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Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms: Choose Words With Precision [Hardcover]

Inc. Merriam-Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 4 1967
The ideal guide to choosing the right word. Entries go beyond the word lists of a thesaurus, explaining important differences between synonyms. Provides over 17,000 usage examples. Lists antonyms and related words.

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About the Author

Mike Bundlie started his first company at age nine, typing manuscripts for fiction authors. While in high school he started his second company, MiraView Design, with clients such as Harvard Medical, the Mayo Clinic, Pizza Hut, and numerous celebrities. After moving to L.A., Mike's client list included the Los Angeles Times, Universal Studios, PBS, and many leading actors and directors. There, he and Kevin O'Donnell began collaborating on educational entertainment properties for kids.

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This excellent reference book deserves to be much better known than it is. I do a lot of writing in my job, and have used it (or its earlier edition) regularly for about 15 years. I am surprised at how many people do not seem to be familiar with it. There are few truly synonymous words in English; many words mean about the same thing, but have slightly different meanings and connotations, and are more appropriate in different contexts. The purpose of this book is to help you sort all of this out.
It is important to understand that this book is NOT a thesaurus, but a completely different, yet equally useful, reference work. A very good essay at the beginning of this book explains this, and gives an interesting history of how books of synonyms developed over the past centuries.
The best thesaurus is Roget's International Thesaurus -- the original work, now in its 6th edition, not one of the ones in "dictionary format." Roget's provides long lists words of similar meaning, grouped under conceptual headings. Its purpose is to jog your memory, spur creative thinking, or help you realize what you are really trying to say. It is absolutely the best thing for easing writer's block and helping you to find a word.
The purpose of this book, on the other hand, is to help you understand the differences between similar words. It explains nuances of meaning and compares words that mean approximately, but not quite, the same thing. It has a number of long entries that discuss 5 or 6 similar words together, explaining when to use each and giving examples (usually from good literature) of the correct use of each. When you look up one of the other synonyms, it will point you to the main article in which it is discussed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Nov. 30 2002
This book and Chamber's Etymological English Dictionary are my two favorite but little-known word reference works. The main difference between this book and Roget's Thesaurus is it focuses more precisely on the actual meanings of the words. A thesaurus will give you plenty of words with similar or nearly similar meanings, grouped by general idea or concept. But most of the words are not exactly synonymous. If you need that, this book will come to your rescue. Another nice feature is, as another reviewer here pointed out, it will even give you examples of words with very similar meanings, but with enough description and definition so you can distinguish among otherwise seemingly identical words and synonyms.
It's also in some ways easier to use than a typical thesaurus, since if you just need a different word and can't recall one, it's easiest to just look it up and get a quick alternative, instead of going through all the extra words you'd get in a thesaurus, but which aren't exactly what you want. Overall, a fine reference work and one that deserves to be better known.
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5.0 out of 5 stars English! Wow. Oct. 4 2000
This dictionary is great man. It's better than any thesaurus, it tells you the difference between words that are alike , or similar, or kinda the same, or akin, or homogenous. You may be thinking that I used the same word over and over again, but this book says, uh unh. These words are different, so use them differently.
Pure genius. Why didn't I think of it? Probably because my english sucks. But if you want to be a writer like me, man, this is the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Book April 30 2002
By A Customer
Ii cannot say enough positive about this book. It goes beyond a thesaurus, which provides you with a list of synonyms. It gives one the exact shade of meaning that enable you to use the best word for the exact meaning that you intend. If you don't have it, you should buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful. Dec 7 1999
I found this book helpful to extremes. The dictionary format is much better than that of an average thesaurus.
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