O.K.....The truth of the matter is, I've only seen three thesauruses,
(thesurusi?) in my lifetime. One is a dictionary /thesaurus + homework helper in CD form. Another, (also a thesaurus in dictionary form), was a later-produced, print thesaurus, another book entirely, and published by a different company. Both of these others were adequate as far as being a thesaurus is concerned. But for a true, in-depth, many-aynomyned thesaurus, give me Roget's!
And give me especially this edition, and/or an older one! As new words come into a language, the number of words grows....and, consequently, many older words have to be let go. It's easier, I think, to find -- due to their occuring on one's own life -- synonyms for words like "global warming", (crisis, climate crisis), than finding synonyms for words that have even recently gone out of fashion, and which, in a few generations, may disappear altogether, such as "tape recorder" - n - (which IS an entry in this edition -- published in 1964, with the synonyms, "wire recorder" and "phonograph", (two even earlier terms!). Searching through this book, for examples to put in this review, I also came across the term "teen-age" - adj - which has as synonyms: "adolescent, pre-adolescent, pubescent, hebetic." Hebetic? That's a TOTALLY new word to me. Never came across it before -- ever. Is "hebetic" in the newer thesauruses, (thesaurusi?)? As I don't have any others handy at the moment, I don't know. But I suspect that at least a few older words, NOT found in newer books, will be found in older ones, such as the volume herein being reviewed.
But it is not only the chance finding of older and more obscure words, that makes this book so good. The other printed, "Thesaurus in Dictionary Form" that I have come across, did not have "Main Heading" group words. Perhaps this is what makes the ROGET's Thesaurus" different from other thesaurusi, (thesauruses?) The other printed thesaurus I have encountered, (NOT a "Roget's"), simply listed each word, alphabetically, and gave synonyms. But THIS book gives "Main Heading" groups as well. For instance, for "teen-age", (and I did not give the entire entry, above, so as to highlight this difference, here), the (complete) entry is as follows:
teen-age, adj. adolescent, pre-adolescent, pubescent, hebetic, (YOUTH).
This last entry, (in parentheses and "small caps"), tells the reader to look under the LARGER heading of "Youth". And LARGE this "super-entry" is! It contains 40 LINES of synonyms, (each line containing at least words). The word "Youth" is broken down into every possible synonym: Group "I", (nouns), has "youth", "youthood", "youngster", "boy" and "girl" -- and gives a few synonyms for EACH of these sub-headings! Next is Group "II", giving the word, "rejuvenate" in boldface, and gives three synonyms for this word, (including one phrase, "restore to youth"). Then comes Group "III", Adjectives. The word, "young" is in boldface here, and is followed by 29 synonyms for this word, (complimentary and uncomplimentary), including two phrases, and one word, (new to me again), "puisne" -- followed by the word "law", italicised and in parentheseis, to denote "puisne" is used, (probably exclusively), in the law.
AFTER this, comes a line which says: "See also: CHILD, NEWNESS" -- directing the reader to two other "super-headings". Following this is: "Antonyms: See OLDNESS".
Thus, just about EVERY shade of meaning, for just about ANY word, can be had from this book. Because EVERY smaller entry has, at its end, a word in "small caps", directing one to the larger, extremely inclusive "super-headings", (or, as they are called here, "Main Entries"), that are listed throughout the book, giving not only more information, but also breaking up what could be a very monotomous design of page after page of small entries, (such as I found in the other printed thesaurus I have come across.)
This thesaurus comes in two editions: one thumb-indexed, and one not.
I have had the pleasure of owning both edtions. For some (very) strange reason, the thumb-indexed edition is made with whiter paper.
But the non-thumb indexed edition, (the "Library" edition), is "Smythe-Sewn", (more new words -- this time, a phrase, for me), and has "washable cloth" on the cover, plus numerous other advantages, all delineated on the back flap of the dust cover. The many advantages INSIDE the text, (12 of them), are listed on the back of the book jacketm and, (as stated on the book jacket), are also listed in the book's "Preface".
Number 12 concludes, saying that:
"The Roget Dictionary is at once a vade-mecum for the busy man, and a complete thesaurus for the exacting writer who lives with words and by them".
The...Roget's Dictionary? Obviously, there's an error here -- albeit a small one. It should, of course, have been written "The New Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form is.....", for that, and not "The Roget Dictionary", is the name of this book. But what of it? There's yet ANOTHER new word, (or that is, word-phrase), "vade-mecum" here. Or maybe, I should say, old word-phrase, that is brand new to me! Sadly, I can't find it in the thesaurus itself, (after looking in three small headings and two Main Headings)...but what of it? I bet I could find it in a dictionary, and, (using a trick a teacher once gave our class -- that is, to find the meaning of unknown words from the surrounding CONTEXT in which they are found), I might not even need one. For "vade-mecum" seems to mean "means by which", as used in the phrase. If so, this book really does seem to be, not only a "vade-mecum" -- but an extraordinary vade-mechum. One can continually go from short-listing to main-listings, to more main-listings and other short-listings, until the EXACT word or phrase one wishes to find is found! Reading this book, searching back and forth within its pages, is a little bit like the Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, I think. For looking into, and consulting this wonderful word treasury is far more of an adventure, and far more likely to produce the ONE word or phrase that EXACTLY shows the meaning you want to give, (and perhaps teach you old-words-which-are-new-to-you, as well), than ANY other thesaurus I've found!