Study: Billie Eilish, Thom Yorke, Bjork, Patti Smith among music artists with the biggest vocabularies

Kelia Anne MacCluskey

Billie Eilish may have become famous by singing “duh,” but when it comes to her song lyrics overall, her use of language trumps many artists two and three times her age, a new study finds.

Word.Tips, which conducted the study, Eilish is the modern pop star with the biggest vocabulary, based on the number of unique words she uses in her songs per thousand: 169.   The only musicians who have a wider vocabulary were late Doors frontman Jim Morrison, with 177; Bjork, with 197; legendary singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, with 199; and the number-one wordsmith of all: punk godmother Patti Smith, with 217.

Artists whose vocabularies are in the same territory as Eilish include Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke, with 151; Lizzo, with 153; Harry Styles, with 159; and the late Johnny Cash, with 158.

Here’s how a few other artists compare:

Lorde: 149
Kurt Cobain: 141
Iggy Pop: 142
David Bowie: 130
Axl Rose: 124
Lana Del Rey: 100
Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds: 89
Paul McCartney: 83

For an explanation of the methodology used in the study, visit Word.Tips, which has broken down the data in a number of different ways.

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