English

80+ Hard-to-Spell English Words You Might Not Be Aware of!

hard words to spell

Are you struggling to learn the correct spellings of English words? Or are you on your hunt to find an ultimate list of the hardest English words to spell?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then this blog is for you! Continue reading to learn the correct spellings of the most important English wordsemoji

List of Hardest Words to Spell In English

When spelling words, most languages use the imitate-sounds-into-exact-letters formula. But, with English, the case is a bit different! It is common for words to change their spelling depending on the region in which they are used. Further, you’ll also discover vocabulary words that are overstuffed with silent letters, which confuses the matter of spelling even more.

Here We Go!

1. Abscond

Abscond

It’s easy to spell this word as “ab-second,” as we often use the word “second”. Abscond is a verb and refers to a person who runs away, taking something along with himself/herself.

2. Abstruse

Abstruse

The spellings of abstruse are too abstruse to remember! “Abstruse” means difficult. Well, spelling this word correctly has remained one of the biggest challenges for writers, students, etc. Abstruse is mistakenly written as “abstrues”. People usually add the word “true” along with a plural suffix -s to the end of this word. 

3. Accommodate

Accommodate

Words with double letters are always confusing and tricky to spell. And this word has got two doubles, making it even more confusing. Accommodate’s spellings often follow the pattern of “recommend.” However, both spellings are far different from each other. You might be tempted to replace the first “o” with “a” and remove the “e” at the end because it's silent while pronouncing. 

4. Acquiesce

Acquiesce

Words like aquarium, aquamarine, etc., don’t have the “c” in between the letters “a” and “b”. This might be the reason why people are tempted to skip the “c” in acquiesce. Further, the awkward combination of consonants and vowels makes spelling more tricky. You might forget the correct sequence of letters. Break it into three sets, (acq), (ui), (esce) to learn it. 

5. Chiaroscurist

Chiaroscurist

A painter who plays with light and shade instead of colors for drawing pictures is a chiaroscurist. Just like the name, his work is pretty difficult too. As we often use the words like chair, fair, etc., spelling this word as “(chaire)oscurist” instead of (chiar-os-cu-rist) is common. 

6. Apocryphal

Apocryphal

This word is pronounced as “app-o-kri-fal” which is why people are tempted to replace the “c” with “k” and “ph” with “f”, hence spelling it out incorrectly as “apokrifal”.

7. Archetypal

Archetypal

The next one on our list is archetypal, meaning “a model of anything.” There’re so many letters in this word that are arranged strangely with each other. Here again, “ch” is pronounced as “k” but when spelling this word out, k shouldn’t be inserted. Further, adding “i” instead of “y” is also common among many people.

8. Ingenious

Ingenious

From genius comes ingenious. Both words refer to brilliance. However, their spellings are different but often confused with each other. Ingenious has all the spellings of genius but with an “o” between “i” and “u.” 

9. Sacrilegious

Sacrilegious

It is often assumed that “sacrilegious” came from the word religious, which is why it is spelled incorrectly as “sacreligious”. However, in reality, this word came from “sacrilege” and the suffix -ous converts it to an adjective, meaning “blasphemous”.

10. Minuscule

Minuscule

You won’t believe that I’ve checked exam sheets where students had written “mynuscule” instead of minuscule. The confusion lies between “minus”, it's an arithmetic symbol. In the case of “minuscule”, it does refer to eliminating something (meaning of the word minus). It’s a simple word that means tiny.

11. Ambiguous

Ambiguous

An adjective, ambiguous, is used to define something that is unclear or confusing. It has no “e” in it but just because it is pronounced as “am-be-guas” people often assume that it should be spelled as “ambeegous,” which is incorrect.

12. Mischievous

Mischievous

Have you ever seen or met a naughty child? Well, mischievous is a perfect adjective for such babies. All around the world, different English speakers tend to pronounce this word as “mis-chee-vee-us” which creates confusion in its spelling. Spelling out this word is as difficult as pronouncing it!

13. Handkerchief

Handkerchief

From our ancestors to our modern generation, handkerchieves have served us well. It’s hard to pronounce if you don’t crack down on the secret to learning the right spellings. Notice that this word has “hand” and “cheif” in it, not the real one, but of course, the words! Just connect them with the letters “ker” and there you go! You got the right spelling!

14. Gubernatorial

Gubernatorial

Does it sound like the word “gover” to you? Well, that’s because it actually has a strong linguistic relationship with the governor (word). Both of them have derived from the French language and refer to powerful governors. If you love writing about politics, using gubernatorial in your text can pack more power into it. Gubernatorial can be divided into five sets, such as “gu-ber-na-torial” for memorizing the spellings easily.

