The Amazing and Surprising English World of Words!

Many people believe the English language is A World of Words. How many words are there in the English language? No one really knows for sure! But, we may estimate that there are probably more than 600,000 words! It is a fact that English contains more words than any other language. Where did all these words come from? About 80% of all words in present-day English are borrowed from other languages. “Boulevard” and “garage“, for example, came from French while “violin” and “balcony” came from Italian. The word “bungalow” came from Hindi, “mattress” from Arabic, “canyon” and “mustang” from Spanish, “moccasin” and “skunk” from North American Indian languages, and “kayak” from Eskimo.

Many of these adopted words have fascinating stories to tell! A good example is the word “sabotage“. In the 1800s workers in factories were often forced to work very long hours. To get a rest, French workers would occasionally throw their “sabots“, or wooden shoes, into the machinery to stop the machines and production. The result was “sabotage” that meant “to intentionally destroy or damage something”.

You may learn more about how words came into English using a dictionary of word origins. Some words that you may find interesting to research are: “bonfire, curfew, volcano, panic, sandwich, and canary“.

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How many words are there in the English language?
A World of Words: “Prenez Garde !” or “Take Care!” in English.