AFFIRISM

The words that America’s spelling champions keep getting wrong

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To make it to the limelight of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, American middle-schoolers need to be able to spell some of the English language’s most obscure words. In 2015, the winning word was scherenschnitte, whatever that means.

But a few words regularly trip up great spellers. Since 1996, the three most-misspelled words at the spelling bee have been “metastasize,” “metonymy,” and “weimaraner.”

Each of the three words above was spelled incorrectly four times in the past 20 years or so, according to Quartz’s analysis of records collected by data scientist Christopher Long (whose website URL is statistics.sexy). Most of the misspellings are pretty close, just off by one letter, like “matastasize” and “metastesize.” That’s not the case for “weimaraner,” a dog breed named after the German city of Weimar, which spellers have tried to spell as “vimeroner” and “whymeraner.”

Here are all 383* of the words that Scripps Spelling Bee spellers got wrong two or more times, including the incorrect spellings they attempted. See if you can do any better.

Word Misspelling
metastasize matastasize
metastesize
metastacize
matastacise
metonymy metonomy
metonomy
metonomy
metonomy
weimaraner weimariner
whymeraner
weimeraner
vimeroner
amaryllis ameryllis
amarillus
amoryllis
apparatchik operachik
apparchik
apparatchic
asana oscina
ocena
ocina
ascetic aescetic
acetic
ascedic
beelzebub belzebub
beezlebub
biezelbub
beignet banet
beigne
baignette
casein casseine
caseine
caseine
commissar comissar
commasar
comissar
cynosure sinischure
synosure
synosure
cyrillic syrillic
serillic
cerilic
damoclean damaclean
damaclean
damochlian
desuetude desuitude
desuitude
dessuitude
dossier docier
dociet
dociere
fanfaronade fanferanade
fanfarinade
fanfarronade
ferrule pharel
ferrel
feril
ginglymus ginglamus
ginglemous
ginglimus
homologate homaligate
homoligate
homaligate
kinura kynura
kanoura
chinura
marcescent marcesscant
marcessant
marcesant
monture mauncher
moncheur
moncheur
mucilaginous muculagenous
mucelagenous
muscillaginous
mussitation musatacion
mucitation
muscitation
myriacanthous myriacanthus
meriocanthous
mirocanthous
palaver pollaver
pulavor
polaver
peroration pararasion
pareration
pereration
philately phalatally
filiality
phalately
procellous procellus
procellus
procellas
quinquevir quinquevere
quinquvere
quinquivere
ranunculus renunculous
renunculus
rununculus
rasgado roscado
rhosgotto
rosgatto
ravigote ravigot
ravigotte
ravigode
sassafras sassafrass
sassafrass
sassafrass
sciamachy psyamichy
syamikey
siamachy
senary cenary
cenary
senery
sessile cecile
cecile
cecile
sidereal ciderial
siderial
siderial
tachytely takately
tacatelli
tachetelli
termagancy termigancy
termigancy
termigancy
timbale timbol
timbal
tambal
tinnitus tinitus
tenitus
tenitis
toile toil
twall
tuall
trypanosomiasis trapanasomiasis
tripansomiasis
tripanosomiasis
turgescent tergescent
tergescent
tergescent
venire veniery
veniry
veniary
virgule vergule
vergole
verguil
zucchetto zucchedo
zeuchetto
zhuchetto
aberration abboration
aboration
acerbity asserbity
asurbity
ageusia agusia
augusia
aioli aeole
aeoli
almoner alminer
alminer
aniseikonia aniciconia
aniseikonya
aphorism affirism
apherism
apocryphal apocriphal
apocraful
apolaustic apolostic
apolostic
