These 10 Words Won the Last National Spelling Bees
Spelling Bee winning kids are bonkers impressive. Check out these 10 obscure, winning spelling bee words of the last 6 years. (The competition ended up in a ties in 2014, 2015, and 2016.)
“Koinonia” isn’t a fancy word for a koi pond—2018Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com
Koinonia means Christina fellowship or a body of believers. Here’s how you use it in a sentence: “Those who are in koinonia are in fellowship with Christ.” These are the toughest winning words from the National Spelling Bee ever.
Everything looks better in “Marocain”—2017Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Marocain is a little bit like Moroccan—that’s because it’s derived from the French word for it. But we’re talking fashion. You’ve probably read this word in Vogue or in your class on obscure names for fabric. Here’s how you use it in a sentence: “The First Lady entered the lounge wearing a stunning ribbed crepe dress made of marocain.”
Congrats on having something named after you Mr. “Feldenkrais!”—2016Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Feldenkrais is basically just exercise. It’s a trademark named after the guy who invented this system of movements that ease tension and raise body awareness. Feldenkrais had a bum knee so he drew on the martial arts to create his methods. Here’s how you use it: “Grab your yoga mat and settle in for some relaxing feldenkrais movement.” See if you can pass this 4th-grade spelling quiz. It’s pretty hard.
“Gesellschaft” is pronounced “gazelle shaft”—2016Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
So this word is definitely of German origin and it refers to your society and the people you hang with socially as a duty or just based on being part of the same group. As in: “Entering the school for the year’s first PTA meeting, Giselle realized she was part of a gesellschaft, a group of parents connected by duty, neighborhood, and a bunch of kids the same age.”
“Nunatak” has nothing to do with nuns—2015Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Nunatak derives from the Inuit word for mountain peak. However, a nunatak is not your average mountain peak. It’s a peak not covered with ice and snow, but it’s surrounded by ice and snow—also known as a “glacial island.” Here’s how it’s used: “Zack nearly had a heart attack when he realized he lacked an anorak on the nunatak.” (Anorak means parka!)
John Jacob Jingleheimer “Scherenschnitte”—2015Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Scherenschnitte means “scissor cuts” in German. But these are special scissor cuts. Think artwork and décor and elaborate snowflakes cut into paper. Here’s an example: “Mitzy unfolded her valentine, which was a decorative heart banner cut into paper, and realized J.J. was a great artist of scherenschnitte.” These are the most misspelled words in America.
What’s the internet version of “Feuilleton?”—2014Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Feuilleton is a lot like the comics page or the Arts and Leisure section. It’s the section of French newspapers where they put the reviews and novel serials—usually down toward the bottom, because, hey, that stuff’s, you know, less important. It derives from the French word for sheet of paper and leaf. Use it this way: “Ratatouille scanned the feuilleton with gusto looking for the review of his new restaurant.”
“Stichomythia” is not contagious—2014Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Stichomythia has nothing to with medical diagnoses and everything to do with Greek plays. It’s basically an early form of witty repartee. In this early dramatic style, actors alternate single lines of verse during intense scenes. As in: “We need a lot more stichomythia in modern sitcoms, don’t you think?”
Yes, you pronounce the “k” in Knaidel—2013Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Knaidels are a type of yummy dumpling that are usually served in soup. You can fill them with matzo meal, eggs, or things like ground almonds or grated potatoes. Use this line at your next party: “Hey, who’s got a great knaidel recipe?” Don’t forget to pronounce the ‘k’! You won’t believe that these hilarious typos actually got printed.
“Guetapens” spells danger!—2012Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
See you if you can guess the meaning of “guetapens” from context: “Wily Coyote always falls victim to the Roadrunner’s guetapens.” This French word means an ambush or trap. Watch out!
People want your hair: “Cymotrichous”—2011Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
Cymotrichous is a Greek word that means “having the hair wavy,” and though people with this lush style of hair are known to complain, face it—you look really good. Use it this way: “Kim’s hair stylist gave her locks a look that was perfectly cymotrichous.” Next, check out these words and phrases you’re probably getting wrong.