NEW YORK: Indian-origin Dev Shah from Florida has been named the winner of the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the US. The teenager spelt the final word “psammophile” and took home the prize money of $50,000. Dev Shah went through a total of 15 rounds and spelt each word correctly to win the competition. Psammophile is an organism which thrives in sandy soils and areas.
In the first round, 14-year-old Dev spelt the word “ardoise”, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a grayish purple that is stronger than telegraph blue, bluer and deeper than mauve gray, and bluer and paler than average rose mauve”.
Dev, in the second round, was asked the meaning of grotesqueness which he described as “comically out of place or absurd”. Following this, Dev gave the correct spelling of “cocomat”, which means a mat made from coconut fibre, and also spelt the word “exhortation” correctly to clear the fourth round.
The teenager then defined the word “glower” as “to look or stare with sullen brooding annoyance or anger” and also chose the right definition of words like legerdemain and chiromancy.
Other words that were spelt correctly by Dev included perioeci, poliorcetics, schistorrhachis, aegagrus, and rommack. In the 13th round, Dev picked the correct spelling of tolsester, which is “a toll paid to the feudal lord by a tenant for liberty to brew and sell ale”.
The 14th round of the spelling competition had only two competitors left – Dev and another teenager named Charlotte Walsh from Virginia. Charlotte misspelt the word “daviely” as “daevilick” and lost the round to Dev, who spelt “bathypitotmeter” correctly.
After emerging victorious in the 14th round, Dev needed to spell one more word correctly to be declared the winner. The word in the final round was “psammophile”.
Dev Shah also competed in 2019 and 2021 when he tied for the 51st and 76th place, respectively. He is said to be the 22nd champion of the competition with a South Asian heritage in the last 24 years.