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Beware the thesaurus

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Someone recently asked me if I knew another word for entertaining. “What’s the context?” I replied, wondering if the writer was looking for an adjective like enjoyable or interesting or a gerund like wining and dining or possibly even a verb like pondering. “Use it in a sentence.” “Never mind,” she said, “I’ll just use the thesaurus button.” The what? I was familiar with a lot of word processing features—the phonetic symbols, page breaks, strikethroughs, track changes and comment balloons, but the presence of a thesaurus had slipped by me. I was aghast. I’m not a fan of using thesauri when writing (though I rather like the word, especially in its Latin plural). The word itself seems to have been a Latin borrowing of a Greek term for treasury and was used originally to refer to all sorts of books of knowledge. That was before Peter Mark Roget published his 1852 Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas, which we know. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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