Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scripps National Spelling Bee: More Than Just Spelling

What a great time of year it is for word, vocabulary, etymology and spelling lovers. The Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today. Yes, I know it is call a spelling bee but viewing it is also a great way to learn new words and their definitions and etymologies, in addition to their spelling. In other words, watching the spelling bee is a great way to expand your vocabulary.

For example, here are some of the winning words from years past:

crustaceology: The branch of zoology that studies crustaceans. Latin crusta = "crust, hard shell."
eudaemonic: Producing happiness and well-being. Greek eu- + daimon = "good or happy spirit."
esquamulose: In botany, lacking minute scales; not squamulose. Latin e - "not" + squamula- "small scales."
hydrophyte: A plant adapted to grow in water. Greek hydro + phyte
vivisepulture: An act or instance of burying someone alive. Latin vivus 'alive' + sepulture 'burying.'
appoggiatura: an embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone and usually written as a note of smaller size. Borrowed from Italian appoggiatura, derived from appoggiare, meaning “to lean.”

Interestingly, Spell Check did not recognize even one of these words.

The Quarterfinals are on this afternoon, the Semifinals are on ESPN tomorrow afternoon, and the Finals are on ABC tomorrow evening.

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