In honor of the musical this weekend, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” we decided to do our own Goshen College spelling bee at the Rott. We chose words that we thought were difficult, in an attempt to stump our peers. Some were successful — some were not. Let’s see how they did. (The names of participants have been changed to protect the innocent.) 


The first word is defined as: the region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (including the West Indies) and the surrounding coasts.

Shmanna: Caribbean

Correct spelling: Caribbean


The next word: the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. We had multiple attempts at this one; it’s a doozie for sure.

Shoel: Onamonapea

Shmuzanna: Onomonopa

Shmormac: Onamonapeia

Shmannika: Ontaimoapoea 

Shmaomi: Onimonopia

Correct spelling: Onomatopoeia 


This next one was a challenge for some… others got it on the first try. The definition is: a small dog of a smooth-haired, large-eyed breed originating in Mexico.

Shmocson: Chihuaha

Shmat: Chiahuaua 

Shmamelia: Chihuahua

Correct spelling: Chihuahua


Now we really thought this one would trip people up more, but the hardest part actually turned out to be the easiest. Definition: a pterosaur of the late Jurassic period, with a long, slender head and neck and a very short tail.

Shmydia: Pteradactyl

Shmatima: Pterodactyl

Correct spelling: Pterodactyl


This word was spelled correctly twice, and then not so much the third time. Definition: relating to or denoting a Christian Church or denomination governed by elders according to the principles of Presbyterianism.

Shmetta: Presbyterian

Shmew: Presbyterian

Shmimon: Prebeterian

Correct spelling: Presbyterian


With this one, you either know if because you’re a science major or you still remember how to spell it from eighth grade biology class. Guess the word? A green pigment, present in all green plants and in cyanobacteria, responsible for the absorption of light to provide energy for photosynthesis.

Shmae: Chlorophyll

Shmussie: Chlorophyll

Correct spelling: Chlorophyll (so yeah, they both got it right…)


There is a very right and a very wrong answer here. Definition: an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.

Shmarah: Soliloquy

Shmonzi: Souliliqui 

Correct spelling: Soliloquy


What fun is a spelling bee without at least one ridiculous word? We definitely had fun with this, and it took some time to learn how to say it correctly. Here’s the definition: the name for a fear of long words. 

Shmew:   Hippopotomonstrosisquipadiliaphobia 

Shmaleb: Hippomonstrosisquippaedaliophobia

Correct spelling: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (both contestants were very close, close but no cigar)


We would like to thank all of our contestants for participating in this spelling bee. Maybe next year, someone will make this the Annual Goshen College Rott spelling bee. Also, go check out the musical this weekend at Umble: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.