Special Report

Every Spelling Bee Winning Word over the Last 20 Years

Source: Courtesy of Blitz/Welch

1999: Logorrhea

Definition: “pathologically excessive and often incoherent talkativeness.”

Pronunciation: log·​or·​rhea

Speller: Famous for her role in the 2002 Scripps Bee documentary “Spellbound,” Nupur Lala, who won at age 14, penned an essay nearly 20 years later to explain the importance of the competition. Currently pursuing a medical degree with a focus in neurology, Lala believes “that a major draw of the event is watching true meritocracy — and diversity — displayed.”

Source: Tammy Fullum / Getty Images

2000: Demarche

Definition: “any formal or informal representation or statement of views to a public official.”

Pronunciation: dé·​marche

Speller: At 12 years old, George Abraham Thampy won on his third try after placing third and fourth in the previous two bees. He was also the runner-up in the National Geography Bee a week before the 2000 Spelling Bee. Thampy, of Maryland Heights, Missouri, was only the second home-schooled student to win the spelling contest, and credited his education with helping him win: “Spelling is not a subject taught in schools,” he said.

Source: mstahlphoto / Getty Images

2001: succedaneum

Definition: “one that comes next after or replaces another in an office, position or role.”

Pronunciation: suc·​ce·​da·​ne·​um

Speller: Sean Conley of Anoka, Minnesota, won the bee this year after going for five rounds against another 13-year-old speller. Like Conley, his competitor was also participating in the

Scripps National Spelling Bee for the third time. But Conley was able to clinch the title with his correct spelling of “succedaneum,” while the runner-up was eliminated by the word “resipiscence.”

Source: The White House / Getty Images

2002: Prospicience

Definition: “the act of looking forward : foresight.”

Pronunciation: pro·​spi·​cience

Speller: Pratyush Buddiga, a 13-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado, won $12,000 with his spelling of “prospicience” during the 2002 Scripps National Spelling Bee, but today he is competing for much higher stakes. Buddiga, now 29, is a recently retired poker player, with millions of dollars in wins, and is getting into cryptocurrency.

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

2003: Pococurante

Definition: “not concerned : indifferent : nonchalant.”

Pronunciation: po·​co·​cu·​ran·​te

Speller: It took four tries for Sai R. Gunturi of Dallas, Texas to win the Scripps Bee at 13 years old. He had previously tied for 32nd in 2000, 16th in 2001 and 7th in 2002. The scholar, who played the violin and studied Indian classical music, said he was almost laughing when he won because he had studied “pococurante” previously. After finally winning the $12,000 prize, Gunturi exclaimed, “‘I’m going to buy a lot of video games, like, a lot.”

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