Can You Figure Out What Letter Is Missing From These Hard-to-Spell Words?

Tasha Moore

Image: Jasmin Merdan / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

When was the last time that your spelling chops were tested? Was it during grade school, as you sweated under the greenish glare of fluorescent classroom lights, standing at the head of your class? We hope you were not stumped then and you aced those mentally grueling challenges! This quiz checks in on your wordsmith status once again. Can y_u ident_fy the corr_ct m_ssing lette_s in h_rd-to-spe_l wor_s? The "i" after "e" except after "c" rule won't help you much for this feat. You just have to know words like "voy_uristic," and "isthm_s." Here's a bonus fact: Did you know that a plural form of the word "isthm_s" is "isthmi"?

This word game is for the pros to ace and for beginners to take notes, lots of them. Watch out for vowels and how haphazardly they're often placed in words. The tricky letter "y" may certainly trip you up. Sometimes "y" is a vowel, sometimes it's not, remember? There's no hard-and-fast rule in English mechanics that will save you. Again, you just have to know these words.

There are clues to help you along, though, if you can spot them. Detect smaller root words within big monster words and you'll fare fairly well at this test. As a warm-up, flip through a dictionary... or two. Otherwise, go right ahead and dive into this pool of difficult-to-spell terms pr_nto!

Can you guess which letter is missing: "han__kerchief"?

A handkerchief is a small square- or round-shaped personal accessory that is made of cloth. Cloth kerchiefs are similarly styled, though they are slightly larger. A bandana is a type of kerchief that is usually patterned.

What is the correct position for the letter "i"?

The word "unanimous" means "agreement" and "of one mind." For example, a unanimous decision implies that a group of people agree and, therefore, everyone voted for the same thing.

Which letter fills the blank: "mille__nium"?

One thousand years equal a millennium period. "Millennia" and "millenniums" are plural forms of the word.

Can you identify the missing letter: "yarm__lke"?

A yarmulke is a close-fitting brimless cap, usually worn in public by males who follow the Jewish faith. Wearing a yarmulke is a form of adherence to Orthodox religious laws.

Can you guess which letter is missing: "Te__tonic"?

Teutonic Knights participated in the Crusades and were originally Germans of noble birth. The word "Teutonic" is a noun (as a language) or a descriptor.

Which vowel is missing from this word: "xyl__phone"?

The xylophone is a percussion instrument with wooden bars that are graduated in size to produce a range of sound. Musicians use padded sticks to strike and vibrate the bars, creating melodic tones.

Can you guess which letter is missing: "onomatop__eia"?

This literary term is often misspelled. In English, "onomatopoeia" describes the naming of a thing or action after the sound it makes. Splash! Bang! Some writers use onomatopoeia to enhance the expressive nature of poetry.

What letter is missing from this word for a type of dog: "mast_ff"?

A mastiff is a type of dog that was bred in England to fight or guard. Mastiffs are often large and stocky in build. "Molosser" is a common term for this breed of dog.

What is the correct missing letter: "we__maraner"?

A weimaraner is a large light gray-colored dog, bred for sport. This canine breed was developed for the German court of Weimar in the early 19th century.

What is the correct position for the letter "a"?

The term "luau" was used to reference the edible leaves of the taro plant or the meal at which the dish was served. Today, a luau is a large ceremonious Hawaiian feast.

Can you guess which letter is missing: "jard__niere"?

"Jardiniere" is a French word that describes a flower pot or a decorative stand that holds flowers or plants. It's also a culinary term that refers to a mixed-vegetable garnish.

Can you identify the missing letter in this word for a dog breed: "kee__hond"?

A keeshond is a Dutch breed. The medium-sized dog was bred as a guard dog and has a thick grayish-colored coat.

Which vowel is missing from this floral word: "n__sturtium"?

Nasturtium are flowery plants of the genus Tropaeolum. There are approximately 80 species of this plant, which grows in Central and South America.

Which letter completes this word: "voye_ristic"?

