The Official Blog of the 2013 NAQT HSNCT

Quizbowl Lingo

Quizbowl has many terms that may be baffling to an outsider, but are regularly used by quizbowlers. Many teams have more extensive lexicons of their own personal diction, but here are a few of the more commonly used terms:

Buzz-in” – (v.)  To ring in using one’s signaling device (i.e. like on Jeopardy!) and then have a chance to answer the question. (Also known as “ringing in”; can also be used interchangeably with “buzz”)
“I buzzed in just before the other team.”

Buzzer Race” – (n.) A point in a question where very obvious clue is given that results in most players trying to buzz-in at the same time. Question writers usually try to prevent this from happening.
“Dang it, I lost the buzzer race on John Brown again; what other Kansas abolitionists are there?”

Distribution” – (n.) The way in which various subjects are weighted as answers in either a packet or in the tournament as a whole. Often an object of fierce debate amongst quizbowlers.
“What do you mean you want to add more minor sports questions to the distribution? There’s enough hockey in the distribution as it is!”

Moderator“- (n.) The person who reads the questions to both of the teams and keeps track of the time limits on each response. (Also called a “reader”)
Our last moderator read so fast we finished all the questions in the packet before time ran out.

Neg” – (n., v.)  To buzz in before the question has ended and answer incorrectly, costing one’s team 5 points (Also known as a “neg-5” or an “interrupt”). Negs are especially bad because the other team then has a chance to hear the rest of the question and answer if they know it.
“Negging with ‘Monte Carlo’ for ‘The Vatican’ was a really bad neg.”

Packet” – (n.)  Each match in quizbowl uses one packet of questions; the questions at the HSNCT are the same across all rounds that are played at the same time.
This packet was full of questions I didn’t know; consequently, we lost badly.”

Power” – (n., v.) To buzz in before a certain point in the question (usually indicated within the question by an asterisk) early enough to be rewarded with 15 points (instead of 10 for just getting the tossup right). Sometimes accompanied by a shout of “FIFTEEEEEN” by obnoxious players to emphasize the impressiveness of the early buzz.
“I powered that question on Jane Eyre because I was reading it on the plane ride here.”
“I don’t care if we win or not, I just want to finish the tournament with more powers than negs.”

Trash” – (n.)  Nonacademic questions, usually some form of pop culture or sports. Often a source of derision.
“We lost to some random C team because there was so much trash in that packet!”


1 Comment »

  1. Small note: “FIFTEEEEEN” shouts are usually meant to emphasize that the extra points are undeserved (e.g. because an overly-famous piece of information was mentioned too early in the question), not to emphasize the impressiveness of the buzz. This doesn’t change the fact that they are indeed obnoxious, and no one should use them.

    Comment by Matt Jackson — May 21, 2013 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

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