By Mike Linn
Zack Gillooly and several modern-day dictionaries had something in common Wednesday morning:
None of them recognized the word “reresupper.”
Zack, representing the eastern New Mexico region in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., lost in the first speaking round after misspelling the word by one letter, using an “o” instead of an “e” on the fourth letter.
“I thought it was the ‘e’ or the ‘o’ and I went with the ‘o,’” Zack said.
The word isn’t listed in “Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition (2003),” among others.
It means “a late or second dinner,” according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.
“Some of these words you’ve never heard of,” said Zack’s father, Patrick Gillooly. “Reresupper — no one uses that anymore. It’s a late dinner, but who says that? It’s an old-world term.”
Zack said he was disappointed and relieved after misspelling the word, but didn’t feel too bad since 170 of the 265 contestants didn’t make it past the first speaking round (the first round was a written exam).
“I tied for 95th,” the Clovis Yucca Junior High student said.
Patrick and his wife Teresa Gillooly, Zack’s mother, said they were nervous when Zack’s No. 141 was called to the microphone.
But now that Zack is out of the contest they can relax a little. The Gilloolys plan to travel to Philadelphia to visit family before returning to Clovis by the second weekend in June.
Patrick said the family is enjoying the sights and restaurants in the nation’s capital, and hopes to return for next year’s contest.
And if Zack makes it again next year, the family knows what to expect: In the regional spelling bee words are easier to break down than they are in the national contest.
“Here, you can think a word ‘wow’ if I just break it down — and then you’d be totally wrong, because they come from the Greek and the Latin and the German and the Italian,” Patrick said. “They’re a lot harder here.”