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Posted in Writing tips

Use This Tool to Choose Words With Precision

In the February edition of Write Away!, I talked about how important it is to choose precisely the right word. Therefore, I am thrilled to report that I just found a FABULOUS online thesaurus.

Yes, it’s true, I’m a word geek. But I should be.

Words are my tools, and a good thesaurus is my toolbox. I don’t want a rusty old junk box that dribbles words like breadcrumbs, yet that’s what most thesauri are (yes, total word geek!).  A thesaurus with 150,000 synonyms, antonyms, idioms, and who knows what else, is a useless thesaurus.

The thesaurus that until today was my gold standard is Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Second Edition, In Dictionary Form, edited by The Princeton Language Institute, Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D., Head Lexicographer. It lists 500,000 synonyms for 20,000 words.

Today I was lazy. I knew Google would give me a suitable synonym for “jargon,” and it did, “standard.” But one of the results was on a site I hadn’t previously seen, PowerThesaurus.org. It claims 160,000 terms and 9 million thesaurus meanings.

“What is this site?” I asked myself. “Have I found nirvana?” I immediately queried my standard thesaurus test case, “walk.” Wow.

Why wow?

Screenshot of search results on PowerThesaurus.orgBecause as the screenshot shows, (click it to expand) PowerThesaurus.org lists 257 synonyms for “walk” and 9 antonyms. You can filter the list by the parts of speech and meanings shown tag-cloud style in the right hand column. There are 139 synonyms just for the verb form.

Roget’s lists 57. It only lists 129 synonyms in all. I know because I counted them.

Roget’s is only available in my office, or if I feel like schlepping it along when I go to a coffee shop.

PowerThesaurus.org is available everywhere and the words are all hyperlinked.

I’m so excited!!!!