One of Paul’s friends on Facebook (probably Devon-not-Devin) shared the link to some silly word quiz that, supposedly, only people with IQs in the 140-149 range can get a perfect score on. (Why is there a top to this range? Argh!) Here are some words that the quiz’s creators say only a Really Smart Person (but not too smart) will know: fastidious, cobbler, abdicate, rescind, qualm, loathe, quaint, brazen, famish, parched, contingent, enunciate, dire, gullible, inferior, vapid, conundrum.
Famish, by the way, is wrongly identified on the quiz as a noun. So is parched. (Famish is a verb; parched is usually an adjective, sometimes a verb, and never a noun.)
And as for conundrum… Does that word make anyone else think of the sci-fi television series Seven Days? No? Just me, then?
Although I understand not using all of these words in everyday conversation (can you imagine what sort of life calls for frequent use of words such as abdicate and dire?), surely anyone who attended university (or just got a decent high school education) at least knows all of them…
According to my results on this “quiz” (of course I had to test it — have you ever known me to tirade against such a thing without seeing it for myself first?), I’m an “Einstein of words.” Um… You kids do know Einstein’s IQ is estimated to be rather higher than 149, right? (And again, why the hell is there an assumed top to the range of intelligence for people who know these words? Is someone with an IQ of 162 supposed to have a smaller vocabulary than someone with an IQ of 142?)
EDIT: Yes, friends, I’m aware of the real purpose of such quizzes. The trouble is that a lot of people take them seriously, and they assume from one like this “vocabulary quiz” that only Really Smart People (but not too smart) can know something that ought to be common knowledge… If it had been presented as a just-for-fun “How Many of These Words Do You Know?” thing, I wouldn’t have cared one bit. It’s the false claim that you have to be a certain kind of genius to have a good vocabulary that I object to.