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14-year-old wins $50,000 on spelling bee after correctly spelling 'psammophile'

14-year-old wins $50,000 on spelling bee after correctly spelling 'psammophile'

Spelling a word is one thing, defining it something else completely

A 14-year-old boy has claimed victory at a spelling bee by spelling out the tricky word 'psammophile'.

Dev Shah, from Largo in Florida, took home a prize of $50,000 / £40,100 after winning the spelling competition.

During the course of the competition he showed off his knowledge by asking questions about the etymology of the words he was asked to spell out.

His winning word was 'psammophile', and I have to confess it's one I had to look up as well.

Let's just say its meaning is the opposite of one Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

If that didn't make it clear, a 'psammophile' is a plant or animal which thrives in a sandy environment.

YouTube / Scripps National Spelling Bee

Dev guessed it correctly by breaking it down into its root components, both of which are Greek.

He said: "Psammo meaning sand, Greek? Phile, meaning love, Greek?”

In the end, Dev asked for the word to be used in a sentence.

He had earlier said that this is a kind of stalling tactic to allow for a competitor to consider how the word is spelt out.

Glitter fell from the ceiling after he was declared the winner and lifted the trophy above his head.

He said: “I would say I was confident on the outside but inside I was nervous, especially for my winning word — well, like, before. Not during."

Dev's father, Deval, works as a software engineer. He moved to the United States from India 29 years ago to study for his Master's degree in electrical engineering.

Deval has said that he noticed his son showed a brilliant recall for words from as young as three years old.

Dev lifts the trophy.
YouTube / Scripps National Spelling Bee

Dev has since spent a large number of years participating in competitions which were run by the North South Foundation. This is a charity which was founded to set up scholarships for children in India.

Dev relished the challenge, saying: “There are a lot of hard words in the dictionary. There are realms of the dictionary that the word panelists need to dive into and I think they did a great job of that today.”

At the beginning of the spelling bee there were some 225 contestants on the stage.

Each of these had already proven their mettle multiple times over, as the competition started out with millions of entrants from schools across the USA, before landing on those lucky 225.

Words were not limited to the long ones either. Occasionally there were short but diabolical examples included to throw contestants off track. These included 'traik', meaning to fall ill, and 'carey', which is a kind of sea turtle.

Well done Dev!

Featured Image Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Topics: US News, World News, Good News