The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer
This entertaining and informative reference features sophisticated and surprising alternatives to common words together with no-fail guides to usage. Avoiding traditional thesauruses’ mundane synonym choices, Peter E. Meltzer puts each word―whether it’s protrepic, apostrophize, iracund, or emulous―in context by using examples from a broad range of contemporary books, periodicals, and newspapers. His new introduction makes the case for why we should widen our vocabulary and use the one right word. This groundbreaking thesaurus remains a unique venture, one that enriches your writing while helping you find the perfect word.
Book Title: The Thinker’s Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words
Author: Peter E. Meltzer
Amazon rating: 3.9
Reviewer: Nancy Miller
The average newspaper is written at about a sixth grade reading level and, over the years, most of us have been advised to ‘keep it simple’. I believe part of our job is to not only entertain but to increase the thought processes of the mind. I’m not talking Einstein (my hero) here, just a word or two that expands the basic vocabulary to include nuanced alternatives.
While for most that can be achieved by a general thesaurus (my most humble thanks to Roget), there is a more advanced and entertaining approach: The Thinker’s Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words by Peter E. Meltzer.
Let’s look at the word ‘mind’ as in ‘a blank before receiving information’. The Thinker’s Thesaurus suggests the alternative ‘tabula rasa’ which Oxford’s defines as an absence of preconceived ideas or predetermined goals; a clean slate. “The team did not have complete freedom and a tabula rasa from which to work.”
How about ‘against’ as in ‘antagonistic’? Thinker’s Thesaurus suggests ‘oppugnant’ (which isn’t even in my computer’s vocabulary.) Oxford Dictionary defines the word as ‘opposing; antagonistic’. Seems that word would have gone well to describe current events. I can see it in a dialogue:
“Well, aren’t you being a bit puggy today?”
“Puggy. You calling me fat?”
“Repugnant? I know that word.”
“Close but no. You have been antagonistic since you got up this morning. Trying to push my buttons. If it is so important to you…do it your way.”
As a wordsmith, I enjoyed reading through the book for pure entertainment. Most of the base words were familiar to me; while the offered alternatives had me referring to an online dictionary for clarification. That’s the whole point. You may not pepper your manuscript with obscure idioms and references, but the occasional use of something different wakes the reader up and encourages them to find the meaning in the surrounding verbage (yes, it’s a word).
I created a link above to the Amazon page where you can find reviews and take a look inside to see what it is like. It’s not going to have every single word you want. Keep a traditional thesaurus around for that (Did you pick up on my love for Roget’s?). But The Thinker’s Thesaurus is for a writer who simply loves words. Enjoy.
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