In Honor of North Texas’ Spelling Bee Champs, a Look at History’s Most Famous Misspellings

How hard can spelling bee?EXPAND
How hard can spelling bee?
Getty Images
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

While the rest of us blame autocorrect for our misspellings, kids are still taking spelling to new competitive levels, and for the first time ever in its 92 years, the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship had an eight-way tie.

Three of the winners came from the North Texas area, and according to The New York Times, they’re also friends. Rohan Raja from Irving, Sohum Sukhatankar from Dallas and Abhijay Kodali from Flower Mound came home each with a whopping $50,000 after a grueling 20 rounds of words.

Our Dallas kids journeyed to National Harbor, Maryland, at the end of May to join 565 contestants from around the world pulled from various regional competitions and qualifying tests. At the end of the 17th round, it was announced that any of the remaining contestants who spelled their next three words perfectly would win the 92nd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Eight kids did just that.

So how hard was it really?

Auslaut. Erysipelas. Bougainvillea. Aiguillette. Pendeloque. Palama. Cernuous. Odylic. These are the words that brought on this unprecedented tie. Impressed yet?

Just to hype up our spelling champions, here’s a list of our favorite misspellings throughout history:

  • Jane Austen was 14 when she wrote a romantic novel parody, Love and Freindship. Apparently it was one of the many misspellings in the book.

  • In a book by Richard Lederer, George Washington is said to have written errors like “we find our Necessaties are not such as to require an immediate transportation during the harvist.” According to the National Archives, Washington's mistakes and misspellings were actually to be blamed on his nephew, Howell Lewis, who copied his writings for him.

  • Andrew Jackson was reported to have messed up the spellings of the continent he called “Urope” and “larg,” to name a few. John Quincy Adams famously called him a “barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.” But Jackson had a sick comeback. He said, “It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word."

  • Most sacrilegious, the Vatican once misspelled “Jesus.” Yes, you heard right. To celebrate Pope Francis, the Vatican released 6,000 medals where “Jesus” was spelled “Lesus.”

  • William Shakespeare couldn’t spell his own name, apparently. Of the six remaining examples we have of Shakespeare’s signature, four of them have a different spelling of the writer’s name. There’s "Shakspeare," "Shaksper" and "Shakspere."

  • “Google” is a result of the misspelling of the word “googol,” which is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. When asked to check if the domain “googol.com” was taken, one of the company employees accidentally typed “google.com” instead. The company owners liked it better and the rest is history.

  • "Covfefe." That's all we're gonna say.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.