Can You Pass This General Knowledge Quiz?

By: Olivia Seitz
Image: Juhari Muhade/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Calling all trivia junkies! Let’s jump right in and see just how smart you are. Can you name which math symbol has no value? What about the U.S. state that’s home to Area 51? Can you give the name for a group of ravens? What’s the capital of Australia?

If you answered zero, Nevada, congress and Canberra, then you’re probably a trivia master.

But here’s a “trivial” question for you: Do you know where the word “trivia” comes from? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word comes from the Latin trivialis, meaning “found everywhere, commonplace.” This is derived from the Latin noun trivium, "a meeting place of three roads.” The general belief is that this meeting place, or “crossroads,” would be about the same as a modern-day street corner, where so-called “common” folk would pass through and have everyday, common (hence, “trivial”) conversations. This is why the word “trivial” carries a meaning of “little value or importance,” according to the Oxford Dictionary.

That said, we like to think that no matter how seemingly “unimportant” trivia facts are, that doesn’t make ’em any less interesting or fun. In fact, we believe that being a trivia master earns you the ultimate bragging rights among your friends. After all, if you can recall, for example, which U.S. president made the first presidential radio broadcast, then you must be pretty smart!

So, take pride in your general knowledge abilities and go forth and ace this quiz!


Where is the Eiffel Tower located?

La Tour Eiffel was constructed in 1889 for the World's Fair, and it has graced Paris' landscape ever since. At the time, it was the tallest structure in the world, standing almost one thousand feet tall.

The sun rises in the east and sets where?

The sun rises and sets in a straight arc, so if you can remember that the cardinal direction east is opposite west, then you can remember where the sun sets.

Dorothy, and her dog, Toto, are characters in which famous movie?

Dorothy and Toto are characters in "The Wizard of Oz," which came out in 1939. As Dorothy and Toto follow the yellow brick road, they meet the Lion without courage, the Tin Man without a heart and the Scarecrow without a brain. The story was originally a book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," published in 1900 and written by L. Frank Baum.

Every living thing is made up of...

Cell theory states that all living things are made of cells, so for something to be alive, it must consist of at least one cell. Bacteria are a great example of single-celled, living organisms. This is also why viruses are not deemed "alive" in the same sense as cellular organisms.

Which ingredient helps baked goods rise?

Yeast, a fungus, consumes some of the sugar used in baked goods, along with oxygen (sometimes,) releasing carbon dioxide in the process. These bubbles try to rise to the surface, causing the batter or dough to rise as air bubbles build-up.

Who co-founded the tech company Apple?

Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple, along with Steve Wozniak. Jobs, who lived from 1955 to 2011, was adopted. He spent several years trying to find direction in life (including studying Zen Buddhism) before creating the company in 1976 to sell the Apple I personal computer.

Which one of these aquatic creatures needs to breath air?

Whales, which are mammals, need to surface regularly in order to breathe air; that's why you can see their spout above water. They clear air out of their lungs, creating a gush of water vapor, then they take in as much air as they can before submerging again.

What vegetable is used to make bread and butter pickles?

Cucumbers are submerged in a salty, acidic brine to create pickles. In other words, pickles are just pickled cucumbers! Of course, other veggies can be pickled, but they're not usually referred to simply as "pickles."

What color is traditionally believed to make bulls angry?

Spanish toreadors (bullfighters) wave red capes to enrage bulls, but bulls are actually color-blind to red and green. They're attracted to motion, not to color.

Which creature can lift up to fifty times its body weight?

Ants can lift up to 50 times their body weight, but that's not even the most impressive weightlifting feat in the animal kingdom. Mites can lift up to 1,180 times their weight, an unimaginable accomplishment!

Where is the Serengeti?

Serengeti National Park, located in Tanzania, is home to wildlife such as zebras and wildebeests. The name loosely translates to "endless plains" in Maa, the language of the Maasai (or Maa.)

Athens, Greece, was named after which Greek deity?

Athena was said to have beaten Poseidon, the god of the sea, for patronage over the town by offering its residents an olive tree (rather than a salty spring, which was Poseidon's gift.) As the goddess of wisdom, she saw the many benefits they would enjoy from olives: wood, food and oil.

Which vitamin or mineral is responsible for giving carrots their bright orange color?

Beta-carotene, a great source of Vitamin A, gives carrots their bright orange color. It's also the reason that beets are purple and apricots are yellowish-orange.

Who was the second president of the United States of America?

After George Washington declined a third term as president, John Adams took his place in 1797. While in the White House, Adams famously wrote, "May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."

Which cartoon character encouraged children to eat their spinach?

