how many words are in the english language

How Many Words in the English Language?

July 8, 2020

The English language is quite fascinating. Did you know that the average person only uses around half of the tokens that they know and recognize in everyday communications? So how many tokens are there in a language? For translation to or from English, talk to a competent multilingual translator; many offer online service provision, too.

How Many Words are there in the English language?

Learning and translating English is no small feat; the Oxford Dictionary currently contains over 170,000 tokens currently used by English-speakers. This is in comparison to other languages, such as Spanish and French which each has around 100,000 tokens in their native tongue. It should be mentioned that Russian has over 200,000 tokens currently in their diction, while Italians use a total of around 270,000 tokens. Know, however, that most people use and recognize a mere fraction of the total tokens in their primary vernacular; so how many do most know, on average?

How Many Words in the Vocabulary Does the Average Person Know?

Most speakers regularly use an average of 20,000, though they may have a passive vocabulary of around twice that number. A passive vocabulary refers to tokens that they recognize and know, but that they don’t use in everyday conversation.

How Many Words in The English Language - How Many Words Does the Average Speaker Know

How Many Words Start With X?

There are a lot of tokens that are relatively rare that begin with the letter ‘x’ is one of these. In fact, there are not many that even contain the letter ‘x and many are names of people, places, and events. The Oxford Dictionary lists around 400 that begin with x, though online dictionaries only document around 120.

How Many Words in the English Language Contain Two Consecutive Letter U’s?

What about consecutive vowels? Are there any that contain two consecutive u’s? Yes, this is an odd and infrequently occurring vocabulary phenomena, but it does happen. In most cases, those with consecutive u’s have Latin roots. Among these with two consecutive u’s are:

  • Vacuum
  • Continuum
  • Residuum
  • Menstruum
  • Triduum
  • Duumvir
  • Muumuu

The word ‘muumuu’ is a distinct case as it actually comes from Hawaii and refers to a loose-fitting, traditional dress.

How Many Words in English End in Dous?

‘Wordies’ and ‘Scrabble’ players may also wonder this: are there any that end with ‘dous’? The next time a crossword puzzle has you stumped or you are trying to find that perfect word, consider one of only four words in common use that contain the suffix ‘dous’:

  • Tremendous
  • Horrendous
  • Stupendous
  • Hazardous

Any zoologists in the house? There is also the word apodous, which refers to wildlife that doesn’t have feet, in the traditional sense. You can now consider apodous to be part of your passive vocabulary!

How Many Words in The English Language - How Many Words In English Contain Two Consecutive (1)

How Many Words in the English Language Don’t Have an E?

When you consider the vernacular, what is the most popular letter? It seems that there are few tokens that don’t contain the letter ‘e’ but in actuality, there are 243,744 that do not contain the letter ‘e’. These range in length from two-to-45 letters. Wondering about that word without any e’s that is 45 letters long? The word is ‘Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg’ and it is a term used to describe the earliest discovered lakes in this country, often being translated to mean lake divided by islands by the Native Americans that first coined this term.

Another interesting fact is that e is the most common letter, and when it is missing from a word, name, or event, it impacts all of the other letters surrounding it. This is probably most prevalent and easy to explain with historical literature; have you seen the many ways that the letter ‘e’ appears in plays, sonnets, and other great works? It can be challenging to construct any literary piece without the invaluable letter ‘e’ and leaving it out greatly changes the message and meaning. It is that simple.

How Many Words Contain the Letter Z?

Another vocabulary puzzle that stumps many is when they need to come up with a word starting with- or even containing- the letter ‘z’. ‘Z’ is often underestimated and underutilized, but truth be told, there are actually around 32,913 words containing the letter ‘z’.

Language is as fascinating as it is complex. For over 20 years, clients and consumers have depended on Etcetera Language Group, Inc. for quality translation services to and from English- as well as over 60 other languages. For competitive rates and top-notch service, reach out to the industry experts at Etcetera Language Group, Inc. today.

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