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I was trying to determine about how many words there are in English, with four letters. (Ideally, excluding "s" plural, so cats and dogs would not be included.)

Does anyone have any concrete information on this such as an academic paper or perhaps some info from a dictionary or other reference I am unaware of?

(My investigation produced a number - I won't state it - which seemed wrong.)

Many fascinating related questions have come to mind: for example, "What's the most popular length of word in English?" (You'd think we'd all intuitively know this as native speakers; I don't.)

  • 44,324, if you exclude the plurals. – Ricky Nov 25 '15 at 2:30
  • Hey RIck! that seems almost unbelievably high, what dictionary are you using? Ps I meant "four" not "up to four" .. could be you were thinking 1,2,3,4 ? – Fattie Nov 25 '15 at 2:31
  • Uh ... [tentatively] 12,916? ... – Ricky Nov 25 '15 at 2:41
  • The official Scrabble word list has around 4000. But I can't separate out the plurals (on the other hand, the Scrabble word list has only around 1000 three-letter words, so most of them aren't plurals). – Peter Shor Nov 25 '15 at 3:01
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    The upper bound, just based on spelling, is 26*26*26*26 = 456,976. But of course that doesn't take into account the fact that most words must contain at least one vowel. – Hot Licks Nov 25 '15 at 4:50

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