A friend of mine made a simple bar bet, in which he wrote down a list of ten words. Turning it around to show me, he covered up the first two words with his hand. The eight words below his hand were the following:


He bet me \$20 that I would not be able to guess the first words on the logically-ordered list on my first try, though I could name them in any order. Of course, I'm thinking, I'll just say 'FIRST' and 'SECOND', easy $20. So I did. And he removed his hand. And much to my surprise, I was out twenty bucks for my haste.

What were actually the first two words on the list?

  • $\begingroup$ A slight variation (not worth another question): ___ Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh ___ Ninth Tenth $\endgroup$
    – supercat
    Oct 25 '14 at 2:16
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ never take a bar bet if you dont already know the answer $\endgroup$
    – Keltari
    Oct 27 '14 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ @supercat So what is the answer to your sub-question? $\endgroup$
    – Trenin
    Oct 28 '14 at 19:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Trenin: Unison and octave (musical intervals). $\endgroup$
    – supercat
    Oct 28 '14 at 19:59


were the first two words.

  • $\begingroup$ Correct. At first glance, one sees a sequence of ordinal numbers, but if the first two are WHOLE and HALF, they're a sequence of ever-decreasing fractions. $\endgroup$ Oct 23 '14 at 20:45
  • 21
    $\begingroup$ Although note that this only really works in American English - A British English speaker would likely never use "A fourth" instead of "A quarter". $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Oct 23 '14 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JonStory Don't think this works in American (or Canadian) English either; we say "quarter" too. $\endgroup$
    – Trenin
    Oct 28 '14 at 19:46

Senior and Junior. The list was suffixes for descendants with identical names, such as King George IV, which is King George the Fourth.

EDIT: Answer 2 Whole and half. One whole, one half, one third, etc.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's a good answer, but it's not the one I'm looking for. Normally, in that context, you wouldn't use "Third", "Fourth", etc... you'd use Roman numerals. $\endgroup$ Oct 23 '14 at 20:38
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I'd also argue that this isn't true. The current British Monarch, for example, is Queen Elizabeth the Second. I've never heard of a monarch referred to as Senior or Junior. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Oct 23 '14 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Jon This isn't specifically referring to monarchs. Many times, in the US at least, if a father and a son have the same first and last name, they are referred to as Junior and Senior. $\endgroup$
    – mdc32
    Oct 23 '14 at 22:43
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    $\begingroup$ Ah my apologies, the use of King George as a reference confused me :) $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Oct 23 '14 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it's just not common to see a name passed down to a 3rd generation, and fairly rare to see it passed down to a 4th generation. The most accessible example people will be familiar with is historical royalty. $\endgroup$
    – Jason
    Oct 24 '14 at 19:30

They could be “Main” and “Second”. In the town I live in (and perhaps in some other small towns) west-side streets parallel to Main are $2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th}, 5^{th}$ etc. (East-side streets are B, C, D...; ie, Main does double duty standing in for $1^{st}$ St. and A St.)

map snip

  • $\begingroup$ Thought this one too. $\endgroup$
    – Timme
    Nov 21 '16 at 15:40

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