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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The joy of words

Posted by Alana T.

Snigdha Nandipati, a 14-year-old from San Diego spelled "guetapens," a French-derived word that means ambush or trap, winning the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 31st. 

Some of the other words from the elimation rounds:
"tendenz," a literary term
"polynee," a type of pastry
"phrontistery," a place for thinking or studying
"cholecystitis," inflammation of the gallbladder
"pejerrey," a type of fish
"tirthankara," a term used in the religion Jainism
"ingluvies," the crop of a bird or insect

Last year's winning word?  "cymotrichous," used to describe having wavy hair.

Spelling bees are part of American culture.   Who doesn't have memories of standing in front of the class struggling to spell "tenebrious" right after your best friend got "fiddle."  Most of us don't proceed beyond the classroom stage of the local bee and the higher stakes regional bees remain semi-mysterious.  For an eye-opening behind the scenes view of the national bee, and close-up looks at the speller's lives, watch the the documentary Spellbound. In the meantime, boost your vocabulary by reading lots of books (we can help with that!) and downloading Webster's study guide for spellers, a great resource for kids and adults alike.

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