19 Hard-To-Spell Words That St. Louisans Know By Heart


Can you spell Anheuser-Busch without looking it up? - DOUG WERTMAN ON FLICKR, CROPPED

Gokul Venkatachalam, a thirteen-year-old boy from Chesterfield, had an impressive showing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, correctly spelling "bamboche," "abaisse" and "eryngo." (It was "Kierkegaardian" that did him in; he won third place.)

In honor of Venkatachalam's achievement, Daily RFT has been pondering hard-to-spell words right here in our own back yard.

When you live in a place long enough, the spellings of the quirky names of streets, politicians, restaurants and towns become second nature. And that's good, because St. Louis is full of quirky, hard-to-spell names.

We've thrown together some of our favorite hard-to-spell St. Louis names as a little local litmus test: Do you know St. Louis well enough to correctly spell all nineteen? If you can, we think Venkatachalam would be proud.

Here's our list, and if you have more, send them to Lindsay.Toler@riverfronttimes.com:

1. Anheuser

Want to see if you're a true St. Louisan or not? Try spelling this name without any help.

2. Laumeier

  • Micha Usher

St. Louis' beautiful sculpture garden is a little tough on the spelling-challenged.

See also: Laumeier Sculpture Park Named World's 3rd Most Amazing Sculpture Garden

3. Creve Coeur


OK, French speakers can spell this town as well as St. Louisans can. In English, it means a "bursting" or broken heart.

4. Spoede

It's pronounced "spay-dee." The missing German umlaut over the E makes all the difference.

5. Llywelyn's

Llywelyn's Pub: Easier to eat than to spell. - VIA
  • via
  • Llywelyn's Pub: Easier to eat than to spell.

There are six St. Louis locations for this beloved pub -- but only one correct spelling.

6. Pruitt-Igoe

St. Louis' notorious failed housing experiment may be gone, but its name lives on to confuse spellers.

7. Jhonny

As in Jhonny Peralta, the Cardinals' new shortstop.

8. Chouteau

You know you want to spell it S-h-o-w-t-o-e, don't you?

9. DeBaliviere

That French ending is tricky, but any good St. Louisan knows there are two I's in DeBaliviere.

10. Vandeventer

It's not Vandaventer or Vandyventer.

Nine more hard-to-spell words on page two. Are you up for it?

11. Schoemehl

Schoemehl pots. - YOUTUBE

Vincent Schoemehl used to be the mayor of St. Louis. Now, his name lives on in the giant concrete structures that stop cars from driving onto your street.

See also: Why St. Louis Should Stop Turning Its Street Grid Into Cul-De-Sacs

12. Fyler

If you've never heard this word pronounced, you might think it's "Flyer." It's not.

13. Busch

It's not Bush Stadium.

14. Schlafly

  • via

There's an extra C adding some power to the first syllable of this local family's name.

15. Schnickelfritz

The German word for a mischievous rascal is now the name of one of St. Louis' favorite new beers. We'll remember how to spell it...until we've had a few.

16. Florissant

It's spelled with one R and two S's. But you probably knew that if you're from St. Louis.

17. Forsyth

It's not like "sythe." There's no E.

18. Tilles

We're always tempted to spell this "Tillis." But that would be wrong.

19. Clydesdale

You've gotta get this one right if you say you're from St. Louis. - PIONEERPESTSTL VIA FLICKR

There's an E in the middle!

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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