 81%, no misses, it's ok.
posted by Errant at 4:25 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


97% - 3% = 94%. I failed to recognize sternway and timework, and I think that sleetless should really be a word.
posted by JiBB at 4:26 PM on January 29


I am, as we speak, sleetless.
posted by Flunkie at 4:31 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


hamadryad

Vocabulary Words We Learned by Playing Dungeons and Dragons.
posted by FatherDagon at 4:36 PM on January 29


73-0 = 73%

Here I am, just scrapping the barrel.
posted by Stynxno at 4:38 PM on January 29


I object to being dinged for rejecting "de", which is apparently "DE, the abbreviation for the state of Delaware."
posted by jinjo at 4:39 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 84% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 84% - 0% = 84%.


I said no to stevia because I thought it was the brand name of the sweetener that's called Stevia. But it's an actual name of the plant.

*the more you know*
posted by littlesq at 4:40 PM on January 29


What the fuck is a "doubletree"?

It's the prelude to a treesome, of course!

best said in Newfoundland accent.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:41 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


I was stuck on "gaff" and wondered if it was an alternate spelling of gaffe and then decided it was probably a trick/non-word but then it turns out that gaff is a whole 'nother thing entirely so I learned something, I guess.
posted by psoas at 4:44 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Yeah, their dictionary is for shit. For example, aerograph *is* a word.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:46 PM on January 29


75%.
posted by COD at 4:53 PM on January 29


There's a link beside all the words they think are non-words which you can click to inform them of their mistake--so presumably the thing is self-correcting, to an extent. On the other hand there really is no right/wrong answer to difficult questions such as "when does a loan word become 'English.'"
posted by yoink at 4:55 PM on January 29


This is... weird. Their dictionary is not very good, as lots of people have pointed out, and only contains ~60K words, according to the FAQ. OED 2nd edition has over 200K headwords. So telling people that "you know 90% of the English words" is kinda crappy, when you're "testing" them against a dictionary that only contains 1/4 of that.
posted by junco at 4:58 PM on January 29


You said yes to 97% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 97% - 0% = 97%.
Today, I wish to teach MetaFilter a new word: zoduflection.

It is the act of KNEELING BEFORE ZOD.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:04 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


So telling people that "you know 90% of the English words" is kinda crappy, when you're "testing" them against a dictionary that only contains 1/4 of that.

There are certainly some problems with their dictionary, but that seems like an extremely robust sample size. Leaving aside the unsolvable problems of what constitutes "an English word" you could certainly say with some confidence what percentage of the words in OED somebody knew by randomly selecting a corpus of one quarter of those words and then running a test like this from 100-word samples from that corpus.

Clearly they're doing something rather less sound than that--but then there would be good arguments to make against taking even something like "words in the OED" as an approximation of the corpus of "English words."
posted by yoink at 5:06 PM on January 29


Fourth time around I was foiled by the fact that they are apparently counting single letters as words -- v in this case.
posted by tavella at 5:12 PM on January 29


What English speakers use French words like chateaux or chapeaux? And it wasn't totally clear to me what to do with words that were certainly okay based on word formation rules, but that I had not specifically heard -- seatrain, fagging. I spent a lot longer on the words I didn't know than on the non-words or the words I knew, overall.
posted by jeather at 5:16 PM on January 29


79% - 7% = 72%.

I'm a little impressed with myself.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:18 PM on January 29


90%, no fake words. I flagged one of the "words" I missed as problematic since I don't really consider pharmaceutical generic names to be part of standard English. It's certainly not clear-cut, though.
posted by aubilenon at 5:20 PM on January 29


Word!

You said yes to 60% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 60% - 0% = 60%.

No wonder I can't understand 40% of what the rest of you say.
posted by a non e mouse at 5:23 PM on January 29


110% I rock at English.

I suck at math though.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:29 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I'm pleased with my 80% since English is my second (or third) language.
posted by francesca too at 5:32 PM on January 29


I got 82%... those silly folks don't know what Mopar is... They've never felt the roar of a 440 Hemi, I'd bet.

I thought they meant Seder when they said sadar...

Only 2 wrong
posted by MikeWarot at 5:42 PM on January 29


You said yes to 89% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

:O
posted by lalochezia at 5:51 PM on January 29


Add me to 89% pile. Knackery!
posted by swift at 6:01 PM on January 29


You said yes to 80% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 80% - 0% = 80%.

