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Top Ten Most Brutal Spelling Bee Words

The first-ever national spelling bee was held in 1925, and every year thousands of American school students partake in the spelling bee competition. School spelling bee winners usually go to the local spelling bee competition and then make it to the national spelling bee. Winning spelling bees is more than a matter of luck. Winners start studying for the contest years prior to the participation.

spelling bee challenge

Needless to say, spelling bees evoke multiple emotions at once. Emotions can range from feeling tears of joy to heart-wrenching disappointment, from participation anxiety to excitement, from the time ticking away to that wait for the official pronouncer to say “YES! That is correct.” Phew!

English is the language with most words. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it has approximately 200,000 words. English is a global language with rich vocabulary, and a lot of words have been borrowed from other languages. As a result, it has become quite a challenge to keep up with the new words and their spellings.


Some words are hard to spell even though it may sound easy. Remembering them amongst so many other words can be a task.

Here are some of the hardest winning words that were asked in the Scripps National Spelling Bee -

  1. Milieu
    • Year: 1985
    • Origin: This word went from Latin to French.
    • Part of speech: noun
    • Pronunciation: meel-YOO
    • Definition: the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops; environment, setting.

  2. Smaragdine
    • Year: 1961
    • Origin: This word is from Latin.
    • Part of speech: adjective
    • Pronunciation: smuh-RAG-din
    • Definition: of or relating to emerald; yellowish green in color like an emerald.

  3. Soubrette
    • Year: 1953
    • Origin: This word is from a word that went from Latin to French.
    • Part of speech: noun
    • Pronunciation: soo-BRET
    • Definition: a lady’s maid in comedies who acts the part of a coquettish maidservant or frivolous young woman. 

  4. Albumen
    • Year: 1928
    • Origin: This word is from Latin.
    • Part of speech: noun
    • Pronunciation: al-BYOO-mun
    • Definition: the white of an egg. 

  5. Eudaemonic
    • Year: 1960
    • Origin: This word is from Greek.
    • Part of speech: adjective
    • Pronunciation: yoo-dee-MAHN-ik
    • Definition: producing happiness; based on the idea of happiness as the proper end of conduct. 

  6. Chiaroscurist
    • Year: 1998
    • Origin: This word came from Italian, which formed it from a Latin word.
    • Part of speech: noun
    • Pronunciation: kyahr-uh-SKYUR-ist
    • Definition: an artist who uses the arrangement or treatment of the light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art. 

  7. Autochthonous
    • Year: 2004
    • Origin: This word is from Greek.
    • Part of speech: adjective
    • Pronunciation: ah-TAHK-thuh-nus
    • Definition: indigenous, native, aboriginal—used especially of floras and faunas. 

  8. Insouciant
    • Year: 1951
    • Origin: This word is from French word.
    • Part of speech: adjective
    • Pronunciation: in-SOO-see-unt
    • Definition: exhibiting or characterized by freedom from concern or care. 

  9. Staphylococci
    • Year: 1987
    • Origin: The first part of this word went from Greek to Latin to French, and the second part is originally Greek.
    • Part of speech: plural noun
    • Pronunciation: staf-uh-loh-KAHK-sahy
    • Definition: a genus of non-motile spherical eubacteria that occur singly, in pairs or tetrads and comprise a few parasites of skin and mucous membranes. 

  10. Foulard
    • Year: 1931
    • Origin: This word is from French.
    • Part of speech: noun
    • Pronunciation: foo-LARD
    • Definition: a lightweight plain-woven or twilled silk usually printed with a small neat evenly spaced pattern.

98thPercentile is back with Spell Kahoot 3.0

Spell Kahoot 3.0 is a Kahoot-based Spelling Bee competition. It would be held on January 29-30, 2022 for students of Grades 1-6. This competition is an opportunity for students across the country to participate in the FREE Spelling Bee challenge.

If your child is someone who loves playing with words and spellings then don’t miss out our upcoming event Spell Kahoot 3.0. After a huge success of Spell Kahoot and Spell Kahoot 2.0, we are back with our most loved event again.

Students from Grades 1-6 can participate in the Spell Kahoot 3.0. The tone and level of the competition is set according to the grade levels. Prizes and scholarship worth $1000 are awarded for the winner in each category. To know more about our event, visit here - Register for the Spell Kahoot 3.0 event TODAY!

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