Learn a New Word or Two on National Thesaurus Day

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Provided by Prince William County

Peter Mark Roget began work on his thesaurus in 1848. He completed and published his 15,000-word tome in 1852. Today, “Roget’s Thesaurus” and others help people bolster, boost, pad, strengthen, augment or enhance their vocabulary and improve their writing.

A thesaurus is a book that compiles and groups words with similarity of meaning.

Jan. 18 is National Thesaurus Day, held to celebrate Roget’s book that was originally titled “Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition.”

Roget was an eminent 19th-century physician, writer, editor, inventor, mathematician and chess whiz, according to The Remarkable Roget’s Thesaurus | Merriam-Webster.

While most people these days find their thesauruses online, it can still be fun to page through a thesaurus and find new words if a hard copy is handy.

Building vocabulary can give adults and children more word choices so that they can better explain how they are feeling and what they are thinking. A larger vocabulary increases reading comprehension and will lead to a better school experience and better grades.

A large vocabulary helps instill self-confidence, broadens the ability to communicate effectively and helps people write clearly with greater depth and breadth.

“Roget’s Thesaurus” now commonly and simply known as “Roget’s,” has sold more than 40 million copies, and is one of the most recognized books ever written in English. It has never been out of publication since Roget’s first edition. The most recent eighth edition contains 443,000 words.


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