Thesaurus or Dictionary ?

ThesaurusPhil: Part of the subscription deal for Writers-forum magazine was that they would throw in a free Websters compact dictionary or thesaurus. All I had to do was decide which one I wanted. That and remind the guy who took my order on the ‘phone that he was supposed to ask but we’ll put it down to him having a bad day.

Do I need either ? Probably not. But if a freebie is offered, I’m going to take it. The sound of relatives spinning in their graves if I didn’t would keep me awake. Serves us right for burying them under the floorboards instead of a proper graveyard…

Dictionaries seem pretty useless in the age of the spellchecker. I know that we have to pay attention to its suggested versions of our mis-typed words but honestly, do you ever get a book out for this ? I know I don’t. Normally I know that a word is wrong (apart from it having a wiggly line underneath) but due to being a thicky I can’t tell how it should be spelt. Once I see the suggestions I reckon I can normally guess the right one. I have the same affliction with numbers – I can do maths (despite what my exam results suggested) but often use a calculator so I can see the numbers. If it gets them wrong though, I can usually spot it.

If I want to know what a word means, and if I do then I probably shouldn’t be using it in the text, then Mr Google is my friend. My typing is faster than my page flicking.

The same tool can help me with the tasks a thesaurus might perform. Type “cake synonym” into the search engine and I get results. Not, it has to be said, as prettily formatted, but the effect is the same.

In the end I went for the later. I only write on a computer and the spell checker tends to be built-in to the software but I aspire to work away from t’interweb occasionally so Google will be unavailable. I know there’ probably an App for this but I quite like the uncluttered layout of Websters thesaurus and was quickly able to look up my first word.


Synonym – Dictionary. Did I get 2 for the price of 1 ?


Filed under Phil, Writing

4 responses to “Thesaurus or Dictionary ?

  1. I disagree with that definition of a thesaurus. How about – a network of words that have a vague connection or helps you think outside the box.
    If it’s a depository, can I store several hundred copies of the Railway Modeler in it? (My wife would like the answer to this).

  2. Neil – If you buy a big enough book and hoolow out the inside, I guess you could stick your magazine collection inside. Not sure your wife would appreciate a book the size of a small car on the shelf though !

  3. Pingback: Tools of the Trade for Authors

  4. Pingback: Puntastic | nolanparker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.