Words From the 2021 National Spelling Bee

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The words asked successful the nationalist spelling bee weren’t ever truthful difficult.

Ananya Gautam, 12, of Potomac, Md., competing successful  the 2nd  circular  of the Scripps National Spelling Bee successful  May 2019.
Credit...Susan Walsh/Associated Press

July 8, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

The words weren’t ever this hard.

When students archetypal battled the dictionary successful a National Spelling Bee successful 1925, the winning speller knew the winning connection due to the fact that it was a works successful his family’s Kentucky garden.

Two years ago, the past clip that spellers competed to triumph the Scripps nationalist bee, 1 victor was asked astir an adjective related to a hypothetical force projected by a Prussian idiosyncratic successful the 19th century.

Already this year, astir 200 competitors person been eliminated from the 2021 bee. Here’s a sampling of the words that person fixed immoderate of those spellers trouble, and of winning words from the decades erstwhile the spelling bee was little of a labyrinth of indebtedness words and schwas.

Definitions are drawn from Merriam-Webster, the dictionary spouse of the Scripps spelling bee, and sentences travel from the New York Times archive, wherever possible. (Example sentences that bash not extremity with a work day are inventions.)

  • vamoose: to depart quickly. “Every town, each hamlet, and each antheral is for the Union, and if a azygous ranche successful the gallant Grizzly Bear State harbors a traitor, the rascal had amended vamoose astatine once.” — May 23, 1861

  • arenicolous: living, burrowing oregon increasing successful sand. “Incidentally, marine arenicolous annelids are commonly known to fishermen arsenic sandworms.” — Dec. 3, 1928

  • gelometer: an instrumentality for measuring jelly strength. “Studying memorabilia similar an archetypal gelometer, a contraption that tested Jell-O texture, immoderate radical spoke successful spiritual terms.” — July 27, 1997

  • garrulity: the prime of being fixed to prosy, rambling oregon tedious loquacity; pointlessly oregon annoyingly talkative. “His exhausted servants are forced to perceive for hours to revival services conducted by him connected a wheezy organ and helium is taxable to alternate fits of garrulity and taciturnity.” — April 16, 1923

  • anticaries: tending to inhibit the enactment of caries; tending to forestall bony decay. “On the different hand, food seems to person an anticaries enactment by preventing bacteria from utilizing sweetener to nutrient decay-enhancing acerb connected the bony surfaces.” — Aug. 21, 1985

  • pettifoggery: methods that are petty, underhanded oregon disreputable; 1 fixed to quibbling implicit trifles. “James Randi, a MacArthur award-winning magician who turned his formidable savvy to investigating claims of spoon bending, caput reading, fortunetelling, shade whispering, h2o dowsing, religion healing, U.F.O. spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery, arsenic helium rather often saw acceptable to telephone them, died connected Tuesday astatine his location successful Plantation, Fla.” — Oct. 21, 2020

  • fanion: a tiny emblem utilized primitively by equine brigades and present by soldiers and surveyors to people positions. “A fanion, fluttering successful the wind, marked the spot connected the hillside wherever the children were convinced gnomes lived below.”

  • clinquant: glittering with golden oregon tinsel. “The guests astatine the gala, clinquant successful finery and jewels for the ‘Shining Knight’ theme, were mostly unhappy to larn that the meal options were lamprey pie, cabbage chowder oregon gruel.”

  • thooid: resembling a wolf; utilized of a wolf, canine oregon jackal arsenic distinguished from the foxes oregon alopecoid (like a fox) members of the genus Canis. “The puppy, contempt her champion efforts astatine projecting thooid authority, failed to intimidate the schoolhouse autobus arsenic it drove by her window.”

  • 1925 gladiolus: immoderate of a genus of perennial plants of the iris household with erect sword-shaped leaves and spikes of brilliantly colored irregular flowers. “Ten years of selecting and cross-fertilizing, and a cardinal seedlings to make the superb California gladiolus from a weak-stemmed and scrawny flower, and the full process delayed by a stray gopher.” — Aug. 30, 1925

  • 1930 fracas: a noisy quarrel. “At their headquarters, aft the fracas, Communists said they had 3 films of snapshots taken connected the crushed and from precocious floors of the gathering which volition amusement that the alleged brutality was manifested yesterday.” — May 19, 1929

  • 1935 intelligible: susceptible of being understood. “As a wide happening they tin springiness nary intelligible mentation of their conduct, oregon archer what they are successful arms against the Government for.” — Jan. 28, 1863

  • 1940 therapy: aesculapian attraction of impairment, injury, illness oregon disorder. “Hypnotic Therapy Defended: Hypnosis, which has fallen into disfavor arsenic a therapeutic technique, was defended arsenic an experimental process by Dr. Cobb.” — Dec. 29, 1938

  • 1946 semaphore: an apparatus for ocular signaling; a strategy of ocular signaling by 2 flags. “A fewer days agone immoderate American and British officers stepped ashore connected Ponza to inspect its obsolete submarine cablegram and its dust-covered semaphore station.” — Jan. 16, 1944

  • 1951 insouciant: lighthearted unconcern. “Insouciant Wizard Sits successful Death Chair: Crowd astatine Radio Fair Gasps arsenic He Defies Current and an Iron Bar ‘Melts successful His Mouth.’” — Sept. 25, 1927

  • 1955 crustaceology: carcinology; a subdivision of zoology acrophobic with the crustacea. “The marine biologist, for each her survey of crustaceology, was awed astatine seeing hundreds of spider crabs, galore with legs 10 feet long, clambering toward the aquarium doors.”

  • 1964 sycophant: a servile, self-seeking flatterer. “He has nary fondness for governmental sycophants and yes‐men.” — Sept. 18, 1964

  • 1970 croissant: a flaky, affluent crescent-shaped roll. “The accelerated nutrient croissant, brioche and puff pastries are by and ample soggy, tasteless impostors of revered French pastries, yet the evident popularity present attests to the seemingly insatiable satellite appetite for accelerated food.” — Aug. 27, 1980

  • 1980 elucubrate: to enactment retired oregon explicit by studious effort. “Despite decades arsenic a fan, helium could not, to his ain oregon anyone else’s satisfaction, elucubrate his reasons for specified devotion to Philadelphia teams.”

  • 1995 xanthosis: yellowish discoloration of the tegument from abnormal causes. “The movie’s protagonists realized their person mightiness beryllium successful occupation erstwhile they saw his lemon-colored xanthosis, past by catching a graveyard smell, past by proceeding astir his appetite for brains.”

  • 2012 guetapens: an ambush, snare. “Admiral Ackbar, observing excessively precocious that the Rebel Alliance was successful a deadly guetapens acceptable by the Empire, shouted the obvious: ‘It’s a trap!’”

  • 2014 stichomythia: dialog particularly of altercation oregon quality delivered by 2 actors successful alternating lines. “The rapid-fire one-line-exchanges (stichomythia) betwixt characters, truthful stilted successful astir translations, blaze present with aggravated hostility, particularly successful the deadly verbal duel of Creon with his lad Haemon.” — Dec. 5, 2004

  • 2015 scherenschnitte: the creation of cutting insubstantial into decorative designs. “Call up to instrumentality portion successful peculiar play workshops successful Pennsylvania German crafts of scherenschnitte (paper cutting), quilling (coiled insubstantial art), decorative ovum scratching and open-hearth cooking.” — July 2, 2006

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