Words, words and more words. . .
Did you know that:
French has fewer than 100,000 words.
German has about 185,000 words.
Spanish has mor than 250,000 words.
Chinese has about 50,000 ideograms, ech glyph
             representing as many as eight words.

Nontechnical English has over (estimate) 997,752 words and counting*
The introduction to the Merriam-Webster's 3rd International claims about 450,000 words are listed in that dictionary. The introduction goes on to state, "the number of words available is always far in excess of and for a single volume dictionary many times the number that can possibly be included." Many times that 450,000 included words of course results in a number far in excess of 1,000,000.

24,000 differing words are to be found in the complete works of Shakespeare. He invented about 1,700 of them.
*Global Language Monitor as of August 20th, 2008

How many words are there in the English language?
No one really knows for sure.
The problem with trying to number the words in any language is that it's very hard to agree on the basics. For example, what is a word? If run is a verb, is the noun run another word? What about the inflected forms ran, runs, and running? What about words with run as a base, such as runner and runnable and runoff and runway? Are compounds, such as man-bites-dog, man-child, man-eater, manhandle, man-hour, man of God, man's man, and men in black, to be counted once or many times?

What is sure: In English we do have a lot of words to express ourselves.
Wordcount is a visualization of the way
we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.
In English:
"It's only words,
and words are all I have
To take your heart away"
In Spanish:
"Son sólo palabras, y palabras es todo lo que tengo
para robar tu corazón"
In French
"Ce ne sont que des mots, et je n'ai que les mots
Pour remporter ton coeur."
    - 'Bee Gees' from the Song 'Words'
Barry Gibb,
Maurice Ernest Gibb
& Robin Hugh Gibb
...for the enjoyment
and passion of words,
thoughts, visuals and disciplines.