The English Open Word List

The “English Open Word List” (EOWL) was developed by Ken Loge, but is almost entirely derived from the “UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary” (UKACD) Version 1.6, by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The original copyright document for the UKACD can be found here.

As a developer of word games or spelling checkers you may find few public domain word lists available that are well-maintained and thorough. The “UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary” is an excellent and comprehensive word list, but it isn’t particularly well-suited for certain Scrabble™ style computer word games. I created the EOWL for this purpose.

The EOWL currently contains about 128,985 words. To make EOWL more usable for computer word games all words longer than 10 letters were removed from the UKACD source list, and all proper nouns and words requiring diacritical symbols, hyphens, and apostrophes were removed. This makes it much like the standard ENABLE word list, but EOWL is somewhat smaller (by 44,000 words or so) since it contains no words longer than 10 characters. I separated the original single word list document into 26 individual files to make it easier to work with and added select words from the “Scrabble™ Players Dictionary, Third Edition™ 1995, ISBN 0-87779-220-8.”

The current distribution of words for each letter in EOWL is listed below.

A Words - 7,296 N Words - 2,522
B Words - 7,272 O Words - 3,681
C Words - 11,382 P Words - 10,278
D Words - 7,217 Q Words - 720
E Words - 5,151 R Words - 6,794
F Words - 5,389 S Words - 15,917
G Words - 4,747 T Words - 7,289
H Words - 4,500 U Words - 4,425
I Words - 3,685 V Words - 2,364
J Words - 1,287 W Words - 3,147
K Words - 1,577 X Words - 122
L Words - 4,126 Y Words - 608
M Words - 6,891 Z Words - 624
Total Words: 128,985

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN UKACD & EOWL:

UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary (UKACD):

  • Some entries are more than one word in length.
  • Some entries include words longer than 10 letters.
  • Diacritics from other languages are largely intact.
  • Proper nouns are included in the list.
  • Hyphenated word entries are included in the list.

English Open Word List (EOWL):

  • All multiple word entries have been removed.
  • All words are 10 letters or less in length.
  • All diacritic symbols have been removed.
  • All proper nouns have been removed.
  • All hyphenated word entries have been removed.

Note that all files in EOWL are encoded as Unicode (UTF-8), with Unix style line breaks.

Below, you will find the original licensing information for the “UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary.”

UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary Licensing Information:

Copyright © J Ross Beresford 1993-1999. All Rights Reserved. The following restriction is placed on the use of this publication: if the UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary is used in a software package or redistributed in any form, the copyright notice must be prominently displayed and the text of this document must be included verbatim.

There are no other restrictions: I would like to see the list distributed as widely as possible.

You may download the EOWL here.

Here's a simple anagram solver I wrote that uses the EOWL word list. You may download it from this page.