Number of Klingon words

The rough number used in most media and conversations mentions about 3,000 words, some say 4,000 (1). The actual word count is about 2,850 but 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. 4,000 is a good approximation to use.

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
2017 qep'a' 24
2017 qepHom Saarbrücken
2018 Netflix Subtitles
2018 Others
2018 qep'a' 25
2018 The Little Prince
2018 qepHom Saarbrücken
2019 Miniatur Wunderland
2019 qep'a' 26
2019 qepHom Saarbrücken
- Summary:

Single word count

As Klingon is an agglutinative language using suffixes, words can be compound of multiple parts. This gives you the opportunity of creating lots of non-canon words, which are still correct and acceptable. The other way around, many canon definitions 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 77 transcribed words for Terran food (pItSa') and place names (i.e. mostly countries). If one claims those as not useful for speaking, it cuts down the number to about 1,800 "real" basic words. (This was a fact in 2015; The number of words has incresed a bit since then.)

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 (2), hence creating three similar entries. When counting all these entries, the number rises up to roughly 3,800 or even more. Personal, undefined additions based on usage, may increase this number.

The dictionary table of Hol 'ampaS has 3,783 entries. (3)

Number of words over time

Combining the numbers of the Pocket Dictionary (4) (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 : "Klingonisch für Einsteiger", 2017, Lieven L. Litaer, p. 8

2 : Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, p. 228

3 : Message on Facebook by Chris Lipscombe in the group Learn Klingon, published April 1st, 2019

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

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 20 Nov 2019, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 22 Jan 2016 by KlingonTeacher
History: r8 < r7 < r6 < r5 - View wiki text
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