The Wordcount website, where “Elgin” was ranked as the 28,411th most-used word in British English, has a sister site called Querycount. This site also ranks the words, but instead of counting how many times they are used in the British National Corpus, Querycount monitors how the words are queried by the users of Wordcount itself.

From the website: “Each time someone searches a word on Wordcount, Querycount takes note. Every few hours, Querycount refreshes itself, rearranging its word rankings based on the number of times each word has been queried by Wordcount.” So, while Wordcount is an archive of English usage at one point late in the twentieth century, a static database, Querycount is a current picture, a dynamic, changing record of human curiosity about language.

Let’s try it out. Remember, “Elgin” ranked 28,411 in wordcount. In Querycount it comes in at 33,820, preceded by “plaice” and followed by “foiled.” A plaice is a large flatfish. “Frances” has moved up from its Wordcount spot at 9,860 to a Querycount position of 4,691. It’s preceded by “consumption” and followed by “irony.” Remember, these results are changing all the time as people query the Wordcount archive, so if you go to the website and try it yourself, don’t be surprised if you get different results. Now for this blog. “green,” previously 671 in Wordcount, is 204 now in Querycount. It’s now preceded by “please” and followed by “Jennifer.” “Comet” was 16,896 and jumps up to 6,911. It’s preceded by “fasten” and followed by “antichrist.”

The last word in Wordcount is “conquistador,” rank 86,800. In Querycount it is the 64th entry. A lot of people must be looking to see what the last word is. The second- to fifth-last words were “recrossed,” “workless,” “Carniola” and “tangency,” which now rank 3,791, 1,091, 4,832 and 3,111 respectively.

The last five words in the Querycount archive are, beginning at the end, “fart,” “crap,” “help,” “house” and “cool.” Naturally, if a word gets queried it is very likely to change its position, especially if it is near the end to begin with. For instance, querying “fart” moved it from last to 69th.

The original top ten words, such as “the” and “of,” etc, have largely been replaced by other words that people seem to find more interesting. With the exception of “the” and “a,” the top positions are held by much more colorful words, which won’t be quoted here.


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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2 Responses to Querycount

  1. emmylgant says:

    So what’s your last word on this?

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