Each State's Most Misspelled Word for 2024

It's the time of year when America's nerdiest word nerds all descend on Washington DC to determine the king or queen of word nerds with the Scripps Spelling Bee. To celebrate the spelling season, Google has once again compiled its list of words that each state has trouble spelling, based on the most searches in each state that start with "How to spell..."

This is my fifth year writing about the list, and it's now one of my favorites of the year.

To kick things off, both Arizona and North Carolina had trouble with "colonel," which I get. There's not a single 'r' in the word, even though it's there in the pronunciation. But that's because the word is originally French, which explains so much. The French can't spell anything normally. they also gave us "vinaigrette," "connoisseur," and "bidet."

Just like last year, some states had trouble spelling other states. This year, Nebraska can't spell "California," and Utah can't spell "Mississippi." Don't feel bad, Utah, no one can.

And Maryland can't spell the name of their neighbor to the north, "Pennsylvania."

Meanwhile, Mississippi can't spell "nervous," and Pennsylvania can't spell "mountain." That's a step up for Pennsylvania, which couldn't spell "people" last year.

In disturbing economic news, Delaware can't spell "business." That's concerning because many Fortune 500 corporations have their headquarters in Delaware thanks to their overly generous tax laws. If you can't spell the thing you're known for, can failure be far behind?

That's like Indiana not being able to spell "basketball" or "breaded pork tenderloin."

California is struggling with self-esteem issues because they can't spell "pretty." Millions of pretty people in the Golden State but they can't spell it? I guess looks aren't everything.

South Dakota also can't spell "beauty," but they have a nice personality. That's more than Alabama can say because they can't spell "personality."

Indiana shouldn't be "jealous" of South Dakota, especially since we can't spell it — that was our struggle word this year.

Let's keep everything equal though. Indiana's neighbors definitely had some problems. For starters, Ohio can't spell "equal," and Kentucky can't spell "definitely." Plus, Michigan can't spell "cousin," which was Alabama's problem a few years ago. If Alabama's cousin has a nice personality, they're in trouble.

Speaking of personalities, Washington D.C. may have finally figured out what the rest of the country knew: They don't have one. That's because they have trouble spelling "interesting." Or being interesting.

Arkansas and New Hampshire are of one mind when it comes to working out because Arkansas can't spell "exercise," and New Hampshire can't spell "torturous." Those are two sides of the same coin, so I'm glad to see you've found common ground.

New Mexico and Maine are having trouble with their hearing: New Mexico can't spell "quiet," and Maine can't spell "heard." Maybe it's because Kansas is making so much noise; they can't spell "chaos."

In head-shaking spelling news, Virginia can't spell "said." It's four letters, Virginia! How do you expect to text your friends about what Megan told Ashley about what Caden mentioned to Tanner about Quinn in 4th-period gym class?

Up north, Wisconsin is having trouble spelling "ally." By a weird coincidence, "ally" was Colorado's tough word last year. This makes me wonder what those two states are up to. If I were Nebraska and Iowa, I'd keep a sharp eye on my borders.

In the long word category, Colorado needs help with "ingredients," Missouri can't spell "unconscious," and Rhode Island can't effectively spell, well, "effectively."

Minnesota can't spell "clothes," and Iowa can't spell "Grandma," which makes me think both states have been emotionally scarred by something they refuse to talk about.

Oregon can't spell "opinion," which was surprising because every Oregonian I know has one on just about everything. Ask ten people from there about any subject, and you'll get 11 opinions, but none of them will be spelled right.

Colorado can't spell "corduroy," and now I'm worried the 1970s are coming back.

Texas can't spell "physique," because they were confused about how many K's are in it.

Georgia can't spell "surprise," Tennessee can't spell "field," and South Carolina can't spell "principal." That's a word I learned to spell early on in grade school because I visited him so often.

Idaho can't spell "strawberries," which is going to suck for anyone who's allergic and needs to find an emergency room.

Finally, New York can't spell "aesthetic," but that's because they're trying to show off for California.

New York's hubris gives me an idea though. This year, I want Indiana to do a little experiment. For the next 12 months, let's all do a twice-weekly search for "How do you spell accomplishments." Let's see if we can game the system and rub Kentucky's nose in our awesomeness.

Because they're "definitely" jealous of us.

?Photo credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.