We do get older, but we don’t always grow wiser. It’s true—as we age, we lose brain cells and experience a slowdown in mental processing. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. These occurrences are completely normal and don’t indicate any major malfunction in the way we operate. But we can participate in activities to sharpen our cognitive abilities. Brain teasers for adults are a popular pastime among individuals looking to improve their memories and activate specific neural networks, which is why we decided to put together our very own collection. Check out the list below to get started!
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73 Tricky Brain Teasers for Adults
Not only do brain teasers help improve cognitive function, but they can also be used as icebreakers. Refer to the list below the next time you’re in need of entertainment.
Hard Brain Teasers
- Question: A man dives into a swimming pool, but not a single hair on his head gets wet. How is this possible?
Answer: The man is bald.
- Question: You are at a place called Wally’s World and there is only one law. You can look in the mirror, but you won’t see your reflection. You can have pizza with cheese, but not sausage. There is pepper, but no salt. You can see a door, but there is no entrance or exit. What is the law?
Answer: Each word in Wally’s World must contain double letters.
- Question: A man left home running. He ran straight, and then turned left; ran the same distance, and turned left again. Once more, he ran the same distance and turned left. When he got home, he saw two masked men. Who were they?
Answer: The catcher and the umpire.
- Question: What’s special about the words job, polish, and herb?
Answer: They are all pronounced differently when the first letter is capitalized.
- Question: Sam was given a large money box, 12 inches wide and 6 inches tall. How many coins can she fit into her empty money box?
Answer: Just one, after that it will no longer be empty.
- Question: A man is going through a photo album with his friend and asks about an individual spotted in a photo. The man replies, “Brothers and sisters, I have none. But that man’s father is my father’s son.” Who is the picture of?
Answer: His son.
- Question: There is a house that contains four walls, all of them facing south. The owners spot a bear in the yard. What color is it?
Answer: The only place this is possible is at the North Pole. Only polar bears live there, so the bear is white.
- Question: Name the next word in the following sequence: Spots, tops, pots, opts.
Answer: “Stop.” All the words are anagrams of each other.
- Question: What is unique about the following words: grammar, uneven banana, assess, revive, potato, dresser, and voodoo?
Answer: You can take the first letter of each word and place it at the end to spell the same word backward.
- Question: I’m holding two newly minted coins in my hand. Together, they total 30 cents. One is not a nickel. What are the coins?
Answer: A quarter and a nickel.
- Question: An elevator is on the ground floor holding five people, including Mike. One person gets out and two people get in once the elevator reaches the first floor. By the time it gets to the second floor, three people get out and five people walk in. Halfway up to the next floor, the cable snaps, and the elevator plummets to the floor. Everyone dies, except for Mike. How did he survive?
Answer: He got off on the first floor.
- Question: Name the next three letters in the sequence: N, T, N, T, L.
Answer: I, T, S. Each letter in the sequence corresponds with the first letter of each word in the sentence.
- Question: A boy goes to a restaurant with a doctor. The boy is the doctor’s son, but the doctor is not the boy’s father. How is this possible?
Answer: It’s simple, the doctor is the boy’s mother.
- Question: If a red house is made of bricks, and a blue house is made of blue bricks, then what material is used to build a green house?
- Question: Two mothers and two daughters went out to dinner. Everyone ordered a burger, but only three burgers were eaten. How is this possible?
Answer: The group consisted of a grandmother, her daughter, and her granddaughter.
- Question: A man is stuck in a closed room with only two doors. One leads to a fire-breathing dragon. The other leads to a room covered in sunlight and magnifying glasses. Whichever room the man goes into, he will be burnt immediately. How does he escape?
Answer: He waits until dark to escape through the room covered in magnifying glasses.
- Question: An Arab sheik has two sons. He tells them that they must compete on their camels to inherit his fortune. Whichever camel crosses the finish line last wins. Both sons jump on their camels, wandering around the desert aimlessly. Neither one wants to cross first. Finally, they stumble upon a wise man and ask him for advice. He whispers something to them, and the brothers immediately jump onto the camels and charge toward the finish line. What did the man say to them?
Answer: He told them to switch camels. Technically, the rules stated that the owner of the camel that crosses the finish line last wins the fortune.
- Question: Which four letters can be written forward, backward, or upside down and still be read from left to right?
- Question: You are standing in a hallway with three switches that control three light bulbs located behind a closed door. Once you open the door, you won’t be able to revisit the switches, so how can you tell which lamp the switches are connected to?
Answer: Turn on the first two switches. Leave them on for five minutes. After the five minutes have passed, turn one of the switches off. Leave the last switch off and go through the door. Whichever bulb is warmest belongs to the second switch. The bulb that is cold belongs to the switch that was never turned on.
- Question: I am the beginning of sorrow and the end of sickness. You cannot express happiness without me yet I am in the midst of crosses. I am always in risk yet never in danger. You may find me in the sun, but I am never out of darkness.
Answer: The letter “S.”
- Question: What is the next letter in the following sequence? D, R, M, F, S, L, T?
Answer: “D.” Each letter represents one note in the diatonic musical scale: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do.
- Question: Two girls played five games of chess. Each of them wins the same number of games, and there were no ties. How is that possible?
Answer: The girls didn’t play each other, they competed against different opponents.
- Question: How does a man maintain his long beard if he shaves multiple times a day?
Answer: He’s a barber
- Question: A woman is sitting in her home at night with no light on. There is no fire, and there aren’t any candles lit. How is she able to read in these conditions?
Answer: The woman is blind. She is reading braille.
- Question: You walk into a room containing a match, a kerosene lamp, a candle, and a fireplace. What do you light first?
Answer: The match.
- Question: A man stands at the edge of a river with his dog standing on the other side. The man calls for the animal, who immediately crosses the river. There is no bridge or boat to help him cross, and yet the dog does not get wet. How is this possible?
Answer: The river was frozen.
- Question: There are 14 girls in a class. Eight of the kids are wearing striped shirts. Two of the kids who are not wearing striped shirts are boys. If five of the kids wearing striped shirts are girls, how many kids are there in the class total?
- Question: Brandon is six feet tall. He works at a butcher’s shop. He wears size nine shoes and each of his hands is eight inches long. What does he weigh?
- Question: Name four days of the week that begin with the letter “T.”
Answer: Tuesday, Thursday, Today, and Tomorrow.
- Question: A man takes his car to a hotel. Once he gets there, he must immediately declare bankruptcy. Why?
Answer: The man is playing Monopoly. He lands on a property with a hotel but doesn’t have enough “money” to pay the rent.
- Question: The person who makes this item has no need for it. The person who buys it does not use it. The person who uses it does not realize what they are doing. What is it?
Answer: A coffin.
- Question: Is the capital of Kentucky pronounced Louisville or Luee-ville?
Answer: Neither. The capital of Kentucky is Frankfurt.
- Question: What contains forests but no trees, cities but no buildings, and water but no fish?
Answer: A map.
- Question: A family contains two parents and six sons. Each son has one sister. How many members of the family are there?
Answer: Nine. Two parents, six sons, and one daughter.
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- Question: What do an island and the letter “T” have in common?
Answer: They are both in the middle of water.
- Question: Why is the letter “F” similar to death?
Answer: Because without it, life becomes a lie.
- Question: If tomorrow I tell you that the day before yesterday was Saturday, what day is it today?
- Question: Josh fell off his bike and broke his leg. He arrived at the hospital on Monday, November 1, and left on November 30. What day of the week did he leave the hospital?
- Question: Something is filled with keys, but has no locks. There is space, but no extra room. You can enter, but there is no exit. What is it?
Answer: A keyboard.
- Question: Ben tells his sister Lexi that he is twice as old and twice as smart as she is right now. Lexi responds by saying that in five years, she will be twice as old as she is now and that Billy won’t be. How old will the siblings be in five years?
Answer: Ben will be 15 and Lexi will be 10.
- Question: If a sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece, what has the most?
Answer: An hourglass. It contains thousands of grains of sand.
- Question: A man places a coin into an empty bottle before corking it. How does he get the coin out without removing the cork or breaking the bottle?
Answer: He pushes the cork into the bottle and then shakes the coin out.
- Question: Two boxers are scheduled for a match lasting 12 rounds. One is knocked out after just six rounds, even though no man throws a punch. No kicking, wrestling, or shoving is permitted. How is this possible?
Answer: Both boxers are female.
- Question: Four cars come to a four-way stop from different directions. They cannot decide who got there first, so they all start moving forward at the same time. They don’t crash into each other, even though none of them stop. How is this possible?
Answer: They all made right-hand turns.
Math Brain Teasers
- Question: When do two and eleven result in one as the correct answer?
Answer: When you’re talking about time. Two hours past eleven is one.
- Question: A person is 15 years old in 1990. In 1995, that same person turned 10. How is that possible?
Answer: The person was born in 2005 BC.
- Question: A reservoir doesn’t contain much water, but the amount doubles every day. It takes a full 60 days to fill it completely. How many days does it take for the reservoir to become half filled?
Answer: 59 days. If the water level doubles every day, then on any given day, the reservoir is half the size it was the day before.
- Question: What number is most frequently used between the numbers 1 and 1,000?
Answer: The number 1.
- Question: What’s so special about the number 8,549,176,320?
Answer: It’s the only number where all the digits are arranged in alphabetical order.
- Question: If you had to write down all whole numbers between 1 and 100, how many times would you have to write the number 8?
Answer: 20 times.
- Question: What mathematical symbol can you add between 55555 to make it become 500?
- Question: A seller can fit either eight large boxes or 10 small boxes into a carton for shipping. In one shipment, he sent off a total of 96 boxes. If there are more large boxes than small boxes in the shipment, how many cartons did he send?
Answer: 11 cartons.
- Question: If there are 20 people in a room, and everyone shakes each other’s hands once, then how many handshakes were there in total?
Answer: 190 handshakes.
Funny Brain Teasers
- Question: Susan lives in a one-story pink house with pink stairs, a pink shower, a pink computer, a pink couch, a pink chair, a pink fish, and even a pink cat. Can you guess what color the stairs are?
Answer: There are no stairs, it’s a one-story house.
- Question: What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?
- Question: Sarah’s family lives on the tenth floor of an apartment building. Every day, she uses the elevator to get to the ground floor and goes to school. When she returns, she uses the elevator to go to the sixth floor and walks the remaining four stories. Why?
Answer: Because she can’t reach any buttons higher than six.
- Question: There is a yellow house, a blue house, and a white house. If the yellow house is to the left of the house in the middle, and the blue house is situated to the right of the house in the middle, where is the white house?
Answer: In Washington D.C.
- Question: In what month do people get the least amount of sleep?
Answer: February. Remember, the month contains fewer nights than the rest.
- Question: A Gladiator is asked to walk into one of three chambers. The first room contains a raging fire. The second contains a group of men armed with swords, and the third contains lions that have been starving for years. Which one should he choose?
Answer: The third room. If the lions have been starving for years, they might already be dead.
- Question: What kind of tire doesn’t move after you turn on the car?
Answer: A spare tire.
- Question: Katie’s mother had four children. She named the first one Monday, the second Tuesday, and the third Wednesday. What is the name of the fourth child?
Answer: Katie. Remember, her mother only had four children.
- Question: Is it possible for a man to legally marry his widow’s sister in the state of Oregon?
Answer: It’s not illegal, it’s just impossible. If his wife is a widow, then the man is dead.
- Question: How far can a dog run into the woods?
Answer: Halfway. Any further than that and he’ll be running out of the woods.
BONUS ROUND: Brain Teasers for Kids
We can’t let adults have all the fun! Besides, brain teasers for kids can be just as beneficial. Studies show that these puzzles can help little ones strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They can also help them learn how to sit still. Read on below to test out a few of our favorites. And if you’re interested in more activities like this, be sure to check out these riddles for kids.
- Question: What six-letter word becomes 12 after removing one letter?
- Question: What jungle animal can be found “inside” the following letters: L, P, H, N?
Answer: An elephant.
- Question: If ten copycats were sitting in a boat and one jumped out, how many were left?
Answer: None. They’re all copycats so everyone jumped out.
- Question: What begins with the letter “T,” is filled with “T,” and ends with “T”?
Answer: A teapot.
- Question: Twelve apples were growing in an orchid. Twelve men passed by. Each picked an apple off the tree, but there were eleven left hanging. How is that possible?
Answer: “Each” was a man’s name.
- Question: What can rock but cannot roll?
Answer: A rocking chair.
- Question: A woman describes her daughters by saying, “They are all blonde, but two; all brunette, but two; and all redheaded, but two.” How many daughters does she have?
Answer: Three—a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead.
- Question: You are driving a bus. At the first stop, three children get on. At the second stop, three men board the bus, but two women get off. At the third stop, a couple and their child get on the bus, and it begins to rain. What color is the bus driver’s hair?
Answer: Whatever color your hair is. Remember, you’re the bus driver!
- Question: Can you think of something that weighs nothing but even the strongest person in the world couldn’t hold it for much longer than a minute?
Answer: Your breath.
- Question: What three letters can scare a robber off?
Answer: I, C, U.