Owen Picton

December 2022

The purpose for this web page is to suggest the idea that the shorter the number of letters there are in a word, the longer the word has been in use. I suggest that many one to four letter words may date back to the time when man was a caveman. The shorter the word, the greater the odds that the word is older. There are different time frames each extending further back such as the bronze age, the Indo-European age, start of the farming age, the hunter gather age, caveman age and finally the Neanderthal age. A one or two letter words may date back to some of our ancestors such as tracing to the Neanderthals. The idea being that the more letters a word has, the shorter the time that the word has been in use. The shorter the word, the more common the word, the more likely the words appear to be words that one would expect to be longer in use. Examples of such words I came up with in a day as follows:

One Letter Words

About 2 words out of an unknown number

a, I

Two Letter Words

About 19 words out of an unknown number

an, as, at, be, do, go, in, is, me, my, no, of, on, or, ox, so, to, up, us,

Three Letter Words

I have listed about 250 words that are three letter words. There are more. What percentage of these words are caveman words? By looking at the words, I would guess about a fourth to a third are caveman words.

add, age, ago, aid, all, and, Ann, ant, any, ape, are, arm, ash, ask, ate, axe, bad, bag, ban, bar, bat, bay, bed, bee, beg, bet, bid, big, bin, Bob, bow, box, boy, bug, bum, bus, but, can, cap, cat, cay, cop, cow, cry, cup, cut, dad, dam, Dan, day, did, die, dip, dog, dot, dry, due, ear, eat, elf, elk, elm, end, eye, fan, far, fat, fay, fee, few, fig, fin, fit, fix, fly, for, foe, fox, fry, fun, gab, gas, gay, gee, get, gin, git, God, gum, gun, gut, had, ham, has, hat, hay, haw, hem, hen, hex, hid, him, hip, his, hit, hog, hop, hot, how, hum, hut, ice, ill, inn, Jan, jet, Jim, job, key, lag, lap, lay, leg, let, lip, lit, log, lot, low, man, map, max, may, mob, mom, mow, nab, nag. nap, nay, net, new, not, now, nut, oak, odd, off, oil, old, one, ore, our, out, pad, Pam, pan, pat, paw, pay, peg, pen, pet, pig, pin, pop, pot, pox, put, rag, ram, ran, rap, rat, raw, ray, red, rob, rod, rot, row, rub, rug, rum, run, rut, sag, Sam, sap, sat, saw, sax, say, sea, see, set, sew, sex, sin, sit, six, sky, soc, son, sow, sum, sun, tag, tam, tan, tap, tar, tax, tea, ten, the, tie, Tim, tin, tip, toe, too, Tom, ton, top, tow, tug, two, use, wag, war, was, wax, way, web, wet, why, won, yaw, yay, yes, yet, you, zip,

Three letter words selected from above list that I feel may be more common and likely be older words. These words may have derived from an older version of the words. They are listed below. What other criteria should one use to make the selection better? Should they be common names of things (example dog, cat, numbers and certain objects) and action words? How many of these three letter words are found in other languages (If so, does that give a clue of how old the words are)? There are many body parts, living things and objects. Below is my selection.

ape, arm, ash, ate, axe, bag, bat, bed, bee, bow, box, boy, bug, cap, cat, cow, dad, dam, day, die, dip, dog, ear, elk, elm, eye, fan, fat, fig, fox, fun, God, gut, ham, has, hat, hay, hen, hip, hog, hot, hut, ice, leg, lip, log, man, mom, nut, oak, old, ore, peg, pen, pig, rag, ram, rat, saw, sea, sin, sit, sky, son, sun, tea, tin, toe, tug, wet,

Four Letter Words

About 270 words out of an unknown number, only a smaller fraction of these words are caveman words.

Lord, life, live, like, good, nice, love, hate, sole, mine, self, dead, tomb, rule, kill, male, wife, baby, girl, body, home, cave, fire, wind, heat, land, lake, each, zero, four, five, fish, nine, east, west, coat, belt, rope, shoe, boot, food, dish, bowl, bone, meat, pork, deer, goat, mule, lamb, bird, wing, fish, pike, clam, worm, frog, mole, milk, seed, beer, corn, flax, reed, spit, tree, palm, bark, root, leaf, wood, sage, iron, rock, sand, clay, soil, dirt, melt, snow, rain, well, cold, dark, blue, moon, star, mile, road, turn, tour, mine, wild, talk, said, team, trip, trap, wrap, warp, tank, shot, hole, tool, take, rule, lead, hurt, pain, give, cart, sank, side, form, chop, book, knot, draw, mark, spot, stop, sing, clap, play, call, talk, yell, chew, sold, sort, tall, look, time, hour, year, date, skin, hair, neck, face, hand, nail, back, foot, nose, head, hear, tear, fork, soak, sink, lock, slug, rope, tail, hoof, flee, walk, path, lane, race, soft, hard, easy, wear, knit, team, flow, move, town, city, path, wall, rose, lime, soap, case, word, note, fast, slow, fund, wild, wish, wave, view, drag, pull, work, loan, bill, from, come, deep, drug, dope, dumb, trim, mill, coin, dime, land, hill, high, long, down, boat, sail, ship, shop, show, vote, firm, base, sold, cost, line, part, such, this, that, than, read, page, list, book, data, noun, verb, tone, cord, name, idea, fact, tale, idol, pray, fear, same, able, mean, real, with, want, when, what, will, camp, army, find, fine, fail, into, very, here, also, upon, know, seem, some, only, more, most, much, have, less, many, both, help, rich,

How do the four different levels of words differ and how are they similar?

About 406 total words out of an unknown number

The one and two letter words to me are more relationship and not referring to objects. The three letter words start to refer to objects. The four letter words are referring more to objects. A five letter word list would have been a lot larger, much more difficult and I do not think they would have been as old a word list. Tthe Indo-European age would not go as far back and have five or more letter words such as horse, wagon and wheel. To me each smaller level refers further back in time and more caveman words like. There words evolved over time. One caveman word list on the internet lists not, what, hear, man, flow, ash, worm, mom. Another internet list has not, what, hear, man, flow, ash, worm, mom, give, fire, old, pull, no, spit, in, this, to ,me, that, off, the, and.

Owen Picton

451 16th Street, #116

Blair, Nebraska 68008


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Last Modified March 2022

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