LIFE

18 Of The Toughest Winning Words From The National Spelling Bee

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

Every year, young students from across the country — and occasionally from other parts of the globe — duke it out for the top prize at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

This year, 12-year-old Ananya Vinay took home the trophy with the correct spelling of “marocain,” a type of dress fabric.

The competition is obviously a lot more intense than your average vocabulary quiz. I remember participating in small school spelling bees and still feeling too rattled to remember the correct order of consonants and vowels. I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for the brave kiddos stepping into the national spotlight — especially when you take a look back at some of the super-tough winning words listed below!

Take a look to quiz yourself and see if you would have been able to make it to the top in your day.

And don’t forget to SHARE all the spelling-bee-winning words with your friends!

[H/T: Scripps National Spelling Bee]

1. Insouciant

1. Insouciant

Winning Year: 1951
Definition: “Free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant.”
Language of Origin: French

2. Eudaemonic

2. Eudaemonic

Winning Year: 1960
Definition: The opposite of “squamulose,” which means, “furnished or covered with tiny scales,” therefore meaning, “not covered in scales, or of scale like objects; a smooth skin.”
Language of Origin: Latin

3. Smaragdine

3. Smaragdine

Winning Year: 1961
Definition: “Of or relating to emeralds; emerald-green in color.”
Language of Origin: Latin and Greek

4. Esquamulose

4. Esquamulose

Winning Year: 1962
Definition: “Pertaining or conducive to happiness.”
Language of Origin: Greek

5. Elucubrate

5. Elucubrate

Winning Year: 1980
Definition: “To produce (especially literary work) by long and intensive effort.”
Language of Origin: Latin

6. Odontalgia

6. Odontalgia

Winning Year: 1986
Definition: “Pain in a tooth; toothache.”
Language of Origin: Greek

7. Staphylococci

7. Staphylococci

Winning Year: 1987
Definition: “Any of several spherical bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus, occurring in pairs, tetrads, and irregular clusters, certain species of which, as S. aureus, can be pathogenic for humans.”
Language of Origin: New Latin

8. Antipyretic

8. Antipyretic

Winning Year: 1991
Definition: “Checking or preventing fever.”
Language of Origin: Greek

9. Xanthosis

9. Xanthosis

Winning Year: 1995
Definition: “A yellowish discoloration of degenerating tissues, especially seen in malignant neoplasms.”
Language of Origin: Greek

10. Vivisepulture

10. Vivisepulture

Winning Year: 1996
Definition: “An act or instance of burying someone alive.”
Language of Origin: Latin

11. Euonym

11. Euonym

Winning Year: 1997
Definition: “An appropriate name for a person, place, or thing.”
Language of Origin: Greek

12. Chiaroscurist

12. Chiaroscurist

Winning Year: 1998
Definition: Artist who specializes in “chiaroscuro,” which focuses on “the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade, especially to enhance the delineation of character and for general dramatic effect” in painting and woodworking.
Language of Origin: Italian

13. Logorrhea

13. Logorrhea

Winning Year: 1999
Definition: “Pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech.”
Language of Origin: Greek

14. Prospicience

14. Prospicience

Winning Year: 2002
Definition: “The act of looking forward; foresight.”
Language of Origin: Latin

15. Autochthonous

15. Autochthonous

Winning Year: 2004
Definition: “Found in a locality in which it originates, as an infectious disease; indigenous.”
Language of Origin: Greek

16. Ursprache

16. Ursprache

Winning Year: 2006
Definition: “A hypothetically reconstructed parent language, as Proto-Germanic, the ancestor of the Germanic languages.”
Language of Origin: German

17. Cymotrichous

17. Cymotrichous

Winning Year: 2011
Definition: “Having wavy hair.”
Language of Origin: Greek

18. Scherenschnitte

18. Scherenschnitte

Winning Year: 2014
Definition: “The art of cutting paper into decorative designs.”
Language of Origin: German

Would you be stumped by these winning words? Be sure to SHARE them with your friends on Facebook!