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The word thesaurus is New Latin for treasure; coined in the early 1820s. Besides its meaning as a treasury or storehouse, it more commonly means a listing of words with similar or related meanings. For example, a book of jargon for a specialized field; or more generally a list of subject headings and cross-references used in the filing and retrieval of documents. (Or indeed papers, certificates, letters, cards, records, texts, files, articles, essays and perhaps even manuscripts.)

The first example of this genre, Roget's Thesaurus, was published in 1852, having been compiled earlier, in 1805, by Peter Roget.

Although including synonyms, entries in a thesaurus should not be taken as a list of synonyms. The entries are also designed for drawing distinctions between similar words and assisting in choosing exactly the right word. Nor does a thesaurus entry define words. That work is left to the dictionary.

In Information Technology, a thesaurus represents a database or list of semantically orthogonal topical search keys. In the field of Artificial Intelligence, a thesaurus may sometimes be referred to as an ontology. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thesaurus [Feb 2005]

Roget's Thesaurus

Roget's Thesaurus is the world's best-known thesaurus, created by Dr. Peter Mark Roget (1779 - 1869) in 1805 and was released to the public in 1852. The original edition had 15,000 words, and each new edition has been larger. The Karpeles Manuscript Library houses the original manuscript in its collection.

Dr. Roget described his thesaurus in the foreword to the first edition:

"It is now nearly fifty years since I first projected a system of verbal classification similar to that on which the present work is founded. Conceiving that such a compilation might help to supply my own deficiencies, I had, in the year 1805, completed a classed catalogue of words on a small scale, but on the same principle, and nearly in the same form, as the Thesaurus now published."

Roget's Thesaurus is composed of six primary classes. Each class is composed of multiple divisions and then sections. This may be conceptualized as a tree containing over a thousand branches for individual "meaning clusters" or semantically linked words. These words are not exactly synonyms, but can be viewed as colours or connotations of a meaning or as a spectrum of a concept. One of the most general words is chosen to typify the spectrum as its headword, which labels the whole group.

Roget's Thesaurus can be seen as a classification system, as evidenced by the outline from the 1911 US edition, now in the public domain. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogets [May 2005]

The Ultimate Movie Thesaurus: The Only Book You Need to Find the Movie You Want (Henry Holt Reference Book) (1996) - Christopher Case

The Ultimate Movie Thesaurus: The Only Book You Need to Find the Movie You Want (Henry Holt Reference Book) (1996) - Christopher Case [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly

The Ultimate Movie Thesaurus begins with short descriptions of 8000 movies. What makes it unique, however, is what comes next. Rather than just a handful of categories or a list of directors or movie stars, it also includes such subcategories as "In-Laws? Troublesome: see also Relatives? Troublesome"; "Trapped in a Hole" and "Cattle Herded by Barbara Stanwyck." Obviously, there are other, more inclusive categories, but if you're in the mood for a movie on, say, Austria, it has nearly 20 suggestions. --Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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