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
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.
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.
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.