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Zipf's law

(particular discrete probability distribution discovered in linguistics)

Zipf's law was formulated regarding word frequency in languages, stating that the frequencies of a language's most common words are proportioned 1 to 1/2 to 1/3 to 1/4 to 1/5 and so on. The notion was explored by linguist George Kinsley Zipf, and such a probability distribution is termed a Zipfian distribution. It has been shown to approximate the distributions of words in multiple languages and also other non-linguistic circumstances, and is a candidate in characterizing the statistics of many kinds of sample data under study. Sometimes the above idea is used with modifications, expanding the pattern of proportions by inserting an added or multiplied constant or a constant exponent. Also, analogous continuous probability distributions are a possibility.

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