A voyeur is someone who engages in voyeurism and is described as voyeuristic. Voyeurs gain pleasure, sometimes of a sexual nature, from observing their unsuspecting subjects.

Which vowel is missing from this word: "isthm_s"?

An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger land structures. "Isthmi" or "isthmuses" are plural forms of the word.

Which letter fills the blank: "r__nunculus"?

Ranunculus is a genus of flowering plants, including some with the common name "buttercup." The ranunculus genus also includes crowfoot and spearwort.

What letter is missing here: "pica_une"?

"Picayune" describes something of little worth or importance. The word also refers to a Spanish coin.

What is the correct missing letter: "i__quiline"?

An inquiline is a parasitic creature that inhabits the dwelling place of another creature. A mite is an example of an inquiline critter.

Can you identify the missing letter: "palil__lia"?

Palilalia is a medical term that describes a speech disorder. People who suffer from the disorder repeat words, sounds or phrases abnormally.

Can you identify the missing letter: "turg__scent"?

The word "turgescent" is an adjective that describes the act of becoming inflated or distended. "Turgidity" is the state of being "turgid," another adjective, which usually describes embellished mannerisms or can also mean "swollen."

Which letter fills the blank: "heu__istic"?

"Heuristic" is a descriptor that connotes problem-solving through trial-and-error methods. Also called "heuristic technique," the term implies a practical means of learning.

What letter is missing here: "fanfar_nade"?

Just as the word "fanfare" suggests a showy display, the word "fanfaronade" implies similar ostentatiousness. "Fanfaronade" is a blusterous display of strong words or arrogance.

Can you guess which letter is missing: "desue__ude"?

"Desuetude" comes about when something is no longer used, due to disrepair or obsolescence. Pagers and VCRs have fallen into desuetude.

Can you supply the missing letter for this word: "gingl_mus"?

"Ginglymus" is a medical term that describes a joint in the human skeletal structure that allows single-plane motion. A ginglymus is also called a "bone joint" or "ginglymoid joint."

Can you identify the missing letter: "__nnui"?

"Ennui" is a noun that means "extreme boredom." The degree of boredom is such that a person is also annoyed by it.

Which vowel is missing from this word: "schiz__phrenic"?

"Schizophrenic" is the adjective that describes human behavior that aligns with the mental disorder schizophrenia. A schizophrenic individual may or may not be diagnosed with clinical schizophrenia. A schizophrenic, as a noun, is someone who has been formally diagnosed with the disorder.

Which vowel is missing from this word: "cyn__sure"?

A "cynosure" is a center of attention or a focal point. "Cynosure," capitalized, also refers to the North Star.

What is the correct missing letter: "Czec__oslovakia"?

Czechoslovakia is the name of a country that existed from 1918 to 1992. In 1993, Czechoslovakia was split up into two countries: Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Which letter fills the blank: "balus__er"?

A baluster supports a railing or balustrade. Typically, there is a series of balusters supporting a handrail.

Which letter fills the blank: "wildebe__st"?

"Gnu" is another name for the African wildebeest. This creature is a type of large antelope that eats only plants.

What is the last letter in this word: "apparatchi_"?

"Apparatchik" is a Russian word that refers to a member of the Communist apparat, or administrative system. The term also describes a bureaucrat.

What letter is missing from this place name: "Ar_tic"?

"Arctic" is a proper noun that refers to the North Pole region. The adjective may refer to the region or simply mean "intensely cold."

What is the correct missing letter: "m__riacanthous"?

"Myriacanthous" is a biology term for something that is prickly to the touch. A rose stem can be described as myriacanthous.

What is the correct missing letter: "sauerbrat__n"?

Sauerbraten is a German dish of marinated braised beef. Chefs usually brine the meat in a vinegar base before it is slow-cooked.

What letter is missing from this culinary term: "que_elle"?

"Quenelle" is a French term for a mixture of fish (usually pike) or meat that is shaped like an oval and poached in a cream sauce. Similarly shaped foods, like potatoes or fruit, are also called quenelles.

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