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Can You Answer These "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" Questions?

Let's see if you have the trivia knowledge to go all the way.

When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire made its debut in the U.S. in 1999, it became an instant success. Millions of viewers tuned in every week to watch Regis Philbin call one lucky competitor into the hot seat to answer questions and win up to a million dollars. But no matter how many lifelines they used, contestants often struggled to answer all questions correctly. If you sat on your couch thinking you could've won the game, this is your chance to prove it with the hardest and most obscure questions of the bunch. Test your luck with these 23 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire questions. See how many you get right without having to phone a friend!

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23 Tricky Questions From Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

1. Now used to refer to a cat, the word "tabby" is derived from the name of a district of what world capital?

A happy long haired brown tabby cat is relaxing on a felt cat bed at home holding his paws crossed in front of him
Svetlana Popova/iStock

A. Baghdad
B. New Delhi
C. Cairo
D. Moscow

A. Baghdad

The word "tabby" originally referred to a silk cloth made in the Baghdad district of Al-'Attābīya. By the late 1700s, though, the word was also used to describe a specific breed of striped cats.

Jeff Gross, a former contestant on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, was faced with this final million-dollar question during his 2004 appearance on the American version of the show. Ultimately, he decided not to risk it and walked away with $500,000.

2. What club did astronaut Alan Shepard use to make his famous golf shot on the moon?

Golf club and golf ball close up in grass field with sunset.
Mr.Somchai Sukkasem/Shutterstock

A. Nine iron
B. Sand wedge
C. Six iron
D. Seven iron

C. Six iron

Few people will have the opportunity to smuggle a golf club into space, but astronaut Alan Shepard managed to do so during his Apollo 14 mission to the moon. It took him a total of four swings to finally make contact with the ball.

"Miles and miles and miles," he told audiences back on Earth, referring to just how far the ball would travel. However, space historian Robert Pearlman crushed this estimation, asserting that the ball traveled maybe one mile at most.

3. During the Cold War, the U.S. government built a bunker to house Congress under what golf resort?

underground bunker

A. The Breakers
B. The Greenbrier
C. Pinehurst
D. The Broadmoor

B: The Greenbrier

Officially designated "Project Greek Island," the shelter was informally dubbed "the bunker." This super-secret, supersized bunker was built for all 535 members of Congress during the Eisenhower era and remained in operation for 30 years.

The location was only decommissioned in 1992 after the Washington Post revealed its whereabouts.

4. "Nephelococcygia" is the practice of doing what?

a big and fluffy cumulonimbus cloud in the blue sky
Dario Lo Presti/Shutterstock

A. Finding shapes in clouds
B. Sleeping with your eyes open
C. Breaking glass with your voice
D. Swimming in freezing water

A. Finding shapes in clouds

"Nephelococcygia" describes the act of seeking and finding shapes in clouds. It comes from the play The Birds, written by Greek playwright Aristophanes.

If this one tripped you up, you're not alone. During the Tournament of Ten challenge on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2009, Jeff Birt decided to walk away from this million-dollar question.

RELATED: 120 Fun Trivia Questions for Kids (With Answers).

5. Which insect shorted out an early supercomputer and inspired the term "computer bug"?

computere virus in program code
Pixel 4 Images/Shutterstock

A. Moth
B. Roach
C. Fly
D. Japanese beetle

A. Moth

Yes, the first computer "bug" was an actual moth lodged in between relay contacts. It was discovered in 1947 and noted by Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist and pioneer of computer programming.

When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire player Joe Trela correctly answered this question in 2000, he became the third American contestant to go all the way and win the million-dollar prize.

6. For ordering his favorite beverages on demand, Lyndon B. Johnson had four buttons installed in the Oval Office labeled "coffee," "tea," "Coke," and what?

finger pressing one of four different colored buzzers
Andrew Safonov/Shutterstock

A. Fresca
B. V8
C. Yoo-hoo
D. A&W

A. Fresca

Lyndon B. Johnson was serious about his beverages—so much so that he had buttons marked "coffee," "tea," "Coke," and "Fresca" installed in the Oval Office that he could use to request his favorite drinks without saying a word.

This final million-dollar question was posed to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant Ken Basin, who incorrectly answered "Yoo-hoo" and unfortunately became the first American to miss the million-dollar question in 2009.

7. The most-watched TV episode of all time, the final episode of M*A*S*H, aired at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, 1983, following what sitcom?

Still from M*A*S*H (1972) final episode
20th Television

A. Private Benjamin
B. Square Pegs
C. Alice
D. Newhart

C. Alice

The final, record-breaking episode of M*A*S*H, "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen," aired after Alice, an American sitcom starring Linda Lavin in the title role.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant Matt Schultz was posed this million-dollar question during the Tournament of Ten in 2009, but he decided to walk away instead of submitting an answer (even though his guess ended up being the correct one).

