How many words do you know?

Here are some simple vocabulary tests that you can take to see how many words you know.

Look at the words in Table A below. How many words in the list do you know? Multiply your answer by 60 to work out the rough size of your vocabulary. For example, if you know all 100 words in Table A, then the size of your vocabulary is 6000 words. You don’t have to define each word exactly; a speaking acquaintance with the word is enough.

Table A

abate

affirm

ample

appall

balk

bask

benefaction

bolt

brig

browbeat

burnish

caprice

cherish

chock

clink

coincide

commune

composure

consign

contention

converge

cosmos

crevasse

crotch

cue

dale

dearth

denote

deter

diction

discrepancy

draper

engross

evasion

facsimile

feign

filter

foreland

forte

frail

gangway

glazier

gram

gravity

grope

gullet

horde

identical

inkling

inter

jubilant

latter

ligament

manifold

marrow

misprint

muff

mussel

nib

ode

onset

oversight

postpone

preamble

prejudice

preside

profess

protrude

radical

recommence

refuge

repress

revile

roan

saber

scathe

seminal

shallow

sheer

shorn

skeptic

smart

source

statuary

stream

stud

sublime

succumb

tale

tenuity

texture

tidal

tinct

topple

trawl

unassuming

undergrowth

unfurl

uppish

whisk

Try the same exercise with Table B. Multiply each word you know by 120. If you know all 100 words, your vocabulary is 12,000.

Table B

administrator

alloy

antipathy

aquiline

arraign

automaton

babble

bedlam

beeve

blowze

bounden

brandish

carnivorous

caw

cervine

clandestine

colter

congregate

covet

deign

dissonant

divulge

duress

ebon

egress

epicure

erysipelas

excommunicate

expatiate

extenuate

festoon

fizz

fluctuate

fulminate

gabble

goiter

hackney

handspike

hilarious

huckster

inadequate

inflate

invoke

kink

languid

leaven

leonine

liquidate

longevity

lucid

mace

moiety

monsoon

neb

ordain

pagan

parable

peal

perception

pictorial

pip

pliant

postern

primeval

quadrant

quartern

ramrod

rational

residual

retaliate

rife

roseate

rudiment

sanctum

saunter

scrunch

sever

siphon

slabber

slink

snigger

somnambulism

spawn

stamen

steppe

stipulate

sunder

swain

tabernacle

tolerable

transcend

trinal

turquoise

vellum

volatile

waft

wary

wilt

yew

zodiac

Repeat the exercise for Table C. Multiply each word by 250. If you know all the 100 rather uncommon words below, then your vocabulary is 25,000.

Table C

abstemious

ague

amain

anneal

assiduous

barouche

bibulous

bissextile

blear

bole

candid

catalepsy

chapfallen

ciliary

condone

cordate

craniology

curvilineal

declivity

derogate

direful

disparage

dory

drachma

dross

eloquence

emporium

farrier

folderol

frieze

genealogical

gibe

heptagon

hoiden

hydrology

imbroglio

imperturbable

incog

incursion

induct

insoluble

intestate

kail

labial

loam

malapropos

matrix

medallion

meniscus

metric

millennium

mote

nape

nomad

nostrum

obloquy

ostracize

palmiped

paroxysm

penance

permutation

pestiferous

phosphor

plantigrade

poise

polypus

portend

pugnacious

purge

quintessence

redundant

remuneration

replevin

sediment

septuple

sillabub

sodality

spicular

spittle

springe

staminody

storied

suppliant

swob

syncopation

temporal

tessellate

thill

torose

toxin

tret

trow

tyro

unmoor

valetudinarian

vertex

vortex

voracious

weazen

xiphoid

How does your vocabulary rate?

The above tests were designed by Dr Frank Horace Vizetelly in the 1920s and published in an article in the Popular Science magazine. According to the article, from a choice of around 1 million words in the English language, the average person uses only a few thousand words. Mechanics use around 5,000 words; artists use 5,000 words; “educated” people use from 8,000 to 10,000 words; and lawyers use 23,000 words. How do you rate?

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