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.
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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