How Many Words are there in the English Language?

The English Language is one of the most popular languages throughout the centuries. It is the only Language used in almost every country. It has evolved a lot from the past, “I mean from the old English to modern English.” If you can go back to the time of William, then I don’t think you can understand what people use to talk about those days. That is how the English Language was so different at that time. 

how many words are there in the english language?

I am talking about the number of words in the English Language after the previous century decade. To be the instance, the number of words in the English language increased, and this is primarily due to:

  • People who are discovering new ideas, places, and some things and, therefore, the new words come out of the place.
  • The increased use of slang and Jargon these days.
  • The influence of other languages, including Latin English words.

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In this article, we will be checking how many words are actually there in the English Language.

The English Dictionary

Let’s find out the total number of words in the English Language. The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains 170000+ words in their current base, and on the other side Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, together with includes 470000 more entries to the English words. However, the number of words is not the same in both dictionaries and also not the words in the English Language.

Slang and Jargon

It is almost impossible to determine how many actual words exist in the English Language from any dictionary alone. First of all, It takes more time for publishers like Oxford University and Webster dictionary to include some more and new words to their list. Therefore, the words and phrases like Slang and Jargon have also existed in the English Language. For example, the common meaning of the word “Frenemy” would be the portmanteau of “friend” and “enemy.”

Jargon words are a bit complicated for normal people to understand. Different professions generally use it. It means if a doctor is writing something to his patient, then It should be in his Language, and the same is the case with every profession. Also, check what is the difference between British English and American English.

The Average person

I must mention this statement. The average vocabulary of any person is far less than from the total numbers of the word present in the English Language. It is because whenever you write an essay on google docs and the number of words you see, there is only a fraction, and It doesn’t give us a fair idea about the words present in the English Language.

But the question is? How many words does an average person know? Robert Charles Lee published an answer to this question on his quora profile. Let me mention that what exactly he mentioned.

He said, “The 3000 words are a particular essay that we use to write every day, but only the 1000 words are right that an average person uses.

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Other Languages

Let’s compare the English Language with other languages. We know that there are 100’s of languages used in the world, and from those, “English” is still one of the common Languages used everywhere. It originally shared much of its grammar with dutch and german languages. The English Language is from the “Indo-European family.” There are ten more languages which come under this particular family.

There are ten more languages, but let me compare it with the five main languages first. 

  • The Spanish Language has more than 100000 words in Diccionario de la Real Academia Española.
  • The German Language has more than 135000 words in the Der Duden dictionary.
  • There are more than 200000 words exist in the Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian.
  • The Italian Language has more than 270000 words in Grande dizionario Italiano dell’ uso.
  • The French Language has 135000 words in Le Grand Robert de la langue Française.

Just like It is hard to know about the actual words in the English Language, it is the same in the other five languages as well. Slang and Jargon have also existed in Spanish.


To be the instance, the number of words in the English Language is continuously changing every day. It is impossible to guess the total number of words present in the English Language to date. The average person only knows a little bit percentage of the total English words and which is near about 1.75% only.

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