In case you missed it, 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali (one of our picks!) took home first place at this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. His final, winning word was knaidel, a Yiddish term for a type of dumpling: a truly delicious way to win! But what about the words that made his competition stumble, misspell, and very gracefully take their exit? Here’s 2013’s list of the words that knocked out all of Arvind’s competition.
The word’s correct spelling is first with the ousted contestant’s misspelling in parentheses, followed by its definition so you can use it in a sentence.
cynosure (synosure): An object that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration.
commissar (commasar): An official of the Communist Party in charge of political indoctrination and the enforcement of party loyalty.
graupel (grouple): A snow pellet.
voortrekker (vortrekker): One of the original Afrikaner settlers of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State who migrated from the Cape Colony in the 1830.
weissnichtwo (weisnichtwo): An indefinite, unknown, or imaginary place.
asana (ocena): Any of various bodily positions assumed in yogic exercise.
cappelletti (capiltti): Small squares of pasta containing a savoury mixture of meat, cheese, or vegetables.
witloof (witloaf): An endive.
apparatchik (apparchik): An unquestioningly loyal subordinate, especially of a political leader or organization.
douane (duan): A customhouse.
weimaraner (weimeraner): Any of a large breed of hunting dog that originated in Germany, having a smooth grayish coat.
langlauf (launlauf): The sport of cross-country skiing.
prerogative (perogative): An exclusive right or privilege held by a person or group, especially a hereditary or official right.
zwinger (svinger): A palace in Dresden and a major landmark of German baroque architecture.
yannigan (yannagan): A member of a scrub team in baseball.
quadragenarian (quadregenarian): A person who is between 40 and 49 years old.
ratafia (ratifia): A sweet cordial flavored with fruit kernels or almonds.
totipotency (totipettancy): The ability of a cell, such as an egg, to give rise to unlike cells and thus to develop into or generate a new organism or part.
vargueno (vargaino): A decorative cabinet, of a form originating in Spain, the body being rectangular and supported on legs or an ornamental framework and the front opening downwards on hinges to serve as a writing desk.
belomancy (belemancy): A kind of divination anciently practiced by means of marked arrows drawn at random from a bag or quiver, the marks on the arrows drawn being supposed to foreshadow the future.
orthian (orthein): Characterized by high pitch —used of a style of singing or a tune.
sabot (sabbot): A wooden shoe worn in some European countries.
jicama (jicima): A crisp, sweet turnip-shaped root vegetable (Pachyrhizus erosus) used raw in salads and as crudités or cooked in stews. Also called Mexican turnip, yam bean.
piloncillo (piloncio): A conical loaf of sugar.
dowager (dowiger): A widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband.
febrility (fibrillity): A rise in the temperature of the body; frequently a symptom of infection
mussitation (muscitation): A speaking in a low tone; mumbling.
tectogene (techtegene): A long, relatively narrow downward fold of sialic crust considered to be an early phase in mountain-building processes. Also known as geotectogene.
pekoe (peekoe): A grade of black tea consisting of the leaves around the buds.
Promethean (Promothean): Greek Mythology Relating to or suggestive of Prometheus.
brodequin (brodican): A high shoe once worn by women.
ageusia (augusia): Pathol lack of the sense of taste.
meiosis (miosis): Genetics. The process of cell division in sexually reproducing organisms that reduces the number of chromosomes in reproductive cells from diploid to haploid, leading to the production of gametes in animals and spores in plants.
Bunyanesque (Bunyonesque): Of, relating to, or suggestive of the legend of Paul Bunyan.
Beethovenian (Beatovinian): Of or pertaining to Ludwig van Beethoven.
botryoidal (batrodile): Shaped like a bunch of grapes.
beelzebub (biezelbub): The Devil; Satan.
dysbarism (dysporism): The complex of symptoms (as the bends, headache, or mental disturbance) that accompanies exposure to excessively low or rapidly changing environmental air pressure.
nubuck (nubuc): Leather that has been rubbed on the flesh side of the skin to give it a fine velvet-like finish.
fimbrillate (fimbrilate): Bordered with a minute fringe.
soavemente (suavemente): Sweetly.
pultaceous (pultatious): Macerated; softened; nearly fluid.
hyetometer (hyatometer): A device for measuring rainfall.
hallock (halik): A rectangular wood veneer berry box with straight sides and a raised bottom.
ignimbrite (ignembrite): A volcanic rock formed by the welding together of tuff material from an explosive volcanic eruption.
laureation (laureaiton): The act of crowning with laurel; the act of conferring an academic degree, or honorary title.
diplodocus (diplodicus): A very large herbivorous dinosaur of the genus Diplodocus that existed during the Jurassic Period.
amimia (amimea): The loss of the ability to express ideas by gestures or to understand the significance of gestures.
parapsychical (paracycical): A number of ostensibly paranormal phenomena, including telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation and apparitional experiences.
sussultatory (cessultatory): Characterized by up-and-down vibrations of large amplitude — used of an earthquake.
morosoph (morisoph): A philosophical or learned fool.
ecphonesis (echphenesis): An animated or passionate exclamation.
polytocous (peliticous): Producing many offspring in a single birth.
cabotinage (cabotonnage): behavior befitting a second-rate actor : obvious playing to the audience.
pancratiast (pancrasiast): One who engaged in the contests of the pancratium.
calotte (colotte): A skullcap, especially one worn by Roman Catholic priests.
isopiestic (isopyestic): Marked by or indicating equal pressure; isobaric.
circensian (circentian): Of or relating to the Circus in ancient Rome.
olecranon (olechranon): The large process on the upper end of the ulna that projects behind the elbow joint and forms the point of the elbow.
cyanope (psianope): A person with fair hair and brown eyes.
sarrusophone (serusiphone): A wind instrument resembling the oboe but made of brass.
epichoric (epicoric): Peculiar to a limited area.
venenate (veninate): To poison; to infect with poison.
pergameneous (pergamineous): Resembling parchment
bourrée (bourret): An old French dance resembling the gavotte, usually in quick duple time beginning with an upbeat.
doryline (doraline): A type of migratory tropical ant that is blind except for the functional males.
melocoton (melecaton): A quince.
kaburi (caburri): A land crab (Ucides cordatus) common in mangrove swamps from the West Indies to southern Brazil.
cipollino (cipolino): A fictional character from Gianni Rodari’s eponymous Tale of Cipollino.
zenaida (zaneida): A genus of tropical American pigeons that has one species (Zenaida aurita) reaching the West Indies and formerly the Florida coast and one (Zenaida asiatica) occurring in the southwestern United States.
paryphodrome (pariphodrome): Having a vein that closely follows the margin —used of a form of leaf venation.
hallali (hallelee): A huntsman’s bugle call.
ptyalagogue (ptyalogogue): A drug or other agent that increases the flow of saliva.
cyanophycean (cyanophycein): Any member of the Myxophyceae.