120 Best Trivia Questions in 12 Popular Categories (2023 List)
February 7, 2023
Water Cooler Trivia's full rolodex of trivia questions stretches well into the tens of thousands. If you take the combined experience of all of our trivia writers, we have over a century of creating questions and answers to amuse all that love quizzing. If you're looking for fun trivia questions, you've come to the right place.
We thought we'd put together a single list of the 120 best trivia questions we can come up with -- 10 in each of the following categories:
Taking place over the course of a whole day (rather than just the morning), which 1986 movie stars Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Judd Nelson as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal?
Answer: The Breakfast Club
We'll always have Paris and "Here's looking at you, kid" are among the memorable quotes from what classic 1943 film?
A sign reading "Hope You Have What She Had!" still hangs over a booth in Manhattan's Katz's Delicatessen where a scene from what romantic comedy was filmed?
Answer: When Harry Met Sally
A silent airplane engine in Hitchcock's Notorious, the shining briefcase in Pulp Fiction, the titular statue in The Maltese Falcon: these are examples of what Scottish-sounding movie trope, which refers to an object necessary to the plot, but which is in and of itself irrelevant or unimportant?
Five men with the same four-letter first name won Oscars for the first Star Wars film - Mr. Barry won for Art Direction, Mr. Mollo for Costume Design, Mr. Williams for Original Score, and Mr. Stears and Mr. Dykstra for Visual Effects. What name did they share?
Who won a record four Academy Awards for Best Actress for “Morning Glory” in 1934, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in 1968, “The Lion in Winter” in 1969 and “On Golden Pond” in 1982? This actress had the middle name Houghton.
Answer: Katharine Hepburn
Originally intended as a morality tale warning against the dangers of cannabis, what 1936 film, sometimes called one of the worst movies ever made, has become a cult hit with marijuana users?
Answer: Reefer Madness
The movie includes a titular track from Kenny Loggins, Kevin Bacon performs much of his character's dancing, and John Lithgow leads the charge to ban dancing. All of this occurs in what 1984 film?
In the movie "Legally Blonde," protagonist Elle Woods wins the case for her client by pointing out a flaw in the story of a perjuring witness. What hairstyle fills in the blank of Elle's famous following quote: "Isn't the first cardinal rule of ______ maintenance that you're forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours...at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate?"
What type of bird is the subject of a discussion between King Arthur and the bridge-keeper in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail?" Both African and European varieties of the bird were mentioned repeatedly. The bird shares its name with a physical act performed in part by the medulla oblongata in humans.
Bonnie Tyler’s popular 1983 song, released on her album “Faster Than The Speed Of Night”, during which someone’s repeatedly told to “turn around, bright eyes,” is “Total ______ Of The Heart.” Fill in the one word “E” blank.
The late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller got namedropped by Ariana Grande in what break-up anthem that also gives gratitude to exes Pete Davidson and Big Sean?
Answer: thank u next
She must have practiced, practiced, practiced: Chinese pianist Yuja Wang performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra on October 7, 2021, for the post-COVID reopening of what legendary New York City music venue?
Answer: Carnegie Hall
Named after a 1950 blues song by Muddy Waters and a 1965 Bob Dylan hit, what magazine's list of “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time” includes these top three selections: Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles?
Answer: Rolling Stone
What Cuban pop sensation, who first rose to prominence as part of the girl group Fifth Harmony from “The X Factor” TV show, has produced such recent hits as “Don’t Go Yet”, “Senorita”, and “Havana?”
Answer: Camila Cabello
With signature tunes like "The Entertainer," turn-of-the-century African-American composer Scott Joplin was known as "The King of" what style of music?
Thom Yorke is the lead singer and songwriter for what record-breaking British experimental rock band known for the albums "In Rainbows," "Kid A," and "OK Computer?" Taken literally, the group's name describes an unlikely humanoid-technological combination.
What American soul duo originated in Atlanta in 2003 and soon reached international fame as CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse's breakout hit "Crazy" topped the charts in multiple countries?
Answer: Gnarls Barkley
On a March 1965 album and in a July 1965 concert at the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan challenged many of his fans with what controversial musical decision?
Answer: Use An Electric Guitar
What ABBA song was a No. 1 hit in more than a dozen countries in 1977 and was performed at the 1976 wedding reception of King Carl XVI Gustaf's and Queen Silvia Sommerlath?
One of the top five television series of the 2000s according to IMDb.com, what miniseries about an army regiment in Europe during W.W.II was created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who also acted as executive producers?
