The best riddles I've found anywhere - on the web, from friends, in newspapers, everywhere. Highlight between the brackets below each riddle to find the answers.

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[last updated 09.17.02. All updates are in bold.]

My head and tail both equal are,
My middle slender as a bee.
Whether I stand on head or heel
Is quite the same to you or me.
But if my head should be cut off,
The matter's true, though passing strange
Directly I to nothing change.
What am I???

[8 - eight]

If two's company and three's a crowd, what are four and five?

[9 - nine]

Is an old hundred dollar bill better than a new one?

[99 times better]

It has one stem, nine branches
Nine flowers and nine fruits
Yet change it does not with the seasons
But with the year like, "Poof!"


We are little creatures;
all of us have different features.
One of us in glass is set;
one of us you'll find in jet.
Another you may see in tin,
and the fourth is boxed within .
If the fifth you should pursue,
it can never fly from you.
What are we?


What do you throw out when you want to use it,
but take in when you don't want to use it?

[an anchor]

What is one thing that all wise men,
regardless of their religion or politics,
agree is between heaven and earth?


What question can you never answer "yes" to?

[are you asleep?]

I have many feathers to help me fly.
I have a body and head, but I'm not alive.
It is your strength which determines how far I go.
You can hold me in your hand, but I'm never thrown.
What am I?

[an arrow]

I'm a strange contradiction; I'm new, and I'm old,
I'm often in tatters, and oft decked with gold.
Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found;
Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound,
I'm always in black, and I'm always in white;
I'm grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light -
In form too I differ - I'm thick and I'm thin,
I've no flesh and bones, yet I'm covered with skin;
I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute;
I sing without voice; without speaking, confute.
I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm Dutch;
Some love me too fondly, some slight me too much;
I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages,
And no monarch alive has so many pages.

[a book]

A moth ate words; a marvelous event
I thought about it when I heard about that wonder.
A worm had swallowed some man's lay, a thief
In the darkness had consumed the mighty saying
With its foundation firm. The thief was not
One whit the wiser when he ate those words.
Who was the thief?


I have a thousand eyes, yet I live in darkness.
I have a thousand ears, yet I cannot hear.
I have a thousand mouths, yet I cannot speak.
What am I?

[a brain]

Light as a feather, there is nothing in it;
the strongest man can't hold it
for much more than a minute.

[a breath]

What gets harder to catch the faster you run?

[your breath]

Man walks over, man walks under,
in times of war he burns asunder.

[a bridge]

In a tunnel of darkness lies a beast of iron.
It can only attack when pulled back.

[a bullet]

Little Nancy Netticoat
In a white petticoat
and a red nose,
The longer she stands,
the shorter she grows.


My life can be measured in hours,
I serve by being devoured.
Thin, I am quick
Fat, I am slow
Wind is my foe.


What is bought by the yard and worn by the foot?


I have legs but walk not
A strong back but work not
Two good arms but reach not
A seat but sit and tarry not


Dark with white markings,
And smooth like a rock.
Where learning occurs,
I help convey thought.
What am I?


Squeeze it and it cries tears as red as its flesh,
but its heart is made of stone.


When can you add two to eleven and get one as the correct answer?

[on a clock]

I'm not a bird, but I can fly through the sky.
I'm not a river, but I'm full of water.


A little pool with two layers of wall around it.
One white and soft and the other dark and hard,
amidst a light brown grassy lawn with an outline of a green grass.


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.


Throw the outside,
Cook the inside,
Eat the outside,
Throw the inside.
what is it?


He who has it doesn't tell it.
He who takes it doesn't know it.
He who knows it doesn't want it.
What is it?

[counterfeit money]

First you see me in the grass
Dressed in yellow gay.
Then I dress all in white,
Then I fly away.


The more there is the less you see.


It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter


What has six faces
But cannot smile,
Twenty-one eyes,
But cannot see?


A place where yesterday always follows tomorrow.


