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                           "Famous" Semantics Words 10
                                       2007 - 2008    
               
gyascutus        (gy-uh-SKYOO-duhs)    n.    [<unknown]
    
                         an imaginary large four-legged beast with legs on one
                         side longer than on the other for walking on hillsides
    
                               A gyascutus has to face one direction all of its life, for if it
                                turned around it would tumble down the hill.
   
                               (On the National Written Spelling Test in 2004.  Appears
                                 in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 19.)
    
sanguine        (SANG-gwuhn)    adj.    [<English<French<Latin]
    
                         anticipating the best; cheerfully confidant; eagerly
                         hopeful; optimistic; red like blood
   
                                There was little tangible evidence to go on, but the police
                                  remained sanguine that they would solve the case.
   
                         (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1979 and in PAIDEIA in
                          1995 - Personality, and again in 2000 - Mood Swings.  On the American
                          Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every college student should
                          know.  On the City Written Spelling Test in 2007 and 2014.) 
    
tarantula        (tuh-RANCH-uh-luh)    n.    [<Latin<Italian, Taranto, a seaport
                                                                              in southern Italy]
      
                            any of numerous large hairy spiders
    
                                A tarantula is rather sluggish, and though capable of biting
                                 sharply, is not significantly poisonous to man.
    
                               (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  On the City
                                 Written Spelling Test in 1995 and 2015.)
     
pneumatic        (noo-MAD-ik)    adj.    [<Latin<Greek]
    
                           of, relating to, or using air, wind, or some other gas
    
                               We closed all the windows and doors but still could not drown out 
                               the pounding of the pneumatic drill being used to tear up the street.
    
                        (The winning word for Cole Sprouse’s character Cody Martin in Disney
                          Channel’s The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, episode 39, "Neither a Borrower
                          nor a Speller Bee."  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.)
     
enigmatologist        (uh-nig-muh-TAWL-uh-juhst)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
 
                                  one who creates or solves crossword puzzles
    
                                          Will Shortz, puzzle editor for the New York Times,
                                           is an enigmatologist.
    
                                          (Subject of the 2006 documentary film Word Play.)
   
gamut        (GAM-uht)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]  
              
                     the entire range of something from one extreme to the other
        
                         At first I thought that I had done very well, then OK, and finally poorly.
                          My emotions ran the gamut from confidence to despair.
    
                         (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1956.  It was on the Colorado
                          State Written Test in 1985 and was the most misspelled word on the City
                          Written Spelling Test in 2007.)
      
Machiavellian        (mak-ee-uh-VEL-ee-uhn)    adj.   
                                                       [<Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), Italian Statesman]
    
                               deceitful; characterized by political cunning,
                                bad faith, and duplicity
     
                                     The behind-the-scenes conniving by the prime minister’s
                                     cabinet was Machiavellian and led to his assassination.
   
                   (Written at the time of the Borgias and the de Medicis, and based on the
                    practical politics of these two unscrupulous families, Machiavelli’s book,
                    Il Principe was wrongly condemned for years as advocating duplicity, treachery,
                    and the adoption of any means, however vicious, to obtain a desired end in
                    government.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2005 - Politics & Government.  On
                    the 1988 Colorado State Written Spelling Test.)
        
supercilious        (soo-puhr-SIL-ee-uhs)    adj.    [<Latin] 
                 
                             haughty; contemptuous, arrogantly superior, looking
                              down on others
    
                                   Ruby weathered the supercilious sneer of her manager, and
                                    resolved to file a complaint about his misconduct.
       
                                   (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA
                                    in 2005 - English, Latin, & Greek.  On American Heritage Dictionary’s
                                    list of 100 words every college student should know.  On the 2008
                                    and 2013 City Written Spelling Test.)
         
sempiternal        (semp-uh-TUHR-nuhl)   adj.   [<English<French<Latin]
     
                               of never-ending duration; everlasting; eternal
   
                                    Because the terrorists are ubiquitous and sempiternal, war
                                     against them may last forever.
               
                 (The word missed by Alec Sarché of Hamilton Middle School when he finished
                   in 10th place at the 2007 Colorado Sate Spelling Bee.
  This word was spelled
                   correctly by Faith Baca, 2017 state champion from RMSEL, in round 2 at the
                   2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.)
        
chrysanthemum        (kruh-SANT-thuh-mum)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
     
                              1)  a cultivated plant with a large double flower head
                              2)  a conventionalized flower form with 16 complete
                                     rays used as the chief badge of the Japanese
                                     imperial family
      
                                  As an emblem of the Japanese imperial family, the chrysanthemum
                                    is a symbol of perfection, longevity, and immortality.
    
