Test your National Spelling Bee smarts

Are you a faithful fan of the Scripps National Spelling Bee? Prove your affection by showing what you know on this quiz, which covers all-things spelling bee.

Question 1 of 14

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The first National Spelling Bee took place in what year?

Nine newspapers collaborated to start the National Spelling Bee in 1925. In 1941, Scripps took over the sponsorship.

Question 2 of 14

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Scholars say that the word "bee" in "spelling bee" comes from:

According to Scripps, "bene" — shortened to "bee" — is related to the word "boon," which refers to the "voluntary help given by neighbors toward the accomplishment of a particular task," as in quilting bees and sewing bees.

Question 3 of 14

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The title of the painting partially pictured here is:

"Peloponnesus" aside, it doesn't get much more American than a 1918 Norman Rockwell painting of a spelling bee.

Question 4 of 14

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Frank Neuhauser won the first National Spelling Bee in 1925 by successfully spelling the word for the flower shown here. How did he spell it?

Eleven-year-old Neuhauser prepared for the bee by copying the dictionary into a notebook. Upon winning, he was rewarded with $500 in gold pieces and a meeting with U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. He went on to become a patent lawyer.

Question 5 of 14

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Who has won more National Spelling Bee championships, boys or girls?

But it's close! Of 87 champions, 46 have been girls and 41 have been boys.

Question 6 of 14

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The National Spelling Bee finals were first broadcast live on TV in what year?

They were first shown on NBC. ABC broadcast the finals from 2006-2010, and since 2011, the national finals have been broadcast live in primetime on ESPN.

Question 7 of 14

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In 1939, Elizabeth Ann Rice (pictured) won for correctly spelling the adjective meaning "included in the list of sacred books officially accepted as genuine." How is it spelled?

The 12-year-old from Worcester, Massachusetts, received a plaque and $500 for her smart spelling at the 15th National Spelling Bee.

Question 8 of 14

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After a three-year hiatus because of the war, the bee returned in 1949 with the winning word describing the image here. How is it spelled?

John McKinney won with the word that comes from the French "sémaphore," literally "a bearer of signals." It comes from the Greek roots "sema" (sign, signal) and "phoros" (bearer).

Question 9 of 14

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The entity that sponsors the National Spelling Bee, E.W. Scripps, is what kind of organization?

Founded by Edward Willis Scripps in 1922, E.W. Scripps Company now owns 21 local television stations as well as daily newspapers in 13 markets across the United States, along with many other media properties.

Question 10 of 14

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The definition of 1962's winning word "esquamulose" is:

Question 11 of 14

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Along with the glorious loving cup, how much money does the champion receive from Scripps?

In addition to the engraved trophy, the winner receives a $2,500 savings bond, a reference library from Merriam-Webster, $2,600 in reference works plus a lifetime membership to Britannica Online Premium from Encyclopedia Britannica, and a $5,000 cash prize from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation.

Question 12 of 14

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Last year, for the first time in the 86-year history of the National Spelling Bee, what was incorporated into the competition?

During qualification for the semifinals and championship finals, computer-based vocabulary questions are now included to ensure that participants are actually learning the words, not just memorizing the spelling.

Question 13 of 14

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Sukanya Roy correctly spelled the winning word for 2011, "cymotrichous," meaning what?

Question 14 of 14

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There are 281 participants for the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee. What is the age of the youngest?

Speller 218, Hussain Godhrawala of Barnwell, South Carolina, is the youngest speller in the competition this year.


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