Like navelgazer, I recognized a few words nanoseconds after hitting "F".
posted by trip and a half at 6:02 PM on January 29


81%. Though I think some of the non-words are great contenders for wordhood, particularly the ones with the letter e threee times consecutively.

Whoah. Took it again and got 94%. Not too sure about that.
posted by univac at 6:06 PM on January 29


"The thing I'm slightly annoyed about is the 'false negatives', as mentioned above. There were a bunch of words that I hadn't seen before but could figure out what they mean, but I didn't know if by 'nonwords' they meant 'unusual combinations of legitimate roots and prefixes/suffixes/etc'. If I'd said 'yes' to all the words whose meaning I could extrapolate, I would have done better."

I sort of feel the same way. But there's really five levels of this:
  1. Words you understand.
  2. Words you don't understand, but recognize as being in use.
  3. Words you don't understand and don't recognize, are "well-formed", and are in use.
  4. Words you don't understand, are "well-formed", and are not (and never have been) in use.
  5. Words which are not "well-formed".
The problem here is that asking for only words you understand is relatively unambiguous. And asking for words you recognize as being in use, regardless of whether you understand them, is also relatively unambiguous. But asking whether something "is a word" invites people to use a "well-formed" pragma, which brings in quite a bit more ambiguity. For one thing, English word formation is pretty loose.

I answered according to whether I actually knew what the word meant, giving me no mistaken non-words and an 86% score. But I don't recall seeing orthopsychiatry, goalmouth, sulfathiazole, chuckleheaded, classable, paronomasia before (although now I'm sure I've seen sulfathiazole and paranomasia) so I couldn't tell if they were actually in use or just on-the-spot neologisms.

However, looking at the list of non-words in my test, I see none that are like those listed above. That is, none that have roots that are identifiable but forms which are suspicious. If this is always the case, then I guess answering for "well-formed" makes sense, because you shouldn't ever get a false-positive. Still, that doesn't seem very meaningful to me. Either words you actually know, or words you actually recognize as being used (whether or not you can define them) is meaningful.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:07 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


74 - 0 = 74.

Nice mobile interface.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:14 PM on January 29


All I wanted to was beat my husband and I DID! 74%, wooooo!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:15 PM on January 29


You said yes to 91% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 91% - 0% = 91%.
You are at the top level!

Nyah.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:15 PM on January 29


You said yes to 80% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 80% - 0% = 80%.
You are at the top level!

And it's only my second language, too!
I'm impressed by myself.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:17 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I sort of feel the same way. But there's really five levels of this:

Words you understand.
Words you don't understand, but recognize as being in use.
Words you don't understand and don't recognize, are "well-formed", and are in use.
Words you don't understand, are "well-formed", and are not (and never have been) in use.
Words which are not "well-formed".


Yeah, I just selected everything that I was 100% confident wasn't not a word, even words I'd never encountered before, regardless of whether I could use it in a sentence or even be likely to understand it in context.
posted by univac at 6:18 PM on January 29


I bet these people are not testing people's knowledge of English words but what people do when told they will be heavily penalized for making shit up.
posted by mistersquid at 6:32 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


96%, if I cheat and discount the stupid finger glitch on the faux-word "whorient". Few of the real words were difficult or obscure except for some of the compounds.

And some of the faux compound words could arguably be considered correct, well correct-ish, since English is funny like that.

I'm pretty sure whorient should be a word, anyway. Usage could be something like: "Welp, this sexual position isn't working, hun. Let's whorient ourselves into something more comfortable." "Sure, this is uncomfortable, let's rewhorient ourselves over there."
posted by loquacious at 6:33 PM on January 29


93 - 3 = 90, and I immediately regretted saying no to "wisenheimer".
posted by kenko at 6:42 PM on January 29


You said yes to 0% of the existing words.
You said yes to 100% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 0% - 100% = -100%.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


81%, 0 non-words. I'm pretty sure it said "avariciousness" was a word (and I said it was because that's what I wanted to hear), even though the word is "avarice."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:48 PM on January 29


Huh. 93-20 = 73%

Apparently I pretty much said yes to everything? Also, I had to use "Fuck no!" as my mnemonic for remembering which letter was no vs. yes and know I still mixed up a couple.

