Top 10 Hardest and Easiest Spelling Bee Words, July 22-28


Here are the meanings of the least-found words that were used in (mostly) recent Times articles.

1. minyan — quorum of 10 Jews necessary for religious observance:

“We don’t have the same attendance,” said Stephen Weiss, the longtime ritual director for Tree of Life. It has been more difficult to reach the required minyan, or quorum, of 10 people in order to recite certain prayers. Jury Convicts Man in Killing of 11 in Pittsburgh Synagogue (June 16, 2023)

2. venule — a very small vein:

With each insertion, the mosquito attempts to nick a venule or arteriole — vessels much larger than a capillary — and promote the flow of blood. The Mosquito Herself (July 29, 2001)

3. pipit — a type of small, often brown, ground-nesting songbird found throughout the world:

Rats and mice also accompanied the sealers and whalers. Rats in particular found plenty of bird eggs and chicks to feed on, including those of two endemic species: the South Georgia pintail, a small duck; and the South Georgia pipit, the island’s only songbird. These birds were literally swallowed up — and their songs vanished, too. — Abundance, Exploitation, Recovery: A Portrait of South Georgia (April 18, 2022)

4. mohel — someone trained in the Jewish ritual of circumcision:

After the war, Mr. Cohn made his way to the United States and became wealthy developing thousands of single-family homes on Staten Island. He also turned himself into an expert mohel, performing thousands of circumcisions and writing scholarly articles. Romi Cohn Saved 56 Jewish Families. Coronavirus Took His Life (March 27, 2020)

5. ramada — a shelter typically with a roof and open sides:

They see the cafe as a “place of continuity,” where basket makers and other artists from around the state might gather under its traditional redwood shade structure, or ramada. Indigenous Founders of a Museum Cafe Put Repatriation on the Menu (Dec. 11, 2022)

6. parador — a type of government-sponsored hotel in Spanish-speaking areas:

“We stayed at the paradores,” he said, referring to the inexpensive inns that are promoted by the Puerto Rican government. “We went from one parador to another.” De Blasio, in Puerto Rico, Finds Relaxation and Fellow Red Sox Fans (Nov. 7, 2013)

7. nabob — a particularly wealthy or prominent person:

He isn’t a bad man; but after long years spent peddling irrigation valves, his soul is thrown off-balance by the possibilities of a country where he is not just a successful businessman, but a nabob. — ‘Red Island House,’ by Andrea Lee: An Excerpt (March 23, 2021)

8. tippet — a long piece of cloth often worn over the shoulders; or, in fishing, a line that connects the leader to the fly:

“I quickly raised my rod, hoping I would not snap the 5X tippet against his moving weight.” But then, he wrote, the fish fought back, “his broad red side glistened in the glow of the setting sun. Dave Whitlock, a Star of the Fly-Fishing World, Dies at 88 (Dec. 29, 2022)

9. yente — meddler:

Into their lives comes their neighbor Rhoda (Elaine Bromka), a first-class yente bent on straightening things out. “Let’s go shopping,” she suggests. “I can’t,” Stella drawls. “I’m too busy wallowing in despair.” Theater Review: Blanche Just Kvetched Too Much (Feb. 16, 1999)

10. pepita — a pumpkin or squash seed:

Coffee pepita mole was served alongside honey sriracha to accompany the main course of lamb shank and snapper, while starters included tahini cucumber salad with sesame and mint. In Miami, a Dinner to Celebrate Creative Sisterhood (Dec. 30, 2022)

The list of the week’s easiest words:

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