Dictionary and Thesaurus Alternatives
As any writer will tell you, it’s not what you say but how you say it. Dictionaries and Thesauruses (Thesauri?) can be a writer’s best friend. There to offer you help when you need them, but also sometimes a pain in the you-know-what to deal with and sometimes their help is not so helpful after all.
Thanks to the interwebs, we now have some alternative “friends” that can help a writer out when they’re in a crunch.
Below are three examples that could quickly take the place of your old best friends. (It’s okay, they were never really there for you anyway…)
Visual Thesaurus is the perfect tool for those moments when the right word is on the tip of your tongue. When you search for a word in the Visual Thesaurus, you’ll get a display of related words that are mapped by meaning. Sometimes a synonym just won’t cut it—click through the Visual Thesaurus until you land on the perfect word.
George Orwell said “Never use a long word where a short one will do,” and it’s great advice for web writers. If you have a word in mind but you’re looking for a shorter one to replace it, plug it into Thsrs and see what you get. It’s a helpful copywriting trick, and it comes in handy for tweets that are just a little longer than 140 characters.
When you just know there’s a word for what you’re trying to say, but the best you can do is describe it, the reverse dictionary will give you a list of words and phrases related to your description. For example, search “a person who studies butterflies,” and the first word on your list will be lepidopterist, an entomologist who specializes in the collection and study of butterflies and moths (but you already knew that).