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5 Winning Words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee

August 26, 2021    7 min read

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is an annual spelling bee which has been held in the United States since 1925. The bee is a not-for-profit run by The E. W. Scripps Company. Although most of its participants are from the U.S., students from many countries have also competed in recent years and Indian-Americans have been dominating the competition.

The 2020 National Spelling Bee competition was suspended and later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time it had been cancelled since 1945 due to the World War.

In the final edition of the Language Fun blog post, we talk about 5 winning spelling bee words. Do you think you can figure out how to write these hard spelling bee words? Some of these may seem ridiculously easy but some of these are going to be new and interesting words.

  1. Knack
  2. Meaning: an ability, talent, or special skill needed to do something

    In 1928, this easy word (for today’s ace spellers) won Betty Robinson the bee so clearly this was hard for the rest of the contestants that year! Over the years, the bee has gotten progressively harder and in 2019, the bee ran out of words and saw 8 winners of which 7 were Indians!

  3. Esquamulose
  4. Meaning: Not covered in scales or scale-like objects; having a smooth skin.

    As the bee evolved, so did the words. Words like this which even the most proficient adults would find hard to spell started to appear at the bee. In 1962, two contestants engaged in more than an hour of head-and-head wrestling with words that grew stranger by the round. The contest was won by both as neither could correctly spell esquamulose—which was still considered the year’s “winning word”.

  5. Eczema
  6. Meaning: Eczema, or dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes patches of itchiness, inflammation, swelling, and cracked skin

    Another seemingly easy word to spell, eczema won 2 winners the title of the spelling bee champ on 2 separate occasions – in 1936 & 1965. Medical words are commonplace in the spelling bee as they can be complicated and confusing.

  7. Chihuahua
  8. Meaning: a breed of dogs

    There have been protests to the bee testing proper nouns as they can be pronounced and spelled in many ways given the characteristics of proper nouns, however any word in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary is allowed as per the rules. An interesting tid bit – contestants don’t have to mention the capitalisation while spelling proper nouns.

  9. Logorrhea
  10. Meaning: pathologically excessive and often incoherent talkativeness

    Funnily enough, the bee has ended with a word that has to do with words or language on multiple occasions. In 1999, Nupur Lala won the bee spelling “logorrhea” derived from the Greek words logos (word) and rhoia (flow).

    Kids start to prepare for the Scripps National Spelling Bee as early as age 4! We hope you are inspired to improve your spelling game and vocabulary with this spelling bee words list that saw many Scripps National Spelling Bee win the coveted title. As we come to the end of the Language Fun series, look out for the new series next week on the Practically blog.

    In the meantime, check out the Practically app for more exciting content related to STEM subjects and learn experientially with lifelike 3D videos, simulations and AR. Download the app for free today!

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