Only a dozen people have won the top prize on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' — see if you can answer the million-dollar questions

Getty ImagesRegis Philbin congratulating a winner on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’
  • The game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has been on the air for 21 years. It started in the UK in 1998, and moved across the pond to the US in 1999.
  • Throughout that time, few have won the top prize. Only 12 have done it in the US, and only five in the UK.
  • We’ve found 25 of the million-dollar questions asked on the show.
  • Do you think you have what it takes to become a millionaire?
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has been in our lives for many years. Whether you prefer the prime-time version hosted by Regis Philbin, the first syndicated seasons with Meredith Viera, or the king of reality TVChris Harrison’s newer seasons, anyone who’s watched the show has asked themselves the same question – could I do that? And now, with an updated version airing this April with new host Jimmy Kimmel, there might be even more questions to answer.

Insider has picked 25 of the million-dollar questions asked on the show, from both the original UK version and the American remake. In the US, 12 people have won the top prize, while five have won in the UK.

Could you win it? Keep scrolling to find out.

Which of these US presidents appeared on the television series “Laugh-In?”

Buena Vista TelevisionJohn Carpenter on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Lyndon Johnson

B: Richard Nixon

C: Jimmy Carter

D: Gerald Ford

And the answer is … Richard Nixon.

US Government PhotoRichard Nixon.

Nixon appeared on the comedy show while he was on the campaign trail in 1968.

The Earth is approximately how many miles away from the Sun?

Buena Vista TelevisionDan Blonsky on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: 9.3 million

B: 39 million

C: 93 million

D: 193 million

The Earth is approximately … 93 million miles away from the Sun.

Matt York/AP ImagesThe sun rises in Roswell, New Mexico.

Or 150 million kilometers.

Which insect shorted out an early supercomputer and inspired the term “computer bug”?

Buena Vista TelevisionJoe Trela on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Moth

B: Roach

C: Fly

D: Japanese beetle

A … moth was found inside the computer of scientist Grace Hopper.

Simon Kovacic/ShutterstockA moth.

Hopper’s notes from September 9, 1947, show she had encountered a moth inside her computer.

Which of the following men does not have a chemical element named for him?

Buena Vista TelevisionBob House on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Albert Einstein

B: Niels Bohr

C: Isaac Newton

D: Enrico Fermi

It’s … Isaac Newton.

Georgios Kollidas/ShutterstockIsaac Newton.

Poor Newton – the other three have Einsteinium, Bohrium, and Fermium, respectively.

Which of the following landlocked countries is entirely contained within another country?

Buena Vista TelevisionKim Hunt on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Lesotho

B: Burkina Faso

C: Mongolia

D: Luxembourg

The country of … Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa.


Prince Harry himself spent two months working in Lesotho, and now his charity Sentebale is focused on HIV/AIDS prevention in Lesotho and Botswana.

In the children’s book series, where is Paddington Bear originally from?

Buena Vista TelevisionDavid Goodman on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: India

B: Peru

C: Canada

D: Iceland

Paddington is … Peruvian.

Kathy Hutchins/ShutterstockPaddington bear.

Paddington was raised by his Aunt Lucy in Peru, after being orphaned due to an earthquake, according to Paddington’s website.

Who is credited with inventing the first mass-produced helicopter?

Buena Vista TelevisionKevin Olmstead on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Igor Sikorsky

B: Elmer Sperry

C: Ferdinand von Zeppelin

D: Gottlieb Daimler

The first mass-produced helicopter was invented by … Igor Sikorsky.

Mark and Anna Photography/ShutterstockA helicopter.

The world’s first practical helicopter, the VS-300, took flight on September 14, 1939, in Stratford, Connecticut. It was designed by Sikorksy.

What letter must appear on the beginning of the registration number of all non-military aircraft in the US?

Buena Vista TelevisionBernie Cullen on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: N

B: A

C: U

D: L

The letter … N must be on all non-military aircrafts in the US.

Rick Maiman/AP ImagesAll the Ns on JetBlue aeroplanes.

The US received N as its designated letter at the International Air Navigation Convention in 1919, and the earliest legal requirement dates back to 1927.

During World War II, US soldiers used the first commercial aerosol cans to hold what?

Buena Vista TelevisionEd Toutant on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Cleaning fluid

B: Antiseptic

C: Insecticide

D: Shaving cream

The first aerosol cans held … insecticide.

Keystone Features/Getty ImagesA soldier spraying new insecticide aerosol into a tent of a sleeping soldier to kill any mosquitoes inside in March 1945.

The soldiers fighting in more tropical climates, like the South Pacific, used the cans to fight off the spread of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

The US icon Uncle Sam was based on Samuel Wilson who worked during the War of 1812 as a what?

Buena Vista TelevisonKevin Smith on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Meat inspector

B: Mail deliverer

C: Historian

D: Weapons mechanic

The real Uncle Sam was a … meat inspector.

A resolution passed by Congress in 1961 recognised Sam Wilson as the namesake of the national symbol.

Who did artist Grant Wood use as the model for the farmer in his classic painting “American Gothic”?

Buena Vista TelevisionNancy Christy on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Travelling salesman

B: Local sheriff

C: His dentist

D: His butcher

The man in “American Gothic” is based off Wood’s … dentist.

brandonht/Shutterstock‘American Gothic.’

Wood’s dentist was Byron McKeeby, who was 62 years old in 1930.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, what is the approximate number of people who have ever lived on earth?

