Roget’s International Thesaurus
Edited by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D.
Something essential was missing from my life for years but I wasn’t sure exactly what. It was only after I’d written a novel that I realized what that was.
A good thesaurus.
I wish I’d discovered Roget’s International Thesaurus much earlier because looking up synonyms on the internet is okay now and again but it’s far from an ideal method.
When I mentioned this to my sister Marjaana during a zoom call, she didn’t hesitate for even a second. Buy Roget’s. The Seventh Edition. And, yes ma’am, I did, because she’s a copyeditor and knows what she’s talking about when it comes to these things.
Turned out to be one of the best buys I have ever made.
I can literally get lost in Roget’s Thesaurus. I look up one thing and it leads to another and I can pore through the pages for ages. When I first leafed through it, I had an inkling of how Gollum must’ve felt when he found the ring.
No matter what kind of inkslinging you do (and everybody writes, pens, or scribbles something), this is a valuable resource. It’s not only helpful, practical, and applicable, but also functional and reusable. Anything but dry, dusty, barren, or banal, and sometimes the words you find will even make you giggle, chuckle, chortle, cackle, and crow.
Use it to pepper, stud, or sprinkle your text with color. Maybe cranberry, ginger, cinder, cerise, amethyst, or mulberry? And what on earth is Paris green?*
I love the way it’s organized into categories of general ideas. These include The body and the senses, Feelings, Natural Phenomena, Behavior and the Will, Sports, The Mind and Ideas, and many more. There are lists of cheeses, colors, boxing punches, manias, and spacecraft, artificial satellites & space probes. There’s even a list of acceptable two letter Scrabble words.
Thesaurus apparently means “treasury” or “storehouse” and Roget’s truly is that.
1282 pages that will make you feel loaded, prosperous, and filthy rich, pockets lined
with a wealth of words and phrases. You can roll and wallow in synonyms, antonyms, and archaisms and express yourself with terms that are polished, refined, and elegant, or raw and coarse and
crude, according to your mood.
And don’t be surprised if you find yourself clutching it and murmuring something that sounds vaguely like “my precious” while stroking the cover. I’m sure that’s nothing to be worried about.
*Turns out that Paris Green was an emerald-green powder that was used not only as a pigment but also to kill off insects and rodents because it was highly toxic. Also “involved in poisoning accidents,” according to Wikipedia.