16 Hard Words to Spell That You’re Probably Using Every Day

published Oct 29, 2023
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It’s easy nowadays to go about your life without worrying about misspelling a word. Autocorrect is everywhere, whether you’re typing in Google Docs or even just sending a text to a friend. Technology will swoop in to notify you that something is amiss, or it will correct as you go, not even waiting for you to edit the word yourself (hence the name autocorrect).

Just because technology is there to fix these mistakes, though, doesn’t mean it’s not important (and kind of fun!) to know how to spell some of the trickiest words yourself. For the sake of expanding your vocabulary and polishing up your spelling skills, read on for a list of some of the English language’s most challenging words to spell.

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Hard Words You May Use in Day-to-Day Conversations

1. Necessary

Common misspellings: neccessary, necesary

It’s tricky when a word contains two letters that sound the same, and in this case it’s a c and an s. When it comes to the word necessary, there is one c and two s’s, with the c coming first. 

2. Charcuterie

Common misspellings: sharcuterie, charceuterie, charcutery 

Charcuterie boards have been around for a while, but they seem to be extra trendy nowadays, which means you may be texting your friends about them. It’s challenging to spell for one, because it’s a French word, and two, because char is pronounced shahr in French. Just remember that the word for cured meats and cheeses starts with a -ch instead of -sh.

3. Wednesday

Common misspelling: Wenesday 

Wednesday is tricky because there is a silent d, which is one of the ways the English language is just wild. Who’s idea was it to throw in a d when you pronounce the word like wens-day? In any case, if you don’t want to type out “hump day,” just remember that silent d

4. Handkerchief

Common misspellings: hankerchief, hankerchif 

Another silent d can be found in the word handkerchief. Pronounced han-ker-chif, one way to remember that pesky d is that you reach for the small piece of fabric, normally tucked in your pocket for blowing your nose, with your hand.

5. Nauseous

Common misspellings: nauscious, nauscous 

The word nauseous is pronounced naw-shus, so the spelling appears to include a ton of unnecessary vowels. Nauseous means to have nausea, a common occurrence on a boat, which can help you with the first part of the word “nau,” as in nautical. 

6. Camaraderie

Common misspelling: camraderie 

A silent a is included in the word camaraderie, but what’s interesting about this word is it has another correct spelling which appears more like how it sounds. You can also spell the word comradery, and at least in North America, both spellings are correct.

7. Acquiesce

Common misspelling: aquiesce

It’s easy to skip the c and go straight to the qu sound when spelling acquiesce, which means “to assent tacitly, or agree.” The prefix ac means “towards” or “to,” which explains why it’s there, as the word can be broken down into three parts: ac-qui-esce. 

8. Fuchsia

Common misspellings: fushia, fuschia 

Fuchsia, or a vibrant shade of pink, doesn’t include a -ch sound, even though it includes it in the correct spelling of the word. This is thanks to Leonhard Fuchs, the German botanist who named the fuchsia plant, which produces hot pink flowers. 

9. Indict

Common misspelling: indite 

Indite won’t pop up in your autocorrect because it’s actually a word that means “to write or compose.” But if you actually mean “indict,” which is “to accuse or charge someone of a crime,” it’s spelled with a tricky ct at the end of it. 

10. Worcestershire

Common misspellings: wustesher, worchester, worcester 

If you’re saying or spelling Worcestershire, it’s probably in regards to Worcestershire sauce, the soy and vinegar sauce used in cooking. It is certainly a mouthful, and because it’s pronounced “wu-stuh-sher,” the spelling looks especially bananas. Worcestershire is a former county in England, and the W is always capitalized, as it is a proper noun. 

My golden arches! I love how these etageres relate to the wallpaper, the curves of the furniture, the gingko leaves on the wall, and even the ceiling lampshade. The acrylic coffee table is actually two C tables on casters so they can move as needed. Usually one has my dinner and the other has my laptop!

Helpful Hard Words to Know for Your Home

11. Etagere 

Common misspelling: etajere

An etagere is a piece of furniture with open shelving, and the word is French, which can make it tricky to spell. If you don’t know how it’s pronounced, it may look like it could be a hard g sound (like goose), when in fact it’s a zh sound (like zhuzh).

12. Bouclé

Common misspelling: bouclay 

Bouclé furniture has definitely been having a moment, and because it’s another French word, the spelling doesn’t come easy to an American. Bouclé in French translates to “loop” in English, which refers to looped yarn that results in a very cozy fabric.

13. Armoire

Common misspelling: armoir

An armoire is an ornate and rather large wardrobe and, wouldn’t you know, is another French word! There is a tricky silent e at the end of the word, which many people miss, as the word is pronounced arm-wah-r. 

14. Fauteuil

Common misspellings: futoi, futai 

Fauteuil, or an upholstered chair with open arms, is incredibly challenging to spell (and even say!), as the spelling includes so many vowels.

15. Sconce

Common misspellings: sconse 

When a word includes two c’s where one c is hard (like cat) and another is soft (like cease), it makes for a very hard word to spell. Sconce, or a lighting fixture that is placed on a wall, includes a soft c instead of an s.  

16. Chaise lounge

Common misspellings: shaise lounge, chez lounge, shez long

A chaise lounge is an upholstered sofa that’s in the shape of a chair, that’s long enough to prop up your feet. It’s a mixture of the French word “chaise” meaning chair and the English verb “lounge.” Because it includes both English and French, it’s easy to Americanize chaise and spell the word the way that it sounds, using -sh instead of -ch.