National Thesaurus Day

January 18, 2023

The word thesaurus comes from the Latin word thēsaurus which in turn comes from the Greek word θησαυρός (thēsauros), which means 'treasure’, ‘treasury’, or ‘storehouse'. The first modern thesaurus was created by British physician, natural theologian and lexicographer Peter Mark Roget who described the resource with the words ‘...to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed’.

In recognition of National Thesaurus Day, let’s have a look at some common everyday words in English and some of their most commonly used synonyms. Make your everyday language a little less boring by substituting these overused words for something a little more imaginative!

Alternative Description
National Thesaurus Day

Good

One of the most overused words in the English language, this word seems to have lost all meaning. Try these synonyms instead:

Excellent: “We had an excellent meal at the Italian restaurant last night.”

Marvellous: “The weather was marvellous for the entire vacation.”

Superb: “The team’s performance was superb.”

Wonderful: “It’s wonderful to finally meet you.”

Very 

Another one of the most commonly overused words, there are many great adjectives you can use in place of “very + (adjective)”.

Very clean → Immaculate: “After cleaning all day, the house was immaculate.”

Very big → Enormous: “They live in an enormous house in the suburbs.”

Very small → Tiny: “The watch face is surrounded by tiny diamonds.”

Very tired → Exhausted: “I was exhausted after the 14-hour flight.”

 

Change

‘Change’ is a versatile word, but there are other verbs that are more appropriate in some situations.

Could you change the layout of this slide of the presentation?

→ Could you alter the layout of this slide of the presentation?

I’m thinking of changing my phone next month.

→ I’m thinking of replacing my phone next month.

The government is considering changing the law.

→ The government is considering amending the law.

 

Important

There are plenty of alternatives to this word that can make your sentence a little clearer.

There are some important steps we have to take.

→ There are some crucial steps we have to take.

We are at an important stage of the negotiation.

→ We are at a pivotal stage of the negotiation.

Please only include the most important information in the report.

→ Please only include the most essential information in the report.

Because

As we know, this is the perfect word to link two sentences when stating a reason for something, but why not mix it up with some of these alternative words and phrases.

He was late for work because the train was cancelled.

→ He was late for work due to the fact that the train was cancelled.

I’m taking some time off work because I am having a baby.

→ I’m taking some time off work for the reason that I am having a baby.

Because the weather isn’t great, let’s just stay in today.

Seeing as the weather isn’t great, let’s just stay in today.

It can’t be understated how important it is as a user of English to expand your vocabulary. Not only will it help you express yourself better, it will enable you to understand more written literature in English, avoid repetition in both speaking and writing, as well as sounding more sophisticated in your usage of the language.

Here’s a few more alternatives for frequently overused words:

Interesting - noteworthy, thought-provoking, fascinating, attracting, appealing, attention-grabbing, captivating, gripping, invigorating, engrossing, engaging, electrifying.

Really- genuinely, truly, honestly, actually, undoubtedly, certainly, remarkably, incredibly, downright, unquestionably, extremely.

Get- acquire, obtain, receive, gain, earn, gather, collect, buy, purchase, attain, score, secure, take possession of, grab.

Know - appreciate, apprehend, catch, comprehend, conceive, discern, envision, estimate, experience, fathom, gauge, grasp, imagine, learn, measure, notice, perceive, realize, recognize, see, think, understand.

Celebrate National Thesaurus Day with us and see how many new words you can use by the end of the day!

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