Questions you can ask at the Spelling Bee

At the Spelling Bee a speller is given two minutes and thirty seconds from when a word is first pronounced, to spell a word in its entirety. The first two minutes are known as “Regular Time”, the final thirty seconds is known as “Finish Time”. During this time limit, a speller is allowed to ask the pronouncer for the following information:

  • The definition of the word
  • The word’s part of speech
  • The word’s usage in a sentence
  • The word’s language(s) of origin (not the complete etymology, even though some spellers refer to the language(s) of origin as the etymology)
  • Alternate pronunciations of the word
  • Alternate definitions of the word
  • Whether or not the word contains a specified root; this may only be asked providing the speller can state the root in question, the root’s language of origin, and the root’s definition.