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                      "Famous" Semantics Words 7
                               2004 - 2005     
   
potato        (puh-TAY-doh)    n.    [<Spanish<Taino]     
                 
                   an herb native to South and Central America, the starchy
                   tuber of which is widely cultivated in temperate regions 
                   as a garden vegetable   
    
                        Mom served us roast beef with a baked potato on the side. 
   
          (Became famous on June 15, 1992, when Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled
            it "potatoe."  Quayle was visiting Munoz Rivera School in Trenton, New Jersey, when
            a 6th grade student, 12-year old William Figueroa correctly spelled the word on the
            chalkboard and the Vice President told him he had left off the final "e," so William
            sheepishly changed his word.  The press quickly jumped on Quayle’s mistake and
            he became the butt of many jokes.  Later that year William was asked to recite
            the Pledge of Allegiance at the National Democratic Convention.  By 1997, William
            had become a high school drop-out.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in
            1953 and in PAIDEIA in 1997 - What’s For Lunch?  On the World Almanac’s list of
            commonly misspelled words.)
       
melanocomous        (mel-uh-NAWK-uh-muhs)    adj.    [<Greek]
   
                                      having dark or black hair
    
                                           The ancient Greeks were a melanocomous race of
                                            the eastern Mediterranean.
     
                                    (The winning word for "Bruno" played by Alex D. Linz when he
                                     won the National Catholic Spelling Bee in the 1999 movie Bruno.) 
       
incognito        (in-kawg-NEE-doh), (in-kawg-NEE-toh)    adv.    [<Italian<Latin]
               
                            with one’s identity concealed
    
                              The rock star is traveling incognito so he will not be mobbed
                              by fans seeking autographs.
         
                       (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1973 and in Spell It! in 2008 - 
                        Words from Italian.  On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every
                        college student should know.  Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 78. 
                        Appeared on the 2008 City Written Spelling Test.)
      
ennui        (awn-WEE), (AWN-wee)    n.    [<French]
           
                  a feeling of tiredness; weariness; boredom
    
                       Well before the 2-hour speech was over, ennui had set in
                       in and I dozed off.
    
                       (On the Colorado State Written Test in 1983.  First appeared in
                        PAIDEIA in 1998 - Emma and in Words of the Champions in 1981.
                        On the 2012 NSB Grade-Specific study list.)
    
anthropomorphism        (an-throh-poh-MOHRF-iz-uhm)    n.    [<Latin]
    
                           humanization; giving human or personal characteristics
                           to non-human things, i.e. "The echo sounded the
                           mountain’s first joyous cries as it awoke." 
   
                             "Those unfamiliar with horses might scoff at the notion of equine
                              pride as a silly anthropomorphism, but Seabiscuit’s competitive
                              fervor was unmistakable."  Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit, 1991 
   
                                (On the 2004 City Written Spelling Test.)
   
octothorpe        (AWK-tuh-thohrp)    n.    [<unknown<the 8 points 
                                                                                          on its circumference]
       
                           the symbol #; also called the number sign or
                             the pound sign
    
                                  "To hear the menu repeated, push the octothorpe on
                                     your telephone."
    
verisimilitude        (ver-uh-suh-MIL-uh-tood)    n.    [<Latin]
     
                                the appearance of being true or real; a statement
                                apparently true; liklihood; probability
    
                                       "Be careful of this advertisement, it lacks verisimilitude."
    
                             (The second longest word, 14 letters, in the English language with 
                              alternating vowels and consonants; first appeared in PAIDEIA in
                              2002 - Poe Words.  On the 2006 City Written Spelling Test.)
    
discalced        (di-SKALST)    adj.    [<Latin]
      
                           unshod; barefoot
     
                               The result of walking discalced in the dark is a stubbed toe.
    
                               (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1979.  On the
                                 City Written Spelling Test in 1998.)
    
absquatulate        (abz-SKWAWCH-uh-layt)    v.    [<Latin (ab) +
                                               English (squat) + (ulate) as in "speculate"]
   
                             to decamp; to move on; to depart in a hurry     
    
                                    The frontiersman is preparing to absquatulate and
                                    head for the wilderness.
     
                      (Not to be outdone by Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers
                       who coined many "inkhorn" words using Latin prefixes and roots, 19th
                       century midwestern and western Americans created their own jocular,
                       and seemingly "learned" slang terms.  Absquatulate is an example.)
    
clitellum        (kly-TEL-uhm)    n.    [<Latin]
     
                      a thickened glandular section of the body wall of
                      certain worms that secretes a viscid material that
                      forms the cocoon in which eggs are deposited
     
                         In Biology class I dissected an earthworm with a visible clitellum.
       
mugwump        (MUG-wuhmp)    n.
                                                 [<Natick (Algonquian), mugquomp, "great man"]
    
                         one that withdraws his support from a political
                         organization; one who bolts a party for a neutral
                         position; one politically undecided; a fence-sitter
       
                                Mrs. Henson is too much of a mugwump to be a party
                                regular, as she always votes for the best candidate
                                regardless of party.
   
