|With a Thesaurus, it's impossible to be out of words!|
First Question answered. I have 2, one of which is the first one I bought a few decades ago when I decided I wanted to write books. That one is The New Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form Edited by Norman Lewis.
The second one is Roget's International Thesaurus, Fourth Edition, Revised by Robert L. Chapman. The International Thesaurus has the tissue-paper thin pages similar to what one sees in the Bible.
Second Question answered. Thesaurus is a Greek word meaning storehouse. That's exactly what the books are—storehouses of words.
As authors—and as readers—we celebrate words and the storehouse in which many of them are kept with National Thesaurus Day. Why today? Because Peter Mark Roget who created the first thesaurus in 1852 was born on January 18, 1779.
How To Use a Thesaurus
The obvious way is to enrich one's writing by finding other words to use rather than repeating the same words constantly.
There are millions of words in the English language yet most people have a limited vocabulary. If you're writing papers in high school or college or trying to write a book, grow your vocabulary.
Mark Twain described the importance of choosing the correct word as: "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
Is the sky merely blue, or is it turquoise, sapphire, azure, cerulean, or another word you would find by paging through a thesaurus?
Paging through? Yes, you can find a thesaurus online, but a print book allows you to thumb through the pages, looking for the right word to describe something because words have 2 different kinds of meaning: the connotation and the denotation.
Connotation Vs. Denotation
The 2 meanings are connotation and denotation.
The connotation of a work refers to the array of positive and negative associations that most words carry with them.
The denotation of a word is the precise, literal definition of that word that you'd find in a dictionary.
The classic example of these two can be seen with the word home. The denotation says a home is a structure, but the connotation of home is a place of warmth, comfort, and affection—or it's a nation to which you pledge your loyalty.
Another plus of using a printed thesaurus is you can page through it at your leisure. Sit on the sofa with it and look at words while hubby watches a TV show. Enjoy the sunset on the patio with the book.
If you don't own a print copy of a thesaurus, get one today.
Amazon has many different ones, but I find Roget's International Thesaurus perfect for learning the connotation and denotation of words.
You can also check your local used books store. I'm sure you'll find plenty of them.
The power of words? I leave you with what Leo Rosten once said: "Words sing. They hurt. They sanctify. They were man's first immeasurable feat of magic."