aposiopesis aposiapesis
apacyapesis
apotropaic apotrypaic
appatropaic
araneiform araneaform
areneiform
arcology archology
arcologe
areology aeriology
aryology
assuage aussuage
aswage
atelier atelyay
ateeaie
atrabilious atrobilious
atribilious
auspices hospices
ospisces
avgolemono ovgolemono
ovgolemono
avocet avoset
avisette
bacteriolytic bacterialytic
bacterialytic
balkanize balcanize
balconize
basmati bazmati
bazmati
battledore battldor
battledour
beethovenian beethovenean
beatovinian
betony bettany
bettony
boudin boudane
boudain
bouleuterion buluterion
buluterion
braggadocio braggedocio
bragadoshio
brigadier brigadere
brigadeer
bullionist boullionist
boullonist
burin buren
bueron
cabecera cabasaret
cabacera
cabochon cabichon
cabachon
cabotinage cabatanage
cabotonnage
caitiff catiff
catif
cappelletti capiltti
cappelleti
caracole caricole
cericole
ceraceous surracious
surracious
chalicosis chalichosis
calicosis
chautauqua chataqua
chataqua
chevelure chevalure
cheveleur
chrystocrene crystocrene
crystacrene
clerisy clarisy
claracy
coadjutor coajutar
coadjuter
coiffeuse quaffuse
quafus
colluctation colloctation
colloctation
collutorium colitorium
collitorium
concomitance concommitance
concomittance
connoisseur coinnisseur
connaisseur
consulate consillate
consolate
contumelious contimeleous
contemelious
conurbation connerbation
connerbation
corollary corillary
corelary
corticoline corticholine
cortikaline
coscinomancy causinomancy
coscimancy
cotyledon codyleton
cotelydon
crinoline criloine
crinaline
criollo creolo
criolo
cyanophycean cyanophytion
cyanophycein
cytolysis citolosis
cytolosis
deliquesce delaquesce
delaquess
demegoric demagoric
demagoric
demesne demaine
domain
denier duniere
deneir
deplorable deplorible
diplorable
dhole dohl
dole
dirndl dirndle
deirndal
distractible distractable
distractable
dolcissimo dolchisimo
dulcisimo
dolorifuge delorifuge
delorafuge
doyen doyenne
douillen
dromomania dramamania
dramamania
dysphoria disphoria
disforium
echinulate acconulate
euchilant
ectocanthion ectocanthian
ectocantheon
encolure enquelure
oncholeure
engastrimythic engastromythic
angastramythic
ennui annui
onwei
entente entaunt
entent
ephemeris ephemerus
aphemerus
epicondylic epichondylic
epicondilic
erinaceous aranaceous
arronatious
eristic erristic
erristic
erythema errathema
arathema
espagnole espaniolle
aspanol
espousal espousel
espowsel
estoppel astoppel
estauple
etouffee etufe
etoufet
eucrasia euchrasia
euchrasia
execrable exsicrible
exacerbole
exegetical exagetical
exogetical
faineant feignient
fanient
fallibility falability
fallability
farcical pharcicle
farsicle
feis feche
feche
fettuccelle fettuccelli
fettuccelli
fibrillation fibrilation
fibrilation
filipendulous philipendulus
filapendulous
filoselle filasel
philasel
florisugent floriceugent
florasugent
fodient fodiant
fodiant
foraminate feraminate
feraminate
fortissimo fortisimo
fortisimmo
fustian fustion
fustion
gamopetalous gammapedalous
gammapedalus
garibaldi garrabaldi
garribaldi
gastrilegous gastrilogous
gastrilogous
gegenschein gagenschein
geganschein
gendarme jondar
jendarm
gerontology gerantology
gerentology
gesundheit guzundheit
geisundheit
gibraltar gibralter
jebralter
gimbal gimble
gimbel
girandole gerandole
gierendole
glottogonic glotogonic
glotogonic
gloucester glaucester
glauster
gnathonic nathonic
nathonic
grallatorial gralitorial
gralitorial
graupel groupl
grouple
guttural gutteral
