Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How do you spell "relief"?

(click picture to see the ad)

Maybe you've seen this Geico TV ad with the spelling bee kid being asked to spell "floccinaucinihilipilification" (which means 'the act of estimating as worthless'. His bewildered deer vs. headlights look cracks me up every time. I didn't know whether the word was made up for the commercial or whether it ws the real McCoy. At 29 letters, it is in fact one of the longest words in the English language, even beating out the old standby "antidisestablishmentarianism".

The Consolidated Word List is a compilation of over 100 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee word lists dating as far back as 1950. It contains over 22,000 words broken down by the frequency used in spelling bees.

And if I ever had the chance to be a spelling bee pronouncer (that's the guy who gives the kids the word to spell) I think it would be funny to do this every time:

Pronouncer: Please spell "floccinaucinihilipilification"

Kid: *gulp* Could you use that in a sentence, please?

Pronouncer: Of course. Please spell "floccinaucinihilipilification", said the pronouncer.
Ha! That kills! I'd better get working on my application to Scrips-Howard right away...

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