Top 10 Hardest and Easiest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 11-17

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By Ketrin Agustine

“Quit” is easy, but being a word scholar is hard.

Note: If you plan to play Spelling Bee’s Past Puzzles from the last week, this list may contain spoilers.

This is the last weekly edition of this list. We’ve enjoyed scouring the archives, but as words on the list repeat themselves more often, it’s covering the same ground more frequently than we’d like. We deeply appreciate the readers who’ve tuned in each week!

This week, pandit — a Hindu scholar or esteemed teacher — was the least-found word by players of Spelling Bee. Quit was the easiest word to find.

10 Hardest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 11-17

Share of players finding each word

As of 1 p.m. Eastern on Friday, Nov. 17, based on players who use Spelling Bee Buddy

By The New York Times

This data is based on visitors to Spelling Bee Buddy, a tool that shows hints and statistics for each word as you play Spelling Bee, and covers Saturday, Nov. 11, to Friday, Nov. 17. (Users of the tool are among the puzzle’s most dedicated solvers, so these percentages are probably higher than they would be for all Spelling Bee players.)

Here are the meanings of the 10 hardest words that have also been used in New York Times articles.

1. pandit — a Hindu scholar or esteemed teacher:

“There is more comfort and confidence in that duality,” said Sushma Dwivedi, a pandit whose ceremonies interpret Hindu scripture through a progressive lens. The couples, she said, are conveying, “‘I am just as Indian as I am American.’” Not Their Parents’ South Asian Weddings (Oct. 5, 2023)

2. noogie — using knuckles to rub someone’s head:

Wolff, being Wolff, puts Stelter in a headlock and gives him a noogie. He calls Stelter, who hosted a media show on CNN for nine years, that network’s designated “Fox besmircher.” In ‘Network of Lies,’ Brian Stelter Builds the Case Against Fox News (Nov. 14, 2023)

3. linnet — a small finch:

In a few cases, you may gain a new appreciation for the expansive psychological potential in Mr. Sondheim’s songs. Ms. Finke, who plays the virginal Victorian dream girl Johanna, delivers the pastiche ballad “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” with a twittering skittishness that adroitly signals a nervous breakdown ahead. Review: A ‘Sweeney Todd’ That Gets Into Your Face (March 1, 2017)

4. falloff — decline:

What it found was exactly what Trump intuited after Romney’s loss in 2012: The audience wanted the election lie. When Fox stopped giving it to the audience, there was an instant falloff. How Fox Chased Its Audience Down the Rabbit Hole (April 6, 2023)

5. natant — swimming or floating:

I love the word natant. The fact that it means “swimming or floating” makes me want to connect it somehow to the word “natal” because a fetus floats, but “natal” is apparently derived from the Latin natalis, meaning “pertaining to birth or origin.” — A Season in the Sun (April 28, 2017)

6. negligee — a sheer dressing gown:

In one mind-meld, my beloved said he would meet me that night. In anticipation, I lined my bedroom with candles, started a blazing fire, dressed in stilettos and a fur-lined leather coat (over my lace negligee), then lounged on my bed drinking scotch. My 11-Year Relationship That Never Happened (Sept. 29, 2023)

7. pinpoint — precise, or precisely identify:

It’s difficult to pinpoint the origins of the sheet cake as we know it but, by the late 1800s, cakes were already being baked in the shallow pans used to catch meat drippings. How the Humble Sheet Cake Became Top Tier (Nov. 7, 2023)

8. gelee — a gel, in cosmetics or cooking:

“At this point, we can all serve Japanese fish, we can all do knife work, we can all make a gelee,” said Charlie Mitchell, the chef and co-owner of Clover Hill, in Brooklyn Heights. Michelin’s Coveted Stars Can Come With Some Costs (Sept. 12, 2023)

9. flatfoot — a foot with a low arch, or a style of dancing where the feet stay close to the ground:

“Christmas in the Smokies,” its signature show, has been running since 1990, with a live orchestra and Appalachian storytelling, a flatfoot dancer and a fiddler. Christmas at Dollywood, With Streetmosphere and a Chicken Lady (Dec. 21, 2022)

10. leonine — lion-like:

“Lady Killer” stars the leonine Jean Gabin as Lucien, a womanizing legionnaire. Suave and sexy in his uniform, Lucien attracts the female gaze like moths to the flame. ‘Lady Killer’ and ‘The Strange Mister Victor’ Review: A Golden Age (Aug. 3, 2023)

The list of the week’s easiest words:

10 Easiest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 11-17

Share of players finding each word

As of 1 p.m. Eastern on Friday, Nov. 10, based on players who use Spelling Bee Buddy

By The New York Times

Each morning, you can see which of the day’s Spelling Bee words are stumping the hivemind (without spoilers!), and track your remaining words, by visiting Spelling Bee Buddy.

Top 10 Hardest and Easiest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 11-17

Spelling Bee Buddy: Personalized Hints That Update as You Play

Customized hints that update based on your progress in today’s puzzle.


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