And I am sad that I didn't recognize that winebibber is a word.
posted by bibbit at 6:57 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Cleanminded is a word, you berks! Dammit, whyareyouatriangle beat me to a 100 score.
posted by tavella at 7:00 PM on January 29


I try and try and still can't manage a perfect score.

Summand, writhingly, bossism, cerotic, lectionary, diplopic, stroud, heartsease, bannerol, throatlatch, dioptrically, jocko, ceil, dama, subtrahend, extrorsely, fabler, and harebell : I CAST THEE OUT INTO THE DARKNESS!

Mirtongs, haggite, pammel, pomcort, steotnany, calper, and acouse : THE DICTIONARY MAY ABANDON YOU BUT YOU ARE AMONG MY NEWLY CHOSEN!
posted by reuvenc at 7:04 PM on January 29


I gave this quiz to a friend. One of her nonwords was "mockingf$%#".

We both agree that is now an official word.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:06 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


93% - 3% = 90%, on my first and so far only try.

The nonword I misclassified as a word was juted. I was iffy on that one. Like, cuz, jute is a thing. I have some.

One of the words I missed was bluetongue, which is apparently a disease of sheep involving cyanosis of the tongue. Who knew. (Not me, obviously. I felt sure they were having me on with that one.)
posted by BlueJae at 7:09 PM on January 29


But reuvenc, subtrahends are important. For math.
posted by BlueJae at 7:11 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


From now on these ... "subtrahends" shall be known as mirtongs. Problem solved.
posted by reuvenc at 7:14 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I recently had to do some neuropsych testing and part was a vocab test. I did pretty well, but a few words I flat out accused the researcher of making up. "I know all the words and that's not one of them!"

I wasn't far off. I know 86% of the words.
posted by sonika at 7:24 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Nonwords your responded YES to
prologed

Shouldn't that be non-words?


Your should definitely be you. I saw that typo before I even found my score on my results page.
posted by heyho at 7:25 PM on January 29


LOOMLESS IS TOTALLY A WORD

IT'S WHAT YOU ARE WHEN YOU'VE LOST YOUR LOOM
posted by thecaddy at 7:27 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


Huh, only 65%. They tell you in the results (it said 65% was still pretty good even for a native speaker, so I'm guessing 79% is stellar griphus).
posted by mathowie at 10:12 AM on January 30 [+] [!]


Me too! This will be the only time in my life I will ever be on a par with Matt.
posted by vac2003 at 7:30 PM on January 29


89%-0 and nixed three rare variants.

By the way words like weltanschauung and chateau are common in certain contexts (philosophy/pretentious blogging, and oenophilia) although others like karakul not so much.
posted by ersatz at 7:30 PM on January 29


It's very difficult to thread the line between missing words they count as valid that are coherent combinations but not often used and validating words they don't agree with. For example, I accepted 'stacksman', on the ground it was a valid construction in English and it seemed likely that at some point men who cleaned factory stacks or stacked logs got called stacksmen. But it was scored as wrong.
posted by tavella at 7:35 PM on January 29


My wife got 94%-0.

She is ensmuggened.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:38 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


How does 86% - 3% equal 82%???

And "Leanage" is too a word - how about the leanage of that famous tower in Pisa? No? But "siphuncle" is ok, really?

(I realized a millisecond too late that I was pressing F for "pouter". Now I am one.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:44 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


You said yes to 96% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 96%

Words you did not know:
bronchus
culverin
dekko
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:50 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Huh, I totally thought ruddish (as in ruddish complexion) was a word, but searching online isn't finding me a solid definition :/

79%, not too bad otherwise.
posted by jzed at 7:53 PM on January 29


How does 86% - 3% equal 82%???

85.7% - 3.3% = 82.4%
posted by rifflesby at 7:59 PM on January 29


LOOMLESS IS TOTALLY A WORD

IT'S WHAT YOU ARE WHEN YOU'VE LOST YOUR LOOM


So I guess I should not ask about LOOM.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:59 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


86%- 10% = 76%. I guess I can take that.
posted by scottymac at 8:04 PM on January 29


You said yes to 96% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 96% - 0% = 96%.

You are at the top level!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:05 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


(words you did not know:
procaine
hypogyny
adjuvant)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:05 PM on January 29


I picked none of the fake words as words: 87%-0=87%.

