Number of Klingon words

The rough number used in most media and conversations talks about 3,000 words. The actual word count is about 2,850. Of course this depends on what one would call a true "word". For instance, while there are three different english words for the verbs "take form", "create", and "creator", the Klingon counterparts chen, chenmoH, and chenmoHwI' are actually one word using multiple suffixes. On the other hand, there are some homonyms that have multiple meanings like jIH can be the pronoun "I (me)", it can be a verb "monitor" and the noun "viewing screen". Last but not least, there are about 87 suffixes and 25 prefixes that should also be counted.

So numbers about the real amount of Klingon vocabulary may differ.

Ways of counting

There are several ways of counting klingon vocabulary.

Canon entries

One way of counting, which is not so precise, is simply by counting each entry written in the canon sources. To do this simply count each single entry in the word lists of TKD and KGT, just from top to bottom.
Year Source Words
1985 The Klingon Dictionary
1985 TKD suffixes + prefixes
87 + 25
1992 Addendum of TKD
1997 KGT
2005 other sources like HolQeD
2006-2010 qepHom Saarbrücken
2011 paq'batlh
2011 Monopoly
2011 TalkNow
2011-2014 different sources
2014 qepHom Saarbrücken
2015 qep'a'
2015 qepHom Saarbrücken
2016 qep'a'
2016 qepHom Saarbrücken
- Summary:

Single word count

As klingon is an agglutinative language using suffixes, words can be compound of multiple parts. This give you the opprtunity of creating lots of non-canon words, which are still correct and acceptible. The other way around, many canon definitions do give us separate entries in a dictionary, although they do not contain any new words. For instance, when the verb ghoj learn is followed by the suffix -moH, the translation of ghojmoH is teach. The noun ghojmoHwI' is translated as teacher. There are many words that have multiple meanings, many can be both a verb and a noun, others just have two meanings depending on context.

When counting with this method, one gets a total of 90 Suffixes amd 1,960 basic Klingon word stems. These syllables include about 60 proper names (as wo'rIv and pIqarD), 25 planets, 40 fictive animal names (targh), roughly 100 Star Trek related vocabulary and 42 transcribed word for Terran food (pItSa') or things. If one claims those as not useful for speaking, it cuts down the number to about 1,700 "real" basic words.

Entries counting

Many people are keeping their own dictionaries, like the app boQwI', in which they add their own definitions, or extract definitions from what we are given in canon. For instance, tuq is defined as tribe, house, ancestral unit (1), hence creating three similar entries. When counting all these entries, the number rises up to roughly 3,700 or even more. Personal, undefined additions based on usage, may increase this number.

Number of words over time

Combining the numbers of the Pocket Dictionary (2) (which latest entry is from 2013) with the list on, the following result can be found for the years 1979 (ST1) to 2015:
anzahl woerter.png
Number of new words over time

See also


1 : Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, p. 228

2 : Pocket Dictionary database on, retrieved on 15th May 2016

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 20 May 2017, by MarcZankl    Created: 22 Jan 2016 by KlingonTeacher
History: r4 < r3 < r2 < r1 - View wiki text

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