Dev Shah, a 14-year-old from Florida, won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday. His winning word was Psammophile.
A psammophile is a plant or animal that prefers or thrives in sandy areas. With the win, Shah is set to make $50,000 in prize money.
“It’s surreal. My legs are still shaking,” Dev Shah said after receiving the trophy. Charlotte Walsh, also 14 years old, spelled “daviely,” an adverb of Scottish origin meaning listless, wrong.
Dev meanwhile beat 228 competitors from all over the US. He is an eighth grader from Largo. The 14-year-old had entered the competition in 2019 and 2021. He finished tied 51st and tied 76th respectively.
This year, he correctly spelled words like bathypitotmeter, schistorrhachis and rommack. He also answered a question, saying that a magician would be most likely to practice legerdemain. Charlotte correctly spelled the words: akuammine, sorge and collembolous on her way to the final.
Walsh, a student from Arlington, Virginia, gave Dev a congratulatory hug. Dev.
“They’ve all been in many online bees and many Scripps National Spelling Bees, and I felt like a spark and a camaraderie between all of us. I’m very grateful and I’m privileged that I could be in a spelling bee with them one final time,” Walsh said.
“It took me I would say at least four months to get back on track,” Shah said. “I just didn’t know if I wanted to keep continuing.”
Dev Shah’s father is a software engineer, who moved to the United States from India 29 years ago. He got his master’s degree in electrical engineering. He has also done an MBA from the University of Florida. Dev’s older brother, Neil, is a junior at Yale.