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HALL OF FAMEon 20 December 2005
A thesaurus is an indispensable aid for writers - sometimes the right word is just on the tip of the tongue (or, more to the case, perhaps the tip of the finger), but refuses to come forward. Sometimes one has high praise for something, but doesn't want to use the word 'super' over and over again.
Roget's thesaurus has multiple styles of entries - main entries highlighted from the text, subentries that are very close relatives of the main entries, secondary entries that lead back to main entries cross-referenced, and variant spelling forms of words. For the main entries, there is a definition of dictionary variety before the synonyms are presented. Sometimes words have multiple meanings, and the synonym for one meaning might be inappropriate for another meaning, so the main entries break down these multiple pieces for ease of use.
Primary entries have definitions, usage examples, and synonyms; secondary entries lack the examples, and cross-reference to major entries. Homographs (words spelled the same way with different meanings) are also split into multiple entries based on this variation of meaning.
Roget's Thesaurus also uses standard dictionary labeling, so that one can identify the part of speech (noun, verb, etc.), as well as other identifying information (slang terms, informal, regional, etc.). Variations are very interesting to discover, as different words have meanings that go beyond their standard usage.
A thesaurus is a very valuable tool for those who wish to increase their vocabulary, as well as increase the richness of their spoken and written language in actual practice - it is not uncommon for one to know the words listed, but to have the presence of mind to use alternative words is another matter. Dipping into a thesaurus on an occasional basis yields rewards; plunging in on a regular basis will really enhance the command of the language.
There are few sources as adequate to the task as Roget's.
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I bought the 1977 4th edition some time in the 1980s and it has been may favourite thesaurus ever since. The main reason for buying this one is the need in my current work to have reference books in two different workplaces.

How American is it? As an example, 746 (American) FOOTBALL gets two full pages, but 752 SOCCER only gets half a page. So there's some bias. But I don't often look at a thesaurus to discover alternatives to "offside rule" or "fumble". I'm much more likely to want to know what a word like "absolute" can mean - and for that job, this thesaurus is admirable. In some areas, the bias seems absent - in the list of anniversaries and holidays in 487 CELEBRATION, we get Remembrance Day as well as Veterans' Day for example, and Queen's birthday as well as Lincoln's birthday. On the other hand, the list of vegetables in 310 PLANTS has "rutabaga" and not "swede".

For me, a thesaurus must be the index type like this one, as it's a far more efficient use of space. It's also possible to get enough information about a word just from the index, some of the time. Apart from the Penguin Roget, all the major UK-published ones are now the modern alphabetical type, so they're ruled out instantly.

A particular feature of this thesaurus is the inclusion of useful lists, in appropriate forms. In 127 FEAR, FEARFULNESS there are lists of phobias by both name and subject - so you can see what ailurophobia is (fear of cats) or find the fancy word for the fear of <number 13> (triskaidekaphobia). In 10 FOOD, there are lists of breads, cheeses, desserts, meat cuts and joints, beers, beverage types, cocktails/mixed drinks, milk varieties, wines (the lists of fruit and veg are elsewhere).

On the physical side: the paper used is thin but not as thin as in some dictionaries. The binding is glued rather than in signatures, but that's true of my old copy and the glue binding is high-quality, so no pages have ever been in danger of falling out. The only bad thing about my old 4th edition (a paperback) is that some pages are badly aligned - nothing's missing but some margins are very narrow indeed. Just in case you remember the same problem, this edition doesn't have it.

The "How to Use this Book" section ends with advice that some people quoting thesaurus content as evidence about word meanings might want to note: "[...] very few words are true synonyms: Use the thesaurus in conjunction with a good dictionary whenever a selected word or phrase is unfamiliar to you".
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on 7 January 1999
This is it! The thesaurus with an index that's almost half the book -- usually the word you need is right there in the index, without having to plod through several paragraphs or even pages. This thesaurus has the whole spectrum of language, from current slang to quaint old-fashioned expressions. Those who have been frustrated by a thesaurus "in dictionary form" will find this much more complete and easier to use.
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on 20 January 2004
A note of caution for the English speaker- this is actually an American book. A seemingly innocent quality that does in fact cause problems for the individual seeking an English language reference book.
The spelling is American, a number of words are of dubious origin to say the least- fortify=vitiminize!? There are no options for widely used truely international phrases.
I'm sure it is a fantastic book in it's place. Just beware of the repercussions. I do not wish another unsuspecting person to be lured by the promise of an 'International' listing of words.
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on 6 December 1998
This book will make you think about words in a way that you never have before. It is an absolute must for anyone who endeavors to communicate well in the English language.
If you can think of a word to start out with, but want to search for a better one, you can look the word up in the alphabetically arranged index. There, you will find listed several different faces of the word, some representing subtle variations in the word's meaning that you may have never considered before. Then, after thinking about what aspect of the word most closely resembles your intended meaning, you can look up the word's various implications in the main body of the book. There, you'll discover a plethora of other words of similar meaning.
You'll find the body of the book organizes all of human experience into categories..."the body and the senses", "feelings", "place", "measure and shape", etc.. If you want to describe something intangible, such as an emotion, and cannot even think of one word to begin with, you can wander through the categories of human emotion... pleasure, excitement, contentment... sadness, regret, lamentation...until you find what you are trying to describe. This process helps stimulate thought about exactly what you want to say. A merely alphabetical thesaurus could never offer anything like this.
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on 11 September 2002
This is the first thesaurus I have come across in this format (see other reviews), and it certainly deserves all the praise given before. The A-Z indexing which forms part 2 of the book provides a much broader scope for not only word usage, but allows the user to cross-refer to the categories section forming part 1 of the book. An excellent way to explore the English language.
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on 31 January 2007
I used to have an old edition of Roget's Thesaurus from the 80s (edited by Chapman) and I still have a slightly newer edition from the 90s (edited by Kirkpatrick). I thought it would be good to get a new international edition. Hence I got this one.

However, I am quite disappointed with the content of this edition: the index is much shorter than the older editions (with the older editions the index is nearly half of the book whereas with this one it is only one third of the book), and words and terms are quite subjective.[...]
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on 16 January 2012
My old thesaurus was falling to pieces (used a great deal). This new one is extremely good and with thumb index easier to use. I am very pleased with my purchase. I am a big fan of crosswords.
Roget's International Thesaurus (Roget's International Thesaurus Indexed)
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on 10 December 2013
I needed an up-to-date version and I am very pleased with it, although there are some things in the old one which are missing from the new so I am still using the old one sometimes. I received it well before the expected date so that was a lovely surprise.
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on 17 March 2016
Takes a bit of getting used to since you have to use the idea or connotation of a word instead of the word itself to get the most out of this book, but when you do get used to it, this book opens up a world of possibilities.
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