Top 10 Hardest and Easiest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 4-10

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By Ketrin Agustine

A European stroll might have helped you find this week’s hardest word.

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

This week, cicely — a perennial with white flowers and fernlike leaves, native to Europe — was the least-found word by players of Spelling Bee. Home was the easiest word to find.

10 Hardest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 4-10

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

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. 4, to Friday, Nov. 10. (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. cicely — a perennial with white flowers and fernlike leaves:

The razor clams, a must-try, are served raw, accompanied by a vinaigrette and shallot sauce, and sprinkled with yellow dandelion and white sweet cicely blossoms. In the Faroe Islands, Art, Food and Fashion Take a Cue From Nature (Aug. 30, 2023)

2. labile — liable to change; unstable:

Journals were key to the dissemination of the Jena Set’s ideas, but trying to fill their pages with good writing presented a logistical challenge, demanding a methodical pragmatism that didn’t always come naturally to the labile Romantics. These Romantics Celebrated the Self, to a Fault (Sept. 14, 2022)

3. coulee — a ravine:

The plowed land closest to our farm held an old buffalo wallow, and there used to be tepee rings in the front pasture. This part of Montana, Lewis and Clark country, is flat and implacable with swells, coulees and hills. 52 Places to Love in 2021 (Jan. 6, 2021)

4. motet — a vocal composition, often religious:

Another wonderful motet by Byrd is “Justorum animae,” which is basically a commemoration or a celebration of martyrs. It’s quite clear whom he means. He was seeing people being put to death because of their faith. How William Byrd Influences Music, 400 Years After His Death (July 4, 2023)

5. louche — disreputable yet appealing:

That’s the sort of blood that gives this book its power — not the prospect of a bluntly louche Brando and a doting Pierre Trudeau being honest-to-God soul mates, not whatever her byzantine thing with Jon Peters was about. Barbra Streisand Is Ready to Tell All. Pull Up a Seat. (Nov. 7, 2023)

6. bacilli — rod-shaped bacteria:

The starting thesis holds that it is Nature, in the form of germs, bacilli, viruses, fungi, spores and their kin, that will be the agents of humankind’s ultimate undoing, and that, essentially, only the heroic practitioners of science can save us. Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Some Prefer Lab Coats. (Sept. 20, 2023)

7. lookbook — a set of photos that showcase a person or style:

The most limited resource is Mr. Santis, who until recently had personally supervised every lookbook shoot since the beginning. “At his scale, he sees every visual, every product, every supplier. He oversees every tile of stone on the floor of the store,” Mr. Arnault said How Aimé Leon Dore Took New York (July 27, 2023)

8. nucleon — a proton or neutron:

If a nucleon’s “isospin” is counterclockwise, it acts as a positively charged proton; reverse the direction and it becomes a chargeless neutron. Colors Are Truly Brilliant In Trek Up Mount Metaphor (Dec. 25, 2001)

9. acyclic — not having, or not part of, a cycle:

I would own health care, which is not eclectic, but also industrial commodity stocks, like paper and chemicals, and a combination of retailers, some media companies and some auto suppliers. Three of those sectors are cyclical. The fourth, health care, is acyclical. Turnaround Prospects After Two Bad Years (Dec. 30, 2001)

10. cellule — a tiny cell or unit:

Nevertheless, language remains the great repository of experience in memory, each word a cellule coded with its own history. Language Is Smarter Than We Are (Jan. 11, 1987)

The list of the week’s easiest words:

10 Easiest Spelling Bee Words, Nov. 4-10

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. 4-10

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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