12 Insanely Hard-To-Spell Words That Won Past Spelling Bees

The championship round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee — the Super Bowl of spelling — airs tonight on ESPN.

While the point of the Bee is to spell the words, not define them, half of the fun for the viewer is to get a taste of some of the more arcane elements of language.

Who could forget 2013 champion Arvind Mahankali’s winning word, “knaidel”?

The 13-year-old from Queens correctly spelled the German-derived word, meaning a kind of Jewish dumpling, stunning even himself.

We went back through the history of Spelling Bee winners to find the coolest words that won a kid a trophy.

Ordered sequentially by year:

2009: Laodician (adj.) – lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics

Spelled by Kavya Shivashankar.

David Tidmarsh george w bushAPDavid Tidmarsh meets George W. Bush

2004:autochthonous (adj.) – formed or originating in the place where found, native

Spelled by David Tidmarsh

2002: prospicience (noun) – the act of looking forward, foresight

Spelled by Pratyush Buddiga

1999: logorrhea (adj.) – excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness

Spelled by Nupur Lala

1997: euonym (noun) – a name well suited to the person, place, or thing named

Spelled by Rebecca Sealfon

vivisepulture (noun) – the act or practice of burying alive

Spelled by Wendy Guey

1989: spoliator (noun) – One who plunders, pillages, despoils, or robs

Spelled by Scott Isaacs

elucubrate (verb)- to solve, write or compose by working studiously at night.

Spelled by Jacques Bailly

1962: esquamulose (adj.) – Not covered in scales, or of scale like objects, a smooth skin

Spelled by Nettie Crawford and Michael Day

1961: smaragdine (adj.) Of or relating to emeralds, having the colour of emeralds.

Spelled by John Capehart

1959: eudaemonic (adj.) – producing happiness, based on the idea of happiness as the proper end of conduct

Spelled by Henry Feldman

1951: insouciant (adj.) – lighthearted unconcern, nonchalance

Spelled by Irving Belz

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