by Steve Laube
After pulling down this book from my shelf twice this past week I realized there is no other reference book I use more frequently.
The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale.
I prefer it over Roget’s Thesaurus because it is laid out logically – in alphabetical order.
There are multiple occasions where I need an alternative word to the one I’m trying to use. So I look it up and there are dozens of synonyms listed for that word. And over one million of them in the whole book. (1,361 pages)
Hysteria. – 1. outburst, eruption, explosion, flare-up; fit, seizure, convulsion, spasm, paroxysm.
2. delirium, frenzy, madness, craze, furor, fury, Slang screaming-meemies.
Perfect for when a publisher moves the publication date of your book by three months and forgets to tell you. And you planned your entire travel and speaking schedule for Fall around the original release date. (This happened last week.)
Perfect for when the publisher sends you a horrible design for your book cover that has you erupting in an explosion of madness and screaming-meemies.
When brainstorming on new titles for a client’s book, out comes The Synonym Finder.
One suggestion, if you add this to your library? Buy the hardback. My copy has lasted over 20 years and should last another twenty barring some disaster.
What reference book do you use most frequently?
I love that book, too! My copy is practically falling apart, which means I guess I should have invested in the hardcover version.
My favorite is The Flip Dictionary. It goes a step further by giving you types after the main entry. For instance, after the listing for hysteria, they have hysterical and then hysterical outburst. After the word fear and its basic synonyms, you find “fear and apprehension”; “fear or concern”; “fear, paralyzing”; and it goes on for 10 more entries, plus it has a list of phobias, too.
I wore out a paperback version after abotu 7 years, so I bought the hardback version. It’s the most used book in my personal library.
Scoti Springfield Domeij
My tattered hardback thesaurus sits on a shelf. I use http://thesaurus.com/browse. I type into google the word I want to look up, for example: “define thesaurus” and up it pops. All it takes is a click here and there to find the best and most word. I also use it to check the definition to make sure I’m using the word correcprtly. If I’ve used the same word multiple times, I also use this online thesaurus to find other colorful words. infield
Scoti Springfield Domeij
OOPS! The screen froze while editing. Meant to say “All it takes is a click here and there to find the best word.”
Scoti Springfield Domeij
My most used references are blueletterbible.org and biblegateway.
Janet Ann Collins
I use the Synonym Finder, Young’s Analytical Concordance, and my old dictionary from college a lot. I prefer not to go to the internet when I’m working on a manuscript because I’m likely to get distracted.
I have been hearing a lot about the Synonym Finder. I think it’s time to check it out. Though my computer has a thesaurus, and I often go to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary online for thesaurus inspiration, I find them somewhat limiting.
Definitely going to be checking this out. Maybe I’ll ask for it as a birthday present. 🙂 Love this, Steve!
I think you officially just became my hero! I’ve been looking for something like this — the Thesaurus just wasn’t kicking it for me! Ordered. Waiting on Amazon to ship now 🙂
Gail Gaymer Martin
This book was one of the best finds I’ve found to aid my fiction writing. I want to avoid redundancy and to use the perfect word. I can always find what I want in Synonymn Finder. I love how the words are alphabetized. I own numerou other books — Flip Dictoinary for one — but nothing words as easy and thoroughly as Synonymn Finder
My thesaurus, even though Stephen King says a thesaurus is creepy. The King of Horror doesn’t understand. I’m not looking for a new word, I’m looking the for the word that I’ve know for 40 years, but suddenly can’t seem to find where I left it. I’ll have to check out the Synomymn Finder now.
Ron, you have described my thesaurus experience perfectly.:)
Exactly how I feel! Can tell you’re a writer, you sum it up perfectly 🙂
Screaming-meemies! I love it! I have this book sitting on my shelf and like to alternate between it and thesaurus.com. I use the internet when I’m too lazy to flip through The Synonym Finder, but the internet doesn’t have as wide a variety of words. Thanks for sharing!
I have two reference books out on my desk at all times: The Synonym Finder and Nave’s Topical Bible. I can’t imagine writing a Bible study without them.
Thanks for the tip on The Synonym Finder. Sold! As a freelance nonfiction writer, I’m continually upgrading my narratives. I often use The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Publisi, which lists body language expressions of emotions (e.g., to depict anger, have the character glare, cut people off, slam doors, jerk their head).
Just received a Barnes and Noble gift card in the mail today. I stopped here to thank you for the tip on the Synonym Finder. Now, on my way to buy it at Barnes and Noble. Cheers!
This is going back a ways, but I just bought this book. I sooo miss the old Roget’s Thesaurus which use to be in alphabetical order.