Due to difficulties with the definition and method of counting the exact number of words in the Russian language remains open. This theme is constantly discussed, not only within academia, but also outside of it in the pages of mass periodicals, on television and in the Internet space. Calling the number of words in a particular language, traditionally refer to any sufficient authority dictionary. For the Russian language in this edition is "the Great academic dictionary of the Russian language".
New "the Great academic dictionary" has been published since 2004. At the moment, has already published 22 volumes of the 33 planned. The dictionary has a stated capacity of 150 thousand words, but it is expected that this number will be significantly exceeded. It should be noted that the contents of the new "the Great academic dictionary of the Russian language" will not be a full reflection of the quantitative structure of the lexical units of the Russian literary language of the early twenty-first century.
According to lexicographical tradition, only well-established education included in the academic dictionary. In addition, many compound words are not considered independent entries and therefore excluded from the total count of the number of lexical units. Don't go in there and separate sections of the dialects, and highly specialized professional words and specific scientific terms. Also remains uncommitted considerable part of slang and dialectal vocabulary.
Vladimir Ivanovich Dal in the mid-nineteenth created the "Explanatory dictionary of the living great Russian language", which consists of approximately 200 thousand dictionary entries. However, many of the words in this dictionary are the dialect and in the modern Russian language no longer used. In addition, Dal consciously tried to avoid inclusion in the lexical borrowings from other languages. For 160 years, the Russian language borrowed a great number of foreign words, whose presence in language cannot be ignored. For these reasons, the number of words presented in the "Explanatory dictionary of the living great Russian language" cannot be considered true for the modern Russian language.
"Russian spelling dictionary" under the editorship of V. V. Lopatin, and O. E. Ivanova is the largest spelling dictionary of the Russian language. It contains about 200 thousand lexical units. Some linguists believe that the Russian language contains 500 or even 600 thousand words.