The Scripps National Spelling Bee kicked off yesterday, and Google Trends celebrated the 90th edition of the competition by publishing a map that features America’s most misspelled words. Are you prepared to be surprised by which words, many of which are fairly common, throw people off when they try to spell them?
According to E! News, Google Trends got its data from “how to spell” search results across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with the data collected from January through April. And a look at America’s most misspelled words per states reveals some surprisingly common words, including some that were only one to five characters in length; the words “sense” (Oregon), “quote” (Idaho), “angel” (North Carolina), and “nanny” (Mississippi) were among the shortest, yet frequently-misspelled words revealed on the new map. Yet the shortest word commonly misspelled by Americans was “gray,” which led in the state of Georgia.
The seemingly common word “beautiful” was the most misspelled word in five states, namely California, Kentucky Minnesota, New York, and Ohio. The word “banana” threw off New Mexico residents, while the word “people” seemed to have left a lot of Hawaiians scratching their heads. But it was almost a case of trolling when the most difficult word to spell for residents of Wisconsin was the very name of their state.
Then again, the map showing America’s most misspelled words had some rather justifiable entires, such as “hallelujah” proving hard to spell for people in Delaware and Indiana, and “pneumonia” challenging those who live in Alabama, Maine, and Washington state. And in a rather unusual note, the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” of Mary Poppins fame looked to be the most frequently misspelled word for two states, Connecticut and West Virginia.
As mentioned, Google Trends’ post of commonly misspelled words per state was shared in preparation for the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, which started Wednesday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., and saw 40 children named as finalists. A report from the Washington Post took a look at some of the children who took part in yesterday’s eliminations, including six-year-old Oklahoma girl Edith Fuller, who had spelled the word “tapas” (savory Spanish appetizers) correctly after asking for a definition and alternate pronunciations.
Edith Fuller would make history as the youngest-ever contestant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but wasn’t able to make it to the finals. Still, she was one of many children who made a big splash yesterday, and “tapas” was certainly a much bigger, more obscure word than most of the others mentioned among America’s most misspelled words.
“Pontifical” (being in relation to the Pope, or the quality of being arrogant and feeling infallible) and “dietetic” (relating to diet or nutrition) were two other words that got some of this year’s Scripps spelling bee contestants eliminated. Both are longer and deeper than the average misspelled word on the Google Trends map, and as Owen Good of Polygon recalled in this humorous retrospective on the state spelling bees he and his brother joined in the 1980s, it’s common for children to be given difficult words with pronunciations that may or may not be reflective of how the words are normally spoken out.
Indeed, it can be hard if you’re a child encountering a new word for the first time while taking part in a spelling competition, especially the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee. But ABC News pointed out that even the adults behind Google Trends committed a faux pas or two when publishing its map with America’s most misspelled words. Google placed the word “nintey” (instead of “ninety”) next to Washington, D.C.’s place on the map, then later on teased an update by asking followers to “see which states swill [sic] change results.”
[Featured Image by David P. Smith/Shutterstock]