- Early Friday morning, the Scripps National Spelling Bee announced an eight-way tie for the championship title.
- ESPN first broadcasted the event in 1994; over the past 25 years, contestants have spelled a variety of challenging words to earn the $US50,000 prize.
- We listed the winning words from the past quarter century, along with their definitions from Merriam-Webster.
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This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee had not one, but eight champions.
Each of the winners correctly spelled their given word: auslaut, erysipelas, bougainvillea, aiguillette, pendeloque, palama, cernuous, and odylic. A mix of adjectives and nouns, the words’ definitions range from the webbing on the feet of aquatic birds (palama) to a genus of American shrubs (bougainvillea).
Since the spelling bee’s inception in 1925, winners have spelled increasingly difficult words to earn the coveted trophy and $US50,000 prize. The past 25 years – broadcasted live on ESPN and ABC – include a diverse group of dictionary entries, from medical jargon to political terminology.
This year, the Bee ran out of challenging words to give contestants, ending the final round with an “unprecedented” eight-way tie: Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja. The New York Times’Daniel Victor tweeted that the co-champions beat the dictionary.
Keep reading for a look at the winning words from the past quarter century, from “xanthosis” in 1995 to this year’s eight.
Definition of xanthosis: (noun) yellow discoloration of the skin from abnormal causes; a virus disease of the strawberry plant characterised by crinkling and curling, yellowing and dwarfing of the leaves, and stunting of the entire plant
Definition of vivisepulture: (noun) the act or practice of burying alive
Definition of euonym: (noun) a name well suited to the person, place, or thing named
Definition of chiaroscurist: (noun) an artist who specialises in chiaroscuro
Definition of logorrhea: (noun) excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness
Definition of démarche: (noun) a course of action; manoeuvre; a diplomatic or political initiative or manoeuvre; a petition or protest presented through diplomatic channels
Definition of succedaneum: (noun) substitute
Definition of prospicience: (noun) the act of looking forward; foresight
Definition of pococurante: (adjective) indifferent, nonchalant
Definition of autochthonous: (adjective) indigenous, native; formed or originating in the place where found
Definition of appoggiatura: (noun) an embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone and usually written as a note of smaller size
Definition of Ursprache: (noun) a parent language; especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages
Definition of serrefine: (noun) a small forceps for clamping a blood vessel
Definition of guerdon: (noun) reward, recompense
Definition of Laodicean: (adjective) lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics
Medical Definition of stromuhr: (noun) a rheometer designed to measure the amount and speed of blood flow through an artery
Definition of guetapens: (noun) ambush, snare, trap
Definition of cymotrichous: (adjective) having the hair wavy
Definition of knaidel: (noun) matzo ball
2014: feuilleton, stichomythia
Definition of feuilleton: (noun) a part of a European newspaper or magazine devoted to material designed to entertain the general reader; something (such as an instalment of a novel) printed in a feuilleton; a novel printed in installments; a work of fiction catering to popular taste; a short literary composition often having a familiar tone and reminiscent content
Definition of stichomythia: (noun) dialogue especially of altercation or dispute delivered by two actors in alternating lines (as in classical Greek drama)
2015: scherenschnitte, nunatak
Definition of scherenschnitte: (noun) the art of cutting paper into decorative designs
Definition of nunatak: (noun) a hill or mountain completely surrounded by glacial ice
2016: Feldenkrais, gesellschaft
Medical Definition of Feldenkrais: (trademark) used for a system of aided body movements intended to increase bodily awareness and ease tension
Definition of gesellschaft: (noun) a rationally developed mechanistic type of social relationship characterised by impersonally contracted associations between persons; a community or society characterised by this relationship
Definition of marocain: (noun) a ribbed crepe fabric used in women’s clothing
Definition of koinonia: (noun) the Christian fellowship or body of believers; intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community
2019: auslaut, erysipelas, bougainvillea, aiguillette, pendeloque, palama, cernuous, odylic
Definition of auslaut: (noun) final sound in a word or syllable; end position of a sound in a word or syllable
Definition of erysipelas: (noun) an acute febrile disease associated with intense edematous local inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissues caused by a hemolytic streptococcus
Definition of bougainvillea: (noun) any of a genus (Bougainvillaea) of the four-o’clock family of ornamental tropical American woody vines and shrubs with brilliant purple or red floral bracts
Definition of aiguillette: (noun) aglet; specifically, a shoulder cord worn by designated military aides
Definition of pendeloque: (noun) a diamond or other gemstone cut in the form of a pear-shaped brilliant with a table; briolette; a usually pear-shaped glass pendant used for ornamenting a lamp or chandelier
Definition of palama: (noun) the webbing on the feet of aquatic birds
Definition of cernuous: (adjective) inclining or nodding; pendulous; dropping
Definition of odylic: (adjective) of or relating to odyl