A brainteaser is a type of riddle that makes one think outside the box. Some brainteasers are easy, some are a little harder, and some can really make you ponder for a while. Often, when you finally hear the answer, you feel ignorant or silly, because it should have been obvious to you. However, brainteasers are fun. Therefore, we keep testing ourselves and hoping we get better at solving them.
Our collection of brainteasers includes brainteasers for kids and for adults. Those for adults have some longer, more complicated brainteasers to challenge your mind. We close with a collection of brainteasers without answers, so that you can test your ability to solve brainteasers.
Table of Contents
Kids love brainteasers, as long as they do not get too frustrated trying to figure them out. Our collection of brainteasers for kids takes that into consideration. Most of the answers are fairly obvious if kids listen carefully and think for a moment. Adults will have fun sharing these with their children, teachers with their students, and kids with their friends.
- There are three houses. One is red, one is blue, and one is white. If the red house is to the left of the house in the middle, and the blue house is to the right to the house in the middle, where is the white house?In Washington, D.C.!
- You are in a cabin and it is pitch black. You have one match on you. Which do you light first, the newspaper, the lamp, the candle, or the fire?You light the match first!
- Who is bigger: Mr. Bigger, Mrs. Bigger, or their baby?The baby, because he is a little bigger.
- Mike is a butcher. He is 5’10” tall. What does he weigh?Meat
- A farmer has 17 sheep and all but nine die. How many are left?Nine
- How far can a rabbit run into the woods?Halfway. After that, he is running out of the woods.
- In a year, there are 12 months. Seven months have 31 days. How many months have 28 days?They all do.
- What are the next three letters in the following sequence?J, F, M, A, M, J, J, A, __, __, __S, O, N. The sequence is first letter of the months of the year. September, October, and November are the next in the sequence.
- Jimmy’s mother had four children. She named the first Monday. She named the second Tuesday, and she named the third Wednesday. What is the name of the fourth child?Jimmy, because Jimmy’s mother had four children!
- Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?Mt. Everest. It was still the highest in the world. It just had not been discovered yet!
- Which is heavier? A pound of feathers or a pound of rocks?Neither. Both weigh a pound!
- What is full of holes but can still hold water?A sponge
- A family lives in a large tower apartment building, 10 floors high. Every day their son takes the elevator from the family’s apartment on the 10th floor to the ground floor and goes to school. When he returns in the afternoon, he uses the elevator to get to the fifth floor, and then uses the stairs for the remaining five floors. Why?Because he cannot reach the buttons higher than five.
- A plane crashes on the border of the U.S. and Canada. Where do they bury the survivors?You do not bury the SURVIVORS!
- I do not have any special powers, but I can predict the score of any football game before it begins. How can I do this?Well, the score before any football game is always zero to zero!
- You are driving a bus. At the first stop, two women get on. The second stop, three men get on and one woman gets off. At the third stop, three kids and their mom get on, and a man gets off. The bus is grey, and it is raining outside. What color is the bus driver’s hair?Whatever color your hair is! Remember, you are the bus driver!
- Imagine that you are in a boat, in the middle of the sea. Suddenly, you are surrounded by hungry sharks, just waiting to feed on you. How can you put an end to this?Stop imagining!
- Give me food, and I will live; give me water, and I will die. What am I?Fire
- Which travels faster? Hot or Cold?Hot is faster, because you can catch a cold.
- When you have me, you immediately feel like sharing me. But, if you do share me, you do not have me.A secret
- What can you hold without ever touching or using your hands?Your breath!
- First, I threw away the outside and cooked the inside. Then I ate the outside and threw away the inside. What did I eat?Corn on the cob
Brainteasers entangle the mind of the reader and make him forget his worries, at least for a while. Many adults find brainteasers work well as stress relievers. We have two lists of brainteasers for adults. One has longer brainteasers that are more difficult. The other has normal brainteasers for adults. Try out selection to relax and have fun.
- A lift is on the ground floor. There are four people in the lift including me.
When the lift reaches first, floor, one person gets out and three people get in.
