The centenary of the Russian Revolution has opened in an appropriately explosive fashion, with Donald Trump’s first raft of vile executive orders provoking international protest on a gargantuan scale. It is fair to say that tensions are high, and widespread anger is the order of the day.

There are at least a quarter of a million words in the English language – although some estimates suggest a far higher number – perhaps a million or more (according to the Global Language Monitor, January 2014 and the more recent Google/Harvard Study). Whatever the true figure might be, it is clear that English has more words than any other European language. This is the result of its peculiar historical evolution.

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