8. Who did artist Grant Wood use as the model for the farmer in his classic painting American Gothic?

Grant Wood American Gothic painting
classicpaintings/Alamy Stock Photo

A. Traveling salesman
B. Local sheriff
C. His dentist
D. His butcher

C. His dentist

Grant Wood painted the famous American Gothic while visiting the small town of Eldon, Iowa, where he grew up. He used his dentist as a stand-in for the male farmer and his sister as the model for the farmer's daughter.

When Nancy Christy correctly answered this question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2003, she became the first woman to take home the top prize on the show.

RELATED: Trick Questions (With Answers!) That Will Completely Bend Your Mind

9. Which of these U.S. presidents appeared on the television series Laugh-In?

Still from Laugh-In
Proven Entertainment

A. Lyndon B. Johnson
B. Richard Nixon
C. Jimmy Carter
D. Gerald Ford

B. Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon made a cameo on Laugh-In in 1968 while he was campaigning for president. While campaign cameos on shows such as Saturday Night Live are commonplace now, Smithsonian magazine notes that Nixon's Laugh-In appearance was a "revolutionary effort to reach out to younger voters."

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant John Carpenter correctly answered this question in 1999, only using his lifeline to call his dad and tell him he was certain he was taking home the million-dollar prize. He was right, twofold.

10. Famous pediatrician and author Dr. Benjamin Spock won an Olympic gold medal in what sport?

Gold medals in hand
Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

A. Swimming
B. Rowing
C. Fencing
D. Sailing

B: Rowing

Benjamin Spock, M.D., took home a gold medal from the 1924 Paris Olympics in rowing as part of the Yale eight. Of course, that was far from his only accomplishment. He would go on to graduate from medical school and write six different books on childcare.

And in 1972, he became the first former U.S. Olympic athlete to run for President of the United States on the People's Party ticket. Unfortunately, he only received 78,759 votes or about 0.1 percent.

11. Which of the following men does not have a chemical element named after him?

Two test tubes with colored liquids lying on the periodic table
Karramba Production/Shutterstock

A. Albert Einstein
B. Niels Bohr
C. Issac Newton
D. Enrico Fermi

C. Issac Newton

Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and Niels Bohr had elements named after them in 1952, 1953, and 1981, respectively. However, there is currently no element named after Sir Isaac Newton.

In 2000, Bob House correctly answered this Who Wants to Be a Millionaire question, making him the next million-dollar winner after Trela.

12. The Earth is approximately how many miles away from the sun?

earth and the sun

A. 9.3 million
B. 39 million
C. 93 million
D. 193 million

C. 93 million

This tricky question used the right numerals in every answer choice, making it especially difficult for Dan Blonsky to get right. However, though he had used his last lifeline on the previous question, the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant still managed to answer correctly and win the million-dollar prize in 2000.

RELATED: 130 General Knowledge Questions (and Answers) to Prove How Smart You Really Are

13. Which of the following landlocked countries is entirely contained within another country?

World Map With Camera, Passport and Notebook
Pedro Talens/Shutterstock

A. Lesotho
B. Burkina Faso
C. Mongolia D.
D. Luxembourg

A. Lesotho

Though Kim Hunt also used all of his remaining lifelines on the $500,000 question prior, he managed to narrow down the answer to this million-dollar question to either A or B. Confident enough about one answer over the other—the African country Lesotho—he risked his winnings and went with A. And with that, Hunt became the fifth American million-dollar winner of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2000.

14. In the children's book series, where is Paddington Bear originally from?

paddington bear drawing
Ron Ellis/Shutterstock

A. India
B. Peru
C. Canada
D. Iceland

B. Peru

True fans of Paddington Bear, who author Michael Bond dreamed up and put on paper in 1958, may recall that the character hails from "Darkest Peru." He only arrives in London after his guardian, Aunt Lucy, sends him there as a stowaway.

David Goodman correctly answered this Who Wants to Be a Millionaire question in 2000, making him one of only three American contestants to reach the million-dollar question with all three lifelines still available. (He ended up using all three during this final question.)

15. Which of these ships was not one of the three taken over by colonists during the Boston Tea Party?

Boston tea Party Ships and Museum
ESB Professional/Shutterstock

A. Eleanor
B. Dartmouth
C. Beaver
D. William

D. William

In 1773, American colonists took over three British East India Company ships carrying tea from China: Dartmouth, Beaver, and Eleanor. There was no William ship ransacked, because it didn't exist.

While Ogi Ogas admitted that he had a strong hunch on this million-dollar Who Wants to Be a Millionaire question, he ultimately decided to walk away and keep his $500,000 rather than risk it. His hunch ended up being the correct answer, but being a half-a-millionaire isn't too bad of a consolation prize.

