25 of the Hardest English Words to Spell

English spelling rules and the “sound it out” approach probably won’t help you spell “autochthonous,” “chiaroscurist,” and other 10-dollar words. Challenge yourself and build your vocabulary with these 25 hard-to-spell English words that will have you reaching for your dictionary.

25 of the Hardest English Words to Spell
Text version

antediluvian

"Of or relating to the period before the flood described in the Bible."[1]

appoggiatura

"An embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone and usually written as a note of smaller size."[1]

asceticism

"The practice of avoiding indulgences and temptations, usually for religious reasons."[2]

autochthonous

"Found in a locality in which it originates; indigenous."[3]

chiaroscurist

"An artist who specializes in 'chiaroscuro,' which focuses on 'the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade.'"[3]

crustaceology

"The study of crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp."[2]

cymotrichous

"Having wavy hair."[3]

elucubrate

"To produce (especially literary work) by long and intensive effort."[3]

esquamulose

"The opposite of 'squamulose,' which means 'furnished or covered with tiny scales.'"[3]

eudaemonic

"Pertaining or conducive to happiness."[3]

euonym

"An appropriate name for a person, place, or thing."[3]

guetapens

"A trap or a snare."[2]

hydrophyte

"An aquatic plant, one that grows only on or in water."[2]

insouciant

"Free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant."[3]

interlocutory

"Given during the course of a legal action."[2]

Laodicean

"Lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics."[1]

logorrhea

"Pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech."[3]

macerate

"To soften (usually food) by soaking in liquid."[2]

odontalgia

"Pain in a tooth; toothache."[3]

prospicience

"The act of looking forward; foresight."[3]

scherenschnitte

"The art of cutting paper into decorative designs."[3]

smaragdine

"Of or relating to emeralds; emerald-green in color."[3]

soubrette

"A high female vocal range or an actress in an opera with such a vocal range."[2]

succedaneum

"A substitute."[1]

Ursprache

"An extinct language reconstructed using evidence from later languages--for example, Proto-Germanic, the hypothetical ancestor of the Germanic languages."[3]

Sources: 1 = BusinessInsider.com, 2 = RD.com, 3 = LittleThings.com