I didn't "know" 10 words, and to a word, I felt they were adjectives with -ness and -ly unnecessarily added on, so for those I clicked F. And apparently, according to this test, I was wrong.

I am whateverly filled with whateverness.
posted by droplet at 8:08 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


89%-0=89%.
I was surprised. That's bad, I think. (Not the score, but my surprise.)
posted by kneecapped at 8:47 PM on January 29


93%-0%. I'm kind of surprised I didn't pick any nonwords.

Apparently a knowbie is an 'experienced internet user.' Guess the term never took off, huh? Leave it to William Safire, of all people, to enshrine it in a journal of record.
posted by Standard Orange at 10:00 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


87%, no non-words. Apparently abbreviations and Italian words counted.
posted by N-stoff at 10:01 PM on January 29


PROTIP: If you get any wrong by nonwords, simply insert words into the language until you have 100%.

May already be taken care of. (cite).
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:04 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Guys, I basically said yes to all the words. I'm not even going to give you my score because those non-words...well, what do you call "whistling and then making a crashing sound"?

There were also tons of science words in mine, which I thought was strange. I was probably a bit optimistic about many of those.

chuckleheaded

I love that this was included. If only the entire quiz depended on Urban Dictionary to determine if a word is real or not.
posted by rue72 at 10:07 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


89%. And I maintain that 'fruitogram' is a gen-yoo-wine word, or should be.
posted by drhydro at 10:21 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


87% yay!

that was fun
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:30 PM on January 29


I noted that "larb" is an English word, only to realize it's not technically English (Thai food is a food group for us); I just know what it means.
posted by Pocahontas at 10:52 PM on January 29


After the test they link to definitions of the real words that you got wrong. I wish they did the same for the incorrect non-words too!
posted by aubilenon at 11:02 PM on January 29


83% - 0%
that test tickles :-)
posted by spbmp at 11:03 PM on January 29


89%. And I maintain that 'fruitogram' is a gen-yoo-wine word, or should be.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

I noted that "larb" is an English word, only to realize it's not technically English (Thai food is a food group for us); I just know what it means.

That counts yo.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:15 PM on January 29


94% - 0 = 94%. Screpitalious. Naturally, I will not be taking this test again.
posted by cooper green at 11:21 PM on January 29


84%, no non-words. I'm decently chuffed since English is my second language, but it's also my best language, so... heh. Was overconservative on the "well-formed" words and said no to several (incensement, wearingly, coeternal).

And if they're also counting terms like barong (A long, broad, leaf-shaped knife used as both a weapon and tool by the Moros of the Philippines.) as English words... would anyone who's not an anthropologist/doctor/physicist get everything right?

But this. THIS is useful!
Compotator: n. 1. One who drinks with another.
(I assume it's the same root as potable=drinkable?)
posted by monocot at 11:38 PM on January 29


86-0=86

I fell into the same well-formed trap. I missed both blindworm and slowworm, which are apparently the same damn legless lizard.

There were a bunch that I held off on because I recognized their roots enough to have an idea, but not confident enough to pull the trigger (thanks to the priming warning about mistakes being very much held against). Like, campanula, I knew it meant "little bell," but thought of campaniles, then dismissed it. Turns out it's some bell-shaped flowers.

"furtherer"? Seriously?"

Someone who furthers something, e.g. a plot.
posted by klangklangston at 11:43 PM on January 29


Got 97-7=90% on my more liberal second try :P
posted by monocot at 11:47 PM on January 29


those silly folks don't know what Mopar is... They've never felt the roar of a 440 Hemi, I'd bet

Until a few years ago you would have been roundly mocked for talking about a 440 Hemi since there never was a factory built/installed 440 Hemi in any Mopar line. The largest displacement factory Hemi was the totally AWESOME 426 Street Hemi aka The Elephant.

The 440 Wedge was a Chrysler RB engine, quite different than a Hemi. It's only within the last five years that some crate engine manufacturers have built their own 440 Hemis. So now you can stuff one under the hood but it ain't factory.

/pedant


You said yes to 89% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 89% - 3% = 85%.

Hurray for the SOWPODS Dictionary!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:55 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Today I learned that those little spiky wheels on the back of cowboy boots aren't called spurs, but have a specific name of their own.

