Another national spelling bee has come and gone, and for the second year in a row, there are two winners. Eighth-graders Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam tied to become co-champions, and man, their winning words were hard. That shouldn't come as a surprise, though, because a look at all the winning words from the past 10 Scripps Spelling Bees shows this competition is no joke.
After surviving 10 head-to-head rounds, Shivashankar and Venkatachalam reached the end of the 25-word championship list. Following the steps of her sister Kavya, who won in 2009, Shivashankar, 13, correctly spelled "scherenschnitte," the art of paper cutting design that actually means "scissor cuts" in German. Venkatachalam then was told he'd become co-champion if he got the word "nunatak" right. Without hesitation or a definition, the 14-year-old rattled off the right letters, and the two champions were crowned.
The spelling bees of your elementary school days this ain't. Other crazy words used in this year's championship round included "thamakau," "scytale," "Bruxellois," and "pyrrhuloxia." On its website, Scripps posts all of its winning words since 1925, and you can see how the competition has evolved over the decades. "Knack" and "therapy" were once winners, but those days are definitely long gone.
- Scherenschnitte: The art of paper cutting design
- Nunatak: A hill or mountain covered with snow or ice
- Feuilleton: A portion of a newspaper or magazine dedicated to light literature, fiction, or criticism
- Stichomythia: Dialogue in a Greek play during which two characters alternate speaking lines of verses
- Knaidel: A type of dumpling eaten in Jewish households especially during Passover
- Guetapens: A device used to ambush, snare, or trap something or someone. Also the name of a French chocolate snack.
- Cymotrichous: Having wavy hair
- Stromuhr: An instrument used to measure the amount and speed of blow flow through an artery
- Laodicean: Lukewarm or halfhearted toward religion or politics
- Guerdon: A reward or to give someone a reward.
- Serrefine: A small instrument used to clamp a blood vessel
- Ursprarche: A parent language
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