Ananya Vinay may have won the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, but there’s one word the 12-year-old Fresno, California resident couldn’t work out.
In an early morning chat with CNN New Day anchors Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo, Vinaya — who had claimed top prize at the Maryland bee just hours earlier — was given the challenge of trying to spell “Covfefe,” the nonsense word made popular by President Donald Trump in a late-night tweet on Tuesday.
“Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” Trump tweeted — leading many to speculate what exactly the 70-year-old former businessman was referring to.
Vinay appeared to be equally stumped, asking for the definition immediately.
“Definition is a nonsense word made up by the 45th President of the United States this week in a late-night tweet,” Camerota responded.
That wasn’t enough to help Vinay — who then asked for language of origin (“gibberish”), part of speech (“a noun,but may be used as a verb or an insult”), and alternative pronunciations (“there are many”).
“Cofefe” she said — getting it wrong.
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Luckily, Vinay had a better performance on Thursday night — taking the opportunity to strike when opponent Rohan Rajeev flubbed the Scandinavian-derived word, “Marram” (beach grass) and taking the crown by successfully spelling “Marocain” (a type of dress fabric of ribbed crepe) to win the 90th annual bee.
“I knew them all,” Ananya told the Associated Press afterwards, of the words given to her over the 21 of the allotted 25 championship rounds. “It’s like a dream come true. I’m so happy right now.”
In nabbing the trophy, Vinayalso went home with more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.
Her win also marks the first time since 2013 the Scripps National Spelling Bee declared a sole champion. She’s the 13th consecutive Indian-American to win the bee, and the 18th of the past 22 winners with Indian heritage.