What does vocabulary mean?

Definitions for vocabulary
voʊˈkæb yəˌlɛr ivo·cab·u·lary

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word vocabulary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. vocabulary(noun)

    a listing of the words used in some enterprise

  2. vocabulary, lexicon, mental lexicon(noun)

    a language user's knowledge of words

  3. vocabulary(noun)

    the system of techniques or symbols serving as a means of expression (as in arts or crafts)

    "he introduced a wide vocabulary of techniques"


  1. vocabulary(Noun)

    A usually alphabetized and explained collection of words e.g. of a particular field, or prepared for a specific purpose, often for learning.

  2. vocabulary(Noun)

    The collection of words a person knows and uses.

    My Russian vocabulary is very limited.

  3. vocabulary(Noun)

    The stock of words used in a particular field.

    The vocabulary of social sciences is often incomprehensible to ordinary people.

  4. vocabulary(Noun)

    The words of a language collectively.

    The vocabulary of any language is influenced by contacts with other cultures.

  5. vocabulary(Noun)

    A range of artistic or stylistic forms or techniques

  6. Origin: vocabularium, vocabularius: vocabulaire. See vocable.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Vocabulary(noun)

    a list or collection of words arranged in alphabetical order and explained; a dictionary or lexicon, either of a whole language, a single work or author, a branch of science, or the like; a word-book

  2. Vocabulary(noun)

    a sum or stock of words employed

  3. Origin: [LL. vocabularium, vocabularius: cf. F. vocabulaire. See Vocable.]


  1. Vocabulary

    A person's vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge. Acquiring an extensive vocabulary is one of the largest challenges in learning a second language.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Vocabulary

    The sum or the stock of words used by a language, a group, or an individual. (From Webster, 3d ed)

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. vocabulary

    The system of naval signals based on Sir Home Popham's improvements.

Suggested Resources

  1. vocabulary

    How Many Words Does an Average Person Know?

    According to thelinguist.com, a research done on vocabulary size and auditory syllable recognition among children in pre-school aged 2-5 years using “the visual world paradigm with semantic and phonological competitors to study lexical processing efficiency”, children aged 1 year had a vocabulary of 50 word, those aged 3 years had 1,000-word vocabulary and the children aged 5 years had a vocabulary of 10,000 words. Another research done by UPI.com showed that an average person knows approximately 42,000 words. The average rate of speech of a native speaker is approximate of 45 syllables per second, which even applies to kids since adults and children have similar lexical processing. Vocabulary is categorized in two:

    Active vocabulary is made up of terms already in use and understood by an individual in speech and writing. These are used on a regular basis and are fundamental to a person's address. A person can use them with no noticeable effort. The active vocabulary words in an adult is estimated as 20,000 words.

    Passive vocabulary refers to terms that learners understand but are not able to use. They are words stored in the verbal memory and are partially understood, but not well enough for active use. Passive vocabulary is usually more than the active one and is estimated to be 40,000 words for an adult.

    It is proven that the first 25 words are used in 33% of everyday writing, first 100 words in 50% of adult and student writing and the first 1,000 words in 89% of daily writing and speaking. There are different types of vocabulary to each kind serving a different purpose. We have listening, speaking, reading and writing dictionaries. The English have a large vocabulary to an estimate between 450,000 and 750,000 words. The expansion of the English language has been from contact with other languages like Spanish, French, Latin, Greek to name but a few.

    A person develops the language by learning new terms. In the early days, the English language was not as advanced as it is now which made linguists like Shakespeare lords of vocabulary. He had an active vocabulary of 25,000 words and 35,000 passive words. Compared to today, he is the vocabulary guru of all time. The question in your mind is “Who can write essay for me?” There are people today who can write good, and this requires a high knowledge of English. They offer services from an experienced view. Improving your language comprehension is a way of sharpening your spoken and written vocabulary. This achievable through various measures like making familiarizing yourself with certified dictionary apps contain dictionary word of the day, random words and meanings to the same. If you come across a passive word or an alien word, make use of the dictionary and look it up to understand its meaning and application. This way you enrich your appellation reach.

    There are several ways to perfect your language: 

    1. Use new words in speech 
    Using new words adds to your stock of wording. Construct new sentences in a statement using these words. Speaking is a way of making new terms basic to you. 

    2. List new words 
    Have a list to note down any terms you are not familiar with. Look for their meaning and learn how to use them in sentences and important speech and writing. It’s proven that a person is more confident to use words they are familiar with the meaning than those they are don’t. 

    3. Play word games 
    Games like Scramble and Vocabador offer great ways to learn new words. Games make learning fun, and at the same time give you the context of these new words. Having memory in reality to a term makes it much easier to recall. 

    4. Read a lot 
    Assort books and articles in newspapers and media prints that are in use of the language you intend to know. Let the books you read be from different authors to enable you to get a vast scope of words and their usage. Go online and read blogs. Try commenting on them as this will give you insight on what is written. 

    5. Write 
    It’s time to put what you learn in writing. Start with a free blog with websites like WordPress and Tumblr. What you write and who sees it is all up to you. You can write about fashion, pets, a hobby or any other topic you are interested in. As you write you will use terms that probably look for their meaning. Share your blog post with friends and expert speakers and ask them for feedback. It ensures you use terms in the correct context. 

    6. Read special vocabulary books 
    Reading, as stated earlier is an excellent way to learn new vocabulary. What you read makes a huge difference to how much you learn. Choose to read books that are a bit challenging, and you will learn more than reading at your level. Reading special vocabulary books that contain over 1,000 words and their definition is a great way to add your language know-how. 

    7. Learn with others 
    Learning is fun when you are a group. Find a group of friends who are interested in learning a language or a native speaker of the communication you wish to learn. Find websites that specialize in language teaching and join such. Join social media pages like Facebook and enroll in groups for native language speakers.

    For a conversation, a person needs between 3 and 5,000 words depending on how necessary the discussion is. To be fluent in speech you need about 10,000 plus words. Your passive vocabulary, however, has to be more than active to be able to comprehend a discussion easily. It's not about the number of words you know but their relevance of use. 

    Each day the English language continues to grow and so does our grasp on it. To be a good essay writer , you will need a lot more than basic knowledge of English. You need to familiarize yourself with phrases and synonyms to avoid word stuffing in your writing. A simple essay requires about 300 words. As a professional writer, you are supposed to write more than 300 words; 1,000 and above. The more you know good vocabulary words, the better your essay will be. Continued exercise and use promote both our passive and active vocabulary. Also make a habit of testing your skills occasionally by doing comprehension tests, filling crosswords and puzzles. If you can solve these, you can consider yourself to be close to being fluent in English. 

    Good comprehension can be found in materials such as this article written by edusson.com writers.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'vocabulary' in Nouns Frequency: #2574

How to pronounce vocabulary?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say vocabulary in sign language?

  1. vocabulary


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of vocabulary in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of vocabulary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of vocabulary in a Sentence

  1. Stephen Colbert:

    We had no vocabulary for what you showed us.

  2. Amos Bronson Alcott:

    STAY is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary.

  3. Alexander Woo:

    The conceit of the show is using a genre vocabulary to tell a historical story.

  4. Jeff Hancock:

    Winning is not in his vocabulary. We put him in smaller races so that he could finish.

  5. Amanda Stansbury:

    If Vincent Janik have a bigger vocabulary Vincent Janik can communicate about more content.

Images & Illustrations of vocabulary

  1. vocabularyvocabularyvocabularyvocabularyvocabulary

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for vocabulary

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for vocabulary »


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"vocabulary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 12 Dec. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/vocabulary>.

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