Rice for Words. No, really.

Try the vocabulary quiz at


It might amuse you.

Or it might challenge you.

Ultimately, it may frustrate you. But it is for a good cause – increasing literacy and feeding the hungry, more or less at the same time. I thought at first it was a gimmick, but National Public Radio and several magazines have featured this site.

I almost wrote, at the top, that it was a “simple” vocabulary quiz. That would have been misleading. It is simple only inasmuch as the protocol is straightforward. The vocabulary itself increases in difficulty as you go through.

About feeding the hungry: for every correct answer, the organization which runs the website donates 20 grains of rice to a UN program. And twenty grains a word doesn’t sound like much… but so far, in less than three months of operation, the site has donated over nine billion grains of rice.

About the vocabulary levels… I’ve heard that there are people who cruise along at the fifty level. Maybe it would be good for bragging rights on the forum if one of us could reach that level. (I haven’t yet.) After all, who’s more gifted with words than a bunch of writers?

(That’s a rhetorical question.)


When I first read this I was inclined to scoff. Nine billion grains sounds like a lot, but how much actual food is it?

Rather a lot, it turns out. According to the Rice Association, one pound of long grain rice contains about 29,000 grains. So nine billion grains is 300,000 pounds, give or take.


PS Yes, you really can find anything on the Internet. :slight_smile:

Q.After all, who’s more gifted with words than a bunch of writers?

A. a bunch of politicians!

Up to 43 down to 40, mind you I have had a haircut today, so it`s probably the Samson syndrome

this should be in that procrastination thread…

I was able to get and maintain a 40 before my limited latin gave up the ghost. Anyone who gets to 43 on a Sampson day while most-likely still lodged under a table at the Red Lion deserves a round on me.

Did anyone else actually want to keep going just to see the answers? This is why my wife won’t let me gamble. I bet just to see the other players cards.


Latin or at least a Romance language would definitely help. So would a background in the natural sciences, which seem to provide many of the words in the upper 40s.

I got up to 48 on the strength of some lucky guesses, but couldn’t maintain it. The 45+ level words kicked me in the head pretty consistently.


At 3000 grains, I got stuck at 49. Oddly, rather a few of the words I bumped into seemed to come out of Reginald Hill’s Dalziel/Pascoe mysteries. :smiley:

I managed a consistent 49 to 50 but couldn’t get any higher, though I tried hard (it brought out my rare competitive streak).

I’m not surprised at your Dalziel and Pascoe reference, Lenf: Reginald Hill is a witty, civilised and erudite man – very different from his creation, Andy Dalziel.


I got to 1000 grains only achieving 41 as best (and was down to 39 at that point). Most of the ones I got wrong was pure guesswork. Although some of the ones I got right were also guesses, but in most cases there were clues to guess from.

I hope it increased my vocabulary somewhat, I’ll be sure to make my male characters wear homburgs.

48… -ish.
Sounds like crimewriter is the reigning champ. (We need a clapping emoticon.)

or a new keyboard for cr. That`s obviously a keyboard malfunction :open_mouth:

You are most kind, thank you. I`ll have a pint of Guinness with a Jameson chaser.

You are Sir, a Gentleman and a Scholar. Cheers!!


I got to 50, but only after slogging through an improbable patch of words from heraldry and armory. Is there a sniggering medievalist lurking in the vocabularium?


Stalled at 49.

My! Those words are difficult! And, need one say, obscure?

It’s great fun, thanks for the pointer!


I’ve got to 43 so far (2000 grains) - but who was supposed to know what a bumberhoop was??

Got to 48 twice and was feeling so verbo-macho. Then Macha (spouse and writing partner) hit 50, again and again. However, she is innumerate and unable to pay the bills and taxes. She claims. :unamused:

I think Druid’s spouse is winning: not admitting to being numerate is really clever. I get landed with working out who pays what at the Chinese every time. And I have to sort out my own tax return. Still, other people reverse the car for me, and make the toast, once they’ve seen how cr*p I am at those tasks.


Probably because 50 is the highest level. :wink:


What youve got to bear in mind, is the malfunctioning keyboard syndrome as well as the number of Fantasy Fiction writers and substance abusers contributing to this thread. Thatll probably account for 90% of the high scorers. The other 10% will be going cross eyed, scanning a myriad online dictionaries dotted, all about their desktop.

This has to be the most meritorious procrastinatory device ever.

Long may it reign :laughing:

Thanks for pointing that out, Khadreit. It’s the story of my life: I carry on struggling, never noticing I’ve reached my goal. Or maybe it’s a goal someone else has set? Are you sure I couldn’t reach 60 if I tried a bit harder?

Nothing wrong with my keyboard, Vic. A multilingual childhood came in helpful, though, and a grounding in Greek and Latin. Oh, and a lack of formal education, probably.



I was getting 43 at first and was feeling pretty stupid, because I assumed the score was out of 100. Once I looked it up and found out it was to 50, I felt a little better.

But honestly, there were quite a few words in there I’d be willing to bet real money have never been used in an actual sentence, except maybe by someone trying to impress someone else - or someone talking about a vocabulary quiz.