Dept. of Word Lists

A Selection of Tony Incorvati's Favorite Words

Yesterday we talked to seventh-grader Tony Incorvati of Canton Country Day School, who has competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the last two years and is going for a three-peat. We asked Tony to share some of his favorite words. And try Tony's Community Spelling Bee for some more tough words!



tchotch·ke, n. 'chächkə, -kē; 'tsätskə

(Yiddish) an inexpensive showy trinket

  • Etymology: Yiddish tshatshke trinket, from obsolete Polish czaczko

kwa·shi·or·kor, n. |kwäshē|orkər, -ēˌor|ko(ə)r

severe malnutrition in children resulting from a diet excessively high in carbohydrates and low in protein

  • Etymology: native name in Ghana

Welt·an·schau·ung, n. 'velt'änˌshauəŋ, -au.(ˌ)uŋ

a comprehensive view of the world and human life

  • Etymology: German, literally, world view, from welt world + anschauung view

cwm, n.  'küm

a steep-walled semicircular basin in a mountain; may contain a lake

  • Etymology: Welsh, valley; akin to Greek kymbē drinking cup

flac·cid·i·ty, n. flak'sidəd.ē, ÷fla(a)'si-, -idətē, -i

a flabby softness

  • Etymology: Latin flaccidus, from flaccus flabby

ef·flu·vi·um, n. e'flüvēəm, ə'-

a foul-smelling outflow or vapor (especially a gaseous waste)

  • Etymology: Latin, act of flowing out, outlet, from effluere to flow out

oeu·vre, n. 'ə(r)v(rə), -vrə

the total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it)

  • Etymology: French [oe]uvre work (something produced by labor), from Latin opera, from plural of opus work

sphyg·mo·ma·nom·e·ter, n. |sfig(ˌ)mōmə'näməd.ə(r), -mətə-

a pressure gauge for measuring blood pressure

  • Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary sphygmo- + manometer; originally formed as French sphygmomanomètre

bae·de·ker, n. 'bādəkə(r), -dēk-

any of a series of travel guidebooks published by the German firm founded by Karl Baedeker

  • Etymology: after Karl Baedeker German publisher of guidebooks

souçon, n. (')süp|sōn

a slight but appreciable amount

  • Etymology: French, suspicion, conjecture, hint, trace, from Middle French sospeçon suspicion

katz·en·jam·mer, n. 'katsənˌjamə(r)

  1. disagreeable aftereffects from the use of alcohol
  2. loud confused noise from many sources
  • Etymology: German, from katzen (plural of katze cat, from Old High German kazza) + jammer distress, misery

so·lil·o·quy, n. sə'liləkwē, -wi

  1. speech you make to yourself monologue
  2. a (usually long) dramatic speech intended to give the illusion of unspoken reflections
  • Etymology: Late Latin soliloquium, from Latin soli- + loqui to speak

Welt·schmerz, n. 'veltˌshmerts

sadness on thinking about the evils of the world

  • Etymology: German, literally, world pain, from welt world + schmerz pain

sprach·ge·fühl, n. 'shpräkgəˌfuel

an intuitive feeling for the natural idiom of a language

  • Etymology: German, from sprache language + gefühl feeling

sa·miz·dat, n. 'sämēzˌdät

a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident or banned literature

  • Etymology: Russian, from sam self + izdatel'stvo publisher, from izdat' to publish

den·ti·frice, n. 'dentəfrəs

a substance for cleaning the teeth; applied with a toothbrush

  • Etymology: Middle French, from Latin dentifricium, from dent- + -fricium (from fricare to rub)

bowd·ler·ize, v. 'bōdləˌrīz, 'baud-

edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate

  • Etymology: Thomas Bowdler English editor of an expurgated Shakespeare + English -ize

aard·wolf, n. 'ärdˌwulf

striped hyena of southeast Africa that feeds chiefly on insects

  • Etymology: Afrikaans, from aard earth + wolf; akin to Old English wulf wolf

jab·ber·wocky, n. 'jabə(r)ˌwäkē, -ki

nonsensical language (according to Lewis Carroll)

  • Etymology: from Jabberwocky, a nonsense poem in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (Charles L. Dodgson) English author and mathematician

Now try your hand at spelling words that Tony has missed while playing the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee, here!

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Comments from our users:

Friday January 29th 2010, 2:02 AM
Comment by: Antonia D. (Sydney Australia)
Some of the words are tough indeed, especially their pronunciation.

When reading

bowd•ler•ize, v. 'bodl??riz, 'baud-
edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate
• Etymology: Thomas Bowdler English editor of an expurgated Shakespeare + English -ize

baudelairize came to my mind (as having a very similar pronunciation).

The word is used in three articles that can be found on the site below

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Our interview with Tony Incorvati, spelling whiz from Canton, Ohio.