Can You Identify More Than 11 of These Cursive Letters?

Tasha Moore

Image: @mr.jerry / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

It's time to pull the reins of language a bit so that we might more closely analyze the letters we wrap our lips around daily. Take this cursive letters identification quiz and spend a moment or two appreciating just how far language has evolved. It's a must that we look back to the days of the Phoenicians, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans with this feat.  These ancient civilizations set the stage for the jibber jabber we speak and write to this day.

And speaking of time travel, our test considers intricate derivations of the 26 characters in the English alphabet. Analyzing letters that comprise the words we use to analyze things is thrillingly bewildering; it's like the "chicken-or-the-egg" scenario, but of the cerebral sort and similar to answering a question with the same question. But bear with us on this! We promise pleasant payoffs, such as peculiar words that just about any "Scrabble" pro would scramble over and "magical" letters whose sounds repeatedly diminish when in the presence of certain character combinations. You'll learn rules of English language mechanics that aren't always intuitive. 

Why are the letters "x" and "z" so darn interchangeable? What the heck were our letter pioneers thinking? Gain morsels of language wisdom with one hefty scroll!

Do you know this cursive letter that begins a word meaning "a situation that is impossible to solve"?

A "logjam" is a large gathering of logs that congest a river. These structures are good for sustaining spawning salmon populations, providing shelter and serving as protective barriers where fish can rest.

Do you recognize this fifth letter of the English alphabet?

"E" is the fifth letter and the second vowel in the modern English alphabet. The letter "e" is also the most commonly used letter in many languages, including English, French, German, Dutch and Spanish.

This letter starts the modern term for "ekename." Do you know what the letter is?

The letter "n" from the determiner, "an," has been removed in the phrasal case, "an ekename," to become "a nickname." "Ekename" is an archaic term that means "added name" or "additional name." The word was first recorded in 1563 and implied the "additional" meaning.

The correct letter appears here: W-E-D-N-E-S-D-A-Y. Which of these letters is the correct answer?

Silent "d" occurs in "Wednesday" and "handsome." Producer Andrew Lippa features a grown-up Wednesday Addams in a stage adaptation of the TV show and film, "The Addams Family." In the musical, which began in 2009, Wednesday, the princess of gloom, falls in love with clean-cut Lucas Beineke.

William Shakespeare was a fan of an insult that includes the silent form of this letter. Do you know the letter?

Act 2, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's "King Lear" is a quintessential derisive verse and makes good use of the silent "k" in the word, "knave." Oswald asks, "What dost thou know me for?" and Kent replies, "A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats ... worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave ..."

Do you recognize the letter that starts a word for a waterway?

A "fjord" is a narrow waterway locked between high slopes or cliffs. Glaciers are freshwater sources for and transport large amounts of sediments to continental margins and fjords. Glacier fjords are usually positioned at high latitudes and are sensitive to slight changes in climate.

This letter resembles the Greek "upsilon." How easy is it for you to choose the right English letter from these options?

"Y" is derived from the Phoenician "waw" from which the Greeks derived "upsilon" that's formed from "Y" paired with lowercase "u." The Romans then used the "y" form to transliterate "upsilon."

A word of Christian praise includes this letter. What is the letter?

Letter "j" is pronounced like the letter "y" in the word "hallelujah," which is "a word of praise or worship." The Hebrew form of the word, first used in the 1530s, is "hallalu-yah" and is spelled as it is spoken.

Try to quickly choose the ninth letter of the English alphabet?

"Iota" is the Greek name of the transliterated ninth letter "i" of the English language. In English, the word "iota" means "minuscule portion," and in astronomy, the "Iota" is designated as the ninth star within a star cluster.

Is it challenging for you to select the first consonant of the English alphabet?

"Beta" is the Greek form of "b," the second letter and first consonant of the English alphabet. "Beta testing," or "beta" for short, describes the pilot phase of new software or machine products.

Romance languages produce a wide range of vibrations with this letter. Can you guess the character that you see?

"Celebrate" generates the soft "c" sound, a phenomenon that often occurs when the letter is in close proximity to vowels, especially "e" and "i." In light of vowel influences and letter accents, the letter "c" in Romance languages, like Italian, Spanish and French, has a wide range of sounds.

