This Map Reveals the Most Misspelled Words in Every State


America is home to some of the most intelligent and accomplished people on the planet, from titans of industry and award-winning academics, to auteurs and artists of all manner of media. Still, it seems the simple act of stringing together letters in the correct sequence stumps even the smartest among us. That's at least what you might infer from a new map, which highlights the most commonly misspelled words among the residents of each state. 


Despite what those preternaturally talented kids on the national spelling bee stage might have you think, Americans at large are very, very bad at spelling some very simple words. To determine exactly which words people struggle to spell, the Google Trends team looked at the most-searched "how to spell..." queries for every state, then mapped their findings. 

As it turns out, quite a few objectively easy-to-spell words are giving lots of people trouble in places like Alabama, where "cousin" is the top-searched word. Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, quite a few Googlers are apparently having a tough time correctly spelling "dying." However, the most alarming revelation here is that a whole bunch of residents in 11 different states can't figure out "beautiful." Seriously.

Granted, there are also a number of fairly tough-to-spell words that appear on the map. For instance "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" shows up as the top-searched word in six different states. Also, the complicated French term "hors d'oeuvres" is the top query in Florida. Yet the rest of the map is dotted with phonetically obvious words like "chaos," "gray," and "probably." 

To be fair, a good deal of the terms that show up are words people might be including in a resume, cover letter, or otherwise professional context, and would rightfully want to double-check they're correctly spelled (e.g., "sincerely," "definitely," "schedule," "grateful"). If only it were possible to compare similar data from the pre-spell check era.

In any case, considering the pace at which we're incorporating emoji into day-to-day communication, spelling -- for better or worse -- may not actually matter that much in the future anyway.


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.