Answer: Band of Brothers
What is the first name of television and radio doctor Westheimer who didn’t begin her media career as “Grandma Freud” until age 52 in 1980 when she began fielding listeners' calls asking about topics that had traditionally been taboo on traditional media channels?
What man served a single year as the mayor of Cincinnati in 1977, fourteen years before the debut of his namesake television show?
Answer: Jerry Springer
In television writing, “Mandyville” is where characters are said to go when they’re written off the show without explanation (usually when an actor decides to leave—or gets fired). The term was coined after Moira Kelly (and her character Mandy) left which show after the first season?
Answer: The West Wing
Long used as a background track for NBC's Olympic television coverage is "Olympic Fanfare and Theme," a song originally written for and performed at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Which cinematic conductor wrote the piece and led its performance in LA?
Answer: John Williams
George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross and Eriq La Salle as Dr. Peter Benton were among the many medical professional characters on what TV series that ran from 1994 to 2009?
Based in the Atlanta metropolitan area, the third-largest cable television provider in the U.S. also has millions of internet subscribers. What is the name of this communications giant that shares its name with an actress from the TV show "Friends"?
What TV show about a middle-class NYC housewife innovated in the following ways? The first scripted television program shot on 35mm film in front of a studio audience, the first show to feature an ensemble cast. The show was voted the "Best TV Show of All Time" in a 2012 survey conducted by ABC News and People magazine.
Answer: I Love Lucy
Developed by George Lerner in 1949 and manufactured by Hasbro in 1952, what children's toy was the first ever to be advertised on television? The campaign was groundbreaking as it was the first campaign to explicitly market towards children, upending the advertising industry and the economics of the toy industry.
Answer: Mr. Potato Head
Sporting abundant hair and a love of happy trees, what was the first and last name of the guy who hosted the PBS television program "The Joy of Painting?"
What famous cereal mascot’s first and middle names are “Horatio Magellan,” helms a ship called The Guppy, and sports a Napoleon-style hat?
Answer: Cap’N Crunch
Although it's come to mean any flavored mayonnaise in the United States, purists might suggest that what Italian word should refer to an emulsion containing only garlic and olive oil?
If you were going to make a Pee Wee Herman out of pasta, you might use rigatoni for his legs, ziti for his arms, orrecchiette for his ears, and a bow tie from what F-word pasta that translates to "butterfly"?
What dessert, made up of ice cream, sponge cake, and meringue and placed briefly in a hot oven, was named in honor of a purchase the United States made from Russia in 1867?
Answer: Baked Alaska
Packaging and advertising for Nestle's global food brand, La Laitière, features a woman from an iconic Johannes Vermeer painting. At the time of the painting, the woman would have been known as a kitchen-maid. What beverage is she holding?
Seasoned boneless pork dipped in a tangy BBQ sauce, topped with slivered onions and dill pickles, all served on a toasted homestyle bun is how McDonald's describes what limited-availability menu item?
Born a Border Collie mixed breed, what was the name of Jimmy Carter’s presidential pooch who shared its name with a cornmeal-based breakfast food colloquially called “hominy” in the southern United States?
What brand of salad dressings, sauces, cookies, and other packaged foods is named after the man who won a Best Actor Oscar for starring in "The Color of Money?"
Answer: Newman’s Own
According to the USDA, a can of "fruit cocktail" must be comprised of 25-45% pears, 6-16% pineapple, 6-20% grapes, 2-6% cherries, and, as its largest proportion, 30-50% of what fruit?
The WFP is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and it provides food assistance to over 90 million people across more than 80 countries each year. What do the initials WFP stand for?
Tegucigalpa is the largest city and capital of which Central American country that’s bordered by Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador?
New York City and Oklahoma City are the most populous cities in their respective states. Indianapolis is the most populous in Indiana. There is one other state whose most populous city contains the name of the state? What state is it?
Answer: Virginia / Virginia Beach
The "Decade Volcanoes" are a group of 16 volcanoes considered by vulcanologists to be the world's most dangerous because of their proximity to human settlements. What volcano near the Italian city of Naples, which has erupted many times since 79 CE, is among these?
There are only three countries that are landlocked by just one country. Two are in Italy—Vatican City and San Marino. The third is Lesotho, which is in which country?
Answer: South Africa
Located on the south of Honshu and the northern shore of Osaka Bay, what K-word Japanese city gave its name to a type of beef and a famous Los Angeles Laker?
