Our Favorite Word Games

My family and I enjoy a variety of word games which we use to improve our vocabularies, exercise our brains, and to pass the time during long car rides. They are fun, educational, and require no equipment! 

One such word game (which we invented just recently) we call word riddles. The object of this game is to guess a word based on its words related to its homophones or homonyms. The way it works is one person thinks of a word that has at least one homophone or homonym and then thinks of other words related to each of the homophones and/or homonyms. Once that person has all of these related words in mind, they say those words out loud to the other players, who then try and figure out what word the person whose turn it is (the “riddler”) was thinking of.

For example, one might choose the word ‘wear’, which has several different homophones, including ‘ware’ and ‘where’ (not technically a homophone), as well as ‘wear’, also a homonym. Next, one would choose more words related to each of the homophones and homonyms of ‘wear’. There would be many different options, but some possibilities include: clothes (one wears clothes), merchandise (another word for a ‘ware’), location (where something is), and erosion (a form of wear).

Challenge yourself with the following riddles, from easy to hard (answers at end of post):

  1. Trumpet (n.), antler (easy). 
  2. Gnat, wing, zipper (still pretty easy).
  3. Dish (n.), braid (v.) (requires moderate vocabulary skills).
  4. Soup, trunk, trample (Moderately difficult; easily misleading).
  5. Electromagnetism, feather, innocuous, diminished, fire (requires some knowledge of physics). 
  6. Keyboard, quiet (difficult for most people). 
  7. Lightining, eggs, immortality, roof (impossible for most people; requires very specific knowledge). 
  8. Stroke, subtle, pretend, notebook (Requires some thought, and a little obscure word knowledge helps). 

Well, I hope you enjoyed those, and let me know which ones you solved. Even better, post your own riddles in the comments! 

Another game we like to play is called ‘link’. In this game, we each take turns coming up with words that relate in some way to the previous word, i.e. in meaning, spelling, sound, etymology, etc. The first person to go simply comes up with any word he/she likes. Other players can challenge a player to explain his/her connection if they don’t see the connection or think that the connection is too tenuous. After the connection is explained, players can vote on whether they think it is good enough or not, and if they vote ‘no’, the player who came up with word is “out.” This is the competitive way to play the game, but we usually just try to come up with interesting or obscure connections to make each other think. 

An example of ‘link’ game-play:

Knife: Knight: Lunar: Crazy: Lazy: Stagnant: Buck: Matador: Executioner: President: Overseer: Eagle: Beagle: etc.

Did you get all of the connections? Let me know in the comments!

Other word games we play are simpler, but no less entertaining, like naming all of the words we can think of that begin with a certain letter or combination of letters, and the classic game of anagrams. The former is available on Lumosity, but don’t forget that you don’t need high tech phones and app software to exercise your brain; you can do it anytime, anywhere, and all in your head (which makes everything harder and more fun!)!

So, if you’re ever bored on a long car ride and your eyes are tired of staring at your screen, remember these word games!


Answers to word riddles:

  1. Horn
  2. Fly
  3. Plate
  4. Bowl
  5. Light
  6. Piano
  7. Hen-and-chicks
  8. Faint