For a long time, my trusty, old 1996 copy of Roget’s II The New Thesaurus was my favorite writer’s reference.
When I needed to find synonyms or antonyms to liven up my writing, my well-worn thesaurus was always at hand.
Now, with the resources available online and on our smartphones, a synonym for thesaurus might be “dinosaurus.”
As writers with all the tools to find spectacular words at our fingertips, we have no excuse for dull, drab, colorless language!
Allow me to introduce three very cool tools for finding the most top tier, exigent, and loquacious synonyms and antonyms on the web…
Synonyms are words that mean the same thing, or close to the same thing.
Whereas, antonyms are words that have opposite meanings.
Synonym Finder can help you find both synonyms and antonyms. It also includes a search for word definitions.
The application is very user friendly and easy to figure out. In a word: utilitarian.
All you need to do is choose whether you want a synonym, antonym, or definition, and type in the word you want to find.
For example, search BORING and Synonym Finder offers synonyms for both the noun and adjective forms of BORING.
And you can click on each suggested synonym to get its full definition and usage examples.
Synonym Finder has one unique function I didn’t find with the other tools – it offers what they call “similar words,” also known as hypernyms (which I had to look up).
A hypernym is a word that is more generic than a given word. And while hypernyms might be interesting to us word geeks, I’m not sure, as a writer, you want to go with a word that is more generic/ordinary/boring than the word you started with.
But wait! There’s another intriguing and beguiling surprise from Synonym Finder.
At the bottom of the page after the detailed synonym results, you’ll find the “Visual Thesaurus” that gives a graphic representation of your word results. This can be helpful if you are a visual learner.
Synonym Finder is a good tool, with a few nifty features. For a little more oomph with a different twist, consider…
Power Thesaurus self-describes as “a fast, convenient and comprehensive online thesaurus.”
It is unique in offering crowdsourced word associations, where visitors can suggest synonyms and antonyms, with editorial input and a user-rating system.
Power Thesaurus offers a more in-depth presentation of information than Synonym Finder — including synonyms and antonyms and various ways to analyze results.
You can also vote for your favorite word choices with a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.
Power Thesaurus is free to use, but as it’s funded by crowdsourcing, you can make a donation if you appreciate the service. It also has an app you can download for your smartphone.
3. Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com
I must confess — Dictionary.com has become my most favorite, go-to solution since I retired my much-loved copy of Roget’s II The New Thesaurus.
You’ll see that Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are two separate pages on the same larger website.
Both offer an easy-to-use interface, with plenty of trivia, word-geek information, and an engaging presentation.
One of my favorite features is the audio button — click to hear the word in that oh-so-sexy computer voice, which can be incredibly helpful.
Both sites also provide an app for your smartphone.
Thesaurus.com includes comprehensive information on synonyms and antonyms, with related word lists. The source listed is Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition (2013), which is probably why I find the format so familiar and comforting.
Did I mention I loved my trusty, old thesaurus?
The next time you’re struggling to find the right word to use in your writing, you’ll know where to find the most elucidating and meritorious synonyms and antonyms to freshen up your language.
All the tools I included here are 100% free to use. So try them out today and start making your writing more interesting.
And if you’re looking for more ways to spice up and streamline your writing, you can check out these additional hand-picked tools for writers.
I promise your readers will thank you.