“It feels really exciting”: Edith Fuller is Spelling Bee’s youngest-ever contestant

OXON HILL, Md. — Waiting on the stage with contestants twice her age, 6-year-old Edith Fuller is so small her feet don’t touch the ground. But wait until you see her foundation of knowledge — as seen in video from the National Spelling Bee, where they ask her to spell “nyctinasty.”

“Nyctinasty. Will you please give me the definition?” she asked.

“Nyctinasty is the movement of a flat plant part as the opening and closing of some flowers that is associated with daily changes of temperature or light intensity,” a Spelling Bee official said.

“Nyctinasty. Will you please give me the language of origin?” Fuller requsted.

“It’s made up of Greek elements that were probably first combined in German,” the official responded.

Then Fuller goes for the correct spelling.

“Nyctinasty. N-Y-C-T-I-N-A-S-T-Y, nyctinasty,” she said.

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Edith, who turned six last month, is the youngest person ever to qualify for the National Spelling Bee. 

Scripts Howard is calling her a “spellebrity”– and even arranged a press conference.

“It feels really exciting,” she said.

She was then asked if she hopes to comeback next year.

“I do if I don’t win this time,” she replied.

The oldest of four children from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Edith is homeschooled. Her parents Annie and Justin Fuller remember the exact moment they realized she had a gift.

“We were just having fun around the dinner table, just spelling words together, and we started out pretty simple and then somebody threw out ‘restaurant’ and she spelled it correctly,” Anne said.

They decided to sign her up for the spelling bee and helped her study in 20-minute increments.

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And at the regional championship, you won’t believe the meaning of her winning word.

“Jnana. Will you please give me the definition?” she asked.

“Knowledge,” an official said.

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Edith Fuller at her very own press conference.

CBS News

CBS News talked to Edith on Wednesday afternoon after her press conference.

“At first I think my favorite animal was cheetah, maybe it started with elephant,” she told us.

And for all the big words, Edith is still a little girl, as revealed the more she spoke with us.

“I might like to play hide and seek, or something like that,” she said.

“There’s some times to play and some times to not play,” Fuller said. “Maybe in the times to not play I can spell, and the times to play I can go and play hide and seek.”

And for Edith, sometimes there’s a way to do both.

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