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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best thesaurus out there, 11 May 2011
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This review is from: Roget's International Thesaurus (Hardcover)
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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Location: Bucks, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,331