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The 25 Toughest Winning Words from the National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been a yearly tradition since the 1920s. How would you fare trying to spell these baffling winning words?

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Peg McCarthy, Lyn Sue Kahng Peg McCarthy of Topeka, Kansas, spells the world "deification" to win the 51st National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., . The runner-up Lyn Sue Kahng, seated left, puts her head in her hands. Kahng is from San DiegoBob Daugherty/Shutterstock

Winning word 1928: albumen

Who won: Betty Robinson, a 13-year-old from Indiana

How to say it: “al-byoo-muh n”

What it means: egg white (as well as a type of protein found in egg whites and milk)

Can you pass this quiz of 4th grade spelling words?

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Neetu Chandak of Geneva New York Celebrates After Correctly Spelling the Word 'Perciatelli' in the Semi-final Round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington Dc in Washington Dc Usa on 28 May 2009 the Annual Event Began in 1925 with Nine Contestants This Year 293 Children Competed Epa/matthew Cavanaugh United States WashingtonMatthew Cavanaugh/Shutterstock

Winning word 1929: asceticism

Who won: Virginia Hogan, a 12-year-old from Nebraska

How to say it: “uhsetuh-siz-uh m”

What it means: the practice of avoiding indulgences and temptations, usually for religious reasons

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13-year-old Modhura Chakravarty of Lafayette Indiana Spells a Word Into Her Hand During the Semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington Dc Usa 04 June 2010 United States WashingtonJim Lo Scalzo/Shutterstock

Winning word 1953: soubrette

Who won: Elizabeth Hess, a 13-year-old from Arizona

How to say it: “soo-bret

What it means: a high female vocal range or an actress in an opera with such a vocal range

Check out these mind-blowing things you never knew about the English language.

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Serena Laine-lobsinger Age 13 of West Palm Beach Florida Incorrectly Spells the Word 'Conchyliated' in the Final Round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington Dc in Washington Dc Usa On 28 May 2009 the Annual Event Began in 1925 with Nine Contestants This Year 293 Children CompetedMichael Reynolds/Shutterstock

Winning word 1955: crustaceology

Who won: Sandra Sloss, a 13-year-old from Illinois

How to say it: “crus-tay-shee-aw-lo-jee”

What it means: the study of crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp

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Margaret Peterson, of Granger, Ind., competes during the third round at the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee in WashingtonDrew Angerer/Shutterstock

Winning word 1969: interlocutory

Who won: Susan Yoachum, a 14-year-old from Texas

How to say it: “in-ter-lok-yuh-tawr-ee”

What it means: given during the course of a legal action

These are the hardest words to spell in the English language.

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Jonathan Knisely Jonathan P. Knisely,12, of Mullica Hills, N.J., holds his winner's trophy high after winning the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. On May 29, 2014, Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, N.Y., and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas, were declared co-champions of the 2014 Scripps National Spelling BeeBob Daugherty/Shutterstock

Winning word 1971: shalloon

Who won: Jonathan Knisely, a 12-year-old from New Jersey

How to say it: “sha-loon  

What it means: a type of twilled fabric

Learn the words for these everyday things you never knew had names.

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SPELLING BEE Robin Kral, 14, of Lubbock, Texas, left, holds his trophy after winning the 1972 National Spelling Bee in Washington. He out-spelled Lauren Pringle, 13, right, of Buffalo, N.Y., to win the titleUncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Winning word 1972: macerate

Who won: Robin Kral, a 14-year-old from Texas

How to say it: masuh-reyt”

What it means: to soften (usually food) by soaking in liquid

We bet you never realized these words have Gaelic origins!

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Mattia H Phaneuf 13 of West Tisbury Massachusetts Spells Her Word During the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington Dc On Tuesday 31 May 2006 the Winner of the Competition Will Be Announced For the First Time On Live Prime Time Television Tomorrow Evening There Are 275 Spellers in the CompetitionStefan Zaklin/Shutterstock

Winning word 1974: hydrophyte

Who won: Julie Ann Junkin, a 12-year-old from Alabama

How to say it: hahy-druh-fahyt”

What it means: an aquatic plant, one that grows only on or in water

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Katie Kerwin, Julie Won Katie Kerwin of Denver, Colo., jumps for joy in Washington after winning the 52nd annual National Spelling Bee, by correctly spelling "virescence" and "maculature." Pennsylvania Julie Won, background, wears the face of a runner-up. Miss Won finished third in the bee last yearCharles Harrity/Shutterstock

Winning word 1979: maculature

Who won: Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, a 13-year-old from Colorado

How to say it: mac-yoo-luh-chur”

What it means: in art, a printing impression made to remove excess ink

Check out these fascinating facts about every letter in the English alphabet!

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Kavya Shivashankar Age 13 of Olathe Kansas Correctly Spells the Word 'Laodicean' to Win the Final Round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington Dc in Washington Dc Usa On 28 May 2009 the Annual Event Began in 1925 with Nine Contestants This Year 293 Children CompetedMichael Reynolds/Shutterstock

Winning word 1988: elegiacal

Who won: Rageshree Ramachandran, a 13-year-old from California

How to say it: “el-i-jahyuh k-uh l”

What it means: sorrowful or lamenting

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Watchf Associated Press Domestic News Washington United States APHS 62ND NATIONAL SPELLING BEE Scott Isaacs,14, of Litteton, Colorado, holds up a trophy after winning the 62nd annual National Spelling Bee in Washington . Isaacs an eight-grader correctly spelled "spolitor" to win the competitionRICK BOWMER/Shutterstock

Winning word 1989: spoliator

Who won: Scott Isaacs, a 14-year-old from Colorado

How to say it: spoh-lee-eyt-uhr”

What it means: someone who plunders or robs

These English words have totally different meanings in other languages.

