Advanced Level >> Games >> Game in which groups of students try to catch each other out with false definitions of difficult words.

Honest and Dishonest Definitions.


British/Irish ESL teachers will recognise this games as the old radio and TV game called 'Call My Bluff'.

It gives good speaking and listening practice as well as enabling students to practice the language of defining: 'it's something you use to...', 'this object is used to...', etc, etc.

The class is split into two teams. Each is given an advanced mono-lingual dictionary with which to find, for instance, five difficult words they believe the other team won't know. If you are worried the teams might pick words which are either too easy or too obscure, teachers can help with this process.

Once the words are chosen, each word must have as many definitions written for it as there are team members. Only one of these definitions will be the correct one - the others will be the red herrings.

So, let's say one team chooses 'tome' as their word. There are 4 students in each group and so four definitions must be written. When it is that team's turn to read out definitions, the students take it in turns to read out all the definitions for 'tome', that is - the one true definition and the three false ones.

Teachers should try and encourage students to ham it up a bit to try and fool the other team into believing one of the false definitions: this is where points are won and lost. You can allow the listening team to answer a couple of follow-up questions to try and catch out the team who are reading out the definitions.

Points can be awarded as follows:

- finding correct definition 1 point
- finding correct definition without questions 2 points
- tricking other team 1 point

Here are the eight words I used with my Level 6 class last time I played this game to give you an idea. The difficulty of words chosen will obviously depend on cultural setting, too.

- Tome
- Zamboni
- Stanchion
- Cuticle
- Nadir
- Spirit Level
- Night shift
- M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction) Premium

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