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Word Power: Test Your Knowledge of “Truth” Terms

Distinguishing fact from fiction isn’t always easy. These words describe the many shades of truth and falsehood—and that’s no lie.

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Bona fidePhoto: Shutterstock/

Bona fide

A: Faithful to the original version
B: Reliable source
C: Made with sincere intent

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Made with sincere intentPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: C—Made with sincere intent

As in, “Although he was forced to break it, Martin’s promise had been bona fide.”

These slang words from the 1920s are worth bringing back!

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UnprovenPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Not shown to be not true
B: Not shown to be true
C: Shown not to be true

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Not shown to be truePhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Not shown to be true

As in, “Some of the alleged health benefits of probiotics are so far unproven.”

Discover the English words that have different meanings in other languages.

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CalumniatePhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Overlook evidence
B: Make false, malicious statements about someone
C: Accept that something is unknown

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Make false, malicious statement about someonePhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Make false, malicious statements about someone

As in, “The politician calum­niated her rival, accusing her of corruption.”

Take to the skies without leaving your chair by exploring these aviation terms.

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Echo chamberPhoto: Shutterstock/

Echo chamber

A: Environment where you encounter only opinions that match your own
B: Repeating a claim until you are believed
C: Effect where information tends to get distorted as it spreads

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Encounter only opinions that match your ownPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: A—Environment where you encounter only opinions that match your own

As in, “To transcend the echo chamber of his Facebook feed, Arun picked up a newspaper.”

Find out the hardest English words to pronounce.

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ImpugnPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Refuse to change your mind
B: Reject a fact because it makes you feel bad
C: Challenge the truth or honesty of something

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Challenge the truth or honest of somethingPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: C—Challenge the truth or honesty of something

As in, “The witness braced himself, knowing the defence lawyers would try to impugn his credibility.”

Can you pass this quiz of fourth grade spelling words?

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DemagogueryPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Believing something because other people do
B: Separating facts from opinions
C: Using popular prejudices and dishonest claims to gain power

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DemagogueryPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: C—Using popular prejudices and dishonest claims to gain power

As in, “Bruce stooped to demagoguery by unfairly blaming immigrants for the crime rate.”

You’re probably guilty of uttering these redundant phrases.

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EmbroiderPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Add fictitious details to make a story more interesting
B: Pay someone to express a particular opinion
C: Assume a false identity

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Add fictitious details to make a story more interestingPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: A—Add fictitious details to make a story more interesting

As in, “Pirouz got some laughs by embroidering an account of a family gathering.”

You’ll never look at these common palindromes the same way again!

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VerisimilarPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Plagiarized
B: Having the appearance of truth
C: Untrue yet persuasive

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Having the appearance of truthPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Having the appearance of truth

As in, “Khuyen’s strength as a novelist was in writing verisimilar dialogue.”

Take note of these words that make you sound old.

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TruismPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Outdated information
B: Belief that it’s possible to know the truth
C: Obvious truth that goes without saying

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Obvious truth that goes without sayingPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: C—Obvious truth that goes without saying

As in, “Ana’s book rehashed the truism that kids learn from their parents’ example.”

Here are the everyday phrases with offensive origins.

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Four-flushPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Bluff
B: Fact-check
C: Behave gullibly

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BluffPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: A—Bluff

As in, “The other poker players thought Kira was four-flushing when in fact she had a great hand.”

Can you guess which famous authors coined these common words?

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TaradiddlePhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Misattributed quote
B: Pretentious nonsense
C: Intentionally confusing

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Pretentious nonsensePhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Pretentious nonsense

As in, “Hal thought his company’s ‘holistic framework for achieving disruptive innovation’ was taradiddle.”

You’ll love these amazing facts about the English language!

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CogentPhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Not contradicting the known facts
B: Claimed by multiple sources
C: Logical and convincing

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Logical and convincingPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: C—Logical and convincing

As in, “Rhiannon made a cogent case for a safe-injection site.”

These words from the first dictionary no longer exist!

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Gish GallopPhoto: Shutterstock/

Gish Gallop

A: Spread a rumour
B: Bombard an opponent with weak arguments
C: Get something wrong because you researched it hastily

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Bombard an opponent with weak argumentsPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Bombard an opponent with weak arguments

As in, “Gish galloping is dishonest, but it still wins debates.”

Slang overload? These are the words you should stop saying ASAP.

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VerifiablePhoto: Shutterstock/


A: Undeniable
B: Able to be checked
C: Sworn under oath

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Able to be checkedPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Able to be checked

As in, “If you doubt the river is polluted, go see for yourself,” maintained the ecologist. “It’s a verifiable fact.”

Find out why some English words have silent letters.

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A: Treat with bogus medicine
B: Pretend to be sick to avoid work
C: Leave undetermined

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Pretend to be sick to avoid workPhoto: Shutterstock/

Answer: B—Pretend to be sick to avoid work

As in, “Sasha spent the day malingering and watching his favourite show’s new season.”

Next, test your knowledge of these royal terms.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada