Jul 12, 2010


Summary: The 2010 winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee won with the word stromuhr. Learn about it--and the competition of spelling--in today's post.

Spelling bees have always captivated and intimidated me. I liked participating at a school level when I was a child, but believe it or not, it was the public speaking component of the contest that really frayed my nerves and wound up seeing me lose. Although I usually made it to the finale, I just couldn't concentrate through all that nervousness!

A few years ago, my nephew beat my record and made it to the next round, the local multi-school competition for East Central Indiana. He also got tripped up by the pressures of performing in public. (Something tells me the entertainment gene runs latent in our family.)

But those amazing young pupils who make it all the way to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee not only love words (and know how to study them), they find ways to be fearless in the face of mounting performance pressures. The Bee is televised now, and not just on a buried cable channel as in days of yore, but on primetime TV for up to 3 nights. This year, 14-year-old Anamika Veeramani competed her way from Royerton, Ohio, to the prime spot of Number One, taking the trophy (and the monetary prizes that can be applied to further education). Her winning word: stromuhr.

Stromuhr (STROW - mohr) - (n.) A medical device that measures both the amount and the rate of the flow of blood in the body. Invented in 1867 by Karl Ludwig and later improved by others, the stromuhr is presently produced by many of the world's leading pharmaceutical and medical device companies. The word stromuhr was introduced likely around the same time period from German. It literally means steam clock. Its ancestor, ur, is the Old High German word for hour.

With palms sweating, hearts palpitating and blood coursing through their veins at paces only measurable with stromuhrs, the world's serious spellers are practicing for the 2011 Bee today. Let's cheer them on.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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