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Pop Culture

Watch this 14-year-old win the National Spelling Bee after an intense lightning round

In only 90 seconds, Harini accurately spelled out a whopping 26 words.

student wins spelling bee in lightning round

What even are these words?!

Look, spelling bees might not come across as the most exciting type of competition in the world, but rest assured … they are intense. Hours upon hours are spent rigorously studying words you’ve absolutely never heard of (and never will hear again), followed by facing crippling stage fright while avoiding any and all mistakes lest you face the dreaded disqualification. Believe me, you never forget the misspelled word that takes you out. February, with its insidious little “r," haunts me to this very day.

It can be even more anxiety-inducing to watch, as was the case with 14-year old Harini Logan’s recent victory at the 94th Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The competition had been fierce from the get-go. BuzzFeed News reported that Logan was nearly eliminated due to a discrepancy for the definition of “pullulation,” which can apparently either mean the nesting of mating birds or the swarming of bees. Either way, it’s a great word to throw out to sound smart and nature-savvy.

Things really heated up when Logan went head-to-head with fellow competitor Vikram Raju. When each speller made it to the end with the same amount of mistakes, the judges had no other choice but to enforce their first ever “lightning round.”

In only 90 seconds, Harini accurately spelled out a whopping 26 words:

Though she handled the pressure like an absolute pro, Logan shared with NPR that the pace of a lightning round "terrified" her. "I go slow. That's my thing. I didn't know how I would fare in that setting," she said.

Luckily her months of practicing paid off, literally. Logan went home in first place with a prize of $50,000.

If you're curious, here are the words she spelled, according to a very helpful commenter on Twitter:

Spealbone

Phreatophyte

Gaydiang

Parison

Excimer

Toquilla

Glochis

Epaulement

Chara

Maieutic

Chalicothere

Teosinte

Siserary

Akori

Bouchal

Saccharose

Talisay

Vesicate

Semmit

Chorepiscopus

Kniphofia

Hontish

Malbrouck

Prnithorhynchus

Nandubay

Moorhen

Do you know what any of these words mean? I sure don’t. Most of these just look like something that would appear after my cat walks across my keyboard.

Logan’s impressive skills made for one heart-stopping finale. In the age of autocorrect, spelling bees might seem a little meaningless. But to logophiles, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of keeping your cool while placing letters perfectly.

Photo by 傅甬 华 on Unsplash

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