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Amanda Goad, Dan Thomasson Amanda Goad, 13, of Richmond, Va., holds up her trophy after spelling "lyceum" correctly to win the 65th annual National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., . Dan Thomasson, vice president of Scripps-Howard celebrates at rightDoug Mills/Shutterstock

Winning word 1992: lyceum

Who won: Amanda Goad, a 13-year-old from Virginia

How to say it: “lahy-seeuh m”

What it means: an institution or building that hosts lectures and other educational programs

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Ned G. Andrews, William Burleigh Ned G. Andrews, 13, a seventh-grader from Knoxville, Tenn., is congratulated by William Burleigh, chief operating officer of Scripps Howard Inc., after winning the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.CJ. Scott Applewhite/Shutterstock

Winning word 1994: antediluvian

Who won: Ned G. Andrews, a 13-year-old from Tennessee

How to say it: “an-tee-di-loo-vee-uh n”

What it means: taking place before the Great Flood in the Bible; extremely old-fashioned

Speaking of old-fashioned, find out the uncommon English words we should totally bring back.

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CONLEY Sean Conley, 13, of Shakopee, Minn., holds a trophy after winning the 74th annual National Spelling Bee in WashingtonANN HEISENFELT/Shutterstock

Winning word 2001: succedaneum

Who won: Sean Conley, a 13-year-old from Minnesota

How to say it: “suhk-si-dey-nee-uh m”

What it means: a substitute or replacement, usually for medicine

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GUNTURI Sai Gunturi, 13, of Dallas, reacts agter winning the 76th annual National Spelling Bee in WashingtonRON EDMONDS/Shutterstock

Winning word 2003: pococurante

Who won: Sai R. Gunturi, a 13-year-old from Texas

How to say it: “poh-koh-kooran-tee”

What it means: uncaring, apathetic (as well as a person with those qualities)

These little-known words are guaranteed to make you a Scrabble champ!

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Scripps National Spelling bee Champion, Anurag Kashyup and President George W Bush - 18 JulREX/Shutterstock

Winning word 2005: appoggiatura

Who won: Anurag Kashyap, a 13-year-old from California

How to say it: uh-poj-uhtoo ruh”

What it means: a music note played as an embellishment on the main beat

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Anamika Veeramani Anamika Veeramani, 14, of North Royalton, Ohio, looks at her trophy after winning the 2010 National Spelling Bee in Washington, onJacquelyn Martin/Shutterstock

Winning word 2010: stromuhr

Who won: Anamika Veeramani, a 14-year-old from Ohio

How to say it: straw-muhr”

What it means: a medical instrument that determines the amount of blood flowing through a vein or artery

Yes, these young spelling whizzes are definitely geniuses. Could you be a genius? Solve this maze to find out.

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Snigdha Nandipati Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, right, and her brother Sujan Nandipati, hoist up her trophy after she won the National Spelling Bee with the word "guetapens" in Oxon Hill, Md., onJacquelyn Martin/Shutterstock

Winning word 2012: guetapens

Who won: Snigdha Nandipati, a 14-year-old from California

How to say it: “get-uh-paw

What it means: a trap or a snare

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Ansun Sujoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas, left, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, of Painted Post, N.Y., raise the championship trophy after being named co-champions of the National Spelling Bee,, in Oxon Hill, MdEvan Vucci/Shutterstock

Winning words 2014: feuilleton + stichomythia

Who won: Ansun Sujoe, a 13-year-old from Texas, and Sriram Hathwar, a 14-year-old from New York, tied for first place after exhausting the entire list of words

How to say them: “foi-yuhtawn” + “stik-uhmith-ee-uh”

What they mean: a part of a newspaper for fiction, essays, and other lighter reading; a Greek drama technique where two characters speak alternately

Here’s why some English words have silent letters.

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Vanya Shivashankar, Gokul Venkatachalam. Vanya Shivashankar, 13, left, of Olathe, Kan., left, and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of St. Louis, hold up the trophy as co-champions after winning the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, MdAndrew Harnik/Shutterstock

Winning words 2015: scherenschnitte + nunatak

Who won: Gokul Venkatachalam, a 14-year-old from Missouri, and Vanya Shivashankar, a 13-year-old from Kansas, tied for first place after exhausting the entire list of words

How to say them: shay-ren-shnit-tuh” + “nuhnuh-tak”

What they mean: the artistic technique of cutting paper to form a symmetrical design; a peak of rock above an icy or snowy surface

We know it’s hard to spell these spelling bee words, but watch out for these other common spelling mistakes that spell check won’t catch.

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Jairam Hathwar, Nihar Janga Nihar Janga, 11, of Austin, Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, of Painted Post, N.Y., hold up the trophy after being named co-champions at the 2016 National Spelling Bee, in National Harbor, Md., onJacquelyn Martin/Shutterstock

Winning words 2016: feldenkrais + gesellschaft

Who won: Nihar Janga, an 11-year-old from Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, a 13-year-old from New York, tied for first place after exhausting the entire list of words

How to say them: fell-den-krice” + “guh-zell-shawft”

What they mean: a method of exercise therapy that emphasizes connections between the brain and body; social relationships based on duty or obligation, not camaraderie

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Ananya Vinay, 12, from Fresno, Calif., holds the trophy after being declared the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, MdAP/REX/Shutterstock

Winning word 2017: marocain

Who won: Ananya Vinay, a 12-year-old from California, became the first solo winner since 2013!

How to say it: “maruh-keyn”

What it means: a type of fabric made from silk or wool

Don’t miss the words even smart people mispronounce.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest