Today is Thesaurus Day, marking the birth in 1779 of Peter Mark Roget, whose name has become synonymous with synonymous.
Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition1 grew out of his incessant list-making, which he developed as a coping mechanism.2 And he had a lot to cope with. Both his father and his wife died young, and an uncle committed suicide in Peter's presence.
The word thesaurus comes from the Greek thesauros, meaning both "a treasure" and "a giant, talkative lizard with an overinflated ego."3 Those who hold to the notion that the way words were should be the way words are can use the plural thesauri; for the rest of us, thesauruses is just fine (and fun to say).
You can call a person who writes thesauruses a thesaurist, but really they're just another form of lexicographer (lexicos = "of words" + graphikos = "of writing").
A good thesaurus can be a great writing tool, but it can also be overused. Some turn to a thesaurus in an attempt to add variety to otherwise dull and repetitive writing. That word-processing programs come with built-in thesauruses makes it even easier to pursue this shortcut.
This can lead to some awful (or hilarious, depending on your point of view) results.
And that is how I choose to mark Thesaurus Day, Peter Mark Roget's birthday: By repeating the content of this blog post a second time, but with (supposedly) synonymous substitutions of words from MS Word's built-in thesaurus.
Happy Thesaurus Day!
Presently, it is Thesaurus Day, marking the naissance in 1779 of Peter Mark Roget, whose appellation has become identical with synonymous.
Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition propagated out of his unremitting list-making, which he industrialized as a surviving contrivance. And he had an allocation to muddle through. Both his pater and his helpmeet croaked fledglingly, and an uncle committed recklessness in Peter's manifestation.
It appears commonsensical, then, that Peter thrashed with melancholia. And similar to many dejected atmospheres before and since, he turned to verses to scuffle the despondency.
The word thesaurus emanates from the Greek thesauros, denotating both "a prize" and "a colossal, garrulous lizard with an outsized self-image." Those who hold to the conception that the manner words were should be the tactic words are can utilize the plural thesauri; for the remainder of us, thesauruses is just adequate (and pleasurable to vocalize).
You can call an individual who engraves thesauruses a thesaurist, but categorically they're just an alternative form of lexicographer (lexicos = "of words" + graphikos = "of inscription").
A virtuous thesaurus can be a prodigious writing utensil, but it can also be hackneyed. Some journey to a thesaurus in an endeavor to enhance multiplicity in otherwise leaden and pedestrian lettering. That term-handling applications are originated with integrated thesauruses makes it even cooler to hunt this shortcut.
This can produce some horrific (or uproarious, contingent on your idea of vision) outcomes.
And that is how I've cherry-picked to mark Thesaurus Day, Peter Mark Roget's centenary: By resaying the content of this editorial a subsequent time, but with (evidently) equal changeovers of words from MS Word's integral phrasebook.
Joyous Thesaurus Period!
1 Also the name of Fiona Apple's next album.
2 If Wikipedia is to be believed. I went all-out for this research, eh?
3 One of those two translations of thesauros is inaccurate.