The beginning of eternity,
the end of all time and space.
I was never born,
yet I will surely die.
In the beginning I was there
and at the end I'm the one to survive.

[The letter E]

Lives without a body,
hears without ears,
speaks without a mouth,
to which the air alone gives birth.


It can turn Day to Night, and back to Day.
It can be seen both at night and at day.


Marble walls as white as milk,
lined with skin as soft as silk,
with a fountain, crystal clear,
a golden apple doth appear.
There are no doors to this stronghold,
yet thieves break in and steal the gold.

[An egg.]

A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.
What is it?

[an egg]

I start with the letter e,
I end with the letter e.
I contain only one letter,
Yet I am not the letter e!
What am I?


Around the Earth I go
I don't move fast or slow
I have no beginning or end
See me you cannot
Where I am It's always hot


Pronounced as one letter,
And written with three,
Two letters there are,
And two only in me.
I'm double, I'm single,
I'm black, blue and grey,
I'm read from both ends,
And the same either way.


I am something people count on,
But I'm not your fingers or toes.
I am the comfort in your heart,
When your mind's not sure it knows.
People often call me blind,
For I have no eyes to see.
Several times I have been lost,
But I cannot be given away.
What am I?


Walk on the living, they dont even mumble.  Walk on the dead they mutter and grumble.

[fallen leaves]

I make you weak at the worst of all times.
I keep you safe, I keep you fine.
I make your hands sweat, and your heart grow cold,
I visit the weak, but seldom the bold.
What am I?


I am held at bay by day,
and released by the power of darkness.
I prey on mortal thoughts, whether asleep or wakeful.
I am difficult to fight, the root of suffering.
I am harsh, I am cold,
yet nobody can fight me with their hands,
only with their mind.
What am I?


I know a word of letters three,
Add two and fewer there will be.


Give me food and I grow,
Give me drink and I die.


Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.


The more you take, the more you leave behind.


My first is a number, my second another,
And each, I assure you, will rhyme with the other.
My first you will find is one-fifth of my second,
And truly my whole a long period reckoned.
Yet my first and my second (nay, think not I cozen),
When added together will make but two dozen.
How many am I?

[four score]

What do you fill with empty hands?


Do not begrudge this,
For it is the fate of every man.
Yet it is feared,
And shunned in many lands.
Causes problems, and sometimes gaps,
Can hobble the strongest, and make memory lapse.
What is this danger we all face
For being a part of the human race?

[growing old]

'Twas in heaven pronounced, and 'twas muttered in hell,
An echo caught faintly the sound as it fell;
On the confines of earth 'twas permitted to rest,
And the depths of the ocean its presence confessed;
'Twill be found in the sphere when 'tis riven asunder,
Be seen in the lightning and heard in the thunder.
'Twas allotted to man with his earliest breath,
Attends him at birth, and awaits him in death,
Presides o'er his happiness, honor, and health,
Is the prop of his house, and the end of his wealth.
In the heaps of the miser 'tis hoarded with care,
But is sure to be lost on the prodigal heir.
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crowned.
Without it the soldier, the seaman may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home!
In the whispers of conscience its voice will be found,
Nor e'en in the whirlwind of passion be drowned.
'Twill not soften the heart; but though deaf be the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear.
Yet in shade let it rest, like a delicate flower,
Ah... breathe on it softly, - it dies in an hour.

[The letter H]

h i j k l m n o

What word does this represent?


There is a word in the English language
in which the first two letters signify a male,
the first three letters signify a female,
the first four signify a great man,
and the whole word, a great woman.
What is the word?


A man takes a barrel that weighs 20 kilograms,
and then puts something in it.
It now weighs less then 20 kilograms.
What did he put in the barrel?

[a hole]

The more you take away, the bigger it gets.
What is it?

[a hole]

Two bodies have I;
Tho' both join'd in one,
The stiller I stand,
The faster I run.


With no eyes, I see.
With no arms, I climb.
More frightening than any beast,
Stronger than any foe.
I am cunning, ruthless and tall;
In the end, I rule all.


