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Helping someone with a book title.
The best words (like Distilled) are ones he has found people don't know.

It occurred to me there might be some sort of resource for that: plug in a word and it would tell you how commonly known it is

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    I would have thought everyone would be familiar with distilled. // A really simple way to check common usage is to google your target word along with one or two other words that would be likely to come up in a sentence with your target word. If most of the hits are technical articles, then you know it's too esoteric. – aparente001 Sep 22 at 2:56
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As a first approximation, you can try looking up word frequency lists online. If you want more curated results, try https://www.english-corpora.org/coca/, where you can query one word followed by the other, and see how many results those searches bring up. This service is limited in the number of searches you can make (maybe 20 per day or month) unless you make a (free) account.

You could also try https://books.google.com/ngrams (choose American English as your corpus and don't go beyond the default year range), where you can separate two or more words by commas in a single query. You can make as many queries as you'd like here.

  • You might want to add that some online dictionaries provide frequency hints. The OED (free through most British and American public libraries) gives a rough relative frequency category (7 groups most to least frequent). – Mitch Oct 7 at 13:50

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