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thesaurus

[thi-sawr-uh s]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural the·sau·rus·es, the·sau·ri [-sawr-ahy] /-ˈsɔr aɪ/.
  1. a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms, such as the online Thesaurus.com.
  2. any dictionary, encyclopedia, or other comprehensive reference book.
  3. a storehouse, repository, or treasury.
  4. Computers.
    1. an index to information stored in a computer, consisting of a comprehensive list of subjects concerning which information may be retrieved by using the proper key terms.
    2. a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms stored in memory for use in word processing.

Origin of thesaurus

1730–40; < Latin thēsaurus < Greek thēsaurós ‘treasure, treasury’
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thesauruses

Historical Examples

  • The very Graduses and Thesauruses were raked for phrases to pelt me with by the tiny pedants.

    The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb

    Charles Lamb


British Dictionary definitions for thesauruses

thesaurus

noun plural -ruses or -ri (-raɪ)
  1. a book containing systematized lists of synonyms and related words
  2. a dictionary of selected words or topics
  3. rare a treasury

Word Origin

C18: from Latin, Greek: treasure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for thesauruses

thesaurus

n.

1823, "treasury, storehouse," from Latin thesaurus "treasury, treasure," from Greek thesauros "a treasure, treasury, storehouse, chest," from root of tithenai "to put, to place." The meaning "encyclopedia filled with information" is from 1840, but existed earlier as thesaurarie (1590s), used as a title by early dictionary compilers. Meaning "collection of words arranged according to sense" is first attested 1852 in Roget's title. Thesaur is attested in Middle English with the meaning "treasure" (15c.-16c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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