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Scripps National Spelling Bee

Could you win the National Spelling Bee?

If you’ve graduated from the 8th grade, you’re already too old to compete in the National Spelling Bee. But you can get a sense of what it would be like. Below are 20 words that have previously won the competition. You can ask for the language of origin, pronunciation and use in a sentence — just as the spellers do. And you can see how well you stack up against the middle-school students who have won in the past.




1
Michael Kerpan Jr. won with this word in 1965.



Listen
About the word

Origin
New Latin, from Greek

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
An inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by redness, itching, and oozing vesicular lesions which become scaly, crusted, or hardened

In a sentence
listen cream can make skin feel less itchy.



2
Hugh Tosteson won with this word in 1975.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Medieval Latin

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
A front tooth typically adapted for cutting, or one of the cutting teeth in mammals located between the canines when canines are present

In a sentence
She chipped her listen chewing something hard and had to see the dentist.



3
Louis Edward Sissman won with the plural form of this word in 1941.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Anglo-French, Latin

Part of Speech
Noun, verb, or adjective

Definition
(Noun)
1. The first letter of a name
2. Large letter beginning a text or a division or paragraph
3. Anlage, precursor

(Adj.)
1. of or relating to the beginning
2. Placed at the beginning

(Verb)
1. To affix an listen to
2. To authenticate or give preliminary approval to by affixing the first letters of the name of an authorizing representative

In a sentence
The listen of his first name is the same as mine.



4
Dorothy Greenwald won with this word in 1932.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Middle English

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
1. A clever trick or stratagem or a clever way of doing something
2. A special ready capacity that is hard to analyze or teach

In a sentence
Dorothy Greenwald had a listen for spelling.



5
Alma Roach won with this word in 1933.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Late Latin

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
1. The twisting or wrenching of a body by the exertion of forces tending to turn one end or part about a longitudinal axis while the other is held fast or turned in the opposite direction
2. The twisting of a bodily organ or part on its own axis
3. The reactive torque that an elastic solid exerts by reason of being under listen

In a sentence
Intestinal listen can hinder digestion and lead to death.



6
Betty Robinson won with this word in 1928.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Late Latin, from Latin

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
The white of an egg

In a sentence
Some people prefer to eat only the listen of an egg, not the yolk.



7
Kavya Shivashankar won with this word in 2009.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Latin

Part of Speech
Adjective or noun

Definition
(Adj.) Lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics
(Noun) A person with a halfhearted attitude toward religion or politics

In a sentence
The town seemed listen during the local elections.



8
Amanda Goad won with this word in 1992.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Latin, from Greek

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
1. A hall for public lectures or discussions
2. An association providing public lectures, concerts, and entertainments

In a sentence
Aristotle often taught philosophy in the listen.



9
Sameer Mishra won with this word in 2008.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Late Middle English, from Old French, medieval Latin

Part of Speech
Noun or verb

Definition
(Noun) A reward or recompense
(Verb) To give a reward to someone

In a sentence
They received a listen for their honesty in returning the wallet.



10
Anurag Kashyap won with this word in 2005.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Italian

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
An embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone and usually written as a note of smaller size

In a sentence
Instead of going directly to the chordal tone, the composer began a step up and resolved, creating an listen.



11
David Tidmarsh won with this word in 2004.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Greek

Part of Speech
Adjective

Definition
(Of an inhabitant of a place) Indigenous, native
(Of a deposit or formation) Formed or originating in the place where found

In a sentence
An illegally introduced Asian fish has virtually wiped out the lake's listen species.



12
Pauline Bell won with this word in 1926.



Listen
About the word

Origin
French, from Late Latin

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
A moderate red

In a sentence
Her prom dress was a beautiful shade of listen.



13
Sean Conley won with this word in 2001.



Listen
About the word

Origin
New Latin, from Latin

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
A substitute

In a sentence
The president was unable to attend, so the vice president served as a listen at the meeting.



14
Ned G. Andrews won with this word in 1994.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Latin

Part of Speech
Adjective

Definition
1. Of or relating to the period before the flood described in the Bible
2. Made, evolved, or developed a long time ago
3. Extremely primitive or outmoded

In a sentence
He has listen notions about the role of women in the workplace.



15
Stephanie Petit won with this word in 1987.



Listen
About the word

Origin
New Latin, from Greek

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
Any of a genus of nonmotile gram-positive spherical bacteria that occur singly, in pairs or tetrads, or in irregular clusters and include causative agents of various diseases (as skin infections, food poisoning, and endocarditis)

In a sentence
It is necessary to use a microscope to see listen.



16
Molly Dieveney won with this word in 1982.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Latin, from Greek

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
A chronic skin disease characterized by circumscribed red patches covered with white scales

In a sentence
His skin was red and itchy because of his listen.



17
Irving Belz won with this word in 1951.



Listen
About the word

Origin
French, from Old French and Latin

Part of Speech
Adjective

Definition
Showing a casual lack of concern; indifferent

In a sentence
The student seemed listen about the test, barely taking time to study.



18
Mattie Lou Pollard won with this word in 1947.



Listen
About the word

Origin
French, from Greek

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
The green substance in plants that makes it possible for them to make food from carbon dioxide and water

In a sentence
In the fall, plants lose their green color because of a lack of listen.



19
Richard Earnhart won with this word in 1942.



Listen
About the word

Origin
Middle English, from Anglo-French, Latin

Part of Speech
Adjective

Definition
Involving or committing a violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred

In a sentence
His shirt featured a rock band and felt listen contrasted against the decorations of the church.



20
Frank Neuhauser won with the plural form of this word in 1925.



Listen
About the word

Origin
English, from Latin

Part of Speech
Noun

Definition
1. A plant with long, stiff leaves and brightly colored flowers
2. The large middle portion of the sternum

In a sentence
My favorite flower is the listen.


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Sources: Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionaries, Scripps National Spelling Bee

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