Imagine you are in a steel box without any openings, windows or doors,
completely sealed. How do you get out?

[stop imagining.]

Name one eight letter word that has kst in the middle,
in the beginning, and at the end.


Some will use me, while others will not,
some have remembered, while others forgot.
For profit or gain, I'm used expertly,
I can't be picked off the ground or tossed into the sea.
Only gained from patience and time,
can you unravel my rhyme?


Think of words ending in -GRY.
Angry and hungry are two of them. There are only three words in the English language. What is the third word? The word is something that everyone uses every day. If you have listened carefully, I have already told you what it is.


I do not breathe, but I run and jump.
I do not eat, but I swim and stretch.
I do not drink, but I sleep and stand.
I do not think, but I grow and play.
I do not see, but you see me every day.

[a leg]

The rich men want it, the wise men know it,
the poor all need it, and the kind men show it.


I occur once in every minute, twice in every moment, but never in a thousand years.

[the letter M]

Pull me out and scratch my head;
what once was red is black instead.


If you had only one match and entered a room on a very cold day in which there was a kerosene lamp, a fire place and a wood-burning stove, which would you light first?

[the match]

If today is Monday,
what is the day after the day before the day before tomorrow?


I am sometimes round
sometimes halved
sometimes just a sliver
but even when you can't see me
I am always there.

[the moon]

Pearl of dark velvet, jewel for the sea; alter of the Lupine lords is the riddle for thee.

[the moon.]

What has roots that nobody sees,
is taller than trees,
up, up it goes,
and yet never grows?

[A mountain.]

One of us falls, but never breaks.
One of us breaks, but never falls.
What are we?

[nightfall and daybreak]

What word, when written in capital letters,
is the same forwards, backwards and upside down?


Greater than God, More evil than the devil.
The poor have it, the rich don't.
If you eat it you will die.


The wise and knowledgable man is sure of it.
Even the fool knows it.
The rich man wants it.
The greatest of heroes fears it.
Yet the lowliest of cowards would die for it.


Through wind and rain I always play,
I roam the earth, yet here I stay;
I crumble stones, and fire cannot burn me;
Yet I am soft - you can gauge me with your hand.


How many times can you subtract the number 5 from 25?


Silently I drink and dive
In fluids dark as night.
I beat the mighty warrior
But never in a fight.
The black blook in my veins
Your thirst for knowledge slakes.
My spittle is more venomous
Than that of poison snakes.

[a pen]

I wear a yellow coat.
I have a dark head.
I make marks wherever I go.
What am I?

[a pencil]

Riddle me, riddle me,
what do you suppose?
A hundred eyes
without any nose.


He has married many women,
but has never been married.
Who is he?

[a priest]

What royal word in the plural becomes singular when you add one letter?


It has a bed, but never sleeps
Has a mouth, but never eats.
Has two legs, but never walks;
always murmurs, never talks.

[a river]

I take you to many places.
I'm hard and can occur in races.
I'm also striped on some occasions.
What am I?

[a road]

A riddle easily solved.
Red breasted.
Only one in a field of many.
Born in an egg.
Inspired to sing.
Now gather the letters and tell me what I mean.

[a r-o-b-i-n]

Two sisters are we, one dark and one fair.
In twin towers dwelling, we're quite the pair.
One from the land, and one from the sea.
Tell us truly, who are we?

[salt and pepper]

The part of the bird that's not in the sky,
Who can swim in the ocean
And yet remain dry


Four holes, one going in and three coming out;
when you are going in you are out
and when you are coming out you are in.

[a shirt]

Deep as a bowl, round as a cup,
Yet all the world's oceans can't fill it up.

[a sieve]

No sooner spoken than broken.


My first is in some but not in all.
My second in into but not in tall.
My third in little but not in big.
My fourth in pork but not in pig.
My whole is made in nature’s way.
For clothing, rugs used every day.


