Spelling Bee lessons for all sports fans

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
3:26
PM ET
The 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee may be over, but let Snigdha Nandipati and the other champion spellers inspire you to use a richer vocabulary. Don't convince yourself that the difficult words used in the competition are impractical.

Here are just a few words from the 2012 Bee with their real definitions and a sample sentence you can feel free to work into a conversation the next time you stop by your local sports bar:

rondeau – n -- a lyrical poem of French origin having 13 or sometimes 10 lines with two rhymes throughout and with the opening phrase repeated twice as a refrain

[+] EnlargeSnigdha Nandipati
Chuck Myers/MCT via Getty ImagesStudy up on our spelling words, so you can get a substantial trophy like National Spelling Bee winner Snigdha Nandipati.
The Celtics fan majoring in poetry at Harvard penned a Rajon Rondo rondeau.

vincible – adj -- capable of being overcome or defeated

As a team owner and executive, Michael Jordan was quite vincible.

tularemia – n -- an infectious disease caused by a bacteria that chiefly affects rodents but can also be transmitted to humans through the bite of infected animals

The North Carolina fan feared he would be infected with tularemia if he got close to Mike Krzyzewski.

tromometer – n -- an instrument for detecting or measuring very slight earth tremors

A tromometer as far away as Grand Rapids registered Prince Fielder’s home run trot.

nefast – adj -- wicked

The Patriots fan felt that Wes Welker was nefast awesome.

mumpsimus – n -- a traditional notion that is obstinately held although it is unreasonable

The baseball manager still clung to the mumpsimus that sacrifice bunting would increase his team’s chances of scoring.

mephitis – n -- an offensive smell; a stench

Cubs fans insisted that they found Wrigley Field’s mephitis endearing.

psychrophyte – n -- a plant adapted to the climatic conditions of the arctic or alpine regions

Ted Thompson always began his pitch to prospective Packers free agents by telling them about psychrophytes.

fjeld – n -- a high barren plateau in the Scandinavian countries.

After announcing his retirement, Nicklas Lidstrom returned to his cottage on the fjeld.

Götterdämmerung – n -- a turbulent ending of a regime or institution.

Arkansas was doing its best to move past the Bobby Petrino Götterdämmerung.

[+] EnlargeNicholas Rushlow
AP Photo/Alex BrandonWhat we like to imagine happened here: Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio, gets word wrong, drops mic, peaces out.
trophobiosis – n -- a symbiotic relation in which one organism protects the other in return for some kind of food product

The quarterback’s relationship with his offensive linemen was one of trophobiosis because he regularly treated them to steak dinners.

maquillage – n -- cosmetic or theatrical makeup

Tom Brady was mocked on the Internet for showing up to an event wearing maquillage.

rhonchus – n -- a coarse rattling sound somewhat like snoring

Most of the few fans in attendance at the Marlins game were making a rhonchus.

rapparee – n -- a bandit or robber

Many coaches were more than willing to overlook the fact that the five-star recruit was a convicted rapparee.

heiau – n -- a Hawaiian temple

The NFL announced that its all-star game would return to the Pro Bowl heiau of Aloha Stadium.

Tirthankar – n -- in Jainism, a human being who achieves enlightenment through asceticism and who then becomes a role-model teacher for those seeking spiritual guidance

Phil Jackson was seriously considering a return to become head Tirthankar of the New York Knicks.

dedans – n -- the spectators' area at a court tennis match

All of the 14-year-old boys in the dedans were staring at Maria Sharapova.

harengiform – adj -- herring-shaped

The draft prospect saw his stock drop after several scouts noted his harengiform body.

canities – n -- the medical term for the graying or whitening of hair

Although balding rapidly, LeBron James was grateful to not also be afflicted with canities.

[+] EnlargeLena Greenberg
AP Photo/Evan VucciSpelling is really hard, as indicated by this photo of Lena Greenberg of Philadelphia.
turnverein – n -- a club of gymnasts or tumblers

Hoping to improve at flopping, Blake Griffin joined a turnverein.

otosteon – n -- any of the small bones of the middle ear

Cole Hamels hurled the ball with all of his might, hoping to hit Bryce Harper in the otosteon.

quattrocento – n -- the 15th-century period of Italian art and literature

Ochocinco’s home was filled with expensive quattrocento art.

saccharolytic – adj -- breaking down sugars in metabolism with the production of energy

CC Sabathia stayed under 400 pounds thanks to his body’s saccharolytic functions during pitching appearances.

prolegomenon – n -- any introduction or essay at the beginning of a book

Before Ohio State’s players could begin installing Urban Meyer’s offense, they had to first read the playbook’s prolegomenon.

admittatur – n -- the certificate of admission given in some American colleges

Upon seeing the high school player’s highlight reel, Coach Calipari immediately sent him an admittatur.

schwarmerei – n -- excessive or unwholesome sentiment

After LeBron James failed to deliver in the clutch, it was assured that the next day’s sports radio would be marked by schwarmerei.

guetapens – n -- ambush, snare, trap

Gregg Williams gathered his defensive players around and offered $5,000 to whoever lured the opposing quarterback into a guetapens.

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