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!

Many verbs that entail some advanced cognitive capacity are commonly used in predicates for subjects that are not human. All speakers are comfortable with sentences like "Verizon revamps mobile plans and ends 2-year contracts & subsidies." Most speakers, however, reject sentences like "Microsoft is vividly imagining a purple square."  Continue reading...
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For the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, I delve into the many stories surrounding the origins of the word gringo, an epithet used by Latin Americans for foreign speakers, typically American Anglophones. Though a great deal of vivid folklore surrounds the word, its actual etymology is just as interesting.  Continue reading...
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Life, Life, LIFE!

Whether the words, spaces, and punctuation marks appear in The Iliad or Don Quixote, a fluffy sportswear catalogue or a dense computer manual, the goal of all writing is to get some tiny bit of the gargantuan energy we call life onto the page so that other humans can read it and say, "Yes, that writing describes the life I know."  Continue reading...
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Even if we'd like to turn up our nose stink, stench, and reek, for once let's take a giant — or at least an etymological — whiff.  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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