If there’s one tool that’s necessary, crucial and even immensely important for the typical writer, it’s the thesaurus. (Yes, I used this exact book to come up with different words to describe important.)
The creation of the thesaurus, which was devised by Peter Mark Roget, was rather unexpectedly expected. According to the New York Times, Roget comprised the book while creating a list of words for himself throughout his life; he planned on publishing at one point but instead continued adding to it. This compulsion of sorts, experts said, was possibly a form of a obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What’s fascinating about the thesaurus is it’s ability to connect words, forming a web between so many different terms and ideas and concepts. One word could possess several possible synonyms and those synonyms could then link to other words and definitions. The way it weaves and webs language.
But what is also great, it’s how it gives life and meaning to language. Here are ways to celebrate National Thesaurus Day on Jan. 18, a holiday for us—and Roget’s born day—not only on that specific day, but every day.
- Commit to learning one word a week. One new word, that’s all. If you need to make it one word a month, then do that instead. Whatever works. Challenge yourself to learn a minimum amount and then test your newfound knowledge with index cards.
- Commit to using this new word in your writing. The new words you’ve learned, now use these in your writing—emails, texts, Facebook posts, you name it.
- Play word board games with family and friends. We love games with letters and words, especially if it’s games you can play with your kids, like Bananagrams. Also, Scrabble is always a go-to, of course. Make it a family night ritual, or better yet a family night championship series.
- Also, play word games alone. Crosswords and word-searches are great to do your own. We also created a new word game, where you create your own synonyms for words. Check it out here!
- Notice new words when reading. Read with intent, searching for new words and even trying to define words you think you know. This technique is great with newspapers and magazine articles.