Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A book of synonyms, often including related and contrasting words and antonyms.
  • n. A book of selected words or concepts, such as a specialized vocabulary of a particular field, as of medicine or music.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A publication, usually in the form of a book, that provides synonyms (and sometimes antonyms) for the words of a given language.
  • n. A dictionary or encyclopedia.
  • n. A hierarchy of subject headings—canonic titles of themes and topics, the titles serving as search keys.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A treasury or storehouse; hence, a repository, especially of knowledge; -- often applied to a comprehensive work, like a dictionary or cyclopedia.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A treasury; a store; especially, thesaurus verborum, or simply thesaurus, a treasury of words; a lexicon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a book containing a classified list of synonyms

Etymologies

Latin thēsaurus, treasury, from Greek thēsauros.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
16th century, from Latin thēsaurus, from Ancient Greek θησαυρός (thēsauros, "storehouse, treasure"); its current English usage/meaning was established soon after the publication of Peter Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases in 1852 (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • First there is a dig about people who write pretentiously: in blogworld, demonstrable ownership of a thesaurus is shorthand for 'good writing style'

    Bitchy Jones's Diary

  • A lot of people seem to think the ability to use a thesaurus is all it takes to be a good writer.

    Tragedy of the Commons

  • Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.

    Stephen King’s Greatest Lesson for Writers | Write to Done

  • From Stephen King: Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.

    Quote of the Day

  • Yes, but does Blethen know what a thesaurus is and how to use it?

    Sound Politics: In which I join the MSM

  • Great - somebody got a freakin thesaurus and a word of the day calendar for christmas.

    The Confusion

  • The word thesaurus, as we are continually told in the prefaces to books dealing with synonyms, comes from the Greek word meaning ` treasury. '

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XI No 4

  • Dissatisfied with the stilted term thesaurus, he cast about for the mot juste and happily came up with promptory (derived from a Medieval Latin word meaning ` storehouse, repository ') as a better name for a book constructed for prompt reference and to prompt those who search for the right word.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol VIII No 3

  • Of course, if you are looking for synonyms then a thesaurus is a wonderful guide, the most famous being Roget’s Thesaurus.

    The right rites of writing « Write Anything

  • Caitlin ...... [keekee jo] says: not to cheating i mean to byron the "thesaurus" - a small dinosaur that often uses fluttery language to extracate itself from possibly harmful situations says: im trying to find a way to put this so if i dont get it right the first time i'll try again later

    question game gone awry

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Comments

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  • From the Greek word meaning "treasury".

    December 30, 2010

  • December 29, 2010

  • Rock and Roll, Thesaurusized.

    August 20, 2009

  • Nice sign bilby!!

    Synonyms of Thesaurus: glossary, language reference book, lexicon, onomasticon, reference book, sourcebook, storehouse of words, terminology, treasury of words, vocabulary, word list

    July 19, 2009

  • Welcome.

    July 19, 2009

  • thesaurus: A book, publication, volume, manuscript, opus in which one finds, seeks, searches, locates, traces, ferrets for a synonym, alternative, equivalent, similar, substitute word, lexeme, term.

    July 23, 2008

  • What's a synonym for "thesaurus"?

    May 7, 2008