This Eighth-Grader Won The Scripps National Spelling Bee And The Winning Word Is New To Us


Can you spell "koinonia"? Karthik Nemmani, an eighth-grader from McKinney, Texas, can, and it made him the Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. 

Karthik took home the title on Thursday, CNN reports, after successfully spelling the word that means "the Christian fellowship or body of believers" or "intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community," according to Merriam-Webster. 

Karthik achieved the spelling feat against 12-year-old Naysa Modi, who came in second place. Throughout the competition, Karthik successfully spelled out words such as "aver," "paucispiral," "ankyloglossia," and "haecceitas," too. 


When the 14-year-old was asked when he knew if he could spell the word that won the match, he replied: "When I heard it."

And when it came to defeating Naysa, Karthik told ESPN "She's a really, really good speller. She deserved the trophy as much as I did ... I got lucky.'' In fact, Naysa had previously beaten Karthik at their county spelling bee. 

This year's competition featured 516 contestants, ages 8 to 15. Karthik takes home $40,000 and a $2,500 savings bond, among other prizes. Karthik is also the 14th consecutive Indian-American champion.

Congratulations to Karthik and all the other contestants who inspire us to do better when it comes to spelling.

Last year, Ananya Vinay, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Fresno, California, won the championship with the word "marocain." 

We think congratulations are in order for all the impressive participants who inspire us to do better when it comes to spelling.

Cover image: Dmitry Elagin /

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