gutteral
hafiz hophis
haffis
hauteur auteur
haughture
heliciform halliciform
haliciform
hepatomegaly hepitomegaly
hepitomegaly
hierophant hieraphant
hyaraphant
hoyle hoiyal
hoile
huapango wapango
wapango
hussar hazar
huzzar
ibuprofen ibuprofin
ibuprofine
ichneumon icnumen
ichnumen
idyllic idillic
idealic
imprimatur imprimater
imprateur
incalescent incalescant
incolescent
ingenue enjenu
angenue
inquiline inqualine
inqualine
insalubrious insullubrious
inselubrious
insatiate insaciat
insaciat
intussusception inteseception
intususception
involucre invelucer
involucar
jardiniere jardinier
gardiniere
kaiserdom chaiserdom
keizerdom
keeshond keyshond
kaushaund
kwashiorkor quashiorcor
quashiorcor
lacertilian lacertillian
lacertillian
languorous langarous
langorous
languorously langerously
langorously
laniary laniery
lanniary
laparoscopy laperoscopy
laperiscopy
lecithin lecithyn
lecathon
lefse levsa
lephsa
liaise liase
liase
lidocaine lidocain
lydocane
limoges lemoge
limouge
lugubrious legubrius
lagubrious
lumbriciform lumbrisciform
lumbrisuform
macadam macatomb
mecadm
macilency mascillency
masolency
magistracy magistrusy
magestrosy
mandir mundhir
mundier
manducatory mangicatory
mangigatory
melittologist melatologist
melatologist
meniscus maniscuss
moniscus
merganser mergancer
mergancer
mikado mikito
mukado
minatory minotory
minotory
minestrone ministroni
ministrone
minyan minion
mignon
misopedist misopedas
myssopedist
mores moires
morass
mouchoir mouchoire
mouchoire
mousseline muslene
mouseline
mugient mugeant
mugeant
musciform mussiform
musiform
muumuu mumu
mumu
mynheer minheire
mineherr
myocarditis myecarditis
myacarditis
nacre nachre
gnaker
nadir nader
nader
nastaliq nastilique
nastellique
naumachia gnomicchia
nomacia
nepenthe nepenthy
napenthy
nephelognosy nephelognacy
nephalognosy
nisei nicesay
nesae
novercal navercal
nevircal
novillero noviero
novellero
nudicaulous neuticalus
nuticholous
nyctipelagic nyctapelagic
nichtopelagic
obtenebrate obtinibrate
obtenabrate
obtundent obtundant
obtundant
ocarina acarina
ocarine
ocellus ocellace
ocelis
ocotillo ocatillo
ocatillo
octateuch ochituke
octicute
omodynia omodinia
omodinnia
onomasticon aunimosticaun
onimasticon
ophryon offrean
ophreon
opinicus opennicus
opinicous
opprobrious approbrious
approbrious
oppugn opugn
appune
ordnance hordenance
ordinance
ossifrage ossifrige
ossifrige
otacoustic otocoustic
odicoustic
pachymeter pachimeter
puchimeter
palatalize palatilize
pallitalize
palatinate polatinate
pollatinate
palilalia palolalia
palilelia
palimpsest palimpcest
palympcest
pallescent palescent
palescent
panettone panatony
pannettone
papeterie papetrie
pepetreau
paristhmion parismean
parismion
parity paredy
parody
parquet parkay
parquette
parterre partare
partare
pastiche pastische
pasdishe
patois patoir
patrois
pekoe peco
peekoe
pendeloque pandaloque
pondyloc
penicillin penicilin
pennecilin
penitentiary penetentiary
penetentiary
pentateuchal pentitucal
pentatuchal
pergameneous purgaminious
pergamineous
periegesis periogesis
perigesys
periphrasis paraphrasis
periphresis
periphyton peripheton
peripheton
petechial patechial
poticial
pfeffernuss pfeffernus
feiffernuse
phalacrosis falacrosis
falachrosis
piatti piate
piati
pickelhaube pickelhauber
picklehaube
pileum pilleum
pyllium
piloncillo piloncilo
piloncio
pinniped pinaped
pinaped
pizzicato pitsicato
pizzacato
podilegous podillogous
podilogous
porphyry porphery
