ursprache (u̇ər shpräḵə)

Proto-Indo-European is the ursprache of the Indo-European family of languages. Diagram from www.german.about.com

Katharine Close spelled the word ursprache to win the 2006 National Spelling Bee. Ursprache means a parent language, especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages.  Ursprache comes from the German roots ur meaning original and sprache meaning language. ProtoIndo-European is the ursprache, or the parent language of Indo-European languages such as Latin, Greek, Hindi and a lot of other languages.

euonym (yüənim)

Euonym was the winning word in the 1997 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Hello! Our championship word for this week is euonym, which means an appropriate name for a person or thing. Euonym comes from the Greek roots eu-, meaning good, and -onym meaning name. Euonym simply means “good name.” Rebecca Sealfon, from New York, shouted each letter of this word ecstatically to win the 1997 National Spelling Bee. Check out the site below for a video of Rebecca Sealfon!


hydrophyte (hī-drə-fīt)

This picture was taken in Breaux Bridge, LA and shows a hydrophyte.

Hi again! To continue our theme of past championship words, let’s explore the word hydrophyte. This word was spelled by Julie Ann Junkin from Birmingham, Alabama to win the 1974 Scripps National Spelling Bee. A hydrophyte is a plant that grows in water. Hydrophyte comes from the Greek roots hydro, meaning water, and phyt, meaning plant.  It literally means “water plant!” An example of a hydrophyte is a water lily. Look for another post next week!