Welcome to Thesaurus Day 2020, my fellow pleonastics (users of more words than necessary to express meaning). We come together today to honor the book that is every writer’s best friend, our BFF, better even than the dictionary. When we’re at a loss for a word, one perfect, expressive word, the thesaurus is the first place we look. And voilà!
Even after 168 years of constant, unfaltering service, the thesaurus remains as relevant as ever. It’s alive and well and popular all over the world.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for Peter Roget, creator of this masterwork; he died (perished, croaked, kicked the bucket) in 1869. A compiler, sorter, and compulsive list maker, Roget proudly titled the 1852 edition of his classic reference book Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition.
Yikes, well, what can you say? The guy was wordy (long-winded, verbose, a gasbag). And we celebrate his yattering brilliance yet today, January 18th, known now and forevermore as Thesaurus Day. Get out the pointy party hats, my huckleberry friends, and let’s blow the roof off this dump. Yay, words!
copyright © 2019 the whirly girl
Just fyi: This is a revised edition of a recurring post. I’m a huge fan of the thesaurus, you see, so I give it all the attention I can, as often as I can. It’s enormously helpful, considering there are around 170,000 words currently in use in the English language, plus 50,000± obsolete terms. That’s a whole lot of words to keep track of. Throw in proper names and song lyrics and where you parked your car, and it’s a wonder we can find our way to the bathroom without a map. The thesaurus is a damn lifesaver.