Since I once won fame and adulation in a pub quiz by knowing the correct word for the little plastic-wrapped bit at the end of a shoelace, I have high hopes that this latest addition to my vocabulary will lead to riches and possibly world domination.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:07 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Nonwords your responded YES to:
fapping
faggiest
posted by ilikemefi at 12:35 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Ey gopt 10°. Mebe tesst nopt gud?
posted by jabo at 12:58 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


82%, ok I guess.

Weird implementation --- I couldn't get it to work at all until I saw "touch" listed in one of the file names in the dev tools of Chrome. Clicking on yes/no did nothing, I had to use my touchscreen (Chromebook Pixel).

Thats a very confusing design choice, probably they assumed touchscreen support = phone or tablet? But a lot of laptops have touchscreens now... I was pretty sure it was just broken for a while.

Whats really weird is that touch events also fire mouse events, so why you would _not_ use mouse events is beyond me.

</techderail>
posted by wildcrdj at 2:00 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


86 (or maybe 89, I get them mixed up & I've closed the tab), no non-words. But really, if you're accepting olio as an English word, all bets are off.
posted by calico at 2:18 AM on January 30


90% - 0% = 90%. *whoa*

And I use XP too. Pullayup, don't cry! You are not alone!
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:39 AM on January 30


80%. Half way through he kind of had a 'English is fluid man, who's to say if that is or isn't an 'actual' word? I can extract a meaning out of it...'
posted by From Bklyn at 6:38 AM on January 30


I got dinged for thinking plone was a word because I recognized it as the name of a CMS and thought they'd named it after a real thing.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:46 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


80 - 0 = 80. not sure how I feel about saltbush, though.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:53 AM on January 30


You said yes to 89% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 89% - 0% = 89%.

Words you did not know
boliviano
nightjar
wolver
columbic
fimbriation
eutectic
blamableness
shako

I am not sure that the 'real' words I missed are all, in fact, real words. "Fimbriation", forsooth!

In fact, Chrome autocorrect is flagging 'fimbration', 'wolver', and 'columbic' AS I TYPE THIS.
posted by hanov3r at 7:12 AM on January 30


I lost points for saying "prestack" is a word. "We won't have time to stack the items after we get there, so please prestack them."
posted by salvia at 7:20 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


It's a Rorshach test.

What does "know" mean? Do I have to use it in a sentence? Is recognising it enough? What if it just looks plausible enough? I "knew" "spooring" without being 100% sure it was a legitimate word.

What about "English"? I didn't accept starets, although I understood it, because it really doesn't feel English (unlike, say, banya, or even at a push krysha since it's been in the UK papers). Likewise I'd say "kismet" was firmly ensconced, "kitab" definitely foreign although it would be familiar to some, but how about "inshallah"?

And indeed "word": when does a misspelling become a variant, and vice versa? I'd almost certainly consider "inapproachable" to be inferior to "unapproachable", unless there's just a difference in meaning that I don't grok.

Still a good attempt to improve on the previous "I know this word yes" style test (MeFi passim).
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 7:38 AM on January 30


There's six or seven categories:
6. Words which are correctly formed, which I know the meaning us, but which are not in use.
7. Words which are not in use but are plausible spellings of words which are in use within the context of this corpus.

Category six is particularly troublesome since this corpus is so broad and idiosyncratic that there is absolutely no way to tell if salvia's prestack is going to be in it or not. It is as correctly formed as a number of silly compounds in the corpus. It has an unambiguous definition that is clear to anyone with decent reading comprehension.
posted by wotsac at 8:23 AM on January 30


You said yes to 93% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 93% - 3% = 90%.

Nonwords you responded YES to: beepless
Not bad, but now I don't know what to call an electronic device that doesn't beep.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:43 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


It looks like they just scraped freedictionary.com for the words.

And yet they didn't give me credit for nooning.

Am also slightly sulky about "bazillion" - of course I know what that is; I just didn't realize it counted as a real word.
posted by naoko at 8:45 AM on January 30


83%.
Words you did not know:
browed tunica heldentenor avulsion chokecherry pentose nummular

I would have understood browed, tunica, avulsion and pentose in context. So that leaves heldentenor, chokeberry and nummular.

