Best Spelling Bee Moments E-V-E-R

Once again, the Scripps National Spelling Bee made for some of the most tense, exciting drama on television. (If the Starks ever compete in a spelling bee on Game of Thrones we’re all going to have a collective nerve-ratteld heart attack.) With 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati nabbing the 2012 title after spelling the word “guetapens” (meaning “to ambush or trap” pop culture bloggers, apparently) and 6-year-old contestant Lori Anne Madison become the youngest competitor ever, it was one for the record books. 

Of course, the National Spelling Bee has a history of making grown adults feel spectacularly inadequate and turning its young contestants into overnight sensations. Here now are some of the most memorable moments in spelling bee history: 

Overwhelmed or biding his time? This contestant passed out, but made a full recovery and spelled this word correctly.


Sure, these kids are geniuses, but they’re also still just kids. There was no more delightful reminder of that then when this adorable contestant rightfully giggled at the word “sardoodledom.”


Can you repeat the word? Can you use it in a sentence? How about 17 times? Also, what in the hell is a “hairwink”?


Numnah, numb nut. 
The word is “chinook,” GOSH. 

The entirety of the spellbinding 2002 documentary Spellbound. Seriously, rent this movie right now.


God Bless Amercia. 
What’s your favorite spelling bee moment? Sound off and use it in a sentence in the comments section below. 

Spelling Bees