Search for synonyms using the Visual Thesaurus

The Visual Thesaurus is an online thesaurus and dictionary of over 145,000 words that you explore and visualize using an interactive map.

Type in a word and the Visual Thesaurus will show you a map of synonyms, antonyms, and definitions.

Unlike Roget's Thesaurus, the Visual Thesaurus contains over 39,000 proper nouns and American and British spellings and pronunciations.

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In the latest installment of Slate's podcast Lexicon Valley, I look at the origins of an expression that turns nervousness and apprehension into a jokey malady: the heebie-jeebies. It turns out we can pin down not just the coiner but the very day that he coined the word.  Continue reading...
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Years ago John Lennon declared the Beatles "more popular than Jesus"; he could have more accurately expressed their impact had he said they were more popular than Charles Dickens. Popularity on the Dickens/Beatles level means to be loved by virtually everyone in one's own and subsequent eras with heartfelt admiration and respect.  Continue reading...
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Whether you like or loathe it, I bet you've noticed the return of –mentum: a suffix that fills the Internet during election season much as a sulfurous smell fills hell. This suffix is also a terrific reminder of a sad truth: the media will never, ever treat a presidential election as anything more than a sporting event with fewer concussions.  Continue reading...
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With the boxing movie "Southpaw" opening, it's a good time to ponder where the term "southpaw" came from as an epithet for a left-hander. Baseball and boxing have both used the term for a long time to label lefty athletes, but which came first?  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

A Junior Dictionary Kerfuffle

"The lexicographic kerfuffle, thank goodness, isn't dead," writes Stefan Fatsis in The New Yorker. Fatsis is referring to the recent controversy over the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which has substituted all-natural words like "almond," "blackberry," and "minnow," with such 21st-century fare as "blog," "chatroom," and "database." Some noted writers have said they are "profoundly alarmed" by the changes. Read all about it here.
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Blog Excerpts

The Story Behind Stuart Scott's "Booyah!"

ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott died of cancer over the weekend, and tributes to him have noted his ebullient use of slang, especially his signature word, "Booyah!" For Slate's Lexicon Valley blog, our own Ben Zimmer traces the origins of "Booyah!" back to a hip-hop imitation of gunfire. Read all about it here.
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How can interpreting the language of stage directions enhance students' comprehension of drama?  Continue reading...
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