Helpful Sites For "Wording"

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Ari Meermans

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Thank you very much, Introversion. I'm merging your very helpful thread into this new sticky.

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It isn't always easy to find just the right word, phrase, or idiom for our masterpieces. This thread is meant to be a handy-dandy reference listing for locating useful sites to help us do just that. Please add any sites you've found helpful so we can grow this thread into a compendium of helpful sites.

Some sites to start off:

Do I really know the full meaning of this word or is there a better word to convey my exact meaning in this sentence? The Oxford English Dictionary (free version, paid subscription) the Cambridge Free English Dictionary, the Dictionary by Merriam-Webster are great places to start. (Fair Warning, though: If you're a "worder", you can get lost for hours in their articles. :greenie)

When did the word or idiom I want to use first enter the lexicon and what did it mean then? Has the meaning morphed and does it carry baggage now? Sites like Online Etymology Dictionary and The Public Domain Review can help with that starting the list of phrases in the link and continuing on to PDR's essays and collections, especially for those who write historical novels—but for all of us, too. (Same warning as above applies.)
 
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Deepthought

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I was making a thread about this just now, but I see yours here. Excellent resource!

Thesaurus.com is an obvious pick, and I have it open much of the time.

Rhymezone.com is a really helpful one. The search options allows it for searching lots of other things; rhymes are just the default.
 

ldlago

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A little over a year ago, I purchased a new laptop. Instead of getting rid of the old one, I decided to keep it, disconnect it from the internet and do all of my writing on it. One disadvantage, among many, is that I have no immediate access to online resources. So, like they did in ancient times, I use a dictionary and thesaurus with words printed on actual paper. In case you were wondering, I do load finished chapters onto a flash drive for safe keeping.
 

SapereAude

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I was making a thread about this just now, but I see yours here. Excellent resource!

Thesaurus.com is an obvious pick, and I have it open much of the time.

Rhymezone.com is a really helpful one. The search options allows it for searching lots of other things; rhymes are just the default.

Thesaurus.com is okay, but it's still basically an on-line dictionary of synonyms. Unfortunately, most of the thesauri (is that the proper plural for "thesaurus"?) that are available today are nothing but dictionaries of synonyms masquerading as thesauri. The last time I was in a Barnes & Noble I made a point of stopping in the Reference section to see if they still sell any real thesauri. They didn't. Even more distressing, when I asked a clerk why not, she had no idea what I was even talking about.

Thankfully, I have always had a love for words and a desire to use just the right word so, over the years, I have accumulated a motley collection of seven (7) true thesauri, all properly broken into two sections just as Roget himself intended. They all reside in a reference bookcase that I have on my desk, within easy reach. My newest is the Roget's International Thesaurus, 5th Edition, edited by Robert L. Chapman and published by Harper Reference. There are, I believe, two newer editions, but I have heard a lot of negative feedback about the newest edition so I'll make do with what I've got. If 230,000 words organized into 1,073 categories won't suffice, I should probably find a new hobby.
 
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ldlago

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My newest is the Roget's International Thesaurus, 5th Edition, edited by Robert L. Chapman and published by Harper Reference.

I keep two dictionaries and a thesaurus on my desk. I have a paperback edition of The Oxford Pocket American Dictionary that's a 2002 printing, a hard cover copy of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary that's a 1974 printing, and a third edition Roget's International Thesaurus published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company that's a 1962 printing. I suppose I'm showing my age. I checked the plural spelling of thesaurus. The Oxford dictionary is showing both thesauri and thesauruses as acceptable. One thing I prefer about Webster's is that it shows which syllable to accent. The Oxford does not.
 

Festerin Fandango

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This might be slightly off topic, but I have discovered a book called Word Menu, by Stephen Glazier, that can be helpful. It is sort of like a dictionary that organizes language by subject matter. So for instance if you are wrtiting a chapter that includes a scene on a seventeenth century sailing vessel, and needed to know the language, you would go to the section on Transportation, then the subsction on "Types of Ships and Boats." Another subsection is entitled "Parts of Ships, Sails and Equipment," and another "Nautical Equipment."
 

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