Zipf's law

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Zipf's law

 (zĭpfs)
n.
A pattern of distribution in certain data sets, notably words in a linguistic corpus, by which the frequency of an item is inversely proportional to its ranking by frequency. In such a distribution, frequency declines sharply as rank number increases: a small number of items occur very frequently and a large number of items occur very rarely.

[After its formulator George Kingsley Zipf (1902-1950), American linguist.]