58 Brain Teasers That Will Leave You Stumped
Solving brain teasers boosts brain power, keeps your memory strong, and entertains everyone to no end. See how many of these tricky puzzles for adults and teens you can figure out—without cheating!
Tricky brain teasers
Brain teasers are more than just simple puzzles and riddles. Technically, a brain teaser is a type of puzzle or brain game, often involving lateral thinking. That means to solve it, you’ll have to use a creative, less straightforward thought process and the solution won’t be right in front of you. Below, you’ll find a collection of pictures and word brain teasers for all difficulty levels. Plenty of them aren’t easy, so make sure you have some time to really think about the correct answer. As a heads up, the answers to these brain teasers are right below the question, so make sure you don’t scroll too far and cheat! How many can you get right? If you want brain teasers for kids, we’ve got plenty of those, too!
A man pushes his car to a hotel and tells the owner he’s bankrupt. Why?
Answer: He’s playing Monopoly. Try out some of these visual brain teasers too.
You are in a room that has three switches and a closed door. The switches control three light bulbs on the other side of the door. Once you open the door, you may never touch the switches again. How can you definitively tell which switch is connected to each of the light bulbs?
Answer: Turn on the first two switches. Leave them on for five minutes. Once five minutes has passed, turn off the second switch, leaving one switch on. Now go through the door. The light that is still on is connected to the first switch. Whichever of the other two is warm to the touch is connected to the second switch. The bulb that is cold is connected to the switch that was never turned on.
I left my campsite and hiked south for 3 miles. Then I turned east and hiked for 3 miles. I then turned north and hiked for 3 miles, at which time I came upon a bear inside my tent eating my food! What color was the bear?
Answer: White. The only place you can hike 3 miles south, then east for 3 miles, then north for 3 miles and end up back at your starting point is the North Pole. Polar bears are the only bears that live at the North Pole, and they are white.
A man is looking at a photograph of someone. His friend asks who it is. The man replies, “Brothers and sisters, I have none. But that man’s father is my father’s son.” Who was in the photograph?
Answer: His son. These are the hardest riddles ever—see if you can solve them.
What is special about these words: job, polish, herb?
Answer: They are pronounced differently when the first letter is capitalized. For a more hands-on experience, check out these printable brain teasers.
Forrest left home running. He ran a ways and then turned left, ran the same distance and turned left again, ran the same distance and turned left again. When he got home, there were two masked men. Who were they?
Answer: The catcher and the umpire. These tricky logic puzzles will keep you guessing.
A man stands on one side of a river, his dog on the other. The man calls his dog, who immediately crosses the river without getting wet and without using a bridge or a boat. How did the dog do it?
Answer: The river was frozen. Only 2 percent of people can solve Einstein’s riddle. Can you do it?
In 1990, a person is 15 years old. In 1995, that same person is 10 years old. How can this be?
Answer: The person was born in 2005 BC. See if you can spot the difference in these almost identical pictures.
A sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece. Which has the most?
Answer: An hourglass—It has thousands of grains of sand. This is what happens to your brain when you do a puzzle.
What makes this number unique: 8,549,176,320?
Answer: It has each number, zero through nine, listed in alphabetical order. These brain games will help sharpen your mind—how many can you complete?
Arnold Schwarzenegger has a long one. Michael J. Fox has a short one. Madonna does not use hers. Bill Clinton always uses his. The Pope never uses his. What is it?
Answer: Their surname. Can you identify these animals based on close up pictures of their fur?
What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?
Your parents have six sons including you and each son has one sister. How many people are in the family?
Answer: Nine—two parents, six sons, and one daughter. See if you can find the missing number in this puzzle.
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. These tricky word puzzles will leave you stumped.
An Arab sheik is old and must leave his fortune to one of his two sons. He makes a proposition: Both sons will ride their camels in a race, and whichever camel crosses the finish line LAST will win the fortune for its owner. During the race, the two brothers wander aimlessly for days, neither willing to cross the finish line. In desperation, they ask a wise man for advice. He tells them something; then the brothers leap onto the camels and charge toward the finish line. What did the wise man say?
Answer: The rules of the race were that the owner of the camel that crosses the finish line last wins the fortune. The wise man simply told them to switch camels. Try these math riddles only the smartest can get right.
