Ways With Words: The Winners of the 2019 Vocabulary Video Contest

Ways With Words: The Winners of the 2019 Vocabulary Video Contest

One of the top 15 winners of our video contest: censor, by Alex Zhong and Azan Choudry


Do you have 750 seconds to learn 47 new words?

If so, we’re offering an especially entertaining way to do it. Take a look below at the work of the 15 winners, 14 runners-up and 21 honorable mentions from our Sixth Annual Vocabulary Video Contest, in which students were challenged to define one of our Words of the Day within 15 seconds.

Of all the contests we run on this site, this is our favorite to judge, and if you watch even a few we think you’ll see why.

Thank you to the nearly 1,500 students who participated, as well as to the teachers who devoted class time to the project. And thank you, too, for your patience as we took weeks to judge; we know you wouldn’t have wanted our deliberations to be frenetic.

As always, we chose finalists based on their originality, how well each showed an understanding of the word and its use in a specific context, and how clearly that was communicated. And, as always, we had to eliminate some great entries for failure to follow the directions. (We’re looking at you, acoustic, when we remind participants that you have to pronounce the word; at you, anticlimax, jounce and obliterate, when we reiterate that the part of speech must always be given; and at you, eviscerate, to point out that no matter how excellent the video, the word must still be spelled correctly.)

Enjoy, and don’t forget our upcoming poetry, podcast and summer reading contests!


aquiline by Safiya Bhanpuri:

arrogance by Shawn Coulter:

autopsy by Sophia Pirani:

cacophonous by Ethan Che:

censor by Alex Zhong and Azan Choudry: See top of this post.

gargantuan by Raleigh Purvis and Kaleb Nichols:

ghastly by Daniel Langer:

illusion by Wyatt Cunningham:

nonchalant by Harrison Yardley:

pugnacious by Ana Wotjisiak and Ashley McFadden:

scotch by Jacob Rodriguez:

superfluous by Edward Wei:

upstage by Isabella Roccanova, Angelina Jannace and Fiona R.:

catalyst by Connor Henwood

compilation by Thomas Turner

deluge by Victoria Lyudovyk

dulcet by Laura Barrow, Maggie Dinkins, Landon Lucas, William Siron and William Trapp

gastronomy by Willa Liu

insubordination by Will Reusch

legerdemain by Sam O.

loquacious by Defne Zeybek, Caroline Weinstein, Cooper Sharp and Ryan O’Neil

nebulous by Grace Sheridan

nonchalant by Makaylah Sheard

obliterate by Beckett

panache by Mai See Xiong

quip by Adriel Pupo

rile by Gabi Camilo and DaShuan Kincaid

sidle by Stella Urbano, Shamya Smith, and Dayana Arriaga

smithereens by Madison Lyon

tryst by Juliann Zhou

upstage by Ethan Vertal

usurp by Ella, Zoe, Piper, Mina, Ava and Isaiah

witless by Sean McCormick and Ted Sheahan

wizardry by Skyler Herrera, Gabriel Phelps, Evann Rodriguez


The Learning Network runs contests for teenagers all year long. Check out our 2018-19 Contest Calendar to see what’s coming up this spring and summer.