The Real Meaning of a Thesaurus

The Real Meaning of a Thesaurus

Being a good writer is all about choosing the best words to get your point across in a clear and descriptive manner. Many words have similar meanings (synonyms), but those meanings have subtle nuances that can make a big difference, depending on which one you choose.

Is the robot big, or is it huge, enormous, or colossal? Do you like ice cream, or do you relish it? Did the glass break, or did it crack, shatter, or disintegrate?

Having a good vocabulary at your fingertips and carefully selecting the perfect words can help you to paint a very specific picture for your readers.

Using Canadian spelling, usage, and examples, the Children’s Illustrated Thesaurus, Canadian Edition, offers 4000 entries and hundreds of illustrations, providing a reliable resource that helps children build a rich and vibrant vocabulary.

Why is a thesaurus important?

1. A thesaurus gives you synonyms for words (words that mean the same, or almost the same), such as "little" and "small." But often, there is no such thing as a true synonym. If two words mean exactly the same, why bother having both?

Synonyms can or could mean the same thing as another word depending on how you use them. They have little differences in meaning that make one word more suitable to use than another. For example, "little girl" usually means the girl is young, while "small girl" suggests she is not big in size.

2. A thesaurus can aid in improving vocabulary, adding variety to writing and helping with description. For example, instead of saying "she said," saying "she shouted" can tell the reader that she might be angry or in a noisy room.

3. A thesaurus also gives antonyms (words that mean the opposite), and indicates parts of speech, such as verb, noun, adverb, adjective, preposition, and interjection, along with helpful definitions. The same word can be used in different ways as different parts of speech, so it is useful to know what you are looking for. For example, "bay" can be a noun, meaning "a curve or inlet in a coastline" and it can be a verb meaning "to make a howling noise." If you want a synonym for the verb, it would be best to select "bark, cry, howl, or yelp" rather than "cove, gulf, inlet, or sound"!

Some Great Canadian Examples from Children’s Illustrated Thesaurus

appointment
noun a job
» He applied for an appointment in Alberta.
assignment, job, place, position, post

bay
noun a curve or inlet in a coastline
» The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides on Earth.
cove, gulf, inlet, sound

stock
noun an animal or person’s ancestors
» Many people in Newfoundland come from Irish stock.
ancestry, descent, extraction, lineage, origin, parentage

slogan
noun a short, easily remembered phrase
» Justin Trudeau campaigned for Prime Minister with the slogan “Real Change Now.”
jingle, motto

colony
noun a country controlled by another country
» Canada used to be made up of French and English colonies.
dependency, dominion, territory

land
noun a region or country
» Nunavut is an Inuktitut word meaning “our land.”
country, nation, province, region, territory

Buy the book

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