ORIGIN: Late Latin
DEFINITION: growing worse; becoming impaired in quality, state, or condition
SENTENCE: The patient’s condition was rapidly deteriorating as he was rushed to the hospital.
NOTE: This word was the winning word of the tenth National Spelling Bee, which was won by Sarah Wilson.
ORIGIN: A Late Latin word plus an English suffix
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.
ORIGIN: Middle English
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, inclination; especially: 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.
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.
DEFINITION: a noisy quarrel
SENTENCE: The fracas in the school cafeteria was a sight to behold.
NOTE: This word was the winning word of the sixth National Spelling Bee, which was won by Helen Jensen.
ORIGIN: seemingly from ascetic
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.
1 a: the white of an egg
b: egg albumin 2
2 archaic: endosperm
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.