There is a really nice website called WordCount. It is "an interactive presentation of the 86,800 most frequently used English words." Unsurprisingly, the top spot is taken up by "the," followed by "of," "and," "to," and "a."

One might think this is not very interesting but take a look at the bottom five words in this long list: "tangency," "carniola," "workless," "recrossed," and the last one is "conquistador."

It gets even better if you start searching for your own favorite words. I tried some of the ones I listed in the sidebar to your right and quite a few are not even in the database, e.g. phosphene(s), excogitate, ransack, theretofore, extemporaneous(ly), or anesthesiologist. But the fact that words for whose survival I fight—"methinks," "quoth," or "thrice"—are in this list makes me happy.

Let’s make a sort of game out of this. Who can write a short text, be it a poem or one-sentence story, with the first ten and the last ten words from WordCount? Each word can be used more than once but should be used at least once, as well:

the of and to a in that it is was savills homemakers golgotha lauro multilingualism tangency carniola workless recrossed conquistador

Somebody should come up with something. There are nouns, prepostitions, adjectives, pronouns, articles, and verbs; nothing else needed.

WordCount also made up their own game which is called Conspiracy. Apparently, there are sequences of words that could be of value to conspiracy theorists, e.g. ranks 4304-4307: microsoft aquire salary tremendous. Have a look at the complete Conspiracy list.


Daily Cartoon (January 8)


One thought on “Frequency

  1. I looked up “shield” and got the sequence “documentation shield auditors,” which sounds like people working to break through the wall of secrecy that the Bush administration likes to build around everything it does.

    And “andrew” leads to “funny andrew request.” No comment!

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