But the 14-year-old Bountiful resident who attends the Challenger School in Salt Lake City beamed as she sauntered off stage to a hug from her mom. She'd never heard her ultimately eliminating word before and said she guessed, knowing it could go either way.
"I feel happy for how I did," she told The Salt Lake Tribune. "I feel really proud; some of those words were pretty ridiculous. Of course, I'm disappointed with missing a word. No one ever wants to miss a word. But I think I'll take away a lot from it."
Earlier Thursday, she flew through the words tossed her way.
Lebensraum? Easy. Sciomancy? Check. Epaxial? Schadenfreude? Temenous? Nailed 'em.
By Round 11, there were only five spellers left.
Kharkar, who had made a habit of high-fiving her competitors after each correct word she spelled, knew the roots of her fateful word. She repeated it three times.
Her mother, Pallavi Ranade-Kharkar, covered her mouth. Her dad, Sandeep, closed his eyes. Sister, Anoushka, glanced down.
After the bell, though, there were no tears.
The Utah speller aged out of returning to next year's contest had made words a part of her life since coming in third at a kindergarten spelling match. She told her mom she wasn't going to lose again.
"Obviously she was going for the top prize," Ranade-Kharkar said. "That didn't happen but I hope for her to have a big future."
Vismaya Kharkar had barely missed out on making the last round in 2012. This time, she was giddy and ready.
Faced with a word meaning a place devoid of souls, she told the host it was a noun.
"Yes," he replied.
"Is there anything else I haven't asked for yet?" she asked, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Sandeep Kharkar gave her a pep talk half-way through the show broadcast live on ESPN. When it was over New York's Arvind Mahankali won Vismaya was still smiling.
"I'm very tired right now," she said. "I'm very exhausted."
Kharkar's sponsor was The Valley Journals.
Two other Utahns competed in the national contest: Hannah Wentz Faulconer of Lindon and Jared Ward of Price. Both were eliminated from the bee Wednesday.