16. Who is credited with inventing the first mass-produced helicopter?

helicopter silhouette in the blue sky
Belovodchenko Anton/Shutterstock

A. Igor Sikorsky
B. Elmer Sperry
C. Ferdinand von Zeppelin
D. Gottlieb Daimler

A. Igor Sikorsky

Russian aviation designer and developer Igor Sikorsky is credited with creating the first practical helicopter in 1939. It took flight in Stratford, Connecticut.

In 2001, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant Kevin Olmstead correctly answered this question and went home with $2,180,000 since the final prize was increased by $10,000 for every show that had no winner.

RELATED: Geography Quiz Questions That Will Take You All Around the World

17. The U.S. icon "Uncle Sam" was based on Samuel Wilson, who worked during the War of 1812 as a what?

sign of Uncle Sam
Cory Woodruff/Shutterstock

A. Meat inspector
B. Mail deliverer
C. Historian
D. Weapons Mechanic

A. Meat inspector

Sam Wilson, who Uncle Sam was named after, was a meat inspector from Troy, New York. It was there that he supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812.

Kevin Smith correctly answered this question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2001, and he couldn't have been more calm about winning the top prize.

18. What letter must appear at the beginning of the registration number of all non-military aircraft in the U.S.?

Multiple aircraft in the sky with chemtrails

A. N
B. A
C. U
D. L

A. N

The letter "N" must come before registration numbers for all non-military aircraft in the United States. Other countries have different designated letters or letter combinations, such as "D" in Germany and "SE" in Sweden.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant Bernie Cullen used his final two lifelines on this question, and with help from the audience, he correctly answered it and took home the jackpot.

19. During World War II, U.S. soldiers used the first commercial aerosol cans to hold what?

hair spray
Shutterstock/Yeti studio

A. Cleaning fluid
B. Antiseptic
C. Insecticide
D. Shaving cream

C. Insecticide

This question was posed to Ed Toutant, a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant who had previously been on the show and was invited back due to a "bad question" that the producers later deemed unfair. During his second appearance on the show, he won the million-dollar prize with this correct answer.

20. In addition to his career as an astrologer and "prophet," Nostradamus published a 1555 treatise that included a section on what?

nostradamus bust, who wants to be a millionaire
Joaquin Ossorio CastilloShutterstock

A. Training parrots to talk
B. Cheating at card games
C. Digging graves
D. Making jams and jellies

D. Making jams and jellies

Early in his career, Nostradamus published his Treatise on Cosmetics and Conserves. It was essentially a cookbook in which he offered recipes for marzipan paste, candied orange peel, marmalade, cherry jam, pear preserve, and quince jelly.

On Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2013, Josina Reaves was faced with this final question—and unfortunately, she lost the top prize when she incorrectly guessed "digging graves."

21. A rare example of a word that rhymes with "orange," the Blorenge is a what?

An orange juice glass and carafe set next to a sliced orange and bowl of whole oranges
Charles Brutlag / Shutterstock

A. River in Ireland
B. Forest in Scotland
C. Mountain in Wales
D. Desert in Australia

C. Mountain in Wales

The Blorenge is a rounded mountain overlooking the valley of River Usk in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, a town in southeast Wales.

This was Jehan Shamsid-Deen's final Who Wants to Be a Millionaire question in the Tournament of Ten. Ultimately, she decided to walk away from it, and the top prize went to the final contestant in the tournament, Sam Murray.

22. The song "God Bless America" was originally written for what 1918 musical?

american flag held by white hand

A. Oh, Lady! Lady!
B. Yip, Yip, Yaphank
C. Blossom Time
D. Watch Your Step

B. Yip, Yip, Yaphank

"God Bless America" was written by American composer and lyricist Irving Berlin. He originally wrote it during World War I for Yip, Yip, Yaphank, an all-soldier Broadway musical he created. Though he never used the song in the musical, it eventually became a patriotic anthem for the country at large.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant Armand Kachigian was faced with this question in 2003, but he decided to walk away when he couldn't settle on a single answer.

23. In the TV series The Brady Bunch, what is Carol Brady's maiden name?

the brady bunch
Paramount Television

A. Martin
B. Tyler
C. Nelson
D. Franklin

B. Tyler

In the episode "The Honeymoon," it is revealed that Carol Brady's full name is Carol Ann Tyler Martin Brady. ("Tyler" is her maiden name, and "Martin" was her previous married name.)

Contestant Steve Perry breezed through his other Who Wants to Be a Millionaire questions with no lifelines necessary, but when this difficult question flashed on screen, he decided not to risk it and instead walked away with $500,000.

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

Carrie Weisman
Carrie Weisman oversees all SEO efforts at Best Life. She specializes in content optimization and editorial marketing. Read more
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