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Are You Smarter Than A Scripps Speller?


The answer for most of us? Probably not. There are 42 competitors still standing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. One of them is Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy.

This year, spellers have to be masters of phonetics, but for the first time ever they have to know what words mean too. So here’s your chance to see how you stack up against the semifinalists based on the vocabulary questions they tackled Wednesday.


1. What is anacoluthon?

2. A dilettante is a person who:

3. A person described as enigmatic is:

4. What does glossalgia refer to?

5. Something described as hyalescent resembles:

6. What does keratectomy refer to?

7. What does it mean to lionize a person?

8. What does sangfroid refer to?

9. Which of these is an example of sedulous behavior?

10. Something described as tellurian relates to:

11. What is a vitrine?

12. Something described as xylophagous:

Tough stuff, huh? If you’re a glutton for punishment, read on for the answers.

The semifinal rounds of live spelling start at 1 p.m. (on ESPN2) and the finals air tonight on ESPN.

If you want to cheer on Chetan, he’s wearing number 238. This is his fourth trip to the Bee and his third straight appearance in the semi finals. Learn more about his rise to super speller here.


1.  A syntactical inconsistency within a sentence.

2.  Superficially dabbles in an art or branch of knowledge.

3.  Mysterious or puzzling.

4.  Pain in the tongue.

5.  Glass.

6.  Surgical removal of part of the cornea.

7.  Treat him as a celebrity.

8.  Cold-blooded imperturbability.

9.  Diligently preparing for an exam.

10.  Earth.

11.  A glass display case.

12.  Feeds on wood.

Rate Yourself:

0-3 correct: Not exactly a wordsmith. 

4-6 correct: You may want to invest in a thesaurus.

7-9 correct: Don’t get cocky! Remember, Shakespeare had a vocabulary of 31,000 words.

10-12: All the makings of a super speller! (But perhaps not the age eligibility.)

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.