The Commonest Noun in English is "Time," According to Oxford Dictionaries

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the commonest noun in the English language is "time." The team made the English usage discovery after analysing billions of words in the Oxford English Corpus, which is at the heart of the world’s largest language research programme.

Oxford, United Kingdom, March 31, 2012 --( Oxford Dictionaries editors have found that "time" is the commonest noun in the English language, according to evidence from their English language database, the Oxford English Corpus. Runners up include "person" and "year," followed by "way" and "day." The majority of the top 25 nouns are from Old English, and of the remainder, most came into medieval English from Old French, and before that from Latin. While "time" is the commonest noun in English, the commonest word overall is the humble "the," which accounts for almost 100 million of all the words in the Oxford English Corpus. For more information, visit or call +44(0) 1865 556767.

“You may be surprised at the popularity of the word ‘time’ in the Oxford English Corpus,” said Head of Marketing Daniel Stewart, “but it’s important to remember that this word has many different definitions and also forms part of common phrases in English usage, such as ‘about time’ and ‘time after time’. If you search for the definition of ‘time’ on our free online English dictionary site, Oxford Dictionaries Online, you will see how just how many different senses are included in the dictionary entry.”

“The Oxford English Corpus is at the heart of dictionary-making at Oxford University Press,” said Head of Marketing Dan Stewart. “By analysing the corpus, we can find out how new words and senses are emerging in both written English and spoken English, as well as spotting other trends in English usage, spelling, and so on. We currently update our free online dictionary four times a year, with new words and senses, so it’s important that we keep track of how the English language is developing. We use the information we collect from the Oxford English Corpus to ensure that our online dictionary is always up to date, so whether you use our dictionary to check the spelling of a word, or to look up a word’s meaning, you can be confident that Oxford Dictionaries Online is up to date and accurate.”

About Oxford Dictionaries

Oxford Dictionaries is part of Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford. The Oxford Dictionaries website provides a free online dictionary of current English. This online dictionary features Oxford definitions of words, along with advice on correct grammar, British spelling and American spelling, and punctuation, plus guidelines to help people to improve their English usage.

As well as the online dictionary the free site offers word games including hangman, the Oxford Dictionaries Spelling Challenge, crosswords, and an FAQ section that answers questions like ‘How many words are there in the English Language?’and ‘Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?’ Subscribers to the professional Oxford Dictionaries Pro website gain access to additional English language resources for writers, including an Oxford thesaurus.

Contact details:

Daniel Stewart
Head of Marketing
Oxford Dictionaries
Oxford University Press
Great Clarendon Street
United Kingdom
+44(0) 1865 556767
Oxford Dictionaries
Daniel Stewart
01865 356767