The champions and winning words from the last 20 years of spelling bees
Karthik Nemmani stands alone.
Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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The Scripps National Spelling Bee, America’s foremost test of children’s spelling abilities, has crowned 14-year-old Karthik Nemmani of Texas as champion for correctly spelling the winning word—koinonia.
Dictionaries define the word as a noun meaning “intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community.”
Yes, obscure competition words stretch the limits of almost all adults. Yet sometimes just a silent letter or surprising vowel digraph can be enough to make a simple sounding word challenging. Take for example 2013’s deceptively difficult winning word: “knaidel,” the Yiddish word for a matzo ball.
This year there were 516 registered spellers from US states and territories, the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.