15. Cajole

Cajole

Have you ever tried to convince a friend to go on a trip with you? That’s called cajoling “convincing someone”. It’s a unique word with unique spellings. The “k” sound at the start makes sense why some people spell is “kajol.” 

16. Pharaoh

Pharaoh

If you’ve watched Caletoprea, then you might know what Pharaoh is. Ancient Egypt rulers are known as Pharaoh. Most students, professionals, and even children are aware of this word, but not everyone knows the right spelling of this word. 

17. Logorrhea

Logorrhea

A communication disorder that leads to excessive wordiness is called logorrhea. It’s common in the medical world, but you can also use it to show off your vocabulary in essays or blogs. But don’t forget to add “rr” and make sure you end the word with “hea” instead of “hia”.

18. Pochemuchka

Pochemuchka

We all have (at least once in our lives) met that “how?-what?-why?-when?” person who just keeps on asking questions over questions. The term Pochemuchka is used for such people. Using “Pochemuchka” instead of “talkative” in your text will take your writing to the next level, which is what you probably want!

19. Weird

Weird

Weird smell! Weird road! Weird jacket! This word has got the privilege of being pronounced almost every day. It’s easy to utter, but the real challenge is spelling out this word. Skipping the “i” and mistakenly writing “werd” sounds obvious because of the “e” sound. 

20. Gobbledegook

Gobbledegook

Pronouncing this word is hard and spelling out this word is even harder. Gobbledegook refers to a language that is difficult to comprehend and understand because of the overstuffing of irrelevant terms, just like this word. You can divide gobbledegook into smaller chunks i.e., “go-bble-de-gook” to learn the right spellings. 

Left with 64 Hardest Words to Spell In English

21. Liquefy

Liquefy

This one looks simple, but when you try to spell it out, you’re probably going to swap the position of “e” with “i” just because the word has a linguistic relation with “liquid.”

22. Wednesday

Wednesday

You might be wondering why we’ve listed this easy word in our list. Well, Wednesday sounds easy just because it's pronounced millions of times in this entire world in just a single day. However, when spelling, most people skip the first “d” because it's silent when pronouncing.

23. Sherbet

Sherbet

A Turkish word, sherbet, is a famous Turkish drink. When borrowed in the English language, people started pronouncing this word as “sherbert” with an extra “r” before “t,” which is why it's often spelled as “sherbert.” It should be remembered that there is only one “r” in this word.

24. Bologna

Bologna

Bologna, similar to sausages, is loved by most of us. Bologna is an Italian word and a famous meal. It’s difficult, yet an attractive word!

25. Indict

Indict

You’ll be surprised to hear that indict is pronounced as “inda-it.” Which justifies why people often skip the letter “c” when spelling out and write it as “indite” which is incorrect.

26. Playwright

Playwright

“Right” and “wright” are homophones. Meaning that both the words are pronounced the same but are written differently. This justifies why most people use “write” instead of “wright” in the word “playwright.” The word playwright refers to a writer or a dramatist.

27. Fuchsia

Fuchsia

Thanks to the German physician Leonhart Fuchs, who gave his name to flower. The same name was further passed to a color. The ch and sh sound (in the middle), and, zh sound (at the end) complicate the spellings. In the case of “fuchsia,” people spell it “fushsia”.

28. Perapharnela

Perapharnela

Just because the second r has nothing to with the pronunciation people are skipping it while spelling Perapharnela. As far as its meaning is concerned, it is used for referring to the things that belong to a future-bride, like the word “dowry”.

29. Necessary

Necessary

The double “s” makes people think there must also be a double “c” in its spelling. “C” is pronounced as “s” which makes the word more difficult to spell.

30. Equivocate

Equivocate

Using ambiguous language to conceal the truth is called “equivocate.” This is also one of the hardest words to spell in English. What makes this word tricky is the strange arrangement of u, I, and, v. The misspelled version of this word is “equvicate” which should be avoided.

31. Truculent

Truculent

“All the villains are ill-natured, aggressive, and truculent.” Got the meaning from the context? This word refers to aggressive behavior. Speakers know that it should be pronounced as “truck-u-lent” but a few only know that there is no c in the spelling.

32. Inundate

Inundate

It’s not indundate! By paying attention to the word, you’ll find two different English nouns in it; nun and date. You just have to combine them and add an I letter in the beginning. It’s this easy!

33. Anodyne

Anodyne

Anodyne and pain-reliever are the same things. This word is widely used in the field of medicine. While spelling, most people add an extra “o” after “d” making it “anodoyne.”

