Spelling. Everyone has a word or two that gives them trouble. Unless they're a Scripps Spelling Bee Champion. How else to explain the abundance of apps with built-in "spell check," the popularity of Grammarly, etc. But even that's not foolproof. Who hasn't been the victim of auto-correct?

The Perils of Misspelling

Misspelling a word is embarrassing, especially if it's online. You lose credibility when you use the wrong instance of their, they're, or there. 

I used to have trouble telling the words desert and dessert apart. Which was which? Somehow I decided that dessert was something you'd want more of, and so it has the extra "s." Hey, whatever works, right?

The Annual List of Misspelled Words

Every year we get a list or two of commonly misspelled words, according to state. Google is the usual source of such trivia, but others get in on the act as well.

The list of misspelled words can change from year to year. Who knows why? But I was curious about the words Washingtonians have struggled with over the years.

What I discovered is that the majority of our problem words have a single vowel in common. And most of the words on our list contain 9 to 10 letters. So at least we wrestle with the bigger words. How humiliating would it be to whiff on, say, a four-letter word? I mean, we'd have to be total knuckleheads.

Not so fast, tiger. We botched one of those, too.

Without further ado, here are the words we in Washington have a dysfunctional relationship with.


Vacuum was Washington's most misspelled word in 2015, according to Google. Normally five letter words should be pretty easy - can't play Wordle without them - but those twin U's are odd. I mean, why isn't it spelled Vacume?


Pneumonia was Washington's most misspelled word in 2016 & 2017. And it doesn't surprise me. It's a tough word! Are you telling me the other 49 states don't have trouble spelling Pneumonia? I call 🐂💩.


Beautiful was Washington's most misspelled word in 2018, according to Google. And it's another tricky one. Why isn't it spelled byoutiful? Or beutiful? Why isn't it pronounced boatiful? Look, once you learn this one, you always remember. But let's not pretend it isn't weird.


Grey was Washington's most misspelled word in 2019, according to Google. Ugh! We didn't know how to spell a simple four letter word. That is, depending on who you ask. While "grey" is the most common worldwide spelling, here in 'Merica we sometimes prefer "gray." You got a problem with that?


Beautiful was Washington' s most misspelled word of 2020, despite Google telling us how to spell it in 2018. This according to Reader's Digest in 2020.


Quarantine was Washington's most misspelled word of 2021, according to an AT&T study. Ever been on the phone with an AT&T rep? It's about as exciting as quarantine. And again: long word. Weird word.


Experience was Washington's most misspelled word of 2022, according to Google. I can't defend you on this one, my fellow Washingtonians. It's the only word on this list that pretty much sounds like it looks. Ex-per-i-ence.

Washington Misspells Words with This Letter

Did you notice that most of the words Washington has trouble spelling contain a certain vowel? The letter "U" perhaps? I don't know what it means, but now we all know a piece of trivia for our next Scrabble party.

At Least We Can Spell Washington

According to data from unscrambled-words.com, "people of Idaho and West Virginia struggle to spell the name of their own states." I know it's mean of me, but I find this piece of information both hilarious and comforting.

Also worth noting: residents of Massachusetts, home to the esteemed Harvard University, cannot spell Massachusetts. Guess that's what happens when you get greedy with letters.

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