Can You Pass This Spelling Test While Being Distracted by Pictures of Snuggly Puppies?

Beth Hendricks

Image: Kevin Kozicki / Image Source / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Imagine this: You're on the stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, awaiting the word that might crown you champion. The crowd is hushed. A clear voice delivers the word you must spell to win: oryzivorous. (That's an actual word from the 2019 Bee, by the way.) Your palms are sweaty and all eyes are on you. You ask for a definition and discover it means "feeding on rice." You start to attempt its spelling ... and just then ... a teeny, tiny puppy runs onto the stage. Isn't he cute? Can't you just imagine taking him to the beach, running with him in the park, taking a nap together on the couch?

Lucky for you, this isn't the National Spelling Bee. We promise the words are nowhere near as difficult as "Xenarthra" or "plumbiferous." But we do have snuggly puppy pictures that might distract you from guessing the right spelling of some tricky everyday words, like the second month of the year or a place where bodies are buried. 

Work your way through this spelling test – no teachers involved – and try to keep your mind on the right spelling of "prerogative" and off of our puppy pics. We (Yorkie!) think (Beagle!) you'll (Cocker Spaniel!) do (Pomeranian) just (Boxer!) fine (Bulldog!). 

When someone dies, their body is buried in a ___________.

The word "cemetery" as we know it today is derived from the French word "cimetiere," which means "graveyard," and the Greek word "koimeterion," which means "a sleeping place." The oldest maintained cemetery in the U.S. is believed to be the Myles Standish Burial Ground in Massachusetts.

She was terribly busy at work, but she tried to __________ his request.

The word "accommodate" is on many "frequently misspelled words" lists because it is difficult to remember how many Cs and Ms the word has. To accommodate something or someone means to satisfy a request.

A grand jury voted to __________ the man on charges of murder.

The word "indict" is a verb that means someone is being charged with something. The word is sometimes lengthened to "indictment," which then makes it a noun as a formal charge against someone.

She loved to listen to music, but she didn't have much __________.

Phew! The word "rhythm" is a tricky one, isn't it? It seems as though some letters are missing from the middle. The word "rhythm" used to sharing a meaning with the word "rhyme," with the two spelled similarly still.

She served as the __________ between the support staff and the agents.

A "liaison" is someone or something used to connect things or people. Typically, a liaison will encourage the exchange of information or facilitate cooperation between different individuals or departments.

Antigua, Barbuda and Mustique are all islands located in the ___________.

The Caribbean is an area between North and South America, including many islands that are popular tourist attractions, such as Puerto Rico, Cuba and Jamaica. The area is also home to the Caribbean Sea.

The word __________ is derived from a Greek word that means "bear."

The word "Arctic" is from the Greek – "arktikos" – originally meaning "bear." The area was probably so named for the ability to see Ursa Major, the "great bear" constellation, in the northern sky.

We asked the waiter to __________ something from the brunch menu.

This word causes people problems because of its potential for multiple Cs and Ms! The correct spelling, however, is with one C and two Ms, a word that means to suggest something worthy.

It never __________ to her that it might snow, so she didn't pack boots.

The word "occurred" is the past tense of "occur," which means that something happened or something came into an individual's mind. You might say that an event occurred or that it occurred to her that she hadn't made her doctor's appointment.

At the beachside restaurant, he decided to order a frozen __________.

A daiquiri is a mixed drink that typically combines rum, lime juice and some type of sweetener. The word "daiquiri" is actually derived from an area in Cuba where rum is produced, which is named, appropriately, Daiquirí.

Valentine's Day occurs on the 14th day of __________ each year.

The name "February" comes from a Roman celebration known as "Februa." Februa was all about removing toxic things from your life and cleansing yourself – sounds like spring cleaning to us!

She was able to __________ her goal of losing 15 pounds by summer.

"Achieve" is one of those words that adhere to the "I before E, except after C" rule, since there's an H in the midst. To achieve something means that you've done something with success.

No longer a child and not yet an adult, Robert was an __________.

An adolescent is more frequently referred to as a teenager. Adolescence is that period of time between childhood and adulthood when you're figuring things out and deciding what you want to do with your life.

Children often recite "The Pledge of __________" in schools.

"The Pledge of Allegiance" was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Its original form was slightly different than the version we know today, since President Eisenhower had "under God" added in 1954.

She wore her great-grandmother's necklace, a family __________, for her wedding.

A family heirloom is something that has been passed down through the generations. It could be a piece of jewelry, furniture or any type of household goods. Family heirlooms are high in sentimental value, if not monetary value.

She woke up with a craving for her mother's __________ and gravy.

The origin of the word "biscuit" is an interesting one. It's French – no surprise there, as they are the masters of baked goods. The French word evolved from the Latin "bis coctus," which means "twice baked." Biscuits were once made in a two-step process that involved baking first, then baking again for crispness.

A _________ tumor is considered to be innocent or non-cancerous.

A benign tumor is a cause for relief. Since the word "benign" means "kind" or "gracious," it's easy to see why the medical field adopted this term in reference to diagnoses. Benign may also be used to refer to someone's personality, such as having a "benign constitution."

The individual at the helm of a ship is known as its __________.

Captains exist in many situations, including behind the helm of a ship, as the leader of a sports team and even as a rank in the U.S. military. The word comes from the Latin word "capitaneus."

The 16 __________ that support the Pantheon in Rome weigh 60 tons each.

Columns were designed to help support structures, such as the Pantheon, where entire walls were not wanted. They are particularly common in Roman and Greek architecture and can be found on many American buildings as well.

She had two extra tickets to the concert, but three friends who wanted to go. She was faced with a real __________.

A dilemma occurs when you have to choose between two equally difficult choices. The word "dilemma" comes from the Greek – a combination of words meaning a "double proposition."

Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is widely considered to be an __________ moment in history.

Delivered on August 28, 1963, King's "I Have a Dream" speech preaches freedom, equality and opportunity for all. King died less than five years after, fatally shot at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sara told Matt that her plans for Saturday were pretty __________.

Being flexible doesn't refer to physical agility only. Flexibility can also be a great mental trait, meaning that you are adaptable and can change plans based on whatever the situation calls for.

She always drove around with her gas ________ on E.

"Gauge" is another one of those words with dual meanings. It might be used in the context of a fuel gauge, as in our example, or when interacting with someone and trying to "gauge" their response.

When he called to make an eye appointment, they warned him that the doctor would _______ his eyes.

When a doctor dilates your eyes, they use special drops that enlarge your pupils. This allows them to see various structures within your eyes that cannot be observed otherwise. Thus, the word "dilate" means to make something larger or wider.

The marketing team's idea for promoting their business was __________, according to the CEO.

When someone calls your idea ingenious, that's high praise! The word "ingenious" means that you are clever or inventive. It could also mean that you're resourceful. Either way, congratulations, you're a rock star!

He offered to cut her a piece of cake, but she was disappointed to discover it was __________.

That wasn't a big piece of cake she got; rather, it was pretty darn tiny. (And who wants a tiny piece of cake?) The word "minuscule" can be tricky because most people don't pronounce it the way it is spelled.

__________ marks the middle of the workweek.

Here's a word that doesn't get pronounced the way it's spelled, but that's OK! It might be awkward to say "Wed-Nes-Day" whenever you refer to the day of the week. It might help you remember how to spell it, however.

You might eat __________, but it was a capital city before it was a smoked meat.

A friend may text you about something being "baloney," but the truest spelling of the word – the one that originated in northern Italy – is bologna. Bologna is also a meat product you'll find at the grocery store.

She couldn't wait for summer to wear her new _______ dress.

Fuchsia is the prettiest pinkish-purple shade that might remind you most closely of magenta. The word is derived from the fuchsia plant, named in honor of German botanist Leonhard von Fuchs.

The great ape known as an __________ has arms that stretch longer than its body!

If your first choice for the spelling of this word was a version ending in G, you're not alone – most people pronounce it that way. This orange ape's name is not derived from its coloring. Rather, "orang" in Malay means "person," while "hutan" means "forest."

Scott went to the game and purchased sports __________ from the team store.

The term "paraphernalia" typically refers to equipment, gear or tools related to something specific. A Chinese restaurant may be decorated with regional paraphernalia, or someone who is involved in drugs may be charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.

The DMV official told the first-time driver she must complete the __________ paperwork to get her license.

Knowing how to spell "necessary" is very necessary! It is frequently misspelled, however, because who can remember whether it's two Cs and one S, or one C and two Ss? So, here's the definitive answer: there's a "cess" in the middle!

We decided to take __________ cars because I had to return early.

Need an easy trick to remember how to spell "separate"? Take a look at the word and note: there's "a rat" in the middle! Remember "a rat" and you'll nail this tricky spelling every time.

Some people think a meal is not complete until you've had __________.

You definitely don't want to eat a "desert," since that's a hot, arid landscape, but you might want to eat a "dessert" like chocolate cake, an ice cream sundae or doughnuts. Mmm, now we're thinking about dessert!

You __________ should go to the beach while you're in Florida.

When you tell someone they should "definitely" do something, you're telling them they should be certain to do that thing. It even adds emphasis. Instead of saying, "You should go to the beach," saying, "You definitely should go to the beach," tells someone they should not miss out.

The woman at the airline counter asked the passenger to produce their __________.

People get licenses for many things, from driving a vehicle to getting married in a certain city or town. A license is an official document granting permission for someone to do something.

The U.S. ___________ has three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.

The three branches of the government cover everything from the Supreme Court and Congress to the president, vice president and their cabinet members. This system was designed to ensure a separation of power.

The female senator __________ announced her intention to run for president.

When you do something publicly, you do it – well – in public! This means you might announce something in front of a group of people or on television, where the public is most likely to see or hear it.

The bridal party hired a _______ to drive them around for the evening.

A chauffeur is a person who drives others around, often in an upscale car or limousine. The word comes from the French word "chauffer," which was a person who stoked the fire on a steam engine to keep it going.

__________ is known as the Constitution State, a nickname with historical significance.

Don't forget the extra C in Connecticut, a letter that could stand for "constitution." The state earned this nickname after a historian determined that the Fundamental Orders of 1639 was the first constitution written in the New World.

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