Of the 195 countries recognized by the United Nations, there are four which has “Guinea” within their name: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Papua New Guinea and what Central African country whose citizens are known as Equatoguineans?
Answer: Equatorial Guinea
Let me serenade the streets of L.A / From Oakland to Sac-town, the Bay Area and back down. That's some questionable geography from the lyrics of what classic 2Pac hit?
Answer: California Love
What Asian country is the only one in the world whose national flag is not a quadrilateral?
If you wanted to travel through three adjacent U.S. states that all started with the same letter, you would have to travel through which three states?
Answer: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana
What river, located entirely within China, is the longest river in Asia and the longest river in the world to flow entirely within one country?
AuH2O is an elemental string of letters that appeared on campaign posters and buttons for what losing candidate for U.S. president?
Answer: Barry Goldwater
Railroad mogul Leland Stanford ceremonially completed the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869 with a golden rail spike at Promontory Summit in what U.S. state, then a territory?
Citing policy differences with President Andrew Jackson, what Southerner became the first person to resign the U.S. vice presidency on December 28, 1832?
Answer: John C. Calhoun
The very first $1 bills issued in the U.S. didn’t have George Washington’s face on them—they featured Salmon P. Chase. Which department of the federal government was Chase the secretary of at the time?
In contrast to Bill Clinton, what U.S. President -- still a senator at the time -- candidly said in 2006 of his prior cannabis use, "Yes, I inhaled frequently, that was the point?"
Answer: Barack Obama
Which pejorative term was used for individuals from the North who relocated to the South during the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War? This term derives from the cheap material from which the luggage of many of these individuals was made.
Named for Judiciary Chairman Andrew Volstead, the 1919 Volstead Act overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto to what national act that was later repealed by the 21st amendment?
In 1846, future president Zachary Taylor won a battle in the Mexican-American War campaign at what battle site, about 8 miles away from modern Brownsville, Texas? A city with the same name would be the site of Stanford University in California.
Answer: Palo Alto
The Warren Commission officially claimed a "single-bullet theory" for the assassination of President Kennedy. Conspiracy theorists / detractors claim that another bullet was fired nearby. Now slang for conspiracy theories broadly, what is the name for this alternative firing location?
Answer: Grassy Knoll
Abraham Lincoln was famously born in Kentucky and lived much of his adult life in Illinois. However, he spent most of his childhood and early teenage years in what third state?
The Turkish clan that drove Byzantine forces out of modern-day Turkey became an empire that lasted nearly 600 years and also became the namesake for a specific piece of foot-friendly furniture. What is this empire?
Answer: Ottoman Empire
Despite its gross-sounding name, what Ancient Roman place was actually an entrance to a stadium or theater, and not a room where rich people would throw up giant meals so they could go eat more?
What Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC created one of the first evidence-based systems of geology, theorizing that the Earth changes over time in ways one individual cannot see? He is known for being a student of Plato, and for writing such books as “Poetics.”
Along with Ancient Egyptian, the Rosetta Stone, carved during the Hellenistic period and key to the deciphering of hieroglyphics, features which other language?
The tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, is famous for having an "army" of thousands of soldiers sculpted from what material whose name literally means "baked earth?"
Answer: Terra Cotta
What embroidered cloth, nearly 70 meters long, depicts the events leading to the Norman conquest of England, culminating in the 1066 Battle of Hastings?
Answer: Bayeux Tapestry
In 1914, as World War I loomed, France, Russia, and Britain entered into an alliance known as the Triple ______. Fill in the one word blank, an “E” word meaning a friendly understanding or informal alliance.
The English word "chocolate" comes from a Spanish word which comes from a classic word in what language spoken widely in Central Mexico during the 16th century Spanish Conquest?
Often called a Nazi puppet state, the French state headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II is usually known by what name taken from the spa town in Central France that served as its capital?
Still felt today, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War significantly altered the geopolitical situation in the Mideast. By what numerical name is this just a tad less-than-a-week war known?
A golden IPA made by New Belgium Brewing is ______ Ranger. Fill in the one word “V” blank, also the name of a Caribbean religion that combines Roman Catholicism with African magic.
What Chinese philosopher of the 6th-century BC taught ethics, politics, and other ways of life to Yan Hui, Zengzi, and other disciples of his philosophy and eventual religion?
On the U.S. Library of Congress's list of "Books that Shaped America" is what 1830 religious text that sets out the tenets of a religion founded by Joseph Smith?
