Fact: Few things are quite as satisfying as successfully navigating your way through twisty, tricksy, and maddeningly wits-testing riddles. After all, good riddles will transport you to higher levels of thought, challenging your intellect at every turn, and ultimately make you a smarter person. As lovers of a good, brain-melting experience brought on by riddles, we scoured the Internet to bring you some of the hardest ones we could find.
Now, though these riddles are indeed difficult, they’re definitely not impossible. In fact, we guarantee that you’ll smack your head after you learn their simple yet sublime answers. So settle in and try to decipher 50 of our hand-picked curious conundrums that we think only geniuses can figure out—and for more ways to bolster your mind, know that this is the Single Best Exercise for Your Brain.
The more you take, the more you leave behind…What am I?
And for more ways to keep your brain sharp, see these 13 Tips for a Sharper Brain.
They can be harbored, but few hold water…
…You can nurse them, but only by holding them against someone else. You can carry them, but not with your arms. You can bury them, but not in the earth…What am I?
Answer: A grudge.
The man who invented it doesn’t want it…
The man who bought it doesn’t need it. The man who needs it doesn’t know it… What is it?
Answer: A coffin or casket.
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A boy has as many sisters as brothers…
…But each sister has only half as many sisters as brothers… How many brothers and sisters are there in the family?
Answer: Four brothers and three sisters.
A prisoner is told…
“If you tell a lie we will hang you; if you tell the truth we will shoot you…” What can he say to save himself?
Answer: “You will hang me.”
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One snowy night, Sherlock Holmes was in his house sitting by a fire…
… All of a sudden a snowball crashed through his window. Holmes looked out and saw three neighborhood brothers disappear around a corner. Their names? John Crimson, Mark Crimson and Paul Crimson.
The following day Holmes got a note on his door that read, simply: “? Crimson. He broke your window.”
Which one should Sherlock question?
Answer: Mark. (“Question Mark.”)
I walk on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night… What am I?
Answer: Man. (As an infant, he crawls on all fours; as an adult, he walks on two legs and; in old age, he uses a cane.)
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Source: Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
When I’m used, I’m useless…
…Once offered, soon rejected. In desperation oft expressed, the intended not protected… What am I?
Answer: A poor excuse
There are four days which start with the letter “T”…
…Two of them are Tuesday and Thursday… Name the other two.
Answer: Today and tomorrow.
It’s shorter than the rest…
…But when you’re happy, you raise it up like it’s the best… What is it?
Answer: A thumb.
For more about, well, you, here are 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew about Your Body.
Has a tongue, but never talks. Has no legs, but sometimes walks…What is it?
Answer: A shoe.
I am rarely touched but often held, and if you are smart you’ll use me well…What am I?
Answer: A tongue.
What gets wet when drying?
Answer: A towel.
Lives without a body…
…Hears without ears, speaks without a mouth, to which the air alone gives birth…What is it?
Answer: An echo.
You are in a room that is completely bricked in…
…On all four sides, including the ceiling and floor. You have nothing but a mirror and a wooden table in the room with you…How do you get out?
Answer: You look in the mirror, you see what you saw, you take the saw and you cut the table in half, two halves make a whole, and you climb out the hole.
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What must take a bow before it can speak?
Answer: A violin.
What is it that no man ever saw, which never was, but always will be?
What do you see once in a year, twice in a week, but only twice in forever?
Answer: An “e”.
A shimmering field that reaches far, yet it has no tracks, and is crossed without paths…What am I?
Answer: An ocean.
I can only live where there is light, but I die if the light shines on me…What am I?
Answer: A shadow.
If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you don’t have me…What am I?
Answer: A secret.
You’re in a dark room with a candle, a wood stove, and a gas lamp…
…You only have one match… Which do you light first?
Answer: The match.
I am soft when I am ground…
…But in the wild I am aloft. In nature I am brown, but in a drink, white as a gown.…What am I?
Answer: A coconut.
You can carry it everywhere you go, and it does not get heavy… What is it?
Answer: Your name.
I can only live where there is light, but I die if the light shines on me… What am I?
Answer: A shadow.
A man rode out of town on Sunday…
…He stayed a whole night at a hotel and rode back to town the next day on Sunday… How is this possible?
Answer: His horse was named Sunday.
My life can be measured in hours…
…I serve by being devoured. If thin, I am quick; if fat, I am slow. Wind is my foe… What am I?
Answer: A candle.
You have me today, tomorrow you’ll have more…
…As your time passes, I’m not easy to store; I don’t take up space, but I’m only in one place; I am what you saw, but not what you see… What am I?
I can be cracked, I can be made. I can be told, I can be played…What am I?
Answer: A joke.
Need a good laugh? Check out our 50 Knock Knock Jokes Guaranteed to Crack You Up.
If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you haven’t got me…What am I?
Answer: A secret.
I can tear down mountains, or build them up; I can blind a man, or enable him to see… What am I?
What is so fragile that even saying its name can break it?
A woman has six daughters and they each have a brother…
…How many children does she have?
What runs, but never walks, has a mouth but never talks?
Answer: A river.
I can’t be used unless I am broken…What am I?
Answer: An egg.
Feed me and I live, yet give me a drink and I die… What am I?
Answer: A fire.
You can see me in water, but I never get wet… What am I?
Answer: A reflection.
Mary’s father has 4 children…
…Three are named Nana, Nene, and Nini… What is the 4th child’s name?
What does no man want, yet no man want to lose?
Answer: A job.
What can you hear but not touch or see and yet still control?
Answer: Your voice.
Bobby likes Jimmy but not Joe…
…Apples but not pears, jeeps but not vans, shinny but not hockey, tennis but not squash… Who will he like, Sara or Sally?
Answer: Sally. He likes things with double letters.
We hurt without moving…
…We poison without touching. We bear the truth and the lies. We are not to be judged by our size… What are we?
I have an eye but am blind…
…A sea, but no water; a bee, but no honey; Tea but no coffee; and a why, but no answer… What am I?
Answer: The alphabet.
You will always find me in the past…
…I can be created in the present, but the future can never taint me… What am I?
I can be long, or I can be short…
…I can be grown, and I can be bought. I can be painted, or left bare. I can be round, or square…What am I?
As light as a feather, yet can’t be held for 10 minutes… What am I?
Answer: Your breath.
I go around in circles, but always straight ahead…
…Never complain, no matter where I am led.… What am I?
Answer: A wheel.
You can see nothing else when you look in my face…
…I will look you in the eye and I will never lie… What am I?
Answer: A mirror.
Three lives have I…
…Gentle enough to soothe the skin, light enough to caress the sky, hard enough to crack rocks… What am I?
They are many and one, they wave and they drum…
…Used to cover a stare, they go with you everywhere… What am I?
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