Janice Williams's Reviews > The Thinker's Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words

The Thinker's Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer
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's review
Apr 09, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: reference, on-writing
Read in April, 2011

From the back cover: "This entertaining and informative reference features only sophisticated and surprising alternatives to common words together with no-fail guides to usage. Avoiding traditional thesauruses' mundane synonym choices, Peter E. Meltzer puts each word--whether it's sciolistic, misoneist, orabulia--in context by using examples from a broad range of recent books, periodicals, and newspapers."

The above is an accurate description of this book. Here are a few interesting examples:

incontrovertible (as in an . . . truth) adj: apodictic. [In the prescies use of the term, for something to be apodictic it must necessarily be true, such as a mathematical equation. However, it is frequently used as a rhetorical device, such as in expressing a matter of opinion of the writer, or sarcastically, such as accusing another of treating something as being apodictic, when it obviously is not.]

Example: A number of letters in response to your excellent June 27 editorial "The Disaster of Failed Policy" reveal that many still do not accept the apodictic fact that Hussein had no hand in the 9/11 outrage. Bush's "great courage" was perfectly justified in the invasion of Afghanistan but totally served a personal vendetta . . . in the case of war and occupation of Iraq. (Paul McCaig, "Surveying Iraq with Allawi at the Helm" Los Angeles Times, 7/2/2004.)

connected (by a close relationship) adj.: affined Example: When Reinette says that next year she wants to go to art school in Paris, Mirabelle invites her to share her apartment since her present roommate is leaving. the matter is not immediately settled, because the two, the city sophisticate and the country enthusiast, are not completely affined. Next morning they experience the [beautiful hour before dawn] together. The moment is so lovely that it unites them. (Stanley Kauffman, review of Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, by Eric Rohmer, New Republic, 8/28/1989).(/i)

Note: I have inserted the word "Example" above, as in the book there is an icon to indicate the start of an example.

Here's a final tidbit from this worthwhile book. (When I consider the research and work and love of words that went into compiling this reference book...I'm amazed and so grateful to Mr. Meltzer. He has given writers quite a gift!

playful adj.: gamesome Example: The attractive design [in this book of letters of the alphabet] skillfully blends illustrations and type to create many gamesome touches, such as a dolphin diving through the letter D and the letter R getting stuck in a reindeer's antlers. (Publishers Weekly, "From Albatross to Zoo: An alphabet Book in Five Languages," 9/28/1992).
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