It begins a word that describes a "structure of human shape." Do you know this letter?

"Inukshuk" is a structure of a human form built from stones. "Inuksuit" is the plural form of the word. The Inuit people of northern Canada used "inuksuit" primarily as navigational structures and signs that warned of dangers.

"Internet joke" is a definition of a word that starts with ________?

"Mu" is the Greek name for "M," which the Phoenicians symbolized as "mem." A "meme" is behavior of a culture that's passed on through generations. Internet "memes" are shared jokes, or they are iterated ideas that serve to mock.

It begins a term for a Russian pastry. What letter do you see?

"Pirojki," or "piroshki," is Russian and Ukranian round, puffed, thin pastry. The dish can include fillings, such as potatoes, ground beef or chicken, that are rolled up like egg rolls then baked to a golden flaky texture.

"Spider Monkey" and "cartoonist" have this letter in common. Do you know the depicted figure here?

"Sapajou" is a spider monkey that dangles by its tail in the forests of South America. "Sapajou" was also the nickname of "Sapozhnikov" who was a famous political cartoonist in Asia from 1923 to 1941.

Here is a letter which leads a term that defines a condition that used to be a typical form of death in the old days. Try to choose the letter among the options?

"Cachexy" is a medical phenomenon that entails erosion of human body tissue due to chronic illness. It was a common form of death hundreds of years ago, and symptoms include diarrhea, brain inflammation, fever and strep throat, among others.

Which letter precedes all others in the English alphabet?

The Greek "alpha" is transliterated to the letter "a," the first letter and vowel of the English alphabet. The letter also corresponds to the Hebrew "aleph." The English language grade letter "a" means first-rate, and the common determiner "a" specifies a particular person or thing.

"Underground cemetery" defines a word that uses the silent form of this letter. Can you choose the right letter?

"Catacomb" is a word with an example of the silent letter "b." The Catacomb of Anubis is an underground tomb located in Egypt's North Saqqara region. This catacomb is a symbol of the animal cults that gained prominence during Egypt's Late Period.

Do you know the eighth letter of the English alphabet?

The eighth letter of the English alphabet leads the word "hazzan," a synonym for "cantor," which means religious cleric who sings or chants prayer or liturgies in lyric form, usually in an official setting. "Hazzan," or "Hazan​," is also a title used in Judaism for one who is charged with the task.

Do you know this letter which starts off a "Scrabble" word favorite?

"Muzjiks" is a treasured term among "Scrabble" fans who know the word, since it can score many points and few players are familiar with the expression. "Muzjiks" means "a person of low social status who lives in Russia."

The Greek equivalent to this English letter is used often in radio communications. Do you know the English letter?

"Delta" is the Greek equivalent to "d," the fourth letter of the English alphabet. "Delta" is code for the letter "d" in radio communication, and in science,​ it represents a change between two states.

What happened when the Romans crossed the letter "C"?

Romans devised the seventh letter of the English alphabet by partially crossing the capital letter "C." "G" in "gym" creates the soft "g" sound, while "g" in "gobble" generates a typical hard "g" sound. Similar soft/hard sound values occur with the letter "c."

A word that defines a substance's ability to store electrical energy in a field starts with the letter ________.

The ancient Greeks used "epsilon" when referencing the letter "e" and it is the fifth letter form of that system. "Epsilon" also describes a substance's capacity to store electrical energy in a field, and it is the symbol for this phenomenon in the physical sciences.

This letter evolved from the letter "i." Do you know the letter seen here?

"Jay" is the name of the tenth letter of the alphabet. The letter "j" evolved from the letter "i" and is often pronounced with a fricative consonant sound, as with the word "jump." "J" is voiceless in Spanish words.

"Ph-" is the sound it makes. Can you pick the correct character?

"F" produces a hard fricative sound linked to "phi," the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet that is transliterated as "ph" in English. Letters "f" and "v" are interchanged frequently in the English language; the plural of "knife" is "knives," for example.

The name of this letter is "aitch." The correct symbol is ________.

The name of the English letter "h" is represented as "aitch" or "haitch," which is taken from Old French "ache." Linguists have suggested that the symbol for the letter was intended to resemble a gate or a type of barrier.

Can you choose the letter that begins the word for a type of beautiful flower?

"Gazanias" are decorative flowers of the daisy family. The flower's assorted colors are reddish-brown, pale magenta, orange, yellow and white. Leaves of the plant are either gray or green.

Most sentences in the English language contain this letter. Do you recognize the character?

"Apteryx" is another name for kiwi, which is a flightless bird. The "Apteryx owenii" is the little spotted kiwi which is the smallest kiwi bird whose numbers have been greatly reduced in New Zealand.

A term that defines "a reference marker" begins with this letter. Can you guess the right symbol here?

"Obelize" is an English verb that means to label with an obelus to indicate that a word or phrase is questionable and probably false. An obelus is a symbol used as a reference marker, and it also specifies that someone is deceased.

The English letter "p" is similar to the character shown here. Do you know the letter?

"R" and "P" are similar letters in English. The symbol of the Greek equivalent for English "R" is "rho," whose symbol is "P." "R" and "rho" are the 18th and 17th letters of the English and Greek alphabets, respectively. "Rho" is also the name of the seventeenth star in a star cluster.

Not one, but two language characters used to symbolize this letter, which is ________

In ancient languages, the symbols "v" or "uu" (double u's) were used to represent the letter "w." In modern English, "u" and "w" sometimes function in the same way phonetically, as is the case with the homonyms "flower" and "flour."

Choose the letter that concludes the others?

"Z" is the seventh letter of the Hebrew and Greek alphabets. Greek "zeta" is the transliterated form of the English letter, although the Romans, who relegated the letter to the end of the alphabet, rarely used the "z" form to represent "zeta."

It is the symbol that begins the word that means "sum" in mathematics. Is it hard for you to guess the correct letter?

"Sigma," the 18th Greek letter, is the equivalent to "s," the 19th letter of the English alphabet. "Sigma" is also a math symbol that represents a deviation or sum. "Sigma" is a term regularly used to describe scientific phenomenon, as with "sigma orbital" in chemistry or "sigma-t" in physics.

The Greek equivalent to this letter is also a subatomic particle. Try to choose the right answer?

"Tau," the 19th Greek letter, is equivalent to "t," the 20th letter of the English alphabet. In physics, "tau" is a basic subatomic particle of the lepton class that is negatively charged (-1) and has a mass that is approximately 3,480 times heavier than an electron's mass.

Choose the desired letter that begins the term for a head covering worn by some Muslim women?

"Niqaabs," or "niqabs," are head garments typically worn by Muslim women that cover the face with the eyes exposed. The burka is a one-piece veil garment that covers the face and the entire body. A mesh screen is used to see through the burka.

An aeronautical term starts with this labial consonant. What is the letter that you see?

In aeronautics, vertical takeoff aircraft use a technique called "viffing" to alter direction by changing jet engine thrust. The term specifically means "vectoring in forward flight."

"Chi" is the Greek name for this symbol. What is the English character?

"X" is the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet, the 24th letter of the English alphabet and the plural ending for English nouns that end in the letter "u." "Chi," or "khi," is the name of the Greek letter form. "Chi" or "qi" is the term for circulating energy in Eastern medical philosophy.

In Spanish, this double letter makes "y" or "j" sounds. Do you know the character seen here?

"Lambda" is the 11th Greek letter and name for "l," the 12th letter of the English alphabet. The English "l" produces the hard sound, as with "lake" or the silent "l" sound as with "psalm." In Spanish, double "l's" produce English "y" or soft "j" vibrations.

There are hard and soft sounds produced with the symbol seen here. What is it?

The Greeks derived the "k" form "kappa" from the Phoenician "kap." The 11th letter of the English alphabet manifests the hard "k" sound, as letter "c" often takes on a faint vibration when paired with vowels, especially a combination of "e" and "i" in words like "conceit."

A word similar to "citizen" starts with this depicted symbol. Can you easily choose the right character?

"Netizen" is derived from "citizen" and loosely refers to anyone who uses the internet, especially a frequent user. More specifically, "netizen" is used often to identify users of English-language internet content that is produced by media companies based in China.

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