Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday Thirteen 417: Spelling Bee

This week is the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. I confess, I had completely forgotten about the bee this year until Tuesday night. Good thing I had a day to whip something up!

This year's competition started with 285 spellers, including the first 6-year-old to ever appear in the bee, and has been whittled down to 48 competing today. Due to the previous two years ending in ties, The Bee has made changes to the final round. If it comes down to two spellers trading off words, instead of each having to spell ten words correctly, there may be twenty-five words. Also, if it appears the words are too easy, they will switch to a harder word list. The finals will air on ESPN tonight at 7CT/8ET.

The following words are drawn from the classic novel Villette, by Charlotte Bronte, which I read last November for a group read and greatly enjoyed. I have an excellent B&N classic edition on my Nook that has lovely hyperlinked footnotes. The Nook also has a function that shows you a list of words you looked up in a particular book—which proved quite useful in writing up this post. The difficulty lie in narrowing it down to only thirteen words.

01. rubicund ([roo-bi-kuhnd] adjective); ruddy
Her complexion was fresh and sanguine, not too rubicund; her eye, blue and serene.

02. catalepsy ([kat-l-ep-see] noun); a trancelike state marked by loss of voluntary motion in which the limbs remain in whatever position they are placed . . .
And in catalepsy and a dead trance, I studiously held the quick of my nature.

03. quell (kwel, trans verb); 1: to thoroughly overwhelm and reduce to submission or passivity 2: quiet, pacify
He quelled, he kept down when he could; and when he could not, he fumed like a bottled storm.

04. cicerone ([sis-uh-roh-nee] noun); 1: a guide who conducts sightseers 2: mentor; tutor
Dr. Bretton was a cicerone after my own heart; he would take me betimes, ere the galleries were filled, leave me there for two or three hours, and call for me when his own engagements were discharged.

05. actuate ([ak-choo-eyt] trans. verb); to move to action
She is not actuated by malevolence, but sheer heedless folly.

06. recondite ([rek-uh n-dahyt, ri-kon-dahyt] adjective); 1: hidden from sight: concealed 2: difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend: deep 3: of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure
The rest sat on me easily; pedigree, social position, and recondite intellectual acquisition occupied about the same space and place in my interests and thoughts.

07. brusquerie ([broo s-kuh-ree] noun); abruptness of manner
Never hitherto had I felt seriously disposed to resent his brusqueries, or freeze before his fierceness; what he had said to-night, however, I considered unwarranted: my extreme disapprobation of the proceeding must be marked, however slightly.

08. chariness ([chair-ee-nis] noun); 1: the quality or state of being chary: caution 2: carefully preserved state: integrity
“Is it?” I said, with a tone and manner whose consummate chariness and frostiness I could not but applaud.

09. prodigal ([prod-i-guh l] adjective); 1: characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure; lavish 2: recklessly spendthrift 3: yielding abundantly: luxuriant
M. Emanuel was not a man to write books; but I have heard him lavish, with careless, unconscious prodigality, such mental wealth as books seldom boast; his mind was indeed my library, and whenever it was opened to me, I entered bliss.

10. punctilious ([puhngk-til-ee-uh s] adjective); marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions
Be sure to insist on seeing Madame Walravens herself, and giving the basket into her own hands, in order that there may be no mistake, for she is rather a punctilious personage.

11. importunity ([im-pawr-too-ni-tee] noun); 1: the quality or state of being importunate 2: an importunate request or demand
Tired, I suppose with her importunity, he threw down his spade, approached, and pushed the door ajar.

12. rive ([rahyv] verb); 1a: to wrench open or tear apart or to pieces; rend 1b: to split with force or violence 2a: to divide into pieces 2b: fracture
What should I do; oh! what should I do; when all my life’s hope was thus torn by the roots out of my riven, outraged heart?

13. umbrageous ([uhm-brey-juh s] adjective); 1a: affording shade 1b: spotted with shadows 2: inclined to take offense easily
I saw three persons . . . sitting on one seat, under a low-spreading and umbrageous tree, in the grounds of the palace at Bois l’Etang.

I hope you have found a word or two here to add to your own vocabulary. Happy spelling, and happy reading!

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

ETA 5/31: Oh, the irony! Despite changes made this year, it still ended in a tie -- for a third consecutive year.


colleen said...

wow, I only knew a few. #s 10 and 11 seem right out of the fictionary.

Alice Audrey said...

Spell? I can't even pronounce half of these.

CountryDew said...

Great words. It's a shame the average vocabulary has shrunk so much. said...

Good fun looking through the words. "Brusquerie" seems like a particularly suspicious one! Like a French word that hasn't been translated. I like in some novels that they put the 'still foreign' words in italics.

Heather said...

Colleen: Nope, not made up. Every one can be found at :D

Alice: ROFL! I'm sure you could manage one or two. '-D

Heather said...

Thanks, Anita, and I agree -- it's a shame how America's vocabulary has been dumbed down. Too many people don't even seem to know what a dictionary is anymore.

Rash: Brusquerie, like the word brusque, is actually one of those words adopted from the French. As such, it was not italicized in the book, and knowing its root I had an idea of what it meant but verified it to be sure.