"OK," said Alex Iyer, speller 259, upon hearing his word - salicylism.
It's a toxic condition produced by the excessive intake of salicylic acid and marked by ringing in the ears, nausea and vomiting.
"Oooh!" he said when he got it right, putting his hand to his face and collapsing a little bit into himself.
The roots he'd asked about weren't showing, but Alex - a Texas eighth grader who tied for 22nd place last year - figured it out.