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                          "Famous" Semantics Words 1
                                      1998 - 1999
  
embarrassing        (em-BER-uh-sing)    n.    [<French<Spanish<Portuguese]
         
                                  causing one to feel self conscious
  
                              It was embarrassing when I had to sneeze during the performance.
        
                             (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  A form of this word
                              word appeared in PAIDEIA in 1997 - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and
                              appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 119.  On the World Almanac’s
                              list of commonly misspelled words.  On the City Written test in 2017.)
  
pterodactyl        (ter-uh-DAK-tuhl)    n.    [<Latin]
    
                              an extinct flying reptile from the Jurassic period
   
                                      Some scientists now believe that the pterodactyl was
                                      warm-blooded, and therefore, not a reptile.
   
                                      (On the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1982.)
   
neologism        (nee-AWL-uh-giz-uhm)    n.    [<French]
     
                      a new word; a new word usage; a new expression
    
                               The term e-mail is a neologism of the 1990s.
      
                             The winning word for Michael Grauer of Hamilton Middle School when
                             he won the 1996 City Orals Spelling Bee.  First appeared in PAIDEIA
                             in 1987 - Literary Terms and in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from French.)
     
pusillanimous        (pyoo-suh-LAN-uh-muhs)    adj.    [<Latin]
   
                                   cowardly; timid
        
                                        Attacking the unarmed camp was deemed a
                                        pusillanimous act by the review board.
                        
                                        (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953. 
                                         On the 1983 Colorado State Written Spelling Test.)
                             
hasenpfeffer        (HAWZ-uhn-fef-uhr)    n.    [<German]
                   
                                  pickled rabbit stew
                   
                                       The school cafeteria has never served hasenpfeffer for lunch.
                        
                                       (Silent letter)
               
palpitation        (pal-puh-TAY-shuhn)    n.    [<Latin]
                      
                              throbbing; quivering
                          
                                   The spaniel was hit by a car, but we could tell it was still alive
                                    by the palpitation of its heart.
                           
                                 (The winning word for Nick West-Miles of Place Middle School
                                   when he won the 1998 "City Orals" Spelling Bee.  First appeared
                                   in PAIDEIA in 1996 - Medical Terms.)
     
ambidextrous        (am-buh-DEKS-truhs)    adj.    [<Latin + Ecf]
    
                                 able to use either hand equally as well
          
                                         Ambidextrous people can eat and write with either hand. 
     
                                         (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  On the
                                           1976 Colorado State Written Test.)
      
flibbertigibbet        (flib-uhr-tee-JIB-uht)    n.    [<English]
    
                                 a frivolous, light-minded, silly person especially
                                  a young woman gossip
     
                                          Marcia is such a flibbertigibbet--she talks a lot but
                                           never says anything.
      
                                           (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1979 and in
                                        PAIDEIA in 1995 - Personality.  On the 1997 City Written Test.)
   
triskaidekaphobia        (tri-sky-dek-uh-FOH-bee-uh)    n.   
                                                                                          [<Latin<Greek]
    
                                        fear of the number 13
     
                                            Hiram has triskaidekaphobia and refuses to live on the
                                              thirteenth floor.
   
                                                 (On the 2004 National Spelling Bee Written Test.)
  
lackadaisical        (lak-uh-DAY-zuh-kuhl)    adj.   
                                                     [by folk etymology <English lackaday]
    
                                lacking life, spirit, or zest; listless
    
                          "If you want that job you’ll have to change that lackadaisical attitude."
    
                           (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in
                            1995 - Personality and again in 2001 - Folk Etymologies.  On the City
                            Written Test in 2004 and 2011 and the Colorado State Written Test
                            in 1976.)
           
otorhinolaryngology        (oh-duh-ry-noh-ler-uhn-GAWL-uh-jee)
                                                                             n.    [<Greek]
    
                                 a branch of medicine that deals with the ear,
                                 nose, and throat and their diseases and disorders
     
                                         The physician studied otorhinolaryngology in medical
                                          school and can treat ear infections.
       
                                  (First appeared as the longest word in PAIDEIA in 1998 - Odors.
                                    On the 1995 City Written Spelling Test.)
   
osculate        (AWS-kyuh-layt)    v.    [<Latin]
   
                             to kiss
   
                             To osculate in private is one thing, but to have our
                              friends watching is embarrassing.
    
                            (On the City Written Spelling Test in 1984, 1986, and 1996.)
   
sybaritic        (sib-uh-RID-ik)    adj.    [<Greek (name of an ancient city)]
     
                              very fond of luxury and pleasure
   
                             The king lives in sybaritic grandeur while the peasants
                                live in abject poverty.
   
                              (The winning word for Anna Cueni of Baker Middle School when
                                she won the 1997 "City Orals" Spelling Bee.)
     
mnemonic        (ne-MAWN-ik)    adj.    [<Greek]
    
                          aiding the memory; something help you remember
   
                                 Learning to spell "geography" from "George Eastman’s old
                                            grandmother rode a pig home yesterday" is a mnemonic device. 
     
                              (On the World Almanac’s list of commonly misspelled words.
                                Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 44.  On the City 
                                Written Spelling Test in 1985 and 1999 and on the
                                Colorado State Written Test in 1973, 1982, and 1984.
                                First appeared in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Greek.)
              
aitch        (aych)    n.    [<French<Latin]
    
                      the letter "H"
     
                     "Aitch" comes after "gee" in the alphabet.
    
                      (One of the final five words in 1998 National Spelling Bee. 
                        Appeared in PAIDEIA in 1999 - back page.  Appears in
                        How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 45 and 137.)
   
eleemosynary        (el-uh-MAWS-uh-ner-ee)    adj.    [<Latin]
   
                                  relating to charity; charitable; philanthropic
   
                                 Mrs. Jiminez is admired for her eleemosynary activities.
    
                                      (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  On the
                                       City Written Spelling Test in 1985 and the Colorado State
                                       Written Test in 1975, 1981, 1982, and 1983.)
   
hieroglyphics        (hy-roh-GLIF-iks)    n. pl.    [<Greek]
    
                               ancient Egyptian picture writing
      
                                  It took the discovery of the Rosetta Stone for anthropologists
                                  to be able to decipher the hieroglyphics found in the pyramids.
    
                          (Violates the "-ie-, -ei-" spelling rule.  On the 2002 City Written Test.) 
     
syzygy        (SIZ-uh-gee)    n.    [<Greek]
     
                     the nearly straight line alignment of three celestial bodies
   
                            The earth, sun, and moon form a syzygy during a lunar eclipse.
   
                           (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1983.  Appears
                             in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 65.  On the Colorado State 
                             Written Spelling Test in 1982 and 1983.)
     
facetious        (fuh-SEE-shuhs)    adj.    [<Latin]
   
                         joking, especially at an inappropriate time
   
                               "This is an important meeting, and I don’t appreciate
                                 your facetious remark!"
    
                       (Contains all 5 vowels in order.  On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of
                        100 words every college student should know.  First appeared in Words
                        of the Champions in 1953 and in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Latin.
                        On the Colorado State written test in 2010 and 2012 and the City Written
                        spelling test in 2007 and 2017.)
    
parfait        (pawr-FAY)    n.    [<French]
    
                      a cold fruit, whipped cream, and ice cream dessert
      
                          Mom served a raspberry parfait for dessert.
   
                         (The winning word for Melissa Lake of Hill Middle School when she won
                           the 1989 Colorado State Spelling Bee.  First appeared in Words of the
                           Champions in 1968 and in PAIDEIA in 2003 - Food for Thought.  On the
                           City Written Spelling Test in 2010.)


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