Better than I thought.
posted by bru at 8:51 AM on January 30


91%!!! Suck it, English.
posted by stenseng at 9:35 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 86% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 86% - 3% = 82%.

You are at the top level!
"I am at the top level" is my new psyching-myself-up mantra.

By the way, by what math does 86-3 not equal 83?
posted by audacity at 9:47 AM on January 30


By the way, by what math does 86-3 not equal 83?

Presumably it displays rounded figures but does the math on figures that go to several decimal places.
posted by yoink at 9:51 AM on January 30


84% -0%.

Like many others, I was conservative on words where I could recognize the parts but had never encountered them together (I really should have said yes to "bogtrotter."). I also missed a religious term from another language which I hadn't realized was now considered an English word ("ahimsa").
posted by Four Ds at 10:01 AM on January 30


I got 51% and 0% of non-existing words... I´m not a native speaker... pretty good, I guess... by the way - balmacaan ??? Sounds like a Finnish word!!! :)
posted by mcajoo at 10:01 AM on January 30


I could have sworn "dorkish" was a word.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:26 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


81%, no non-words - awesome!
posted by ipsative at 10:27 AM on January 30


My only false positive: oloophoid

Of course, I've just finished reading "A Deepness in the Sky" and Vinge makes oophase seem like a perfectly reasonable real word.

I still would like to see a drawing of an oloophoid shape - or maybe it's best represented as a 3d wireframe.

for those who care, 90-3=87%
posted by ElGuapo at 10:40 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


79%, no non-words.

We should make up definitions for these nonwords.

bashbix: Fighting over breakfast cereal.

huffly: to express something with frustration and disdain before leaving.

(the rest of mine: appisks, lazi, claggional, threre, unpord, peem, earsel, kiredam, stagnise, incancous, bunegastion, chollord, unculloon, devygion, kneek, stoxalism, ansensing, assask, atsloption, emurp, preacenian, sitchdeaing, cluactly, tidleaing, dispemmoguously, splulinish, ipreliritation, distonded)
posted by divabat at 10:48 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


You said yes to 93% of the existing words.

You said yes to 3% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 93% - 3% = 90%.


The one nonword I said "yes" to was "quimbers." I knew it wasn't, but my finger involuntarily hit "J." I growed up all wrong. I got the quimbers when I was very young.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:01 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


94% - 7% = 88% corrected. But "sunreverer" is absolutely a word -- it means "one who reveres the sun!" And there ARE people who revere the sun! Come on! The other non-word I said yes to was an actual slip of the fingers, I knew it wasn't a word but said yes anyway.

I was pretty sure epiphyllous was a word, but couldn't bring the definition to mind fast enough. Same for pontes.
posted by KathrynT at 11:14 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


I do kinda hope that they are actually testing handedness or how being left/right brained affects your processing time for recognizing words, because if they are testing vocabulary their dictionary seems erratic enough to interfere.
posted by tavella at 11:16 AM on January 30


If they are testing handedness they should check to see if the user has a dvorak keyboard. I don't, but Mr. nat does; he complained that f and j are totally stupid letters to choose for this.
posted by nat at 11:40 AM on January 30


Well, better not to read the thread 1st, as there are many words & non-words listed. I started with an 85, got it to 95 after a couple of tries. I pressed the wrong key several times on the 1st tries, showing that hwile I know a lot of words, my fingers are stoopid. I laughed when incompetent came up on more than 1 try. Knowing that a word is a word is probably a decent measure of how much you read, and I read a lot.

This was really fun. Thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 12:16 PM on January 30


You said yes to 79% of the existing words.
You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.
This gives you a corrected score of 79% - 0% = 79%.
posted by pmbuko at 1:16 PM on January 30


I do kinda hope that they are actually testing handedness or how being left/right brained affects your processing time for recognizing words, because if they are testing vocabulary their dictionary seems erratic enough to interfere.

In the US, if scientists tell participants that they are testing one thing but are actually studying something else, they would generally be required to debrief participants afterward. I don't see a debrief or a mechanism by which they could send a debrief to participants later, so this is probably on the up-and-up and just not implemented perfectly.
posted by muddgirl at 1:47 PM on January 30


Or I guess it's possible that human research requirements aren't the same in Belgium, but in general they are pretty standardized.
posted by muddgirl at 1:48 PM on January 30


90-17. However, of my five non-words one was me misreading them as real words, two were me thinking I just didn't know how to spell the word (my spelling is terrible, so I'm used to words looking wrong, but being spelled right), one was a twitch, and one was just me being wrong.