Popeye the Sailor Man got his start in newspapers and was based on a real person, Frank "Rocky" Fiegel. Popeye ate spinach for strength, which has had a real and continuous influence on children's food choices. A study from 2010 showed that kids ate more vegetables after viewing Popeye cartoons.

The "universal donor" blood type is...

People with O Rh D negative blood don't produce any surface proteins that would be recognized and attacked by the recipient's immune system. AB Rh D positive folks, on the other hand, can receive any type of blood transfusion because their bodies already produce any surface proteins that could trigger a problem.

Milk was first delivered to homes in what type of container?

Glass bottles were first used to deliver milk during the early 20th century. Before then, the milkman would come to your house and fill reusable milk jugs that individuals kept at home.

Which famous singer was known for many hits, including: "My Way" and "New York, New York?"

Sinatra was a classic triple-threat, thrilling audiences with his singing, dancing and acting. An Oscar and Grammy winner, he created art that is still appreciated today.

What is on the national seal of the United States of America?

A common myth exists that Benjamin Franklin desperately wanted a turkey to be on the seal instead of an eagle. In reality, he commented in a letter to his daughter that a drawing of an eagle looked more like a turkey, while also lambasting the "bad moral character" of eagles.

The common term for an extraterrestrial being is what?

Aliens, or extraterrestrial life forms, have captured our imaginations for centuries. In sci-fi movies, they're often seen flying around in unidentified flying objects, aka UFOs.

What word do the British use instead of "cookie?"

The Latin words from which the word "biscuit" is derived translate to "twice cooked." A British biscuit is like an American cookie; especially the crispier ones. American-style squishy cookies are more like British scones. Let's not even get started on the difference between chips, crisps and fries.

Which country's astronauts landed on the moon first?

American astronauts set foot on the moon's soil first, but the Russians were the first to land an object, Luna 2, on the moon. The first man on the moon was Neil Armstrong, in 1969.

What is it called when a woman gives birth to four children at the same time?

The record for the most births from a single human pregnancy is eight. In 2009, "Octomom" Nadya Suleman birthed octuplets (the result of IVF and medical malpractice.)

What is the main ingredient in ice cream?

You can't have ice cream without some form of milk. Traditionally, ice cream is made with cow's milk, but it can also be made with coconut milk or soy, for those with allergies to dairy.

Which war spurred the development of the internet?

Originally, the internet was used to protect the secrecy of military information being sent between military installations during the Cold War. Over time, it developed into the giant "interconnected network" it is today!

Which of the following is not a type of tooth?

Incisors, molars, premolars and canines are the different types of teeth you'll find in your mouth. Teeth are coated with enamel, a hard substance made of calcium phosphate.

What is the shape of the Earth?

From the behavior of the stars to the pictures from NASA, we have all the evidence we need to know that the Earth is round. Fun fact: gravity, as we know it, wouldn't function the same way if the Earth were not a massive sphere!

What is the German word for "bless you"?

"Danke" means "thank you," "bitte" means "please" or "you're welcome," and "gute nacht" means "good night." Then there is "gesundheit," which actually means "health," but it's commonly used at moments when English speakers say, "bless you."

The word "butt" could refer to...

Merriam-Webster lists several entries for the word "butt," including both nouns and verbs. It has a history of wide and varied use outside the colloquial American term, referring to one's underside.

What term does Wall Street use to describe a downward-trending market?

A "bear market" is one that is trending downward, in the same way that a bear would attack by swiping its paw down. A "bull market" is one trending upward, just like a bull would raise its horns high.

What material is no longer used in thermometers, due to safety concerns?

Mercury thermometers provided a more accurate measurement of temperature than alcohol thermometers, but they posed a substantial health risk if they were to break. They were finally discontinued, even for industrial use, in 2011.

Which of these dinosaurs had a really long neck?

The Brachiosaurus stood approximately 40 or 50 feet tall, and scientists thought at first that it was aquatic because of its great mass and nostril placement. It is now thought to have been a land dweller, but how it supported its weight is something of a mystery.

Which of the following is not a primary color in the RYB color model?

Red, blue and yellow can be mixed to make other colors, but you can't mix other colors to make red, blue or yellow. They're called "primary colors" because you can use them to create every other color.

What is the fourth planet from our sun?

The planets, from closest to furthest from the sun, are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto was demoted from "planet" to "dwarf planet" and is no longer included in our solar system's planet count.

Which of these has both six and eight legs at different stages of life?

Spiders crawl around on eight legs, while butterflies and crickets have six. Ticks have six legs in the larval stage, then later, as adults, they have eight.

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