Answer: Book of Mormon
Christianity and Islam each have more than one billion followers. So does one other world religion. What is it?
The first known instance of banning coffee was in a Saudi Arabian holy city in 1511 as the drink was believed to stimulate radical thinking. What was this anti-joe city?
In what book of the Bible would you find the following phrase? "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, come and see"
Which type of novelty calendar inspired by Christian tradition is popular around the holidays and involves opening a little present each day in December leading up to Christmas Day on the 25th? (Hint: They’re often chocolate or toys, but you can also find them with cheese…)
What holiest day of the Jewish year focuses on atonement with a fast, confession, and prayer? It lent its name to an armed conflict between Israel and a coalition of Egypt and Syria in 1973.
Answer: Yom Kippur
What word refers to the Islamic concept of immutable law derived from the will of Allah? It is contrasted with human scholarly interpretations of the law, known as Fiqh.
Starting with the letter “N,” what is the concept in Buddhism that adherents are striving for by quenching the activities of the worldly mind and its related suffering and being released from the cycle of rebirth?
You get a book! You get a book! You get a book! For 15 years, starting in 1996, what daytime talk show megastar’s book club recommended a total of 70 books leading to total sales of over 55 million copies?
What 1847 Emily Bronte classic deals with two West Yorkshire families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons, and in particular the adopted Earnshaw, Heathcliff? It was also a 1939 William Wyler film with Oscar-winning cinematography, starring Laurence Olivier and David Niven.
Answer: Wuthering Heights
What epic John Milton poem, first published in 1667, concerns the fall of Lucifer from Heaven, and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden?
Answer: Paradise Lost
Although more well-known for his fiction and character creations, what famous author was also an ophthalmologist? He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in the 1870s, was a determined supporter of compulsory vaccination, and partially based his most famous character on a former university teacher.
Answer: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
What language, in which "doubleplusungood" means "very bad," does the government of Oceania use to establish thought control in George Orwell's novel "1984?"
Answer: New Speak
At the conclusion of an 1835 literary fairy tale, a small object is placed in a museum because of its critical role in finding a suitable princess to marry a prince. What is this object that was placed under dozens of mattresses earlier in the tale?
Although he published over 60 books under a different name, who published 13 books under the name Theo LeSieg and one book under the name Rosetta Stone?
Answer: Dr. Seuss
What American novelist was born in 1931 and is known for her prolific writings including "The Bluest Eye," "Song of Solomon," and "Beloved?" That last book was made into a 1996 movie produced by Oprah Winfrey. This Ohioan won both a Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Answer: Toni Morrison
Considered a partially fictional autobiography by Charles Dickens, what are the two words missing from this well-known literary title of the 19th century? "The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of ______ ______ the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery."
Answer: David Copperfield
Sometimes considered the quintessential novel of the 1980s, what NYC-set satirical work centered on greed, racism, and social class through the lens of a lawyer, investment banker, and journalist? The book's title is a reference to an actual 1497 conflagration.
A British scientist gave his name to what familiar four-by-four square, used to illustrate the probability that the offspring of two individuals will have a given genotype?
Answer: Punnett Square
If you dip a paper towel in water, the water will climb up the towel, appearing to ignore gravity. This is an example of ______ action. The same action is what helps plants pull water up their roots. What C-word fills in the blank?
Acceleration is the change in an object's velocity with respect to time. The change of an object's acceleration with respect to time is called what, a name it shares with some chicken dishes, and some inconsiderate people?
What colorful word is used to describe a special ratio (approximately equal to 1.618) that appears frequently in architecture, nature, and geometry? The number was the subject of Mario Livio's book, subtitled "The World's Most Astonishing Number."
What is the sum of the only number that is spelled with its letters in alphabetical order and the only number that is spelled with its letters in reverse alphabetical order?
Answer: 41 (Forty and One)
The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by human activity is better known by what two-word term which originated from a concept conceived by environmentalists William E. Rees and Dr. Mathis Wackernagel during the 1990s?
Answer: Carbon Footprint
Stat 101: what is the term in statistics for the number of standard deviations by which the value of a raw score is above or below the mean value of the measured data? These can be positive or negative and are often used as a step in determining statistical significance.
Iodine and Europium are two of the three chemical elements whose names start with 2 vowels. First identified in the 1950s, the third element to fit that category is named after what science guy?
What "effect"--by which a rotating object experiences a force perpendicular to the direction of motion--is the reason toilets flush clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern hemisphere?