A man was walking in the rain. He was in the middle of nowhere. He had nothing and nowhere to hide. He came home all wet, but not a single hair on his head was wet. Why is that?
Answer: The man was bald. Here are some word search puzzles you can print for free.
Fourteen of the kids in the class are girls. Eight of the kids wear blue shirts. Two of the kids are neither girls or wear a blue shirt. If five of the kids are girls who wear blue shirts, how many kids are in the class?
Answer: 19. Test your brain with these short riddles.
Paul’s height is six feet, he’s an assistant at a butcher’s shop, and wears size 9 shoes. What does he weigh?
The person who makes it has no need for it. The person who purchases it does not use it. The person who does use it does not know he or she is. What is it?
Answer: A coffin. Don’t let the fun stop here! See if you can figure out these 12 detective riddles only the smartest can solve.
You’re escaping a maze, and there are three doors in front of you. The door on the left leads to a pit of lava. The door in the center leads to a room filled with deadly gas. The door on the right leads to a lion that hasn’t eaten in three months. Which door do you choose?
Answer: The door on the right. A lion that hasn’t eaten in three months would be dead. Can you master these math puzzles?
What has cities, but no houses; forests, but no trees; and water, but no fish?
Answer: A map.
If I am holding a bee, what do I have in my eye?
Answer: Beauty. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder (bee holder). These are the most challenging jigsaw puzzles you can buy.
How can 8 + 8 = 4?
Answer: When you think in terms of time. 8 AM + 8 hours= 4 o’clock.
The water level in a reservoir is low, but doubles every day. It takes 60 days to fill the reservoir. How long does it take for the reservoir to become half full?
Answer: 59 days. If the water level doubles every day, the reservoir on any given day was half the size the day prior. If the reservoir is full on day 60, that means it was half full on day 59, not on day 30. If you’re loving these challenges, you’ll get a kick out of these tongue twisters.
A farmer needs to take a fox, a chicken, and a sack of grain across a river. The only way across the river is by a small boat, which can only hold the farmer and one of the three items. Left unsupervised, the chicken will eat the grain, and the fox will eat the chicken. However, the fox won’t try to eat the grain, and neither the fox nor the chicken will wander off. How does the farmer get everything across the river?
Answer: The farmer must follow these steps.
- Take the chicken across the river.
- Come back with an empty boat.
- Take the grain across the river.
- Bring the chicken back.
- Take the fox across the river.
- Come back with an empty boat.
- Take the chicken across the river.
What is 3/7 chicken, 2/3 cat, and 2/4 goat?
Answer: Chicago. These are the best riddles for kids. Can you solve them?
A red house is made from red bricks. A blue house is made from blue bricks. A yellow house is made from yellow bricks. What is a green house made from?
A man describes his daughters, saying, “They are all blonde, but two; all brunette but two; and all redheaded but two.” How many daughters does he have?
Answer: Three. A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead.
If you love brain games, make sure you see what Wordle is all about.
If you have a 7-minute hourglass and an 11-minute hourglass, how can you boil an egg in exactly 15 minutes?
Answer: To boil the egg in exactly 15 minutes, follow these four steps.
- Start both hourglasses as you start boiling the egg.
- After the 7-minute hourglass runs out, turn it over to start it again.
- Four minutes later, when the 11-minute hourglass runs out, turn the 7-minute hourglass again.
- Wait for the 7-minute hourglass to run out, which will take another four minutes and get you to exactly 15 minutes of boiling time.
How far can a squirrel run into the woods?
Answer: Halfway. After that, he’s running back out of the woods. Does your brain hurt? Here are some easy riddles almost anyone can solve.
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?
Guess the next three letters in the series GTNTL.
Answer: I, T, S. The complete sequence is the first letter of every word in the sentence.
What is next in this sequence of numbers: 1, 11, 21, 1211, 111221, 312211, ______?
Answer: 13112221. Each sequence of numbers is a verbal representation of the sequence before it. Thus, starting with 1, the next sequence would be “one one,” or “11.” That sequence is followed by “two one,” or “21,” and so on and so forth.
You are in a place called Wally’s World and there is only one law. There is a mirror, but no reflection. There is pizza with cheese, but not sausage. There is pepper, but no salt. There is a door, yet no entrance or exit. What is the law?
