There’s hardly any parent or teacher who has watched the movie, Akeelah and The Bee, who hasn’t thought of having a child or student like the lead character. But you’ll also learn from the movie that having the right resource materials with consistent practice is important to achieving this dream.
If you aren’t so keen on the bees, but you want to ensure your child or student is able to express her thoughts and intentions by using the right words and doing so in the correct manner, you may have found out that the same rule applies.
Whichever way, a good kids’ or students’ thesaurus is the fairy godmother’s wand you need to make your wish come true. Oh, and don’t neglect your own vocabulary. Even adults tend to get rusty, and when you want to write or express yourself clearly, you may wish you had a broader vocabulary. So pick up a thesaurus for yourself as well.
To choose a thesaurus, you have to consider your needs. Do you just want the best general thesaurus out there? Are you a writer who needs to use some more specialized language? Or are you a student of law or marketing who needs the current words used in those fields? Whatever your needs, there is a thesaurus out there with your name on it.
In fact, there are so many great thesauri out there that we had a hard time narrowing down our list to just five – especially when you consider the fact that there are many thesauri that are created for specific purposes. Here are three “honorable mentions” that we didn’t have room for in our reviews:
Be sure to have a look at these resources as well.
Whichever format you choose, there are factors that cut across all thesauri that you must look out for before you make a choice. We only need a few minutes of your time to show you these things.
The price of a thesaurus may vary with the publisher and the contents of the book. A thesaurus with authoritative content by a popular brand tends to be pricier than a thesaurus from a less popular brand. It also depends on the format, as a thesaurus in digital format is usually less expensive than a paperback, and a paperback will be cheaper than a hardcover edition. Nonetheless, the price of a thesaurus will often fall within the price range of $5to $30. For the serious word lovers, you may want to check out a full-on electronic thesaurus, which may run you about $150 depending upon how comprehensive it is and what other features it offers.
We would also like to inform you that there are cheap thesauri that may be old and outdated or not contain a broad selection of words. You’d do well to steer clear of them.
What should you look out for before you make a choice? Here are a few to note:
- Number of headwords and synonyms
- Usage Notes
- Example Sentences
- Print Size
Construction and Design
When it comes to choosing a thesaurus, there are several things to consider in terms of construction and design, including:
- Cover - Thesauri come in paperback or hardcover formats, and even in electronic form! Paperbacks have an advantage in that they are simply lighter than the hardcover books. If, for example, a child needs a thesaurus at school every day, relying on a light paperback will be a good choice. But when it comes to durability, paperbacks may not deliver like the hardcovers do. Plus, a hardcover thesaurus just looks great on your bookshelf. Finally, a thesaurus in electronic form may be suitable for some people who do all their work on the computer or prefer to carry no books at all.
- Print Size - The print size matters, especially for kids or elderly people. If you’d like to browse a thesaurus to improve your vocabulary, small print will bore you and tire your eyes out. You may also want to look out for thesauri that feature the headwords in bold print to distinguish them from their synonyms and make them easy to find on a page.
- Edition - Then again, edition and publishing dates! As with most books, the edition is often a pointer to how updated the information it offers is. So, if you’re looking to help your child learn new words, you would do well to check how “new” they truly are. The same goes for publishing dates. There’s a reason some words are flagged as “archaic.” And it is simply because they were used a long time ago and are rarely used in modern times. You don’t want your 21st-century hero or villain talking like his own grandpa, do you?
Performance and Ease of Use
How well a thesaurus “performs” or gets the job done, depends highly on whether it is the right one for your needs in terms of scope, specialization and the number and quality of word variations provided.
- Scope and Specialization - How old is your child or student? Answering this question will help you deal with the vocabulary scope of your choice and the simplicity of the language delivery. You may also want specialized vocabulary for university students, professionals, or writers. A general thesaurus is great, but it may not be enough to help an advertising executive write that cutting-edge proposal.
- Number of Headwords and Synonyms - So, while looking out for the scope, you may also want to look out for the number of headwords and synonyms featured in the book. More words imply a wider scope and vice-versa. Nonetheless, the appropriateness for the child or student in question also matters. Are the words suitable for his age? Are there sample sentences on the word applications?
Sample sentences and usage notes are a good feature to look for in general or specialized thesauri, as well. Many words have similar meanings but are used differently in sentences or are appropriate in different contexts.
Clarity, lots of synonyms, and usage tips are all important things to look at when choosing a thesaurus. But we are certain that having gone through our buying guide, you can carefully make a choice of the best thesaurus for you or a loved one.
As writing coaches, bestselling authors and international speakers, among other things, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi understand exactly how writers can sometimes struggle with different aspects of writing. As a result of this, they have provided resources to help writers get better at their craft. One of these is the Writers Helping Writers website and another is One Stop for Writers, an online library that contains resources to help writers craft better content.
The Emotion Thesaurus is another resource from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This is a special kind of thesaurus that deals only with the expression of characters’ emotions. Writers can sometimes find it very difficult to find the right words to fully express an emotion in a way that truly captures the readers’ attention.
This emotion thesaurus offers some much-needed help. It looks at 75 emotions and then offers a list of thoughts, expressions, body language cues, etc. that can be used to show these emotions. According to the authors, emotions should be shown and not told.
