This is the Nahuatl Word That Had a Spelling Bee Champ Tripping

Read more

At the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee – where kid geniuses show off their impressive knowledge of words – Nihar Saireddy Janga and Jairam Jagadeesh Hathwar clinched the title and became the third consecutive co-champions. When the competition hit the final round, Nihar could have won the title since his competitor was the first to misspell a word.

Nihar, who throughout the competition flaunted his mastery over the French language, ended up with ayacahuite, a Mexican tree.

After asking the basic spelling bee questions (language of origin, definition, alternate pronunciations, etc), Nihar mistook one of the As for an O. This meant Jairam was back in the game. Though ayacahuite tripped him up, in the final round, there were a few other words with Latin American origins that they easily spelled. Nihar redeemed himself with haab, a Mayan word.

And not to be left out, Jairam also got a word with Mexican roots, juamave. Though he seemed a little hesitant at first, he successfully spelled it.