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                               "Famous" Semantics Words
                                  2008 - 2009
            
quisling        (KWIZ-ling)    n.    [<Norwegian name]
   
                      a traitor
    
                       "If your actions help our opponent get elected you’ll be
                        considered a quisling by everyone in the party."
                  
             (In 1933 Vidkun Quisling [1887-1945] organized a fascist party in Norway.
              When Hitler’s Nazis invaded the country in 1941 Quisling was appointed
              head of government by the German commander.  He carried out Nazi orders
              until the German military collapse in April, 1945.  Responsible for thousands of
              deaths of Jews and other Norwegian citizens, he was charged with murder and
              treason and executed by firing squad.  First appeared in Words of the Champions
              in 1979 and in PAIDEIA in 2004 - Northern Lights.  Appears in How to Spell Like a
              Champ, p. 136.  On the 1983 Colorado State Written Spelling Test and the 2009
              City Written Test.)
       
pharaoh        (FER-oh)    n.    [<Latin<Greek<Hebrew<Egyptian] 
    
                             a ruler of ancient Egypt
            
                             Tutankhamen, the boy pharaoh of Egypt, ruled from
                             1361 to 1352 B. C., and his tomb was discovered in
                             1921 in the Valley of the Kings.
          
                      (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1974 and in PAIDEIA
                       in 2005 - Politics & Government.  Appears in How to Spell Like a
                       Champ, p. 119.  On the Denver Public Schools City Written
                       Spelling Test in 1984.)
     
lilliputian       (lil-uh-PYOO-shuhn)    adj.    [<Lilliput, imaginary country
                                         in Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels]
     
                          extremely small; small-minded; petty
    
                             Those lilliputian senators bickered and fought but never
                             accomplished anything.
     
            (In Jonathan Swift’s 1726 novel, Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver is washed ashore in 
             Lilliput whose inhabitants are "not six inches high."  Lilliputians are constantly
             at war with their neighbors over which end of an egg should be broken.  Swift’s
             satire was critical of England’s political system, courts, and petty politics.  First
             appeared in Words of the Champions in 1977 and in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Size,
             and again in 2001 - Fabulous Words.)
          
 
serrefine        (SER-uh-feen)    n.    [<French] 
                
                       a small forceps for clamping a blood vessel
   
                                         The surgeon stemmed the flow of blood with a serrefine
                               while he repaired the damaged artery.
    
                            (The winning word for Evan O’Dorney of Danville, California, 
                              when he won the 2007 National Spelling Bee.)
   
lutrine        (LOO-tryn), (LOO-truhn)    adj.    [<Latin]
      
                      of, or relating to, otters
       
                           The trappers came upon what they thought were
                           signs of a lutrine habitat near the bank of the river.
          
                             (On the 2008 City Written Spelling Test.)
     
ratatouille        (rat-uh-TOO-ee)    n.    [<French]
    
                         a stew made of eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers,
                         squash, and sometimes meat and seasoned with garlic
                         and other condiments
     
                                         "This is a French restaurant, so may I suggest the ratatouille
                                 instead of your usual hamburger?"
       
                     (The title of the 2007 Disney animated film featuring Remy, a Parisian rat
                      who wants to become a chef.  It won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature
                      Film.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1987 and in PAIDEIA in
                      1997 - What’s For Lunch?  Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 12.  On 
                      the City Written Spelling Test in 1989 and 2008.)
       
wedgie        (WEJ-ee)    n.    [<English]
     
                    the condition of having one’s clothing stuck between the
                    buttocks usually from having one’s pants or underpants
                    yanked up from behind as a prank
      
                        Playground bullies have been thwarted by the invention
                        of wedgie proof underwear.
          
                         (The word gained national prominence on November 2, 2007 when
                          8-year old twins, Jared and Justin Serovich of Gables Elementary 
                          School in Columbus, Ohio, appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
                          The twins invented Rip Away 1000 underwear as part of a state-wide
                          science contest.)
     
hemorrhage        (HEM-uh-rij), (HEM-rij)    n.    [<French & <Latin<Greek]
        
                              heavy bleeding; the escape of large quantities of
                               blood from a blood vessel
     
                                      The doctors tried to stop the hemorrhage caused by an
                                       accidental stab wound.
        
                                     (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  Appears in
                                      How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 65.  On the Colorado State Written
                                      Test in 1975, 1983, and 1985.)
        
entrepreneur        (awn-truh-pruh-NUHR)    n.    [<French]
       
                                one who organizes a business undertaking,
                                assuming the risk for the sake of profit
       
                                   The new tax breaks are aimed at helping the small entrepreneur.
    
