World’s Strangest

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The Quick 10: The Last 10 Words of the 2011 Scripps Spelling Bee

Last week, eighth grader Sukanya Roy of South Abington Township, Pa., clinched one of the longest-running Scripps National Spelling Bees ever by rattling off the correct letters of “Cymotrichous” with the same ease as if the judges had asked her to spell “cat.”

In case your vocabulary isn’t quite as amazing as hers, here are the definitions of the final 10 words of the Scripps Spelling Bee (and their correct spellings, of course).

1. Cymotrichous – having wavy hair.
2. Periscii -those who live within a polar circle, whose shadows, during some summer days, will move entirely round, falling toward every point of the compass.
3. Sorites – a form of argument having several premises and one conclusion, capable of being resolved into a chain of syllogisms, the conclusion of each of which is a premise of the next.
4. Orgeat – a syrup or drink made originally from barley but later from almonds, prepared with sugar and an extract of orange flowers.
5. Hooroosh – confusion; a wild, hurried or excited state. It was used in Moby Dick: “What a hooroosh aloft there!”
6. Naumkeag – a tribe of Native American people that once lived in northeastern Massachusetts.
7. Galoubet – a type of pipe (instrument).
8. Jugendstil – art nouveau as practiced in German-speaking countries.
9. Panguingue – a card game of the rummy family that is played with from five to eight regular 52-card packs from which the eights, nines, and tens have been removed, the object being to win bonuses by melding certain groups of cards during the play and extra bonuses by melding all the cards in the hand.
10. Lekane – covered pottery vessel in the form of a tureen, with two handles, sometimes used as a basket or box.

If those were a piece of cake for you, maybe you’re ready to see if you could actually make the cut. (You know, if you’re a student who is neither 16 nor passed beyond the eighth grade). Don’t snark at the first few – they get decidedly more difficult than “drowsy.” How’d you do? Let’s just say I didn’t qualify for the semi-finals.

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