porphery
pratincolous pretincolous
pretincolous
primatial primacial
primacial
proboscis probosquess
probascis
prolegomenon prologomonon
prologomonon
pruritus pruritis
preuritis
psyllium scilium
scylium
pultaceous poltaceous
pultatious
putative putitive
puditive
quadragenarian quadgenarian
quadregenarian
quenelle cannel
canel
quoddy quadi
quadi
quodlibet quadlaubette
quadlebet
quokka quakka
quaka
ranine reynine
rainine
rankine rankin
rankin
rariora rareora
rareora
rasorial russorial
rascorial
ratafia ratofeia
ratifia
rayonnant rayunnant
rayonant
reblochon reblechon
roblochon
recension rescension
resention
refocillate refoscilate
refossillate
resipiscence recipisance
recipiscence
rhodochrosite rhodocrosite
rhodocrosite
rictus rictous
richtus
rotogravure rotagraviewer
rotagravure
roux rue
rew
rurigenous ruriginous
ruriginous
sabot saboe
sabbot
saccharinity sacarinity
sacchirinity
saltimbocca soltimboca
saltambaca
salutary saliatary
saluetary
saponaceous sapinacious
sapenaceous
sarrusophone sarusophon
serusiphone
saxicolous sacsiccolous
saccicolus
saxifrage saxifrige
saxofrage
scabrous scabbrous
scaberous
schloss schlass
schlauss
schwarmerei svermari
schwermerei
scialytic sciolytic
sciolytic
sciatica cyatica
psyatica
sciolistic scialistic
coelistic
scurrilous scirolous
scurilous
secession susession
siscetion
segue segway
segway
semplice semplace
semplicce
sequela sequella
secuela
seriatim seriatum
siriatim
serotinal cerotinal
ceratinal
serrulate ceryalate
cerulate
siffilate siphylate
siphylate
siphonapterology psyphenapterology
sciphenapterology
skeuomorph scuomorph
scuomorph
somma sama
sama
soubresaut soubruso
subreso
sousaphone suziphone
souspohone
souterrain sueterrane
suterain
spinet spinnit
spinnet
splanchnology splanknology
splanknology
sporogenous sporagenous
sporagenous
strychnine stricnine
stricknine
styptic stiptic
stiptic
succorance succarance
succarence
sussultatory secultatory
cessultatory
suzerain souserin
susurain
sylph silth
sylf
syringadenous syringadinous
seringadinous
tagliatelle talliatelle
taliatelle
tattersall tattersal
tattersaul
tawdrily taudrally
taudraly
tectogene techtogene
techtegene
teratological terratalogical
terytalogical
terpsichore terpsichory
turpsichory
thesmothete thesmathete
thesmathete
tinnient tinient
teniunt
tocsin toxin
tauksen
tokamak tocamach
tockamac
tombolo tombulow
tambalo
torquemada torquamodda
torquematta
torrone taroni
tironi
totipotency totipotancy
totipettancy
trabant trabont
trabont
trabeated trabiated
trabiated
triquetra triquitra
triquietra
trophallaxis troxolexus
trophilaxis
trouvaille trouvail
truvai
truncal trunkal
trunkal
turbinado turbenadot
turbonado
ululant undulant
olullent
umbrageous umbragious
umbragious
unconscionable uncontionable
unconcionable
vaquero vacerou
vacerro
vargueno vergueno
vargaino
variorum veriorum
variorium
velitation vellitation
veletation
verbigeration verbidgeration
verbidgeration
veridical varidical
varitical
vexillology vexalology
vexillolgy
viridescent viradescent
veradescent
vitrophyre vitrifier
vitrifier
viviparous viviperous
viviperous
voortrekker foretreker
vortrekker
wastrel wastrail
wastral
weltschmerz veltschmerz
weldschmerz
wenzel wensel
wensel
witloof witlauf
witloaf
zaibatsu xybatsu
zaibotsu

*One caveat: The bee’s official results data for 2010 contains errors, and has been removed from this analysis.)

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