We studied comprehension of emotion versus concrete/abstract words in Down syndrome (DS). Study 1 compared 26 participants with DS and 26 typically developing (TD) children matched on verbal ability. Results showed no difference between groups. Study 2 assessed whether chronological age (CA) and (non)verbal abilities predicted developmental trajectories of comprehension in 36 children with DS and 143 TD children. For the latter, these variables predicted comprehension of all three word types. For the former, receptive vocabulary predicted comprehension of all word types, but CA and nonverbal reasoning only predicted comprehension of concrete words. This suggests that people with DS have no specific emotional lexicon deficit. Supporting their general lexical development would help them access abstract and emotional meanings.

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