Sean Hickey of Grass Lake, Mass. reacts as he misspells his word during round two of the preliminaries at the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee at National Harbor, Md. on May 28, 2014.
Gary Cameron—Reuters
By Dan Kedmey
May 28, 2014

The Scripps National Spelling Bee kicked off Wednesday with a live Twitter feed of the battle for spelling supremacy.

The fate of each speller is sealed with a tweet that records the word, its definition and whether the young spellers, ranging in age from 8 to 15, spelled it “correctly,” “incorrectly,” or in one unfortunate competitor’s case, “incorrectly” then “correctly” (he was still eliminated).

Logophiles (lovers of words) can get a sampling of a few stumpers, below. Some are actually not all that tricky.

But most are sprawling, Latinate nightmares.

And what happens after the young spellers are summarily booted out of the competition for a mistake? The organizers tweeted one picture that showed the competition may be tough, but it isn’t heartless.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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