Buena Vista TelevisionSam Murray on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: 5o billion

B: 100 billion

C: 1 trillion

D: 5 trillion

The total world’s population in history was, at the time, estimated to be … 100 billion.

REUTERS/StringerA crowded beach in China.

It is now actually about 108 billion, to be precise.

Khrushchev’s famous 1960 shoe-banging outburst at the UN was in response to a delegate from what nation?

Buena Vista TelevisionLyn Payne on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Australia

B: The Netherlands

C: The Philippines

D: Turkey

It was … the Philippines!

AP ImagesNikita Khrushchev pounds his desk at the United Nations with his fist during a General Assembly debate on colonialism at the UN.

It’s unclear if the shoe-banging actually took place, but Khrushchev was certainly pounding his fist on the desk.

The song “God Bless America” was originally written for what 1918 musical?

Buena Vista TelevisionArmand Kachigian on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: “Oh Lady! Lady!!”

B: “Yip, Yip, Yaphank”

C: “Blossom Time”

D: “Watch Your Step”

“God Bless America” was written for … “Yip, Yip, Yaphank.”

Bettmann/Getty ImagesAmerican songwriter Irving Berlin at the piano surrounded by American soldiers.

However, the song didn’t make it into the musical’s final cut.

Now used to refer to a cat, the word “tabby” is derived from the name of a district of what world capital?

Buena Vista TelevisionJeff Gross on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Baghdad

B: New Delhi

C: Cairo

D: Moscow

Tabby is derived from … the capital of Iraq, Baghdad.

REUTERS/Khalid al MousilyA protest in Baghdad.

The word evolved from the word “attabi,” which was the name of a specific type of silk cloth made in Baghdad, according to Deseret News.

Neurologists believe that the brain’s medial ventral prefrontal cortex is activated when you do what?

Buena Vista TelevisionTodd Kim on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Have a panic attack

B: Remember a name

C: Get a joke

D: Listen to music

The prefrontal cortex is activated when you … get a joke.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesRoyals can joke, too.

According to The Science of Psychotherapy, “[the prefrontal cortex] has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour.”

Compiled by Benjamin Franklin in 1737, “The Drinker’s Dictionary” included all but which of these synonyms for “drunkenness”?

Disney–ABC Domestic TelevisionChip Esten on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Nimptopsical

B: Buzzey

C: Pifflicated

D: Staggerish

The word is … pifflicated.


Pifflicated does mean drunk, but Franklin didn’t include it in his book.

What club did astronaut Alan Shepard use to make his famous golf shot on the moon?

Buena Vista TelevisionRob and Mary Beth McNally on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Nine iron

B: Sand wedge

C: Six iron

D: Seven iron

Shepard used a … six iron.

AP ImagesApollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard, who hit three golf balls while on the moon, conducts an experiment near a lunar crater.

Shepard smuggled his golf club onto the ship – only a few people at NASA knew his plan.

Famous paediatrician and author Dr. Benjamin Spock won an Olympic gold medal in what sport?

Buena Vista TelevisionMary Burke on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Swimming

B: Rowing

C: Fencing

D: Sailing

Dr. Spock was a gold-medal winning … rower.

John Filo/AP ImagesDr. Benjamin Spock, a member of the 1924 Yale Olympic gold medal crew, on June 2, 1978.

Spock was on the eight-man American team that won the gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

How many days make up a non-leap year in the Islamic calendar?

Buena Vista TelevisionMoe Cain on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: 365

B: 400

C: 354

D: 376

The Islamic calendar has … 354 days.

AP Photo/Mosa’ab ElshamyThe pilgrimage at Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic calendar has 11 less days than the widely-used Gregorian calendar, which has 365 days in a non-leap year.

What scientist first determined that human sight results from images projected onto the retina?

Buena Vista TelevisionRobert ‘Bob-O’ Essig on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Galileo

B: Copernicus

C: Johannes Kepler

D: Isaac Newton

It was … Johannes Kepler.

Anamaria Mejia/ShutterstockJohannes Kepler statue.

Kepler offered the first retinal theory in 1604.

Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?

Sony Pictures TelevisionJudith Keppel on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Henry I

B: Henry II

C: Richard I

D: Henry V

Eleanor of Aquitaine’s husband was … King Henry II.

Georgios Kollidas/ShutterstockKing Henry II

The two were together for 14 years, before Eleanor left due to Henry’s multiple infidelities.

If you planted the seeds of Quercus robur, what would grow?

Sony Pictures TelevisionDavid Edwards on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Trees

B: Flowers

C: Vegetables

D: Grain

Those seeds would produce … oak trees.

Alexander Tolstykh/ShutterstockOak tree in a field.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there are about 450 species of trees and shrubs considered to be oaks.

Which scientific unit is named after an Italian nobleman?

Sony Pictures TelevisionRobert Brydges on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Pascal

B: Ohm

C: Volt

D: Hertz

The scientific unit is … the volt.

Prachaya Roekdeethaweesab/ShutterstockAlessandro Volta.

The volt is named after scientist Alessandro Volta, who invented the first electrical battery in 1800.

Which of these is not one of the American Triple Crown horse races?

Sony Pictures TelevisionPat Gibson on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’

A: Arlington Million

B: Belmont Stakes

C: Kentucky Derby

D: Preakness Stakes

The only race not to be part of the Triple Crown is … the Arlington Million.

Horsephotos/Getty ImagesThe Arlington Million.

The Arlington Million is held at Arlington Park, in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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