                                   (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1996 - Making a Living.  On the
                                    Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1976, 1981, and 1986.)
     
gneiss        (nys)    n.    [<German]
        
                    a granite-like rock formed of layers of quartz and mica
     
                        The geologist found a specimen of dark green hornblendic gneiss.
       
                        (Has a homonym - nice.  Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p.76.
                         On the City Written Spelling Test in 2006 and the Colorado State
                         Written Spelling Test in 1982, 1984, and 1988.)
      
posthumous       (PAWS-chuh-muhs)   adj.   [by folk etymology<Latin]
       
                              published after the death of the author; occurring
                               after one’s death
     
                                     Four years after her death in 1886, a posthumous volume
                                     of Emily Dickinson’s poems was published by her sister.
       
                                    (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1963.  Appeared in
                                     PAIDEIA in 1997 - Literary Terms and again in 2002 - Poe Words.
                                     On the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1995 and 1999.)
     
archipelago        (awrk-uh-PEL-uh-goh)    n.    [<Italian]
      
                                   a group or cluster of islands
       
                                        Attu is an island in the Aleutian archipelago.
       
                                    (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1956, in PAIDEIA
                                     in 1996 - What on Earth?, and in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from
                                     Italian.  On the 2009 City Written Spelling Test.)
                              
orthography        (ohr-THAWG-ruh-fee)    n.    [<Greek]
               
                               correct spelling; spelling as a subject for study
      
                                     Only experts in orthography become spelling bee champions.
      
                                     (On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every
                                      college student should know.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in
                                      2002 - Poe WordsOn the City Written Spelling Test in 2002.)
     
beagle        (BEE-guhl)    n.    [<English]
      
                 a small short-legged smooth-coated hound with drooping ears
        
                            The beagle originated as a definite breed in England
                                   at least four centuries ago.
        
                      (The word that Charlie Brown misses at the Annual Spelling Bee in the 1969
                       animated film A Boy Named Charlie Brown.  Understandably, Snoopy was
                       totally upset.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1975.) 
    
trichotillomania       (trik-uh-til-uh-MAY-nee-uh)   n.   [<Latin<Greek]
    
                                      an abnormal desire to pull one’s hair out
         
                                           "If I misspell this word my trichotillomania will come back!"
        
                                   (The word that eliminated Megan Courtney of Sedalia, Missouri, 
                                     from the 2005 National Spelling Bee.  On the City Written
                                     Spelling Test in 2012.)
  
philippic        (fuh-LIP-ik)    n.    [<French<Latin<Greek name]
      
                        a bitter verbal attack; bitter denunciation; tirade
     
                             The senator’s loud and profane philippic was directed at
                              those who opposed his bill.
     
                           (The word is derived from the Philippics, speeches by the Greek orator
                            Demosthenes, died 322 B.C., that denounced King Philip II of Macedon,
                            died 336 B.C.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1988 - Emma and in Spell It!
                            in 2007 - Eponyms.  On the Colorado State Written Test in 2002 and
                            2005, and on the City Written Spelling Test in 2008 and 2013.)
 
 nocturnal        (nawk-TUHR-nuhl)    adj.    [<French & <Latin]
     
                      of or relating to the night; active at night, said of animals
    
                               The scarlet kingsnake is a nocturnal reptile that is rarely seen
                                hunting its prey.
       
                             (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  On the Colorado
                              State Written Spelling Test in 1961 and the City Written Test in 2004.)
    
chamois        (SHAM-ee)    n.    [<French<Latin]
     
                       a small agile goat-like antelope that lives on the loftiest
                       mountain ridges in Europe and the Caucasus and is a
                       favorite quarry of hunters; a soft leather prepared from
                       its skin; a cloth for polishing and washing
     
                            Dad painstakingly washes his car with a chamois while
                             I prefer to just drive it through the local car wash.
    
                            (On the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1982.) 
        
bloc        (blawk)    n.    [<French]
    
                a combination of persons, groups, or nations forming
                a unit with a common interest or purpose
     
                    The candidates are campaigning throughout the Midwest trying
                    to get the support of the farm bloc.
    
                    (The most missed word on the 2008 City Written Spelling Test.
                      First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2005 - Politics & Government.  Appears
                      in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 54.  Has a homonym, block.)
    
rhea        (REE-uh)    n.    [<Latin<Greek
                                                  (?Rhea, mother of Zeus in Greek mythology)
      
                   a large, flightless South American bird, like an
                     ostrich but smaller
     
                      The rhea has three toes on each foot, an undeveloped tail,
                      and brownish feathers that droop over the rump and back.
      
                      (Has a homonym, ria.  On the 2009 City Written Spelling
                       Test.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Birds.)
           


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