What are the Words and Definitions of 2017 Spelling Bee?

alex atkins bookshelf wordsOn June 1, 2017, Ananya Vinay, a 12-year-old from Fresno, California, won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee in a… ahem.. spellbinding duel of words, with a very worthy opponent, Rohan Rajeev, a 14-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma. The two teens tackled a list of about 40 of the most challenging and obscure words to reach the word that caused Rajeev to stumble: “marram.” In order to win, Vinay had to correctly spell the last few words. The winning word, was “marocain,” a dress fabric made from rayon or silk. For her spelling brilliance, Vinay won $40,000 in cash and prizes, and of course, bragging rights to being the best speller in America — and eschewing annoying spellcheckers on all of her favorite apps.

A review of the words used in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee shows that the judges don’t mess around when it comes to finding truly difficult and obscure words. In fact, most of them fall into the category of “I didn’t even know that there was a word for that!” A review of the winning words form the inaugural Spelling Bee in 1925 to now shows a steady evolution from simple words, like “albumen” or “fracas,” to amazingly difficult words like “feuilleton” and “scherenschnitte.” So why have the words become so difficult? Since ESPN started broadcasting the Spelling Bee 24 years ago, the competition has attracted dramatically more children — more than 11 million entered the competition in 2017! And these are children with truly amazing spelling skills. Valeria Miller, a spokesperson for the event, adds, “The words are more difficult now because the skills of the students also have expanded. These are the best of the best spellers, and the words they get in the national finals should be the greatest challenge.” 

Here is a list of all the difficult words of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, including their definitions:

marocain: a dress fabric made of rayon or silk

gifblaar: a poisonous perennial shrub of southern Africa

marram: a type of beach grass

Hypapante: a feast celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church commemorating the presentation of Jesus and his meeting Anna and Simeon in the temple; the purification of the Virgin Mary

poulaine: the long pointed toe of a crakow, a European boot, shoe, or slipper worn during the 14th-15th century

​wayzgoose: a printers’ annual outing or entertainment

​cheiropompholyx: a type of skin disease

​potichimanie: the art of imitating painted porcelain ware

Tchefuncte: relating to an ancient culture of Louisiana

gesith: a wellborn companion or attendant

​Naassene: a Gnostic sect which worships the serpent

​cecidomyia: a very large genus of gall-forming midges (tiny flies)

​emphyteusis: A civil law contract by which a land estate is leased to a tenant, either in perpetuity or for a long term, upon the reservation of an annual rent, and based on the condition that the lessee should improve the property, by building, cultivating, etc.; the lessee also retains the right to end the lease or pass it on to his or her heirs

Boyg: a pervasive problem, obstacle, or enemy

rastacouère: a foreign parvenu, a person that has suddenly or recently come into wealth or power and has not yet gained the dignity, respect, or manner associated with it

​zeaxanthin: a yellow crystalline carotenoid alcohol that occurs especially in fruits and vegetables and egg yolks

Brabancon: a Belgian breed of large, powerful draft horses

sceloporus: any of a genus of small iguanid lizards

durchkomponiert: having an individual musical setting

gwyniad: a fish related to the lake whitefish

Juglar: a business cycle of approximately nine years

berghaan: a short-tailed African eagle

koleroga: disease of an areca palm caused by a fungus

pykrete: a frozen mix of water and wood pulp

chitarrino: a small guitar

staatenbund: a type of league of states

epirrhema: an address usually about public affairs

​heiligenschein: a bright light around shadow of person’s head

voussoir: a tapering piece forming an arch

konditorei: a shop selling confectionery

barasingha: a large yellowish brown deer

​aracari: a colored tropical American toucan

psophometer: a device for measuring the volume of noise

tasajillo: an arborescent prickly pear

konkhiki: the overseer of a Hawaiian land division

cavaquinho: a Brazilian stringed musical instrument

siddur: a Jewish prayer book

gargouillade: a forward leap in ballet

Bandkeramik: a word for European Neolithic pottery

cuivre: overblown; used as a direction in music

Egeria: a female adviser or companion

Read related posts: Why is it Called a Spelling Bee?
Spelling Bee Winning Words
Rare Anatomy Words

Words Oddities: Fun with Vowels
What Rhymes with Orange

Read related posts: http://www.businessinsider.com/winning-words-spelling-bee-1925-2017-5/#1925-gladiolus-1
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jun/01/scripps-national-spelling-bee-2017-finals-live

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