Which natural number is not just a favorite of the Internet (...nice) but special because it’s the only number that’s square (4761) and cube (328509) uses every decimal digit from 0 to 9 exactly once?
Harry J. Sonneborn famously said “You’re not in the burger business, you’re in the real estate business” after figuring out the land that a hamburger restaurant was on generated more income than the restaurant itself. To whom was he speaking?
Answer: Ray Kroc
If you want to get a sense of your business’s fiscal health, a profit and ______ (P&L) statement can show you how much money you’re bringing in, how much is going out, and where all that money’s going.
Which type of payment method has a name that might remind you of birthday parties and circus clowns, but refers to when a borrower pays most of the amount they borrowed at the end? (For example, they make monthly payments on interest only, then pay back the principal balance when the loan comes due).
If B2B means “business-to-business” (when businesses interact with each other) it makes sense that B2C means business-to-_____ (when businesses interact with end-users or customers).
Former J.P. Morgan Chase employee Bruno Iksil acquired what large mammalian nickname after losing the company a staggering $6.2 billion with a 2012 trade?
Answer: London Whale
Reflecting its headquarters at Love Field in Dallas, as well as an old marketing campaign in which in-flight snacks were called "love bites" and "love potions," LUV is the stock-ticker symbol of what directionally named airline?
Answer: Southwest Airlines
In economics, what 9-letter word means simultaneously buying an asset in one market and selling the asset in another to take advantage of price differences between markets?
Paul Allen, an American billionaire who passed away in 2018, was the owner of the Portland Trailblazers (NBA), Seattle Seahawks (NFL), and a part owner of the Seattle Sounders (MLS). Before entering the world of sports ownership, Allen was best known for co-founding what company?
There's only one ______. "Get Real. Get ______." and "It's ______ or Nothin'!" are all slogans for a toy brand owned by Hasbro in which the brand's name has been removed. What is this brand? This brand sells mostly foam-based products and its late-1980s Blast-a-Ball and Arrowstorm products arguably invented an entirely new category of toys.
THINK was the company motto for more than 40 years, for the company often referred to as "Big Blue." What is this frequently-acronymed company?
After football (soccer), what is the second most popular sport in the world? Although there is discussion about this sport returning to the Olympics in 2028, it has not been in the Olympics since 1900.
It can be played indoors or outdoors. It's notable for attracting a wide range of ages and fitness levels. It combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. Its highest governing body is the IFP. What sport is it?
On the 2022 Forbes list of highest paid athletes, two of the top five are basketball players (LeBron James #2 and Steph Curry #5). The other three athletes in the top five all play the same sport. What sport?
Known by a nickname that nowadays would more likely be applied to a woman, newborn, or even a famous pig, which legendary left-handed American sportsman had the little-used first names "George Hermann"?
Answer: Babe Ruth
In perhaps the most famous sports television call of all time, Al Michaels posed what question to the audience as the underdog United States was about to advance to the finals of the Lake Placid Olympic hockey tournament in 1980? (Hint: He answered his own question with "Yes!")
Answer: Do you believe in miracles?
Longtime Boston Celtics coach and executive Arnold Jacob Auerbach was a basketball pioneer who is credited with the invention of the fast break. Ironically, despite being associated with the Celtics, what was Auerbach's colorful nickname?
The Walt Disney Company founded a professional sports franchise in 1993 and based the new team's name on a successful 1992 film. What sport did this team play?
Only one NFL team has their logo on one side of the helmet and NOT on the other side. What team is this?
Answer: Pittsburgh Steelers
A main group of riders in a bike race is a "peloton," named from the French for what group of soldiers that are smaller than a "company" but larger than a "squad"?
One of the very few sports that the United States has never won a medal in at the Olympics (men or women) is what sport described as "a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outcourt players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball using their hands with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team."
Eli Robinson is the Chief Trivia Officer at Water Cooler Trivia. He was once in a Bruce Springsteen cover band called F Street Band.
Is there an error in one of our questions?
We do everything we can to ensure that Water Cooler Trivia's questions are appropriate, relevant, and accurate. Our database has tens of thousands of questions, so we don't always get it right. If you see a question that needs editing, we would love if you let us know here or email [email protected].
Can you get a 9/10 on this week's quiz?
Over 1,200 companies play Water Cooler Trivia every week. Enter your email, and we'll send you a free quiz to share. See how you do against your friends, co-workers, and the rest of the world.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please refresh and try again.