The lift goes up to the second floor, 2 people get out 6 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 lift cable snaps, it crashes to the floor. Everyone else dies in the lift. How did I survive?Answer: I got out on the second floor!
- A man walks into a restaurant and the waiter says, “Good day, Admiral.”
Why did the waiter call the man an Admiral?Answer: Because he was wearing his uniform!
- I have no voice, yet I speak to you.
I tell of all things in the world that people do.I have leaves, but I am not a tree.I have pages, but I am not a bride.I have a spine, but I am not a man.I have hinges, but I am not a door.I have told you all. I cannot tell you more.What am I?Answer: A book
- A man pushes his car to a hotel and tells its owner that he is bankrupt. Why?He is playing Monopoly
- You are a cyclist in a cross-country race. Just before the crossing finish line, you overtake the person in second place. In what place did you finish?Second Place. If you pass the person in second, you take second place, and they become third.
- 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?Turn on the first two switches. Leave them on for 5 minutes. Once 5 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?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. There are only polar bears in the North Pole, and they are white!
- Crime Scene: A large wooden box was built with one door. The door was locked from the inside, and then nailed shut from the inside. The police break into the room. In the middle of the room there is a dead man hanging from the ceiling, with his shoes 3 feet off the ground. The only other thing in the room is a hammer lying in a puddle of water. Can you explain what happened?He committed suicide by hanging himself when the ice melted.
- You are in a cookie factory, and need to make a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies. The recipe calls for exactly 4 cups of sugar. Problem is that you have two buckets. One bucket holds 5 cups, the other 3 cups. Using these buckets, how can you measure exactly 4 cups of sugar?This is possible, and there are two ways to do it:
Solution 1: Fill the 3-cup bucket and pour it into the 5-cup bucket. Fill the 3-cup bucket again, and pour it into the 5-cup bucket until the 5-cup bucket is full. That will leave exactly 1 cup of sugar in the 3-cup bucket. Dump out the 5-cup bucket, and dump the 1 cup from the 3-cup bucket into the empty 5-cup bucket. This leaves 1 cup in the 5-cup bucket. Now fill the 3-cup bucket again and add it to the 5-cup bucket. Now you have exactly 4 cups of sugar in the 5-cup bucket!Solution 2: Fill the 5-cup bucket. Pour it into the 3-cup bucket. This leaves 2 cups in the 5-cup bucket. Dump out the 3-cup bucket. Now pour the 2 cups from the 5 cup into the 3 cup. Refill the 5 cup. Now pour the 5 cup into the 3 cup until the 3 cup is full. That will leave exactly 4 cups in the 5-cup bucket!
- A man is the owner of a winery who recently passed away. In his will, he left 21 barrels (seven of which are filled with wine, seven of which are half full, and seven of which are empty) to his three sons. However, the wine and barrels must be split, so that each son has the same number of full barrels, the same number of half-full barrels, and the same number of empty barrels. Note that there are no measuring devices handy. How can the barrels and wine be evenly divided?Two half-full barrels are dumped into one of the empty barrels. Two more half-full barrels are dumped into another one of the empty barrels. This results in nine full barrels, three half-full barrels, and nine empty barrels. Each son gets three full barrels, one half-full barrel, and three empty barrels.
- An Arab sheik is old and must will his fortune to one of his two sons. He makes a proposition. His two 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?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.
- You have a 3-gallon jug and a 5-gallon jug. You need to measure out exactly 7 gallons of water. How can you do it?Fill the 5-gallon jug, pour it into the 3-gallon jug until the 3 gallon is full, and leaving 2 gallons in the 5-gallon jug. Now pour the 3-gallon jug out. Pour the remaining 2 gallons from the 5 gallon into the empty 3-gallon jug. Now fill the 5 gallon from the faucet. You now have exactly 7 gallons.
