The Oldest Word in the English Language . . . or Maybe the First?

The Oldest Word . . .
in the English Language . . .
. . . or Maybe the First?

What is, or perhaps might be, the oldest word in the English language? Could it be the FIRST word too?

Well, according to a 2009 study, the oldest words are, according to “Today I Discovered The Oldest Words In The English Language“:

According to a 2009 study by researchers at Reading University, the oldest words in the English language include “I“, “we“, “who“, “two” and “three“, all of which date back tens of thousands of years. The discovery was made by tracking the divergence of ancestral words into different languages (including English) with an IBM supercomputer.

And that makes SO much sense! Self awareness, consciousness, self-identity and the famous phrase from RenĂ© Descartes, “Cogito, ergo sum” or as we know it better,I think, therefore I am. And how wonderfully ironic that an IBM supercomputer was used too!

And numbers too! I previously posted about “The Original and Universal Language of Math” so that ties in quite well too!

And from another favourite website, – The Oldest Words In The English Language, comes their roster of oldest words and it appeals to the poet in all of us!

In an unrelated study, the linguistic boffins at revealed the oldest words in their online dictionary, although these only go back to 900AD or so. They include “love“, “black” (which predates “white” by a significant margin), “mother“, “give“, “man/woman“, “fire“, “hand“, “hear“, “pull“, “spit” and “worm“. Interestingly, “old” itself is one of the oldest words in the English language. As explains:

Other authorities post similar results and go one step further, “Scientists discover oldest words in the English language and predict which ones are likely to disappear in the future” by predicting which words will become obsolete!

Babbel is another great resource for language and word information, and they list their ‘Oldest Words in The English Language‘ as well. All very similar and all fascinating in their reasons.

And what happens AFTER the first word is used? LANGUAGES! A future post will discuss the ‘Oldest Languages in the World‘!

So, just think about it … every time you say a sentence such as, “I am going on a coffee break!”, “We should order pizza tonight!”, “Who wants to go to Tofino for two or three nights?” . . .  you are using the oldest words in the English language! Even the pizza … check my list below for The First Ever Pizza Delivery! 

Words come and words go. There was even a 40 New Words That Were Added to the Dictionary in 2019. And that too will be a future OAC Bog Blog topic – how do new words come into existence?

And of course, a bit of frivolity here, with some other dubious and historical ‘Firsts’ or ‘Oldest’ using words, of course!

  1. The First Ever Morse Code Sent
  2. The First Speech Transmitted by Telephone
  3. The First Message on ‘The Internet’
  4. The First Text Message Ever Sent Was 25 Years Ago
  5. The Oldest Known Riddle
  6. The World’s Oldest Joke (1900 BC)
  7. 14 Old-Fashioned Words for Writers
  8. The First Ever …. Pizza Delivery! (especially nowadays!)

As long as there are words out there, there will be interesting topics! 

ENJOY!                TTFN!



What are the Oldest Words
in the World?

What’s the Earliest
English Word?

The World’s Oldest
English Dictionary

15,000 Year Old Words 
We Still Use

‘May I say how delightful it is to hear he use of the word ‘Egad’.’