Language is magic. Being a living entity, language is the playground for wit, creativity, debate, and passionate banter. It never ceases to evolve, and the words that people create are a constant surprise. Spelling bees serve to demonstrate language mastery, but how often do you come across spelling bees on newly-created tech, urban slang and web buzzwords?
Urban Dictionary is an open web-based dictionary where anyone can input a word and its definition. The words are, for the most part, slang words – the category of words that tend to evolve the most quickly. This online dictionary has more than 7 million definitions and word descriptions that are predominantly witty, pop-culture terms and concepts. One of these words, “brofessional,” refers to a young man dedicated to “bro-only” activities, like partying, gaming, and flirting. Another newly-coined word is “cleptopenia,” the unconscious and unintended stealing of pens at schools, public services and corporate settings.
The 2014 spelling bee champions from this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe, were called upon by Mashable.com to spell some of the made-up words found in Urban Dictionary.
The two young men (future brofessionals?) successfully spelled “cleptopenia,” and then were asked to spelling the word “Googleheimer.” They spelled this word correctly, too. In case you were wondering, “Googleheimer” means the situation when you want to Google something but by the time you have access to a computer you no longer remember what you wanted to Google.
“Crowny,” a word that describes an object or person that’s highly desirable or of premium quality (that is, deserving the status of being or belonging to royalty), was another Urban Dictionary word successfully spelled by one of the two spelling champions.
“Procrastineating”, “Feeling Drake” and “textpectation” were three more words that challenged Sriram and Ansun. The two proved their spelling skills mastery once again, managing to correctly spell these urban slang words. Although the definition of many of these was rather hard to guess, Sriram and Ansun proved that spelling skills help you estimate new words’ orthography with a high percentage of accuracy.
This video shows the two spelling champs using their spelling-honed deductive skills and showing off their abilities, something that should inspire anyone who has a hard time figuring out the spelling of these or other words.
Urban Dictionary words reflect the wit, creativity and ever-changing status of the English language. Technology has given a lot of new official and informal words and concepts. For instance, “PHOBAR” is an acronym for Photoshopped Beyond All Recognition, a word meant to describe images of people that are circulating in social media where the images have been heavily manipulated and airbrushed so that the person in the picture is hardly recognizable.
Can you guess the meaning of the words “snowhawk” and “professional celebrity” – and could you spell them correctly, too?
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