The Scripps National Spelling Bee is underway in Maryland.
On Thursday, 41 finalists will compete for the grand title, which comes with more than $40,000 in cash prizes.
This year, seven Minnesota students made it into the competition after winning regional spelling bees.
Ainsley Boucher, 13, of Crookston, tied for 41st place in last year's National Spelling Bee and was back again this year.
She correctly spelled "phyllomorph" in round two, but things were looking a little dicey in round three.
"Can I have the definition?" she asked after hearing her next word, "plasticine."
"Uh, it's a trademark noun that's — it means used for a modeling paste. It doesn't really define it, it just gives how it's used," the announcer provided.
"So can I have the language of origin?"
"Plasticine is a trademark."
She sighed, but pushed forward.
"P-L-A-S... can I start over? Plasticine. P-L-A-S-T-I-C-I-N-E."
The National Spelling Bee was started in 1925 by The Courier-Journal in Louisville. It featured just nine finalists. This year more than 500 young people made it to the National Spelling Bee competition which now consists of seven rounds of both written and oral tests. And the tension is palpable.
Briana Joseph of Fairmont Junior/Senior High School competed in 2015 and again last year, but this year she was eliminated in round two by the word "gazoz" — that's a carbonated non-alcoholic drink.
Laura Breed of Black Hawk Middle School in Eagan lost out to the word "gunas," a key concept in Hindu philosophy.
And Chloe Holoman of Royalton Middle School was foiled by veracious. Not "voracious" which means ravenous, but "veracious," which means honest or truthful.
Sarah Lahti of Roseville was able to correctly spell "inedita" — that means unpublished literary material — but she was knocked out of the competition by "scurrilous."
Contestants have two minutes after hearing the word to spell it correctly. They can ask for the word's definition, its country of origin, hear it used in a sentence, and confirm whether it includes Latin or Greek roots. If they spell it wrong, a judge rings a little, soul-killing bell.
Ava Becken of Northfield Middle School spelled both "trigonocerous" and "miscellaneous" correctly. And 13-year-old Peter Clementson of Yinghua Academy in Minneapolis successfully spelled "nociceptive" in round two, only to be hit with "impliable" in round three, which he spelled correctly.
Even though three Minnesotans made it through all their rounds of orals, they did not go on to Thursday's final round. The orals only count for six points out of a possible total 36 points. Contestants need at least 28 points to move up.
A Minnesotan last claimed the national title in 2001: Sean Conley of Shakopee, spelled "succedaneum."
Correction (May 31, 2018): An earlier version of this story erroneously reported the number of finalists in the spelling bee.