Commentary

Read this and become smarter!

Updated: May 28, 2009, 12:50 PM ET
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

The Scripps National Spelling Bee might not seem like the most athletic endeavor, but that doesn't mean the words used in the competition can't be of value to sports fans.

Below are some of the actual words and definitions given to spellers in the first three rounds of this year's Bee (with help on the definitions from dictionary.com). Take note of how you can work these words into your daily conversations about sports.

Then tune in to the Bee finale at 8 p.m. ET Thursday on ABC for even more words you can use to impress, confuse and enrage your friends.

typhlology
n. The study of the causes and treatments of blindness.

The Mariners' batting coach wondered whether he could help his players by taking up typhlology.

rouen
n.
One of a breed of domestic ducks resembling a mallard.

As Jake Delhomme dropped back to pass, everyone expected him to throw a rouen.

coriaceous
adj.
Of or like leather.

Her muscles, her coriaceous skin -- A-Rod was in love.

vacillatory
adj.
Inclined to waver; irresolute.

As the fourth quarter drew on, Stan Van Gundy became increasingly vacillatory.

kakistocracy
n.
A form of government in which the worst persons are in charge.

The football fan couldn't help but think of the BCS as a kind of kakistocracy.

phonasthenia
n.
Difficult or abnormal voice production.

Carl Lewis will always regret trying to sing the national anthem while plagued with a bout of phonasthenia.

miserere
n.
A prayer or expression of appeal for mercy.

Before they took the field to face their opponent, the Fighting Irish's chaplain gathered the team for a miserere.

fanfaronade
n.
Bragging; bravado; bluster.

It was refreshing to see the receiver make a catch and not follow it with fanfaronade.

clou
n.
A major point of interest or attention.

Tom Brady couldn't understand why his love life was such a clou to the paparazzi.

cuchifrito
n.
A small, deep-fried cube of pork, usually from the ear, tail or stomach.

Although he was a vegetarian, Prince Fielder couldn't help but salivate over the cuchifrito.

urceole
n.
A vessel for water for washing the hands.

Moises Alou's teammates wondered why his urceole always smelled so bad.

nidificate
v.
To build a nest.

The Nuggets fans saw Chris Andersen at Home Depot and wondered whether he was buying supplies he could use to nidificate.

cabotage
n.
Trade along the coast.

Every baseball season come late July, the Midwestern fans felt the media reported only on cabotage.

scalene
adj.
(Of a triangle) having three unequal sides.

Phil Jackson feared his offense was becoming increasingly scalene.

onychorrhexis
n.
Abnormal brittleness of the fingernails or toenails.

Yao Ming missed several games with a case of acute onychorrhexis.

caracole
n.
A half-turn executed by a horse and rider.

As the horse neared the finish line, he executed a caracole to taunt his competitors.

steganopodous
adj.
Having all four toes webbed together.

At a party in South Carolina, Michael Phelps got into a deep discussion about how good he would be if his feet were steganopodous.

quodlibet
n.
A subtle or elaborate argument or point of debate, usually on a theological or scholastic subject.

The coach assured the academically troubled recruit that he would never overhear quodlibet in the locker room.

micawber
n.
Derived from a fictional character created by Charles Dickens who was an eternal optimist.

The Golden State Warriors made sure to put a micawber in charge of their public relations.

anodyne
adj.
Not likely to provoke dissent or offense.

While they liked Ricky Rubio, the Clippers felt Blake Griffin would be the anodyne pick.

chevelure
n.
A head of hair.

Troy Polamalu feared some fans saw him as nothing more than a chevelure.

peroration
n.
The concluding part of a speech or discourse, in which the speaker or writer recapitulates the principal points and urges them with greater earnestness and force.

The coach's peroration was marked by the heavy use of profanity.

sudoriparous
adj.
Producing or secreting sweat.

Although he was now a coach and his playing days were long over, Patrick Ewing was still quite sudoriparous.

chatelaine
n.
The mistress of an elegant or fashionable household.

The athlete assured the groupie she was his only chatelaine.

villanelle
n.
A short poem of fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymes.

As his teammates huddled to hear the inbounds play, J.J. Redick composed a villanelle in his head about victory.

quatercentenary
n.
A 400th anniversary or its celebration.

The Cubs' GM assured fans they would win it all before the quatercentenary of the team's previous title.

ommatophore
n.
A tentacle or movable stalk bearing an eye.

Roger Clemens made the point that despite the allegations against him, he never grew an ommatophore or anything like that.

ronin
n.
In Japan, under the feudal system, a samurai who had renounced his clan or who had been discharged or ostracized and had become a wanderer without a lord; an outcast; an outlaw.

With a handgun in place of a sword, Plaxico Burress saw himself as a sort of modern-day ronin.

mahout
n.
The keeper or driver of an elephant.

John Daly's swing coach couldn't help but think of himself as a sort of mahout.

Rabelaisian
adj.
Of, pertaining to or suggesting François Rabelais, whose work was characterized by broad, coarse humor and keen satire.

After hitting a 3-pointer, the basketball player peppered his defender with Rabelaisian banter.

oligopsony
n.
The market condition that exists when there are few buyers; as a result, they can greatly influence price and other market factors.

Drew Rosenhaus wished he weren't dealing with an oligopsony in finding his client a new contract.

picayune
adj.
Of little value or account; small; trifling.

Although it was exciting at the time, LeBron's shot to win Game 2 proved to be picayune.

amerce
v.
To punish by inflicting any discretionary or arbitrary penalty.

With a 3-1 lead over LeBron's Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals, the Magic expected the officials would amerce them.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.