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arrow pointing to back of businessman         two crossed swords   minus sign S

No. of Players: 2+
Type of Game: spoken
What you need: nothing


To guess words when they are spelled backwards.

How to play

One player spells out a word backwards. The first player to correctly identify the word is the winner, or scores one point. The winner, or the first player to reach 5 points, becomes the backwards speller for the next round. The lead player can also choose to pronounce words backwards instead of spelling them.

Alternatively, the players can hold a Reverse Spelling Bee.


Aaron: The first word is spelled R – E – G – R – U – B – M – A – H.
Aaron: You get one point. The next word is X – O – B – L – I – A – M.
Catalina: MAILBOX
Aaron: That's one point. This word is pronounced like "reh–tom."
Dayana: MOTHER

And so on...

Did you know?

While there were sporadic spelling competitions as far back as the early 1800s, the annual National Spelling Bee as we know it today only started in 1925.

red gladiolus flower   purple gladiolus flower   yellow gladiolus flower

The winning word that year was gladiolus, a flowering plant in the iris family – spelled correctly by 11 year old Frank Neuhauser of Kentucky who won $500 and a trip to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge. But before you laugh at such a paltry amount, know that $500 in 1925 is roughly $8,000 in 2021.

small pile of gold coins

Morevoer, given that Frank's actual winnings were paid in gold pieces, and gold was $20 an ounce back then versus today's price of nearly $2,000 an ounce, that's a payout of around $50,000. Not a bad haul for the young lad!

Interestingly, some winning words of the National Spelling Bee don't seem to be all that hard. Consider these three: (hover over the words for their definitions)

Knack (1928)
Therapy (1940)
Initials (1941)

But how many people can spell these words correctly?

Eudaemonic (1960)
Staphylococci (1987)
Autochthonous (2004)
Cymotrichous (2011)
Scherenschnitte (2015)

Thank goodness for spell check!

In case you're wondering, the images under the title of this word game form a rebus puzzle:


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