Snigdha Nandipati, who placed 27th in last year's bee, said she had seen the word before, CNN reported. For those who haven't, it is derived from the French and means a snare or ambush.
"This is a miracle," Snigdha told ESPN after her victory.
Stuti Mishra, 14, of Orlando, Fla., placed second, losing on "schwarmerei," an excessive enthusiasm. Arvind Mahankali, 12, from New York, was third, misspelling "schwannoma," a tumor of the sheath of a peripheral nerve.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is open to children who have not turned 15, completed the eighth grade or won in the past. Snigdha will be ineligible on all three counts next year.
This year's contest featured the youngest competitor ever, 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Va.
Snigdha's winnings include a trophy and a $30,000 prize from Scripps, a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phil Epsilon Educational Foundation and reference works from Merriam-Webster and the Encyclopedia Britannica along with a $2,500 savings bond from Merriam-Webster.
Her cheering section at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., included her parents and brother, and her grandparents, who traveled from India to watch her.