Answer: Each word in Wally’s World must contain double letters. See how you do with these viral riddles and puzzles.
Four people arrive at a river with a narrow bridge that can only hold two people at a time. It’s nighttime and they have one torch that has to be used when crossing the bridge. Person A can cross the bridge in one minute, B in two minutes, C in five minutes, and D in eight minutes. When two people cross the bridge together, they must move at the slower person’s pace. Can they all get across the bridge in 15 minutes or less?
Answer: Yes, they can cross in exactly 15 minutes. The group of four must follow these three steps.
- First, A and B cross the bridge and A brings the light back. This takes 3 minutes.
- Next, C and D cross and B brings the light back. This takes another 10 minutes.
- Finally, A and B cross again. This takes another 2 minutes.
In my hand, I have two coins that are newly minted. Together, they total 30 cents. One isn’t a nickel. What are the coins?
Answer: A quarter and a nickel.
Find a number less than 100 that is increased by one-fifth of its value when its digits are reversed.
Answer: 45 (1/5 of 45 = 9, 9 + 45 = 54).
Which three letters can frighten a thief away?
Answer: ICU. Getting all of these brain teasers right? Try out these printable crossword puzzles to test your smarts.
Four cars come to a four-way stop, all coming from a different direction. They can’t decide who got there first, so they all go forward at the same time. They do not crash into each other, but all four cars go. How is this possible?
Answer: They all made right-hand turns.
Is the capital of Kentucky pronounced Louisville or Luee-ville?
Answer: Neither. The capital is Frankfurt.
Put a coin into an empty bottle and insert a cork into the neck. How can you remove the coin without removing the cork or breaking the bottle?
Answer: Push the cork down into the bottle. Then shake the coin out.
What letter comes next 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.
I have a large money box, 10 inches wide, and 5 inches tall. Roughly how many coins can I place until my money box is no longer empty?
Answer: Just one, after which it will no longer be empty. These are the hardest puzzles you can get on Amazon.
What do an island and the letter “t” have in common?
Answer: They are both in the middle of water. Here’s how to solve a jigsaw puzzle fast.
What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven?
Answer: Take the first letter of each word and place it at the end. It will spell the same word backward.
What fastens two people yet touches only one?
Answer: A wedding ring.
Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?
Answer: Man. He crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then walks with a cane as an old man. These are the most famous riddles in history.
An elevator is on the ground floor. There are five people in the elevator including me. When the lift reaches the first floor, one person gets out and two people get in. The lift goes up to the second floor, three people get out, five people get in. It then goes up to the next floor up, no-one gets out but 12 people get in. Halfway up to the next floor up the elevator cable snaps, it crashes to the floor. Everyone else dies in the elevator except me. How did I survive?
Answer: I got off on the first floor. How many of these trick questions can you answer correctly?
Which word logically comes next in this sequence? Spots, tops, pots, opts…
Answer: Stop. All the words are anagrams of each other. Check out these cool optical illusions that will make you question everything.
Which tire doesn’t move when a car turns right?
Answer: A spare tire. These are the classic board games everyone should own.
What 4-letter word can be written forward, backward or upside down, and can still be read from left to right?
Answer: Noon. Try these Christmas brain teasers that are almost impossible to solve.
rd.com, Getty Images (2)
Mr. Jenkins is trying to find a butler he can really trust. Out of the four candidates, James, Hudson, Paul, and Steven, he knows that two are honest and the other two are compulsive liars. From what each one of them says, can you work out which two are the liars?
JAMES: “Neither Paul nor Hudson tells the truth.”
HUDSON: “If Steven is a liar, then James is trustworthy.”
PAUL: “If, and only if, James is not an honest person, then Steven, too, has a rather loose attitude to the truth.”
STEVEN: “What Paul said is untrue.”
Answer: James and Paul are the two liars. You have to see these optical illusion photos—they aren’t what they seem!
rd.com, Getty Images (2)
It’s not easy to figure out who’s who when the Brewer family gets together. The brother of Nick’s uncle Manny is named Mark. Lisa’s grandparents are Nick’s parents. Mark is married to Lisa’s grandma. The children of Angela’s daughter Sandra are named Lisa and Sasha. So who is Angela’s brother-in-law?
Answer: Manny is Angela’s brother-in-law. Next, try out these riddles for adults that will test your smarts.