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How many words are in the Italian language?

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Nearly a million


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Nonsense. No language contains "nearly a million" words.



That said, it's a difficult question to answer for any language. There are almost 140,000 words in the Zanichelli dictionary; the DeMauro, one of the most complete dictionaries available, lists 250,000. There are, however, dozens of dialects spoken in Italy. If we want to count all of those separate languages under the heading of "Italian" (which would be like saying that English includes French and Turkish), then the number becomes quite large. Very few Italians, however, speak more than one dialect and an increasing number speaks no dialect at all (i.e., they speak only Italian).



No dictionary, meanwhile, can contain the entirety of a language from its inception to the present. The Oxford English Dictionary, which does its best to come close to that standard, lists about 1.5 million entries, but a huge number of the words are obsolete. I know of no similar historical dictionary in Italian.
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