A fun Google Trends report went viral last week that revealed the top searched “how to spell” words in each state.

Now, most of us would admit that there are a few simple words that give us a trouble. (Confession: I got the red squiggly line when I wrote this headline. I always want to spell “embarrass” with one r.)  

For most people, this is not usually a cause of great embarrassment. We live in a world with spell checker, after all. This might make people worse spellers, but at least other people need not know this.  

Google, however, sees all. The entire state-by-state breakdown of their analysis can be found below, as are a few highlights. To add a fun wrinkle, I emboldened each word in this article that spell checker helped me spell correctly.


1. Connecticut, Illinois, California, Idaho: ‘DESERT’

I don’t want to sound hoity-toity. But really, desert? My hunch is that people in these states are struggling to distinguish the word for a yummy treat served after a meal (“dessert”) with a barren area of arid land (“desert”). But sorry, this was an easy one.

2. Hawaii & Massachusetts: ‘HAWAII’ & ‘MASSACHUSETTS’

Residents of these states apparently have great difficulty spelling the name of their own state. Ouch. To be fair, I’m less sympathetic to Hawaiians on this one, probably because I’ve been known to misspell Massachusetts absent spellchecker.

3. Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota: ‘Gray’

This word is even easier than desert. Of course, if you hail from Europe we’ll give you a pass on this one. Otherwise, you should know that “gray” has been the appropriate spelling in America for the last couple centuries or so.

4. Vermont: ‘POSSIBLE’

Shame on you, people of Vermont! At least desert and gray were words that had conceivable alternate variations. That’s not the case with the word possible. You are better than this. 

5. Florida: ‘TOMORROW’

Pretty much ditto to you, Floridians.   

6. Arizona: ‘DIARRHEA’

This is actually one of the more difficult words that appeared on the Google Trends analysis. The greater mystery here is why so many people in Arizona apparently are Googling about diarrhea. Something in the water, perhaps? (Editor’s note: I actually spelled this word correctly. But I spelled it wrong last week when someone asked me to spell it in reference to this Google Trends report.)

7. Texas: ‘NIECE’

Nevada: ‘COUSIN’

I’ll just say these are both easy words to spell. I’m not going anywhere else with this one.  


It’s the #spellingbee finals! These are the top “how to spell” searches for words by state, mapped #dataviz pic.twitter.com/rjXllJfOoE

— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) May 26, 2016