At the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee, Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, received a share of the prize after correctly spelling “pendeloque.” This year, the citizens of his home state of Texas struggled with “beautiful.”
The National Spelling Bee concluded last night in an unprecedented 8-way championship tie, where the contestants spelled words that most of us have likely never heard used in a sentence. The contestants couldn’t get any help when it came to spelling those tricky words, other than clues like origin and definition.
Luckily for the rest of us, there’s Google. The search engine giant has compiled the top 2019 searches in each state that began with “How to spell ...” to determine which words frustrate each state’s users enough for them to ask for help. The results revealed some interesting trends from state to state.
The word that confounded the most states is “beautiful.” In fact, there’s a “beautiful” belt running through the southeastern United States, from Virginia to Florida. “Beautiful” was also the most-searched word last year, with 11 states begging Google for help.
The struggles for some states are understandable. Many can sympathize with Pennsylvanians’ trouble with “pneumonia,” and we give kudos to the people of Delaware for attempting to spell out “veterinarian,” rather than abbreviating to “vet.”
Elsewhere, though, there were some eyebrow-raisers, such as Iowans’ difficulty with “loose.” At least the denizens of the Hawkeye State know how to spell the name of their own place of residence – something that doesn’t come so easily to the residents of Hawaii (which some will argue is spelled “Hawai’i,” though our own Google search shows the apostrophe-free spelling as being more common). There is one silver lining for Hawaiians – they weren’t caught searching for a “heart,” like the apparent bevy of tin men who commandeered computers in Maryland.
As curious as some of these searches are, it’s good to see that people are checking their own work when it comes to putting all of the right letters in the right order. As we’ve said before, spelling matters.
The elite spellers from this year’s National Spelling Bee probably aren’t represented in the map of Google’s most-searched words. Among the eight winning words were “erysipelas,” “bougainvillea,” and “aiguillette.”
If none of those tricky words were familiar, you could always Google them.