Hard Spelling Bee Words You Should Know

Joining spelling bee contests is one of the highlights of a student’s academic life. If you’re one of those smart kids, check out this article about hard spelling bee words. Use this as your guide in notching that first place and a gold medal!

As children grow older, they discover how to read and speak new words at home or in the classroom. As a grade level approaches, the curriculum will become more challenging. The education system will introduce children to grammar concepts, story-writing, essays, and poems. Consequently, they need to widen their vocabulary.

Children are taught to write their essays and stories. To attain such, spelling competitions are one of the most popular and prestigious activities they can join. Such challenging platforms may improve their English vocabulary skills.

Making them join spelling bees can teach them a lot of lessons. Having children learn easy words, you can teach hard spelling words to enhance their vocabulary. You can also arrange spelling games for kids to teach complicated terms to spell. 

By reading this article, you will learn about hard words to spell

yellow and purple bumble bee on Kindle E-book reader
Photo by Nemichandra Hombannavar on Unsplash

Ten Hard Spelling Bee Words You Should Know

Here are some challenging words to spell that you should know.

Word #1: Nauseous

It’s hard to remember what order the vowels go in “nauseous” when there are a lot of vowels. Even if you’ve got these correct, you may still double-guess your perception of the consonants.

There should be a “c” somewhere in there, like “conscious” in the “sh” sound. If the spelling confusion wasn’t enough, you probably have also used the word nauseous wrong.

Word #2: Dilate

The word “dilate” really shouldn’t be so hard to spell, but the way people typically pronounce it can throw spellers out of the loop. Many people use the word “dilate” as three total syllables, “di-a-late. It leads spellers and others to add an extra “a” when spelling the word.

Let’s put this easy misunderstanding to rest. There is no such word as “dialeate.”

Word#3: Indict

In today’s political climate, “indict” is becoming a buzzword. For better or worse, many people begin to double-check when they see it written out. Indications have been put into the word despite its Latin origins, and its first use dates back to around 1620. The Latin word is a variation on an earlier word called “indite.”

In the middle of the confusion, “indite” is still a word; it is meant to compose.

Word #4: Liquefy

This wouldn’t be a tricky word in a vacuum. It is only seven letters long, and it’s more or less spelled as it’s pronounced.

But the last three letters, logically, throw spellers off. There are almost no other words that follow this spelling pattern than “-ify” and “pacify,” “clarify,” and “specify.”

It is possible even to fictionalize the word “green-ify” (shout-out to Wicked fans), which is spelled with an “i.” Nevertheless, “liquefy,” which means to make liquid, ends with “-efy.”

Also confusing is that “liquid” itself is spelled “-qui,” making you think that the second vowel should be an “i.” Nope, the fact that “liquefy” is spelled with an “e” makes it one of our hardest words to spell.

This unusual spelling is also found in “Stupefy,” “putrefy,” and “rarefy.”

Word #5: Wednesday

Native English spellers have gotten used to the spelling “Wednesday,” but it’s still extraordinary considering how it’ll look. The first “D” is probably doing it! 

As much as it is well-known to comic book fans, Wednesday received its name from the Norse god Woden. He is also known as Odin.

Word #6: Sherbet

It’s time to resolve this sweet dispute once and for all—there is no such word as “sherbert.”. Many people have the mistake of thinking that “sherbet” or “serbert” are the same. However, it’s an Americanization of “sorbet.”

While both words come from the Turkish word “şerbet,” sherbet and sorbet are two different desserts. It is worth a whole article to explain the difference between these two. But the bottom line is that there is only one “r” in “sherbet,” no matter how people pronounce it.

The primary pronunciation is “sher-bit.” However, so many people throughout different regions of the United States pronounce it “sher-bert,” Dictionary.com lists it as a common pronunciation mistake.

Word #7: Bologna

Many meat packages spell it out as “Baloney.” Bologna, Italy, was the inspiration behind this particular type of sausage (but fancier). 

The word “-gn” should be pronounced with a “yuh” sound to mimic this fanciness. But they seem to suit Oscar Mayer’s thinner slabs better with the Americanized, more phonetic spelling.

Word #8: Playwright

These challenging words are nothing compared to those that won the National Spelling Bee.

A playwright is another one that is relatively easy to spell, but just plain counterintuitive. If you write a play, why aren’t people who author plays called playauthors? The term was coined in the late 1600s as a “playwright.”

(17th century was grand). When you wrought something, people will call you a wright.

A salt-in-the-wound coincidence is that “wright” is a homophone for “write.” Here are some old-fashioned words we don’t use anymore but should!

Word #9 Fuchsia

“Sc” and “sh” have been known to make the sound that starts the second syllable of “fuchsia.”. Unfortunately, for someone who likes to write about colors or plants, “Fuchsia” uses neither of those pairings.

A German botanist named Leonhard Fuchs inspired the naming of such beautiful bloom.

Word #10: Acquiesce

Try to look at this word quickly, which means “comply with or agree without question.” You might not think that the first “c” needs to be there; it is not in words like “aquatic” or “aquiver.”

You may also want to put the double “s” at the end instead of the “sc,” or put the “a” without a “c.”

Other Tips When Joining National Spelling Bees

Read a Dictionary

Reading a dictionary can be one of your advantages when trying to ace hard spelling words. You can try to memorize words that are hard to spell by reading through the pages of a dictionary. Also, you can try to make a list of the most challenging spelling bee terms or words last year.

Listen to Your Mentor

Most spelling bee contestants have trainers or mentors. They can provide significant help for you, so you should attend training sessions as much as possible. Also, they can give you advice based on their experiences from previous spelling bee contests.

Watch Replays

If the national spelling bee competition you’ll join has documentation through a video, you can watch it. Take note of the difficult words to spell that gave the contestants a hard time. Make sure to practice spelling it correctly.

To Wrap Up

Now, you’re ready to face the spelling competition of a lifetime. Take note of the ten most complicated spelling bee terms in the English Language above. Also, remember the tips above where you can relate to becoming a great, master word speller.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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