Spelling Bee Words

Words that have appeared frequently in the National Spelling Bee. Try the VT Spelling Bee!
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definitions & notes
only words

  1. aardwolf

    striped hyena of southeast Africa that feeds chiefly on insects
  2. abseil

    (mountaineering) a descent of a vertical cliff or wall made by using a doubled rope that is fixed to a higher point and wrapped around the body
  3. acuate

    ending in a sharp point
  4. adactylous

    without fingers and/or toes
  5. ailanthus

    any of several deciduous Asian trees of the genus Ailanthus
  6. almoner

    an official in a British hospital who looks after the social and material needs of the patients
  7. alveolate

    pitted with cell-like cavities (as a honeycomb)
  8. ammeter

    a meter that measures the flow of electrical current in amperes
  9. apocryphal

    being of questionable authenticity
  10. apsidal

    of or relating to an apse
  11. avocet

    long-legged web-footed black-and-white shorebird with slender upward-curving bill
  12. azimuth

    the azimuth of a celestial body is the angle between the vertical plane containing it and the plane of the meridian
  13. balletomane

    a ballet enthusiast
  14. banausic

    (formal) ordinary and not refined
  15. barouche

    a horse-drawn carriage having four wheels
  16. bimillenary

    the 2000th anniversary (or the celebration of it)
  17. bough

    any of the larger branches of a tree
  18. Brummagem

    a city in central England
  19. busby

    tall hat
  20. caduceus

    an insignia used by the medical profession
  21. camphor

    a resin obtained from the camphor tree
  22. catachresis

    strained or paradoxical use of words either in error (as `blatant' to mean `flagrant') or deliberately (as in a mixed metaphor: `blind mouths')
  23. catarrh

    inflammation of the nose and throat with increased production of mucus
  24. chaffinch

    small European finch with a cheerful song
  25. cirrhosis

    a chronic disease interfering with the liver's functioning
  26. clepsydra

    clock that measures time by the escape of water
  27. clinquant

    glittering with gold or silver
  28. corporeal

    having material or physical form or substance
  29. corymb

    flat-topped or convex inflorescence in which the individual flower stalks grow upward from various points on the main stem to approximately the same height; outer flowers open first
  30. coup

    a sudden and decisive change of government by force
  31. crepuscular

    like or relating to twilight; dim
  32. cuneiform

    an ancient wedge-shaped script used in Mesopotamia
  33. dachshund

    small long-bodied short-legged German breed of dog having a short sleek coat and long drooping ears; suited for following game into burrows
  34. daedal

    complex and ingenious in design or function
  35. deipnosophist

    someone skilled at informal chitchat
  36. demijohn

    large bottle with a short narrow neck
  37. desquamate

    peel off in scales
  38. diphthong

    a sound that glides between two vowels in a single syllable
  39. diptych

    a painting or carving on two panels
  40. doughty

  41. eiderdown

    down of the eider duck
  42. eleemosynary

    generous in assistance to the poor
  43. embouchure

    the aperture of a wind instrument into which the player blows directly
  44. etymon

    a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes
  45. Fauntleroy

    an excessively polite and well-dressed boy
  46. fissiparous

    reproducing by fission
  47. flibbertigibbet

    a foolish, flighty, and overly talkative person
  48. frontispiece

    an illustration facing the title page of a book
  49. gainsay

    take exception to
  50. ginglymus

    a freely moving joint in which the bones are so articulated as to allow extensive movement in one plane
  51. grisaille

    chiaroscuro painting or stained glass etc., in shades of grey imitating the effect of relief
  52. Guernsey

    a Channel Island to the northwest of Jersey
  53. gymkhana

    a meet at which riders and horses display a range of skills and aptitudes
  54. hacienda

    the main house on a ranch or large estate
  55. hartebeest

    a large African antelope with lyre-shaped horns that curve backward
  56. howitzer

    a muzzle-loading high-angle gun with a short barrel that fires shells at high elevations for a short range
  57. inchoate

    only partly in existence; imperfectly formed
  58. insouciant

    marked by unconcern
  59. inveigh

    complain bitterly
  60. ipsedixitism

    an unsupported dogmatic assertion
  61. lamasery

    a monastery for lamas
  62. maelstrom

    a powerful circular current of water
  63. mawkishly

    in a mawkish and emotional manner
  64. minuend

    the number from which the subtrahend is subtracted
  65. mores

    the conventions embodying the fundamental values of a group
  66. mugwump

    a neutral or uncommitted person, especially in politics
  67. nainsook

    a soft lightweight muslin used especially for babies
  68. nonpareil

    model of excellence or perfection of a kind
  69. obdurate

    stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
  70. oppugn

    challenge the accuracy, probity, or propriety of
  71. orrery

    planetarium consisting of an apparatus that illustrates the relative positions and motions of bodies in the solar system by rotation and revolution of balls moved by wheelwork; sometimes incorporated in a clock
  72. palimpsest

    a manuscript on which more than one text has been written
  73. perestroika

    an economic policy adopted in the former Soviet Union
  74. pettifogger

    someone who argues over unimportant details
  75. pharisaical

    excessively or hypocritically pious
  76. poinciana

    a tropical flowering shrub having bright orange or red flowers; sometimes placed in genus Poinciana
  77. psalmody

    the act of singing psalms or hymns
  78. ptosis

    drooping of the upper eyelid caused by muscle paralysis and weakness
  79. quodlibet

    an issue that is presented for formal disputation
  80. ragout

    well-seasoned stew of meat and vegetables
  81. roan

    having a brownish coat thickly sprinkled with white or grey
  82. samizdat

    a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident or banned literature
  83. sauerbraten

    pot roast marinated several days in seasoned vinegar before cooking; usually served with potato dumplings
  84. scansion

    analysis of verse into metrical patterns
  85. silhouette

    a filled-in drawing of the outline of an object
  86. simulacrum

    a representation of a person
  87. slumgullion

    a thin stew of meat and vegetables
  88. Soubise

    veloute sauce with sauteed chopped onions and whipping cream
  89. stannous

    of or relating to or containing tin
  90. synecdoche

    using part of something to refer to the whole thing
  91. tercentenary

    the 300th anniversary (or the celebration of it)
  92. transmogrify

    change completely the nature or appearance of
  93. trousseau

    clothes and linens that a bride brings to a marriage
  94. urceolate

    urn-shaped; large below and contracted toward the mouth
  95. wainscot

    wooden panels that can be used to line the walls of a room
  96. whorlywort

    a tall perennial herb having spikes of small white or purple flowers; common in eastern North America
  97. zephyr

    a slight wind
  98. zeugma

    rhetorical use of a word to govern two or more words
  99. zucchini

    marrow squash plant whose fruit are eaten when small
  100. zwieback

    slice of sweet raised bread baked again until it is brown and hard and crisp
Created on May 28, 2008
(updated June 27, 2008)