I demand my money back.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:10 PM on January 30


Or I guess it's possible that human research requirements aren't the same in Belgium, but in general they are pretty standardized.

Well since they don't have a captcha, they have no reason to expect their participants to be human.
posted by aubilenon at 3:33 PM on January 30


You said yes to 64% of the existing words.

You said yes to 0% of the nonwords.

This gives you a corrected score of 64% - 0% = 64%.

Is this any good? English is my 3rd language.
posted by zouhair at 4:12 PM on January 30


Zouhair, the word selection looks pretty random. Many of the words are obscure, obsolete, or specialised nouns that you only need if you're (e.g.) an ornithologist or live in a specific area. I think 64% can't be bad for a third language. The native speakers here seem to report scores in the 80-90% range, but we're an erudite lot and can be expected to score highly.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:30 PM on January 30


... 64% Is this any good? English is my 3rd language.

Depends on what you're trying to do. All evidence suggest it's plenty good enough for effective English communication. However, you may be at a disadvantage when playing Scrabble.
posted by aubilenon at 4:33 PM on January 30


Second language (of four) - first go 87-0; second go 89-10; last go 89-3. OK, computer.
posted by progosk at 4:41 PM on January 30


"However, you may be at a disadvantage when playing Scrabble."

People over-estimate the role vocabulary plays relative to the rote memorization of two-letter words and some quick math skills.
posted by klangklangston at 4:51 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


klangklangston: yeah, it's true. And if you knew 100% of the words that this website was quizzing about, you'd still have to memorize which of those are scrabble legal and which are not.
posted by aubilenon at 5:04 PM on January 30


It doesn't work for me. I get to the "Press Y or N to start" and the buttons, they do nothing.

If this is an intelligence test I certainly feel stupid.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:10 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


It doesn't work for me. I get to the "Press Y or N to start" and the buttons, they do nothing.

You have to press the space bar to start.
posted by rue72 at 5:12 PM on January 30


That didn't work either. Eventually I had to load Chrome and use my laptop's touchscreen. What a stupid interface.

Anyway: 76% existing words, 0% of non-words, although I'm sad that "toochtaster" isn't real.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:19 PM on January 30


The other tricky word for me was elising. Not the present participle of elision, apparently! Is that eliding then? (Oh, don't tease me, auto-correct! You just think elising is a word because I do.)
posted by salvia at 5:32 PM on January 30


It doesn't seem to filter out racist or ethic slurs. I was presented with "wog". 88% on my second go.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:34 PM on January 30


urbanwhaleshark: At the results page you can report words as problematic.
posted by aubilenon at 5:37 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Okay, a second pass a day later improves my 80-0 to a 90-0. I guess I speak English better on Thursdays.
posted by pemberkins at 5:49 PM on January 30


Most fun I've on the internet in a week.
posted by 3mendo at 6:25 PM on January 30


But do you know the meaning of every word you recognised?
Stay tuned for the follow up test (they know your geolocation, and they're gonna come a knockin)
posted by a non e mouse at 11:44 PM on January 30


Salvia, yeah that's eliding.

I had a conversation at cross-purposes a couple of months ago, because I used the phrase "we should elide" when talking about a situation where two unrelated things had gone wrong. I thought we could do damage control by giving an abridged report and letting people assume that only Thing A had gone wrong and that it had directly lead to Thing B. The person was talking to heard this as "We shoulda lied", a misunderstanding which took a surprisingly long time to iron out.

(Although not as much as the girl in college who accused me of being mean to her after I called her intrepid. We eventually worked out that she was confusing intrepid with insipid. Eventually.)
posted by the latin mouse at 10:18 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


(Although not as much as the girl in college who accused me of being mean to her after I called her intrepid. We eventually worked out that she was confusing intrepid with insipid. Eventually.)

That reminds me of the time a kid at primary school tried to bully me by telling me I was "a sight for sore eyes." I eventually got him to explain that he thought the term meant that something was so horrible it made your eyes sore to look at. It is surprising how little comfort it provided knowing he was wrong. But not none.
posted by yoink at 10:39 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


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