Do you know the Latin root of the word 'solipsism'? Well, Robert Marsland from Madison, Wisconsin did. Marsland, who is 18, won the inaugural National Vocabulary Championship yesterday when he beat 49 other word-whizzes (warning, we got a headache reading the linked article) and had the correct answer for the word's root. For his mastery of the vocabulary universe, Marsland won $40,000 towards his college tuition. That isn't even enough for one year at Princeton, where Marsland hopes to attend and study physics and philosophy. Micah Jordan, the New York Citywide Champion, was eliminated in the first round, the lightning round. Jordan told The Daily News, "I felt like a lot of people were counting on me. I felt like I let them down. Then again, I did the best I could."
And if you didn't know the Latin root, Merriam-Webster Online says it's solus for alone and means, "a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing." The finals air on the Game Show Network on Sunday, April 15, 8 PM. Perfect for when you're doing your taxes at the last minute.
Photo of Robert Marsland and his vocabulary trophy by AP/Dima Gavrysh