- A man is on a game show. He is presented with two doors, one on the left, and one on the right. Behind one is 2 million dollars, and behind the other is a donkey. Choose the correct door to win the prize. There are also two men in front of the doors, and they know which door leads to the millions. One wears a black hat, and the other wears a white hat.The host explains that one of the men is a liar, and will always lie, and the other man will always tell the truth – but you do not know which is which.You can ask only one of the men only one question. What is the question, and which man do you ask to ensure you win the money?Answer: You ask either man the following question: “If I asked the other guy which door has the money, what would he say?” and then choose the opposite door. Work it out: If you ask the question to the liar, he will lie about the ‘correct’ answer, so you must choose the opposite door. If you ask the truth teller, he will tell the truth about the lie, so you can choose the opposite door as well.
- Cannibals in the jungle capture three men. The men are given one chance to escape with their lives. The men are lined up and bound to stakes such that one man can see the backs of the other two, the middle man can see the back of the front man, and the front man cannot see anybody. The men are shown five hats, three of which are black and two of which are white. Then the men are blindfolded, and one of the five hats is placed on each man’s head. The remaining two hats are hidden away. The blindfolds are removed. The men are told that if just one of the men can guess what hat he is wearing, they may all go free. Time passes. Finally, the front man, who cannot see anyone, correctly guesses the color of his hat. What color was it, and how did he guess correctly?The back man can see the hats worn by the two men in front of him. So, if both of those hats were white, he would know that the hat he wore was black. However, since he does not answer, he must see at least one black hat ahead of him. After it becomes apparent to the middle man that the back man cannot figure out what he is wearing, he knows that there is at least one black hat worn by himself and the front man. Knowing this, if the middle man saw a white hat in front of him, he would know that his own hat was black, and could answer the question correctly. But, since he does not answer, he must see a black hat on the front man. After it becomes apparent to the front man that neither of the men behind him can answer the question, he realizes the middle man saw a black hat in front of him. So he says, correctly, “My hat is black.”
- 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?His son.
- What words are pronounced differently by merely capitalizing the first letter?There are several, and there could be more: 1. job, Job 2. herb, Herb 3. polish, Polish
- A man 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?The catcher and the umpire.
- Your dad tells you that he will pay you $6.00 an hour for the 6 seconds that you take to wash your hands before dinner.
How much did you make for washing your hands?Answer: 1 cent
- There is a fishing trawler, with a ladder in it, leaning against a wall at the harbor. There are five oars and two fishing nets in the trawler. The distance between two consecutive steps on the ladder is 1 meter. If waves lashing against the wall rise half meter in every half hour, in how much time will six steps of the ladder get under the waves?The trawler rises with the waves, so no steps will go under water.
- When young, I am sweet in the sun.When middle-aged, I make you gay.When old, I am valued more than ever.Answer: Wine
- As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.Each wife had seven sacks,Each sack had seven cats,Each cat had seven kits.Kits, cats, sacks and wives,How many were going to St. Ives?Answer: One. Only I was going to St. Ives
Although these brainteasers are not as hard the previous ones, they still present a challenge. These brainteasers prepare you for our last group, where answers are not provided immediately!
- Guess the next three letters in the series GTNTL.I, T, S. The complete sequence is the first letter of every word in the sentence.
- A boy is walking down the road with a doctor. While the boy is the doctor’s son, the doctor is not the boy’s father. Then who is the doctor?The doctor is the boy’s mother.
- 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.The letter S
- Joseph and Lena are found dead on the floor with some water around. The windows are open and a strong wind draft is blowing the curtains around. How did they die?Joseph and Lena were goldfishes. The wind tipped their bowl over, hence killing them!
- What has a mouth, but cannot eat; moves, but has no legs; and has a bank, but cannot put money in it?River
- A man wanted to encrypt his password but he needed to do it in a way so that he could remember it. He had to use seven characters consisting of letters and numbers only (no symbols like ! or <). In order to remember it, he wrote down “You force heaven to be empty.” What is his password?Try to pronounce the sentence like these characters: u472bmt.
- A man condemned to death has the option of picking one of the mentioned three rooms. The first room is a furnace filled with flames. The second has armed men with loaded guns, while the third has lions starving for years. Which one should the man choose?The third room, because lions starving for years would be long dead!
