What Are The Oldest Words In English?

English borrows many words from the Romans and the ancient Greeks but these were only added to the English language in the middle ages. The oldest words are for the most basic ideas.


Surprising as it may seem, the vocabulary of the English language has been changing dramatically over the centuries.

The word ‘water’ for example is essentially the same as the ancient Hittite word ‘watar’ or ‘wadar’ and probably dates back to 4000 BCE. But researchers at the University of Reading compared words across all the basic families of human language and found that only one had a common root in all of them. That word was ‘thou’ which is the singular form of ‘you’.