Brainteaser – Concept, structure, characteristics and examples

We explain what a brain teaser is, its structure, characteristics and purpose. Also, examples with different themes.

In a brain teaser, a specific referent is described in an enigmatic or figurative way.

What is a brain teaser?

The brain teasers they are a simple puzzle form, usually rhymed, in which a specific reference is enigmatically or figuratively described, so that the other person tries to discover it. It is, at the same time, a popular game form as well as a teaching instrument for children used very often in schools, children’s books and in the family itself.

Brain teasers often include in their formulation word games, linguistic turns and other creative mechanisms, as well as different methods of rhyme and musicality, depending on the language. For this reason, they are often distinguished from the riddle, since the riddle usually has a richer and more complex linguistic structure, which is why it is academically classified within the lyrical, as well as the popular literary tradition.

The common structure of brain teaser:

  • Introductory formulas, like “guess, guess” or “I’m not going to guess”.
  • Some type of guiding element, which introduces the clues needed to find the answer, often breaking down their words or disguising them in a context where they can go unnoticed. For instance: “Water stop by my house / cate of my heart ”(answer: the avocado).

Although the origin of the brain teasers is unknown, there is a record of their presence in remote antiquity, in Sanskrit texts, classical legends or even in the Bible.

Its name comes from the Latin voices ad- (“Towards”) and divinusi (“divine”, “relative to the gods”). In other words, they perpetuate the very human and very ancient logic of wanting to reveal the hidden, to find the answers to the mysterious, to that which challenges their understanding and which was initially associated with the divine.

Characteristics of the brain teasers

In general, brain teasers are characterized by the following:

  • They are a form of play on words and thought, transmitted orally from one generation to another.
  • They are generally aimed at a child audienceTherefore, they deal with animals, everyday objects or easily recognizable references, although disguised through a poetic description.
  • They are solved through the use of imagination, trying to figure out from the clues provided what they mean.
  • They present a rhyme or musicality, generally through eight-syllable verses (eight syllables).

Purpose of the brain teasers

Like most brain teasers and word games, brain teasers have no purpose beyond entertainment. However, they are usually used as a pedagogical instrument, that is, in early childhood education, to encourage imagination, deductive thinking and reflection about language.

In fact, they are common in textbooks and nursery rhymes. In addition, they are a good way to get started in the world of metaphor and description.

Short brain teasers

Here are some examples of short brain teasers:

  • “In the middle of the sky I am / without being a star or star” (The letter E).
  • “I tell you and you don’t understand it / I’ll repeat it to you” (The cloth).
  • “Small as a mouse / and take care of the house like a lion” (The key).
  • “Inside coal, outside wood / and I’ll go with you to school” (The pencil).
  • “He has been in the sea for years / and he still cannot swim” (The sand).
  • “What is it / that runs a lot and has no feet” (The wind).
  • “And it is, and it is / and you can’t guess / even a month goes by” (The thread).
  • “He is a great man / with a green hat / and brown pants” (The tree).

Animal brain teasers

Here are some examples of brain teasers about animals:

  • “On high lives / on high dwells / on high weaves / the weaver” (The spider).
  • “He sings but not at mass / he has a crown and he is not a king / he has spurs and he is not a rider / can you tell me who he is?” (The rooster).
  • “Handle of cotton / that jumps without rhyme or reason” (The sheep).
  • “Jump and jump / and the tail is missing” (The frog).
  • “Striped is my pajamas / but I never go to bed” (The zebra).
  • “Loaded they go / loaded they come / and on their way / they don’t stop” (The ants).
  • “About the cow, the o / to see if you get it right, or not” (The cod).
  • “Claw but does not kill / leg but not cow” (The tick).
  • “How many hands did the sea give / to this strange passenger / who want to hire him / to play as an archer” (The octopus).
  • “I carry my house on my shoulder / walking without having feet / and I leave my mark / with a silver thread” (The snail).
  • “He is not a bed / nor is he a lion / and he disguises himself a lot” (The chameleon).

Fruit brain teasers

Here are some examples of brain teasers about fruits:

  • “Ark closed / good-looking / there is no carpenter / who knows how to make it” (The nut).
  • “In Chi’s house / they killed Ri / Mo came / and said Ya” (The cherimoya).
  • “I want you to bring me a world / and within the world / the sea” (The coconut).
  • “I am a very neat lady / with many petticoats without a stitch / although many I have the best / I always carry the dirtiest and worst” (The onion).
  • “A very slippery lady / with a green hat and a red blouse” (The strawberry).
  • “White on the inside / green on the outside / if you want to guess / wait” (The pear).
  • “They treat me as a saint / and with me I bring the day / I am round and red / and my blood is very cold” (The watermelon).
  • “He has eyes and does not see / He has a crown and is not a king / He has scales without being a fish / What strange thing must he be?” (Pineapple).
  • “Gold seems / Silver is not / who does not guess / is very stupid” (The banana).