In the back yard there is a hollow stump that contains six ears of corn. If a healthy squirrel carries out only three ears each day, how many days will it take to empty the stump?

[six. two on his head and one ear of corn.]

I am the black child of a white father,
a wingless bird, flying even to the clouds of heaven.
I give birth to tears of mourning in pupils that meet me,
even though there is no cause for grief,
and at once on my birth I am dissolved into air.


Think of a person who lives in disguise,
who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to men,
the middle of middle, the end of the end.
And finally, give me a sound often heard
during the search for a hard-to-find word.

Now string them together, and answer me this:
which creature would most be unwilling to kiss?

[A spider.]

I went into the woods and got it
I sat down to seek it
I brought it home with me because I couldn't find it.

[a splinter]

We travel much, yet prisoners are,
and close confined to boot.
Yet with any horse, we will keep the pace,
and will always go on foot.


Big as a biscuit, deep as a cup,
Even a river can't fill it up.

[a strainer]

I am a protector, sitting on a bridge.
One person sees right through me,
While others wonder what I hide.


Never resting, never still.
Moving silent, hill to hill.
It does not walk or run or trot,
All is cool where it is not.


There is a certain crime, that if it is attempted,
is punishable, but if it is committed,
is not punishable.


I can be short and sometimes hot.
When displayed, I rarely impress.
What am I?


What is often returned but never borrowed?


A bottomless barrel,
It is shaped like a hive.
It is filled with flesh.
And the flesh is alive!

[a thimble]

Born Motherless and Fatherless,
Into this world without a sin
Made a load roar as I entered
And never spoke again.


This thing all things devours:
Birds, trees, beasts, flowers;
gnaws iron, bites steel
grinds hard stones to meal;
slays kings, ruins towns,
And beats high mountains down.


What won't break if you throw it off the highest building in the world,
but will break if you place it in the ocean?

[a tissue]

Often talked of, never seen,
Ever coming, never been,
Daily looked for, never here,
Still approaching, coming near.
Thousands for its visit wait
But alas for their fate,
Tho' they expect me to appear,
They will never find me here.


I never was, am always to be,
No one ever saw me, nor ever will
And yet I am the confidence of all
To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball.


Forward I am heavy, backward I am not. What am I?


I am both Mother and Father.
I am seldom still
yet I never wander.
I never birth nor nurse.


In spring I am gay in handsome array;
in summer more clothing I wear;
when colder it grows I fling off my clothes;
and in winter quite naked appear.


If you were to take two apples from three apples,
how many would you have?


What can go up a chimney down but not down a chimney up?


I am the center of gravity,
hold a capital situation in Vienna,
and as I am foremost in every victory,
am perceived by all to be invaluable.
Though I am invisible,
I am clearly seen in the midst of a river.
I could name three who are in love with me
and have three associates in vice.
It is vain that you seek me
for I have long been in heaven
yet even now lie embalmed in the grave.
What am I?

[The letter V]

A harvest sown and reaped on the same day
In an unplowed field,
Which increases without growing,
Remains whole though it is eaten
Within and without,
Is useless and yet
The staple of nations.


Three lives have I.
Gentle enough to soothe the skin,
Light enough to caress the sky,
Still hard enough to crack rocks.


I run, though I have no legs to be seen.
I possess no heat, yet I do have steam.
I have no voice to let words out,
but from far away you can still hear me shout.
What am I?


There are four brothers in this world that were all born together.
The first runs and never wearies.
The second eats and is never full.
The third drinks and is always thirsty.
The fourth sings a song that is never good.

[water, fire, earth, wind]

I go around in circles,
But always straight ahead
Never complain,
No matter where I am led.


When is a door not a door?

[when it is a-jar]

A leathery snake,
with a stinging bite,
I'll stay coiled up,
Unless I must fight.


A man built a house where all sides faced south.
A bear rushed at the house, going 30 mph.
What color was the bear?


What is it that when you take away the whole,
you still have some left over?


