What are some exceedingly difficult spelling words?


Quick Answer

"Appoggiatura," "laodicean," and "autochthonous" are all examples of words that are hard to spell. These words were winning words in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Other words, such as "embarrass" and "government," are among the most commonly misspelled words in the English language.

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What are some exceedingly difficult spelling words?
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Full Answer

Words can be difficult to spell for any number of reasons. A word may be hard to spell because it comes from a different language and was adopted into English. It may be hard to spell because it has a silent letter, an unusual combination of letters, or has a letter that does not sound how it usually sounds.

"Appoggiatura" is a musical term originating in Italian. "Laodicean" means to be indifferent to politics or religion, and has an unusual vowel combination. "Autochthonous" describes things that are indigenous or native-used, and has an unusual combination of consonants. "Embarrass" has two sets of double letters. "Government" has a silent "n."

The Scripps National Spelling Bee picks its difficult-to-spell words through a committee, which pays attention to the length of the word, how easy it is to spell out the word, and whether it is a word people might see in daily life. For example, the word "cortege," meaning "funeral procession," was no longer considered an extremely difficult word after reporters used it frequently following Princess Diana's death.

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