34. Vacuum

Vacuum

Vacuum has got a strange arrangement of letters! In some cases, intentionally or unintentionally, people doubles a letter that appears with another pair of double-letter. Just as in this case. “cc” is often accompanied by “uu,” which is undoubtedly against the rules of spelling this word.

35. Mawkish

Mawkish

Almost every group of friends has one over-sentimental person in it. You can replace the word “over-sentimental” with Mawkish because both mean the same. Mawkish sounds like a cool word, but it might ruin all the coolness if you spell it as “mo-kish.” So, be super careful when you’re spelling it out!

36. Maelstrom

Maelstrom

Don’t link the “mael” with the word “male.” Maelstrom is defined as a powerful tide. To learn right spellings of this word, you just have to change the position of the letter “e” and “a” in the word “male” to make it “mael” and then add the word storm at the end. That’s it!

37. Maudlin

Maudlin

There’re so many “overemotional” people out there; this is why we’ve devoted another section to this category of words. Maudlin is a synonym for the words mawkish and over-sentimental. The “l” is usually skipped while spelling this word.

38. Committee

Committee

Well, two sets of double letters weren't enough to confuse us, so the English language thought of bestowing us with three sets of double letters. People often forget to repeat the letter “t” in this word.

39. Evanescent

Evanescent

It’s easy to spell evanescent as “evenscent” because both words share the same letters. The meaning of this word is short-lived and if you want to stop your writing from falling under the category of “evanescent-texts”, make sure you spell it correctly.

40. Cognizant

Cognizant

Congizant, and congnizant are the common misspelled-versions of this word. This word means “to be aware of something.” This word is hard to spell because remembering the correct sequence of letters can be difficult. And if you happen to be lucky enough to sort the correct position of consonant sounds. Still, there’re chances that you might not get the vowels right. The simple trick to remembering its spelling is to mimic its pronunciation.

Activity!

Learning all these words in one day is nearly impossible! You can pick your favorite words and write them on cards to learn the right spelling. We’d recommend using the capital-SMALL-letter and divide-word-into-small-chunks formulae to remember the correct sequence of letters. You can use “SPELL-ing-S” as a sample word to create your cards.


Left with 44 Hardest Words to Spell In English


41. Spurious

Spurious

Moving on to the next one… Spurious means “false” and it takes a few minutes to realize that the suffix “-ous” is attached to the word “spur.”

42. Winsome

Winsome

“Win” plus “some” is winsome! It sounds easy, but people still spell it “winesome.” Win and wine are two different words with almost similar spellings. This creates confusion and makes “winsome” one of the hardest words to spell in English.

43. Phlegmatic

Phlegmatic

As mentioned earlier, most words with “ph” letters are the hardest to remember. Phlegmatic is used to describe a cool-headed person who shows little or no emotions. Its correct spelling is neither “Flegmatic” and nor “phlagmetic.”

44. Umbrage

Umbrage

Between the four consonants (m,b,r,g), what creates confusion is the fact that there are three vowels arranged in an awkward sequence in “umbrage”. The word “rage” signals the meaning of this particular word, i.e., to get offended or angry.

45. Utilitarian

Utilitarian

We’ve got this word from the French language. It is hard to pronounce, hard to spell, and even hard to remember. Utilitarian is an adjective used to define something that is practical or realistic. With so many vowels, it’s a real struggle to remember the correct sequence of letters.

46. Ostracism

Ostracism

Ostracism means banishment from society. The initial letters “ost” makes it hard to realize that this word has “racism” at its end.

47. Etymology

Etymology

The history of a word, such as from where it came, how it revived, etc., is studied in the field of etymology. The too many “o(s)” in it tempt the people to replace “y” with “o” spelling it incorrectly as “etomology.”

48. Vestige

Vestige

The letter “v” is rarely seen as the initial letter of any word. This word refers to remnants of something that has died long ago. More stress is given to “tige” which is why only a few people could point out the word “vest” at its beginning.

49. Promulgate

Promulgate

The meanings of “announced” and “promulgated” are somehow the same. The reason why it is spelled as “promeulgate” is that people confuse it with the word “Prome” (a city in Burma). The spelling of this word has one complete word at its end, i.e., the gate.

50. Largesse

Largesse

People often ignore the last “e,” as it is not pronounced when speaking the word “largesse.” It has got the word “large,” connected with -sse and it simply means generosity.

51. Egregious

Egregious

The smart people would instantly notice the word “greg” in it. You just have to place it at the center and add “e” at the beginning, plus the suffix -ious at the end. However, it’s not pronounced as “e-greg-i-as” but “uh·gree·juhs”. The pronunciation is the root cause of confusion.

52. Epistolary