News & Politics

Google Has Revealed the Word Each State Can’t Spell. DC’s Captures 2019 Perfectly.

Hint: It rhymes with "stuff."

Photograph by Srdjanns74, via iStock.

Timed to the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, Google Trends has released a list of the words that confound each state, based on the term users most frequently use at the end of a sentence that begins with “how to spell…”

And if the results might dismay English teachers (eight different states, including Virginia, were tripped up by “beautiful”), the map might also fascinate sociologists. Louisiana, for instance, was most curious about the spelling of “indict.” New York wanted to know about “bougie.” Long-suffering Pennsylvania had “pneumonia.” More disturbingly, Alabama and Mississippi, for reasons we can only hope are unrelated, spellchecked “niece” and “fifteen.” Perhaps most bafflingly, Hawaii was eager to learn how to spell….”Hawaii.”

But the best search in the country, in our humble opinion, was right here in Our Nation’s Capital, where DC’s top spelling query was “Enough.” Enough! Yes! What a perfect word for this moment in history, with its trolls and its influencers and its overpriced cocktails. Michigan’s “amazing” and Nebraska’s “delicious” may be fine aspirations, but DC nailed it. Good for us. I mean, we really ought to know how to spell the word without any help from Google. But still.


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Michael Schaffer has been editor of Washingtonian since 2014. A former editor of Washington City Paper and editorial director of The New Republic, Michael is also the author of One Nation Under Dog, a 2009 book about America’s obsession with pets. A DC native, he currently lives in Chevy Chase DC with his wife and their two daughters.