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What is the Visual Thesaurus?

The Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. Its innovative display encourages exploration and learning. You'll understand language in a powerful new way.

Say you have a meaning in mind, like "happy." The VT helps you find related words, from "cheerful" to "euphoric." The best part is the VT works like your brain, not a paper-bound book. You'll want to explore just to see what might happen. You'll discover -- and learn -- naturally and intuitively. You'll find the right word, write more descriptively, free associate -- and gain a more precise understanding of the English language.

With the Visual Thesaurus, you can:

  • Find the right word. The VT has over 145,000 English words and 115,000 meanings. Find the word you need and discover related meanings.
  • Develop a better vocabulary. See how words are used in different parts of speech.
  • Use words precisely. The intuitive interface helps you find words through their semantic relationship with other words and meanings.
  • Master word usage. Roll over a meaning to see its definition and example sentences that express that meaning.
  • Improve your grammar. Meanings are color-coded to indicate parts of speech.
  • Explore 39,000 proper nouns. Historical figures, phrases and trademarks are included. Look up Mozart, Manda or simply, "M."
  • Check your spelling. The VT suggests a word if you spell it wrong.
  • Hear words pronounced correctly. The VT offers both American and British pronunciations (Internet connection necessary)
  • Personalize your experience. Use the Settings Panel to control font size, filter content, display up to 17 semantic relationships and more.
  • Connect to the Internet. Right-click on any word to launch an Internet search for images or information.
  • Access the VT from anywhere. No software to install, access from virtually any computer with an Internet connection.
  • Email word maps to friends. Share your favorite words with friends and family.
  • Explore five additional languages. Search for words in Spanish, German, Italian French and Dutch, as well as English. (International features are still in beta)
  • Unlimited access to our magazine. Read features about language and the creative process and join a community passionate about words, language and creativity.

Learn even more about all the benefits and features in the Visual Thesaurus:

Click on the images below to watch the videos.

How To Use the Visual Thesaurus

Here are 6 basic steps on how to use the Visual Thesaurus. If you'd like to see a more thorough introduction, click here to read the entire manual.

A screenshot of the Visual Thesaurus showing how it works.
  • The Center. The Visual Thesaurus displays words and meanings that are related to the item in the center of the display.
  • The Toolbar. Search for words, view word suggestions, see search history, and change preferences settings from the toolbar. Forward/Back buttons provide easy navigation. Help tips are always available.
  • Words. Click on a word to bring it to the center. Click on the speaker icon to hear the word spoken. Surrounding the word are words and meanings that are related to it.
  • Meanings. Roll your mouse over a meaning to learn more about it. Click on a meaning to bring it to the center.
  • Settings. Click on the Settings menu to personalize font size, types of relationships shown, content filtering, special keyboard shortcuts, and more.
  • Special Features. Printing, spell checking, Internet image and web page search are all available.