                    (In 1884 many Republicans could not support party presidential nominee
                      James Blaine and bolted to support Democrat Grover Cleveland.  The New
                      York Evening Post derided them as mugwumps, but they turned the tables
                      and were proud to call themselves mugwumps, "great men."  First appeared
                      in Words of the Champions in 1984.  On the City Written Test in 2004.)    
       
graffiti        (gruh-FEE-dee)    n. pl.    [<Italian]
     
                    inscriptions or designs scribbled on rocks, walls, or other
                     public surfaces
    
                            Graffiti may be art to some, but it’s vandalism to most.
     
                         (On the City Written Spelling Test is 1984, 2002, and 2013 and on
                           the Colorado State Written Test in 1983 and 1996.  First appeared
                           in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Italian.)
       
edelweiss        (AY-duhl-wys), (AY-duhl-vys)    n.    [<German]
       
                         a plant with white flowers that grows high in the Alps
      
                               In the mountain meadow Heidi picked edelweiss to bring
                               to her mother.
    
           (Became well known as the title of a song in the 1959 musical The Sound of Music. 
            On the Colorado State Written Test in 1982 and 2001.  First appeared in Words
            of the Champions in 1976, in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Plants, and in Spell It! in 2007 -
            Words from German.  Appears n How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 76 and 94.)
     
chihuahua        (chuh-WAW-waw)    n.    [<Mexican Spanish<Mexican state]
     
                          a very small round-headed, large-eared, short-coated
                          dog (average weight 2 to 6 pounds) reputed to antedate
                          Aztec civilization
   
                                The Taco Bell chihuahua was one of the most successful
                                advertising campaigns of the late 1990s.
    
                        (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1967 and in PAIDEIA in
                         2001 - Del Español.  On the 2001 City Written Spelling Test.  For fun
                         and help in spelling this word, mispronounce it [chy-HYOO-uh-HYOO-uh].
                         Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 42.) 
   
hegemony        (huh-JEM-uh-nee)    n.    [<Greek]
      
                          the predominant influence of one country, state, or
                          region over another; leadership; dominance
        
                                The Spanish-American War established American hegemony
                                 in the Caribbean.
     
                          (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1954.  On American Heritage
                           Dictionary’s list of 100 words every college student should know.)
           
tydie        (TID-ee)    n.    [?<English]
     
                  a small bird variously identified as a wren or the blue titmouse
      
                           Sam found the injured tydie, nursed it back to health,
                            and released it back into the wild.
              
                       (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1986.  On the City
                        Written Spelling Test in 1986.)
            
exhilarate        (ig-ZIL-uh-rayt)    v.    [<Latin]
   
                   to enliven; to cheer up; to please; to invigorate; to stimulate
          
                         The sun shining on your face the first day of spring will exhilarate you.
              
                          (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in 2000
                           - Mood Swings.  On the Colorado State Written Test in 1964 and 1981.)
     
silhouette        (sil-uh-WET)    n.    [<French name, Étienne de Silhouette]
   
                 the outline of an object or person, filled in with a uniform color
   
                         I can see the silhouette of someone lurking behind the window shade.
   
                    (An eponym from Étienne de Silhouette, died 1767, a French controller  
                     of finances who was ridiculed for his cost-cutting measures.  The outlines
                     were considered cheap pictures a la Silhouette.  First appeared in Words of
                     the Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Shapes and Forms.  It
                     appeared on the City Written Test in 1996 and 2004 and State Written
                     Test in 1975, 2001, and 2004.)
    
haiku        (HY-koo)    n.    [<Japanese]
    
                  an unrhymed Japanese poem of three lines containing 5, 7,
                  and 5 syllables respectively; a poem written in a modification
                  of this form in a language other than Japanese 
    
                       Refreshing shower                         smoothed by seas
                       Falls from my watering can            a nearly round rock
                       Catching a rainbow                        points homeward
                                                                                    ...are examples of haiku.
       
                      (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1973, in PAIDEIA in
                        1997 - Literary Terms, and in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Japanese
                        Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 81.  On the Colorado State
                        Written Test in 2001.)
         
alopecoid        (uh-LAWP-uh-koid)    adj.    [<Greek]
    
                              like a fox; vulpine
             
                               Alopecoid mammals are predators, feeding on small rodents.
   
                       (While spelling this word at the 2004 National Spelling Bee, Colorado
                         champion Akshay Buddiga of Colorao Springs fainted.  He quickly
                         recovered, stood up, marched to the microphone and spelled the
                         word correctly.  He finished runner-up to 2004 National Spelling Bee
                         champion David Scott Tidmarsh of South Bend, Indiana.)


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