The degree of difficulty in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee has increased dramatically in the past two decades. In earlier eras, the champion won on words such as luge, abalone, croissant and incisor. Challenging, but not ridiculous.

Arvind Mahankali of New York won this year's Bee, which began in 1925 for kids under 16.

Mahankali, 13, clinched the championship Thursday night in Washington by spelling knaidel.

Here's a look at the final words for other recent champions.

National Spelling Bee: Champs, Winning Words Slideshow


2013: Arvind Mahankali

Arvind Mahankali (New York Daily News)


2012: Snigdha Nandipati

Snigdha Nandipati (San Diego Union-Tribune)


2011: Sukanya Roy

Sukanya Roy (Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)


2010: Anamika Veeramani

Anamika Veeramani (The Plain Dealer of Cleveland)


2009: Kavya Shivashankar

Kavya Shivashankar (Olathe News of Kansas)


2008: Sameer Mishra

Sameer Mishra (Journal and Courier of Lafayette, Indiana)


2007: Evan M. O'Dorney

Evan M. O'Dorney (Contra Costa Times)


2006: Kerry Close

Kerry Close (Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune)


2005: Anurag Kashyap

San Diego Union-Tribune

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Highlights of Mahankali's prize package are $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 savings bond and reference materials valued at $2,000.

Runner-up Pranav Sivakumar stumbled on the cyanophycean. That meant Mahankali had to spell two words correctly to win. He handled tokonoma and then knaidel.

Related Story: Toughest Names In Sports To Spell