                               (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in
                                2001 - Watership Down.  Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 50.)
    
innocuous        (i-NAWK-yuh-wuhs)    adj.    [<Latin]
                  
                                producing no ill effect; harmless
               
                                "Who would have thought that my innocuous little remark could
                                  have started such a feud?" 
               
                                (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953, in PAIDEIA in
                                 2002 - Prefixes Rule!, and in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Latin
                                 On the Colorado State Written Test in 1995 and the City Written
                                 Spelling Test in 2008 and 2013.  On the World Almanac’s list of
                                 commonly misspelled words.)
         
inoculate        (uh-NAWK-yuh-layt)    v.    [<English<Latin]
     
                        to inject a serum, vaccine, or virus into the body to
                         create immunity
    
                               Before using it on humans, the scientists will first inoculate rats
                                with the serum to make sure there are no serious side effects.
             
                       (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in
                        1996 - Medical Terms.  Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 119. 
                        On the Colorado State Written Test in 1961, 1973, 1982, 1999, and
                        2004.  On the World Almanac’s list of commonly misspelled words.)
           
psittacism        (SIT-uh-siz-uhm)    n.    [<New Latin<Latin + Ecf]
      
                          automatic speech without thought of the words spoken
    
                                Frank is not thinking.  He’s just mouthing so much jibberish,
                                  psittacism after psittacism.
  
                                 (This word comes from the Latin root "psitta-" meaning parrot, a
                                   bird that talks without understanding the meaning of its words.
                                   On the Colorado State Written Test in 1973.)
           
nene        (NAY-nay)    n.    [<Hawaiian]
    
                 a nearly extinct goose of the Hawaiian islands that inhabits
                 waterless uplands and feeds on berries and vegetation
   
                      The nene is the state bird of Hawaii and is similar in appearance
                       to the Canadian goose.
    
                     (Down to about 30 birds in 1949, the nene population reached 1,000
                      birds in 1999.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Birds.  On the
                      Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1996 and 2005. A tautonym.)
        
nebbish        (NEB-ish)    n.    [<Yiddish]
   
                          a timid, meek, or ineffectual person
      
                            Stuart is a nebbish who always follows someone else’s lead
                             and never stands up for himself
    
                            (First appeared in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Slavic Languages
                             On the 2007 City Written Spelling Test.)
      
ichthyology        (ik-thee-AWL-uh-jee)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]   
    
                            the study of fish; the branch of zoology
                             dealing with fishes
    
                                   Every marine biologist must be well versed in ichthyology.
                        
                               (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in
                                 2000 - English, Latin, & Greek.  On the City Written Spelling Test in
                                 2000 and on the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1973.)
    
kudzu        (KUHD-zoo)    n.    [<Japanese]  
                
                    a prostrate vine of southeast Asia, China, and Japan used
                    widely for hay, forage and erosion control that has become
                    a disastrous weed in the southern United States 
   
                      In the United States kudzu is referred to as "the plant that ate the South."
       
                     (Significant sums of money and effort are expended annually to prevent
                      kudzu from taking over roads, bridges, power lines and local vegetation.
                      First appeared in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Japanese.  Appears in
                      How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 81.  On the 2009 City Written Spelling Test.)
    
hyperbole        (hy-PUHR-buh-lee)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
     
                     extravagant exaggeration for effect, not to be taken literally
         
                          Advertisers are prone to hyperbole, as in "mile-high ice cream cones."
      
                       (The winning word for Dick Murphy of Blessed Sacrament School in Denver
                         when he won the 1952 Colorado-Wyoming Spelling Bee.  First appeared in
                         Words of the Champions in 1953 and Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Greek.
                         On the DPS City Written spelling test in 2013.)
                      
psychokinesis        (sy-koh-kuh-NEE-suhs)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
    
                              the moving of physical objects solely by the exercise
                               of psychic or mental powers
    
                                     By use of psychokinesis the magician appears to be hanging
                                     in mid-air without the use of any physical support.
         
                                     (On the Colorado State Written Test in 1983 and 2007.)
   
gazetteer        (gaz-uh-TIR)    n.    [<probably French]
    
                            a dictionary or index of geographical names
      
                                "If you want to know where Albany is, look it up in the gazetteer."
   
                            (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1990 and in PAIDEIA in
                             1997 - Literary Terms.  On the Colorado State Written Test 1n 1981.)
 


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