WBW #64

torsion

ORIGIN: A Late Latin word plus an English suffix

DEFINITION:

1: the act of turning or twisting: the state of being twisted: the twisting or wrenching of a body by the exertion of forces tending to turn one end or part about a longitudinal axis while the other is held fast or turned in the opposite direction

2: the limit of the ratio of the angle between the binormals at two points of a curve to the length of the arc joining the points as the length of the arc approaches zero – called also second curvature

3: the reactive torque that an elastic solid exerts by reason by being under torsion
4: the twisting of a body organ on its own axis
SENTENCE: All four definitions of torsion seem to have to do with the bending of an object.
NOTE: This word was the winning word of the ninth National Spelling Bee, which was won by Alma Roach.

WBW #63

knack

ORIGIN: Middle English

DEFINITION:

1 a: a task or chore requiring adroitness and dexterity

1 b: a clever way of doing something

1 c: trick, scheme, stratagem

2 a: a special ready capacity that is hard to analyze or teach for dexterous adroit performance especially of the unusual, technical, or difficult

2 b: trait, tendency, inclinationespecially: one strictly individual and difficult to explain or analyze

3 a archaic: an ingenious device: a cleverly made contrivance; broadly: toy, trinket, knickknack

3 b obsolete: a dainty article of food: delicacy

3 c obsolete: an ingenious literary device: conceit

SENTENCE: The word knack has eight different definitions, three of which are either archaic or obsolete.

NOTE: This word was the winning word of the eighth National Spelling Bee, which was won by Dorothy Greenwald.

WBW #62

foulard

ORIGIN: French

DEFINITION:

1 a: a lightweight plainwoven or twilled silk usually printed with a small neat evenly spaced pattern

1 b: an imitation of this fabric made usually of rayon, cotton, wool, or nylon

2: an article of clothing (as a tie, scarf, or handkerchief) that is made of foulard

SENTENCE: It is questionable that the word foulard refers not only to real foulards but also imitations of foulards.

NOTE: This word was the winning word of the seventh National Spelling Bee, which was won by Ward Randall.

WBW #60

asceticism

ORIGIN: seemingly from ascetic 

DEFINITION:

1 a: the condition, practice, or mode of life of an ascetic : rigorous abstention from self-indulgence

b: a disciplinary course of conduct in which certain actions (as contemplation and fasting) are performed for their intellectual, moral, or religious effect

2: the doctrine that through the renunciation of the desires of the flesh and of pleasure in worldly things and through self-mortification or self-denial one can reach a high spiritual or intellectual state

SENTENCE: It seems as if asceticism involves self-denial in at least two of its definitions.

NOTE: This word was the winning word of the fifth National Spelling Bee, which was won by Virginia Hogan.

WBW #59

albumen

ORIGIN: Latin

DEFINITION:

1 a: the white of an egg

b: egg albumin 2

archaic: endosperm

3: albumin

SENTENCE: It appears that the word albumen has a lot of different definitions, including the white of an egg, the albumin of eggs, a nutritive tissue in seed plants, and any of a large class of simple proteins.

NOTE: This word was the winning word of the fourth National Spelling Bee, which was won by Betty Robinson.