Voiceless it cries,
Wingless it flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters


A puppy is one, but a dog is not.
A kitten is one, but a cat is not.
A cookie is one, but a cracker is not.
What is it?

[a word with double letters.]

What five letter word does every Harvard graduate pronounce wrong?


What has a foot on each side and one in the middle?

[a yard]

I herald the darkness which descends on all creatures;
You will know my approach by moans and wracked features.
I visit the hippo, hyena, and horse;
But never go near snails and spiders, of course.
I would circle the globe, leaping one to the other,
Should all the world's people ever clasp hands together.



Which is correct to say, 'The yolk of the egg are white' or, 'The yolk of the egg is white'?

[the yolk of the egg is yellow.]

A young peasant wanted to marry the king's daughter. The king didn't like the idea of his daughter marrying a peasant, but he wanted to appear fair in front of his subjects. The king said that he would put two pieces of paper into a hat, one reading EXILE and the other reading MARRIAGE. Later that day, the peasant overheard the king saying that both pieces of paper would read EXILE, thus ensuring that the peasant would be out of his way for good. The peasant remained undaunted and, as arranged, arrived at the king's court where a large crowd gathered for the big event. The peasant then did something that assured him the hand of the king's daughter. What did he do?

[The peasant picked one of the pieces of paper and tore it up. He then asked the king to show him the other piece of paper which, of course, said EXILE. The king, not wishing to appear fraudulent in front of his subjects, granted that the piece of paper the peasant had picked must have said MARRIAGE]

What was the first man-made object to break the sound barrier?

[The tip of a whip. The characteristic noise of the crack of a whip is the result of the tip breaking the sound barrier.]

In Jamaica, if you drop a steel ball weighing five pounds from a height of 45 inches, will it fall more rapidly through water at 20 degrees Fahrenheit or water at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Or will it make no difference?

[40- at 20, the water would be ice.]

A man was found shot dead in his study. He was slumped over his desk and a gun was in his hand. There was a cassette recorder on his desk. When the police entered the room and pressed the play button on the tape recorder they heard, "I can't go on. I have nothing to live for." Then there was the sound of a gunshot. How did the detective immediately know that the man had been murdered?

[who would have rewound the tape?]

Four men sat down to play.
They played all night ‘till break of day.
They played for gold and not for fun,
With separate scores for everyone.
When they came to square accounts,
They all had made quite fair amounts.
Can you the paradox explain:
If no one lost, how could all gain?

[they were musicians.]

A man on his deathbed informs his three sons that he will leave them his horses. To the eldest son he leaves half of his horses. To his second son he leaves one third of them, and to his youngest, he leaves one ninth. After he passes away, the three sons went to get their horses, but discovered there were 17 animals. They did not want to sell or kill any of the horses, and they could not think of a way to divide the horses exactly as their father wished. Just then their next door neighbor came riding along on his horse and listened to their problem. Immediately the neighbor thought of a way to divide the horses just as their father had wished. What was his easy solution?

[add his own horse to make 18. 9 is half, 6 is a third, 2 is a ninth, and he rides away on his horse.]

Imagine John, a party magician, is carrying three pieces of gold each piece weighing one kilogram. While taking a walk he comes to a bridge which has a sign posted saying the bridge could hold only a maximum of 80 kilograms. John weighs 78 kilograms and the gold weighs three kilograms. John reads the sign and still safely crossed the bridge with all the gold. How did he manage?

[he juggled them.]

During WWII, there was a bridge connecting Germany and Switzerland, and on the German side, there was a sentry tower with a guard in it. He would come out every three minutes to check on the bridge, and he had orders to turn back anyone who tried to get into Germany, and shoot anyone trying to escape without a pass. There was a woman who desperately needed to get into Switzerland, and she knew she didn't have time to get a pass. It would take her at least six minutes to cross the bridge, but she managed to do it. How?

[When the sentry went into the tower, she would start to cross into Switzerland, and when he came out, she would start to walk back into Germany. When he saw her, he would tell her to turn back into switzerland.]

