WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 300 of the country's best spellers will gather in Washington on Wednesday for the 80th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.
While the competitors have spent months studying and poring over word lists, a three-person panel has spent the year finding words for the competition.
The panel is led by Carolyn Andrews, whose son won the bee in 1994. She says developing the word list is tricky because "what's easy for one person might be difficult for another."
Words are drawn from a variety of sources. One year, Andrews picked "cloisonne" -- a type of enamelwork on jewelry -- out of a mail order catalog.
Competitors can get a head start with study aids and Web sites. But the only complete source of study is the unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The volume has more than 470-thousand words.