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.

It's a tool for people who think visually. Look up your word now!

In an interview with Stephen Colbert, whose "Colbert Report" ends this week after nine years on the air, Ben Zimmer gets the inside scoop on truthiness, Colbert's ultimate "silly word that would feel wrong in your mouth."  Continue reading...
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For my latest appearance on the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, I take a look at a word with an origin story that seems too good to be true: grog, an alcoholic concoction, typically of rum and water, that has been making sailors groggy since the 18th century.  Continue reading...
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At the end of each year, while linguists and lexicographers cast votes for words of the year, I'm compiling a different list: the brand names that distilled the mood of the previous twelve months. To narrow the field, I add another criterion: the brand names must have linguistic or onomastic significance — onomastics being the study of names.  Continue reading...
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I occasionally teach a class about using Microsoft Word. In one of the class exercises, students are asked to format a page, and the instructions tell them to "outdent" a heading. After I got several questions about that each class, I realized that lots of people have no idea what the term means.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Oxford's Word of the Year is "Vape"

The editors at Oxford Dictionaries have selected their choice for 2014 Word of the Year, and it is "vape," defined as "to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device." Check out Oxford's announcement here. Our contributor Nancy Friedman was on the case back in 2010, in her column, "But Wait, There's Less!" (Nancy also named "vape" one of her Words of 2013.)
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Blog Excerpts

One Troop, Many Troops

As Veterans Day is observed in the United States, a question of military usage continues to pose a puzzle: if "50,000 troops" refers to 50,000 people, then does "one troop" refer to one person? Linguist Neal Whitman looked into the matter on Veterans Day in 2009. Check out his column here.
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How can interpreting the language of stage directions enhance students' comprehension of drama?  Continue reading...
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