Brain Teaser Questions

Word Play Challenges 

brain with turning gears

These brain teaser questions will challenge some of the best students of the English language! Solve them on your own or with a friend. They're great for the family dinner hour, too! Teachers, see our suggestions at the bottom of the page for using them with your students.

Please note that while we've provided our answers, you may have found additional correct answers as well.

Brain Teaser Questions and Answers  

One at a Time

cat and dog sitting together on bed

Here’s how you can change the word DOG to CAT by changing just one letter at time:  DOG, DOT, COT, CAT

1. Change DUCK to DEER in the same way, in 4 steps. Be sure to spell real words each time.


2. Change MEAT to MILK in 6 steps or less.


3. Change LIFE to BOAT in 6 steps or less.


 Quick Lists

the letter I

4. List 4 or more words that use the letter i more than twice.

inability, indivisible, indivisibility, implicit, invisible, illicit

 5. List 4 or more words with letters eau.

beau, beauty, beautiful, bureau, bureaucracy, trousseau

artist at easel

6. List 20 or more occupations that do not end in or, er, or ar.

accountant, actress, artist, attorney, chef, clerk, cook, custodian, dean, flight attendant, historian, musician, percussionist, pilot, president, representative, referee, repairman, restaurateur, student, waitress

7. List 15 or more words that are spelled with at least 8 letters that start and end with the letter r.


8. Can you also list 3 words of 8 or more letters that begin with r, end with r, and have at least one r in between?

referrer,refrigerator, reservoir,roadrunner

9. List at least 10 words that contain the letter pair rh.

carhop, rhapsody, rhesus, rhetoric, rheumatism, rhinestone,rhinoceros, rhododendron, rhombus, rhubarb, rhyme, rhythm

open dictionary page

10. Without using a dictionary, list 6 words that come between laughter and law alphabetically.

launch, launder, laundry, laurel, lava, lavatory, lavender, lavish

Words in Words

flying bird

Spell a BIRD using only letters in the name of each city. You do not need to use all the letters, and you may change the order of the letters.

 11. RACELAND (Louisiana)


 12. CALIFORNIA  (Missouri)


13. HACKETTSTOWN (New Jersey)


fridge with door open

Spell a FOOD using only letters in the name of each city. You do not need to use all the letters, and you may change the order of the letters.  

14. BRANDENBURG (Kentucky)


 15. CRELLIN  (Maryland)


More Brain Teasers & Tips

chalkboard and apple

We also have easier brain teaser questions and answers. Students often enjoy collecting and writing their own brain teaser questions. Why not start a collection of original questions? See all of our Level 1 and Level 2 brain teasers.

Here are ideas for using brain teasers in the classroom:

  • Write a new question on the board each morning. Allow students to write their answers and place them in a special folder anytime throughout the day. At the end of the day, review their submissions and reward the students answering correctly by  adding their name to special display, giving them a small treat, or in some other way.
  • Use printable versions of several brain teaser questions. Allow students to work on the questions over a week or two. Then collect all their answers at the end of that time. Award extra credit for correct answers.
  • Always be sure to review correct answers with the entire class.

› Brain Teaser Questions

101 Word Play Puzzlers   Discover the FUN of letters & words as you solve each unique puzzle. Great vocabulary & spelling practice!

AnyWord Spelling Practice Series   Fun Worksheets, games & prompts that work with almost ANY spelling words!

New Spelling Bee Words Are Ready!

The Gigantic Spelling Bee Words & Sentences in 3 volumes. Learn more>>

Spelling Bee Toolboxes for Grades 3/5 and 6/8   All the resources you need for a successful bee! On Sale!

Monumental Spelling Bee Lists with definitions, sentences and language of origin

Colossal Spelling Bee ebooks

Colossal Spelling Bee Word Lists  Definitions, parts of speech & sentences included for 600 words, at two levels 

100 Difficult Spelling Bee Words, Definitions & Sentences  Our toughest list, for upper grades and adults!

600 Spelling Bee Words & Sentences for Gr 3/5 & 6/8 Extra words & sentences at two levels