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What Percentage of English Words are Derived from Latin?

About 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin. Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent. About 10 percent of the Latin vocabulary has found its way directly into English without an intermediary (usually French).

For a time the whole Latin lexicon became potentially English and many words were coined on the basis of Latin precedent. Words of Greek origin have generally entered English in one of three ways: 1) indirectly by way of Latin, 2) borrowed directly from Greek writers, or 3) especially in the case of scientific terms, formed in modern times by combining Greek elements in new ways. The direct influence of the classical languages began with the Renaissance and has continued ever since. Even today, Latin and Greek roots are the chief source for English words in science and technology.

1 Comment

  1. Kyawt Nandar Linn -  April 30, 2016 - 9:57 am

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