What do a specialized linguist, an elephant's trunk and a system of inheritance have in common?
They're all really hard to spell.
Results are in from the second round of the Scripps annual spelling bee, and some of the precocious young participants stumbled over the tongue-twisting vocabulary that they were assigned (the above three words, by the way, are syntactician, proboscis and ultimogeniture).
Round three of the preliminaries wraps up this afternoon, after which the semifinalists will be announced. In the meantime, here's a list of the words that stumped spellers in round 2, with definitions.
Guttural: of or pertaining to the throat.
Voortrekker: one of the original Afrikaner settlers of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State who migrated from the Cape Colony in the 1830s
Witloof: an endive
Ibuprofen: a white powder, C 13 H 18 O 2 , used especially in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic.
Corollary: an immediate consequence or easily drawn conclusion.
Infinitesimal: indefinitely or exceedingly small; minute
Dreidel: a four-sided top bearing the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, he, and shin, one on each side, used chiefly in a children's game traditionally played on the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
Valise: a small piece of luggage that can be carried by hand, used to hold clothing, toilet articles, etc.; suitcase; traveling bag.
Gauche: lacking social grace, sensitivity, or acuteness; awkward; crude; tactless
Dieffenbachia: any of various plants belonging to the genus Dieffenbachia, of the arum, family native to tropical America, often cultivated as houseplants for their decorative foliage.
Coscinomancy: Divination by means of a suspended sieve
Quinary: pertaining to or consisting of five
Croustade: a shell of bread or pastry, sometimes of noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes, baked or fried and filled with ragout
Moraine: a ridge, mound, or irregular mass of unstratified glacial drift, chiefly boulders, gravel, sand, and clay.
Mozzarella: a mild, white, semisoft Italian cheese.
Schnecke: sweet, spiral, snail-shaped rolls made from raised dough with chopped nuts, butter, and cinnamon.
Ultimogeniture: Compare primogeniture a principle of inheritance whereby the youngest son succeeds to the estate of his ancestor
Lustrum: Also, luster; especially British, lustre, a period of five years.
Gracile: gracefully slender.
Charlatan: a person who pretends or claims to have more knowledge or skill than he or she possesses; quack.
Licentiate: a person who has received a license, as from a university, to practice an art or profession.
Jadeite: a mineral, essentially sodium aluminum silicate, NaAlSi 2 O 6 , usually fibrous, occurring in compact masses, whitish to dark green: a form of jade.
Syntactician: a linguist who specializes in the study of grammar and syntax
Petechial: pertaining to, resembling, or characterized by petechiae.
Saxifrage: any plant of the genus Saxifraga, certain species of which grow wild in the clefts of rocks, other species of which are cultivated for their flowers
Minatory: menacing; threatening.
Proboscis: the trunk of an elephant.
Gloxinia: any of several horticultural varieties of a plant belonging to the genus Sinningia, of the gesneria family, especially S. speciosa, having large white, red, or purple bell-shaped flowers
Sassafras: an American tree, Sassafras albidum, of the laurel family, having egg-shaped leaves and long clusters of greenish-yellow flowers
Comminution: to pulverize; triturate.