Here’s a little language quiz for you.
1) How many words do you think the English language has?
I lost count at 157, so fortunately I was able to put my Googling skills to the test and discovered the Oxford English Dictionary has full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words.
But if you add derivitive words and words that have multiple uses (like words that can be a noun and a verb), then they estimate English has at least a quarter of a million distinct words (find out more about how they counted).
2) How many of those words do we actually use?
Being from southern California, there are three words that form the bulk of my communication: awesome, cool, and brill.
According to my new absolute favoritest website EVER, (savethewords.org), we only use 7,000 words to communicate 90% of everything we write.
What tragedy! How boring! And repetitive!
Save the Words says:
Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English language.
Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.
Today, 90% of everything we write is communicated by only 7,000 words.
You can change all that. Help save the words!
So I’m helping spread the word. The word for today is pregnatress (n.): female power that generates or gives birth to something
I want to be the pregnatress of language, so I urge you to learn a new word today. Their website is chock-a-block with words – some gorgeous, some silky-smooth, and some so repugnant you’ll feel nauseous (mingent and gleimous, I’m looking at you).
Here are some I’ll be able to slip into my everyday speech:
crassulent – very fat, overweight, grossly obese
viliorate – to become less good; to deteriorate
boreism – behaviour of a boring person
snollygoster – shrewd, unprincipled person
lubency – willingness; pleasure
Go visit their site and then come back here to tell me your favorite new words.