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Test your vocabulary

September 5, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
How good is your vocabulary?

A site called claims to measure how many vocabulary words you know. The site is completely unscientific since it relies on the honesty of the test takers, who check the box for all the words they can define. If you lie and say you know the meaning of words like "legerdemain" and "uxoricide" and "williwaw" and "pule" you get a higher score.

If you're honest, you might get a fairly good picture of how your vocabulary stacks up against your fellow English speakers.

This website claims that it has had more than 200,000 participants so far. Most native speakers of English fall somewhere in the 20,000 to 35,000 word range. People who don't speak English as a first language have a score of 2,500 to 9,000 words.

When I took the test I fell somewhere in the upper range, with a vocabulary of 34,800 words. That may be a bit iffy, since there are some words that I am pretty sure I know the meaning of and can use in a sentence but wouldn't be able to give a word perfect dictionary definition for. I spent my early years with my nose buried in a book, which probably helps. The site is looking for more young people under 15 to take the test so it can compare different age levels.

It's an interesting site and might prompt you to head for a dictionary when you've taken the test.


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