- 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?Surname
- A man wanted to work, but he could not log in to his computer terminal successfully. He tried twice, but still his password did not work. He suddenly remembered that the passwords are reset every month for security purposes. So, he called his boss and said, “Hey boss, my password is out of date.”
His boss replied, “Yes, that’s right. The password is different. Listen carefully. I am sure, you can figure out the new one. The new one has the same amount of letters as your old password, but only four of the letters are the same.””Thanks boss.”With that, the man could correctly log into his station. What are both the new and old passwords?Answer: The old one was “out of date.” The new one is “different.” Both passwords contain the letters d, f, e, and t.
- The number 8,549,176,320 is a unique number. What is so special about it?This is the only number that includes all the digits arranged in alphabetical order.
- A man is headed to a mountain along with a lion, a goat, and a basket of vegetables. On the way, he needs to cross a river and the boat can only carry two things at a time. If he takes the vegetables, the lion will eat the goat. If he takes the lion, the goat will eat the vegetables. How does he cross the river?Trip 1: He takes the goat with him, leaving the lion and the vegetables behind. On reaching the other riverbank, he drops off the goat.Trip 2: He then comes back for the lion, leaving the vegetables behind. On reaching the bank this time, he drops the lion, and again takes the goat along.Trip 3: He drops off the goat again and takes the vegetables with him to the other shore.Trip 4: Lastly, he comes back alone for the goat.
- Your parents have six sons including you and each son has one sister. How many people are in the family?Nine. Two parents, six sons, and one daughter. All of them have one sister (not six sisters).
Now that you have read our collection, here are some good brainteasers without their answers for you to try.
- What 5-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?
- Find a number less than 100 that is increased by one-fifth of its value when its digits are reversed.
- A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs one dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
- What letter comes next in the following sequence? D R M F S L T_
- How many times can you subtract the number two from the number fifty?
- In British Columbia, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?
- Can you think of a common word that contains double C, double S and double L? Can you think of a second one?
- What number comes next in the following sequence? 2 4 8 10 20 _
- Without it, I am dead. If I am not, then then I am behind. What am I?
- If you wrote all of the numbers from 300 to 400 on a piece of paper, how many times would you have written the number 3?
- You are in a place called Jack’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?
- I come in different shapes and sizes. Parts of me are curved, other parts are straight. You can put me anywhere you like, but there is only one right place for me. What am I?
- What is black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you are all through with it?
- It goes in dry, it comes out wet, the longer it is in, the stronger it gets. What is it?
- I have no eyes, no legs, or ears, and I help move the earth. What am I?
- A truck is stuck under a bridge and the driver cannot get it out. A man walks by and stops to help. He easily gets the truck unstuck. How did he do it?
- How much dirt is there in a hole that is 3 feet deep, and 6 inches in diameter?
- What makes more as you take them?
- When can you add two to eleven and get one as the correct answer?
- A man went into a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone at the party who drunk the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die?
- 45 (1/5 of 45 = 9, 9 + 45 = 54)
- The ball costs 5 cents. One dollar more than 5 cents is $1.05, the sum of which is $1.10.
- D – each letter represents one note in the diatonic musical scale: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do
- After that, you would be subtracting from 48.
- You cannot take a picture with a wooden leg; you need a camera.
- 22 (the sequence alternates +2, x2)
- 120 (100 threes in the hundreds place + 10 threes in the tens place + 10 threes in the ones place)
- Everything (each word) in Jack’s World must contain double letters.
- A jigsaw puzzle piece
- A tea-bag
- An earthworm
- He let the air out of the tires.
- None, because a hole and contains no dirt!
- When you add two hours to eleven o’clock, you get one o’clock.
- The poison from the punch came from the ice cubes. When the man drank the punch, the ice was fully frozen. Gradually, as the ice cubes melted, the poison was released into the punch.
Brainteasers are popular for a number of reasons:
- Brainteasers help you improve your concentration and logical thinking.
- Brainteasers are good for sharing at parties and with friends.
- Brainteasers are fun!
For additional fun, try making up a few brainteasers of your own. Think of unusual relationships and situations, and then pose them to your family and friends. Brainteasers never get old! Puzzle on!