A beggar's brother died, but the man who died had no brother. How could this be?

[the beggar was a woman]

A wealthy man named Richard Ellis had been counting his money.When he finished, he accidentally left a $100.00 bill on his desk. But when he returned for it a short while later, it was gone. Only two other persons could have seen the bill. One was the maid; the other was the butler. The maid told him that she had hidden it for safekeeping under a green book that was on the desk. But when they looked the bill was not there. The butler said he had found the bill where the maid had left it. He had placed it inside the book, where he thought there was less chance that somebody would find it. He had written down the page numbers so that he would not forget them. The bill was between pages 35 and 36, he said. But when they looked, there was no money in the book. After Mr. Ellis had talked to the maid and the butler, he called the police. He was sure he knew who had taken the money. Who was it, and how did he know?

[the butler. 35 and 36 are always printed on opposite sides of the same page.]

Can a California man legally marry his widow's sister?

[no, he's dead.]

Do they have a fourth of July in England?

[yes, they just don't celebrate it.]

A clerk in the butcher shop is 5'10" tall. What does he weigh?


A famous magician, had a water glass that was filled to the top. Holding the glass above his head he let it drop to the carpet without spilling a single drop of water. How could he manage to drop the glass from a height of over six feet and not spill any water??

[the glass wasn't filled with water.]

A man goes out to a bar one night and gets drunk. When the bar closes, he staggers home, turns out the light, and goes to bed. The next morning he wakes up, reads the headlines of the morning paper, and learns that numerous people had been killed that night. Overcome with guilt, the man kills himself. Why does he kill himself?

[he was the lighthouse keeper]

A-town and B-town are 10 miles apart. A man rides from A-town to B-town on Friday, stays in B-town two days, and rides back to A-town on Friday. How???

[Friday is a horse.]

Two mothers and their two daughters were fishing. They managed to catch one bass, one catfish, and one perch. Since only three fish were caught, how is it possible that they each took home a fish?

[there's a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter. the mother is a daughter as well.]

If you were to put a coin into an empty bottle and then insert a cork into the neck, how could you remove the coin without taking out the cork or breaking the bottle?

[push the cork into the bottle]

One December morning after a particularly heavy snow storm, the power fails. You have an old wood stove with which you can prepare breakfast. But you have a problem, your grandfather likes a single egg boiled for exactly nine minutes.

You aren't wearing your watch, and all the clocks in the house are electric. You are able to find two exquisite hourglasses, able to precisely measure in hand-crafted Swiss sand seven and four minutes, respectively.

How quickly using only these two hourglasses can you provide your grandfather with his egg?

[First, flip both hourglasses over and drop the egg into the water. When the four minute timer runs out, flip it again. When the seven minute timer runs out, flip it over. The egg has been cooking seven minutes.

Now when the four minute timer runs out again (after eight minutes) flip the seven minute timer back over. Since the seven minute timer has been running only a minute between flips, there's a minute worth of sand left. And when that minute runs out, the egg will have been cooking for exactly nine minutes.]

What do trousers, braces, knickers, underpants and spectacles have in common that socks do not?

[a pair of them is actually a single item.]

There is a dead man in the center of a field. He carried with him an unopened package. As he neared the center of the field, he knew he was going to die. How did he know he was going to die?

[his parachute didn't open.]

Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on earth?

[mount everest.]

How many bricks does it take to complete a building made of brick?

[only one- the last one.]

A man walked into a bar and asked for a glass of water. The bartender pointed a gun at him. The man then said thank you, and walked out. Why?

[the man had the hiccups.]

How long will a seven day cuckoo clock run without winding?

[Not at all. You have to wind it the first time.]

You left a bar. From a hundred yards away, you manage to spot your black sports car, without the aid of moonlight, a street lamp, fire, or any other artificial light. How?

[It was daylight.]

Why can't you hang a man with a wooden leg?

[You hang him with a rope.]

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