Whether you are a script writer, play wright, fiction writer or any other type of creative writer, this is a thesaurus you do not want missing from your shelf. Get this 172-page emotion thesaurus available in paperback and Kindle and elevate your writing by using the right expressions that show the exact emotions you want to portray and at the right intensity too.
From as far back as 1478, Oxford University Press has been helping shape the minds of students. It is the largest university press in the world and also has the most widespread global presence. Every segment and level of academia has been impacted by this institution. It strongly believes in the power of words when they are written and therefore has continued to support and pursue its vision and objective of providing its mother body - the university - the support it needs to continue its work in scholarship, research and all things that have to do with education.
In keeping with its mission, this Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus is a resource that writers everywhere can tap into to fine tune their work. This resource was put together with contributions from notable writes including Rae Armantrout, David Auburn, Michael Dirda, David Crystal, Joshua Ferris, Bryan A. Garner, David Lehman, Alexandra Horowitz, Suleiman Osman, Stephin Merritt, Craig Raine, Francine Prose, Zadie Smith, Ammon Shea, Jean Strouse, David Foster Wallace, Simon Winchester, David Thomson and many others.
This resource, which was compiled by Christine Lindberg, will help writers find the words they need very quickly. They can also quickly look at synonyms to better fine tune their choices. It also makes it easy to avoid common word usage problems, as it provides a language guide with helpful notes.
Every writer knows how easy it is to get stuck at some point for one reason or the other. These contributing writers, who themselves are highly accomplished writers, provide over 200 helpful word insights that can give you the inspiration you need to get past that block. With this, you can now say exactly what you see in your mind, using the right words in the right way.
This is the third edition with new words, new phrases and more. You will also find over 200 quotes, both humorous and literary ones, that help throw light on some words. It also includes new contributions from some writers.
If writing is serious business to you, then get this book and do some serious writing.
Most people know Seiko as an Asian watch company, and this is understandable since the brand has been around and active since 1881. The precision and reliability of its products over the years made it a favorite for many. By 1985, when Seiko U.K. Limited, the wholly-UK-owned subsidiary came on the scene, the brand was already a household name. Today, aside from wrist watches, it also distributes electronic educational materials which include dictionaries, thesauri, spell checkers and more.
The Seiko Britannica and Oxford Reference Library is one loaded device that every student should have. It comes loaded with the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, which on its own is a repository of information with its over 28,000 individual articles. It is also loaded with the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which includes more than 240,000 words, definitions, phrases and more.
If you think that is all, think again. Also loaded in it is the highly comprehensive Concise Oxford Thesaurus. It includes over 30,000 synonyms and links to more than 4 million others. Also from the Oxford family, it includes the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations, which has over 9000 quotations contributed by about 2,400 authors and offers you the ability to search for both quotations and author.
Also included in this electronic library is the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms, with its 6000 idioms, a spell checker for words and phonetics with over 130,000 words and sounds, 12 games, 14 solvers for crosswords, anagrams and many more.
Having this device is like having a whole library in your pocket. Get it and wow everyone around with your constant supply of information.
DK was founded in 1974 in the city of London. Today, it is renowned as a leading publisher of illustrated references. DK books offer great visual depth for adults and kids alike, which is why many people will readily go for books published by it. It has produced content for readers in well over 87 countries of the world and in 62 languages, with operational offices in Munich, New York, Melbourne, Delhi, and London. DK’s mission is to enrich, inform, and entertain its readers with its uniquely designed resource materials. Among its adult products are books on parenting, cooking, traveling, and gardening; its extensive children’s product line includes books on animals, the human body, craft activities, and LEGO books.
Help your child appreciate English words by getting the DK Illustrated Thesaurus for him or her. It features 4,000 headwords and 36,000 synonyms that will help the child to develop a vibrant and robust vocabulary. The idea is to increase the child’s level of understanding of English words, and also help him learn to appreciate the meaning of words, their synonyms, and their contextual applications.
You don’t have to worry that it will be presented as a boring or discouraging lot to the child, because it is nothing like that. In fact, it takes the words from being so abstract to being tangible through imaginative photography and illustrations that the kids can readily relate to.
Of course, you can trust DK for its apt delivery in design and layout. This book lives up to that expectation.
To reach a particular word quickly and easily, the words in this book have been arranged alphabetically. They include definitions and sentences that show how the words are used. And that’s not all. The kids can also learn the opposite of the words by using the antonym feature.
At the end of the day, the vocabulary of a child who makes a constant practice of using this thesaurus is even further expanded.
For over 150 years, Merriam-Webster has been serving the American public, providing them with reference materials of the best quality. Today, aside from its traditional hardcopy reference and language information resources, it now provides this same service online on its website where, monthly, over 40 million users visit to get one piece of information or the other. The quality of resources available from this brand is unquestionable, especially with the quality of human resources backing the information you access.
The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus for Students is a hardcopy resource for any student that is serious about improving his or her writing. This is the third edition of this reference material, and it has been expanded to include more synonyms and antonyms. You will get a total of about 122,000 of these.
This book is formatted in such a way as to make it easy for anyone to use. It is also prepared especially for students, so parents and teachers do not have to worry about getting or recommending a thesaurus that is too expensive for many students. For best results, get this and the Webster's Dictionary for Students.
We’re glad that you took the time to go through our buying guide and reviews. And we hope that with your choice, you’ll observe significant improvements in your vocabulary. For more options, please feel free to use the navigation links we have provided.