From Library Journal
This concise and convenient thesaurus, edited by Lutz ( Double-Speak , HarperCollins, 1989), follows the trend of most modern thesauruses by employing an alphabetical arrangement in lieu of the traditional classified arrangement used in Roget's International Thesaurus (HarperCollins, 1992. 5th ed.). This new thesaurus is an original list with more than 200,000 synonyms and antonyms--exceeding the 100,000 words found in Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus (Merriam-Webster, 1988) and the 75,000 words found in Roget's II: The New Thesaurus (Houghton , 1988) . Yet it contains considerably fewer words than the 300,000 in Webster's New World Thesaurus (S. & S., 1985) and the 275,000 in Random House Thesaurus College Edition (Random, 1984). Cambridge is succinct, concentrating on idioms, verb phrases, and slang. Phrases are listed under the "main" word in the phrase. "Play it by ear," for example, is found under the noun ear instead of the verb play . Unlike The Oxford Thesaurus American Edition (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1992), which employs both an alphabetical arrangement and an index for cross references, Cambridge follows a strict alphabetical arrangement. Although scholars will probably prefer using Roget's International for its comprehensive coverage, Cam bridge is a welcome addition to the list of modern thesauruses. Highly recommended for users who need a concise work that provides quick and easy access.- Lois Cherepon, St. John's Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The publicity material calls The Cambridge Thesaurus of American English
"concise, easy-to-use, and presented in readable type." It is all of those things. Presented in dictionary format, it does not have an index as does The Oxford Thesaurus: American Edition
D 1 92].
The Cambridge Thesaurus contains fewer words than Oxford (about 200,000 compared with 275,000) or Roget's International Thesaurus, fifth edition (325,000). In his introduction, editor Lutz explains that the synonyms "have been arranged to provide users with a broad selection of synonyms that adhere closely to the meaning of the entry word." Generally not more than 10 synonyms are provided for a word to "confine the entries to those synonyms that are appropriate and above all familiar and useful."
Idioms and verb phrases are included both as entries and as synonyms, with special emphasis on current usage. While the slang usage of chill does not have its own entry, it does appear as a synonym in the entry calm down. Where synonyms are slang, they identified as such. Informal and colloquial terms are not so labeled, which could be a problem in formal writing. The editor recommends checking a current dictionary when in doubt.
Entries are identified by part-of-speech abbreviation; words that can be more than one part of speech are listed separately. Arabic numerals separate synonym groups by meaning. A brief gloss in parentheses will identify the sense for each synonym group if it is not immediately clear. Some antonyms are given, to narrow the possible choices among synonyms and to help select the best synonym from among those given.
Lists of types of things--flowers, cheeses, dog breeds--are omitted. This also explains the absence of color terms, which are not easily interchangeable. Green as an adjective, however, does have synonyms that cover flourishing plants and immaturity.
This is a good, concise thesaurus for the general reader, a ready-reference or telephone-reference service point, or an office. Given the price, it might even be a good circulating thesaurus since it is much more legible than the paperbound ones most libraries use. A useful purchase.