Remember This? Roget’s Thesaurus

Quote of the day: Everything in the world is good for something. –– Dryden.

Roget illustration 001bPeter Roget is God, kind of. What would I do today without my 1961 edition of Roget’s International Thesaurus? It was a present given to me by my mother for completing my Lutheran confirmation classes.

At the time, after sweating through those confirmation classes, I asked, “Is this all I get, a book with a billion words and only one picture, a sick, sepia-toned print of the author, some guy named Roget?” Looking at his picture, all I saw was a stiff, scholarly guy staring back at me with an expression that said only one thing, “I am smarter than you will ever be.”

Unimpressed with Roget, for nearly a decade, his thesaurus was put to better use as a prop to hold up makeshift shelves in the living room that my precious TV sat on.

But one day, years later, when I needed to find a synonym for “lazy,” I slid Roget out, dusted him off, and life hasn’t been the same since. No more using “lazy” when there’s “dilatory, slack, shiftless, and lazy as Ludlam’s dog” around. I look at Roget now and give praise. What other gift could keep on giving like his thesaurus?

The answer is J.I. Rodale’s 1361-page synonym finder. I’ve been confirmed to the next level, and Rodale’s compilation of synonyms is the best around today.

Even still, I have Roget’s Thesaurus by my side. His book not only contains synonyms, precious American slang and colloquialisms, but is full of ancient, foreign and modern quotations at the bottom of each page. In fact, that’s where I found the quotation by Dryden for this post: Everything in the world is good for something. However, I could have found better use for Roget’s masterpiece than as some prop to elevate the almighty TV set on. How slack, lax and negligent.

2 Comments

Filed under Remember This?

2 responses to “Remember This? Roget’s Thesaurus

  1. “Looking at his picture, all I saw was a stiff, scholarly guy staring back at me with an expression that said only one thing, “I am smarter than you will ever be.”’

    I love this. : ) And I love my thesaurus, too. Pocket-sized right next to my home computer.

  2. Thank you, Jenifer. Yes, “Pocket-sized right next to my home computer.” Akin to the reading glasses on my bedside table. Can’t do without it.

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