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"The Synonym Finder" is a thesaurus in dictionary form. There are no word definitions or pronunciation guides. Words are listed alphabetically, as they would be in a dictionary, and an exhaustive list of synonyms is given for each definition of every word. Clarifications such as "informal", "slang", "archaic", etc. are provided where appropriate. There are 1.5 million words in "The Synonym Finder", including variations on the same root word. That's more than 4 times the number of words in "Roget's International Thesaurus". If you simply want to find synonyms, this is the book for you. It isn't as versatile as a thesaurus that is organized by subject, but it's more to the point and easier to use if you are simply looking for word alternatives. Roget's is a better research tool, but this is a better and far more efficient synonym finder, and I think that students will prefer it to Roget's. My one pet peeve about the book is that the hardback edition doesn't have a dust jacket. The publisher may have thought a dust jacket would just be a nuisance on a reference book, but I would have preferred one for protection. I only wish "The Synonym Finder" were also available as software, as I have limited space for books within arm's reach of my computer. I use "The Synonym Finder" more frequently than my dictionary, Roget's Thesaurus, and Random House Word Menu combined. I think any writer will find it indispensable, and it would make great gift for middle school, high school, and college students.
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2004
Until coming across this book, I found thesauri to be more frustrating than trying to chew Captain Crunch cereal without any teeth. Not that I know what that's like, but it's easy enough to imagine.

Then I saw this. And found that all of the thesauri collected in my library had become worthless. This is the OED of thesauri, indispensable and perfect beyond comprehension. You will want to order this in hardcover, for you will find yourself using it again, and again, and again, and again.

When I bought this book I actually did comparisons between the synonyms in this book and others, and was astounded. I don't remember the word offhand, but this book had over twenty synonyms, while Roget's had seven. An Oxford thesaurus had eleven, but that was as good as it got.

The most important thing about this book is that the synonyms are relevant. The author hasn't just packed a bunch of words together here to make it look good.
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on September 12, 2000
I've had Rodale's Synonym Finder in my reference library for over ten years, and find that I use it at least ten times a month. There is simply no other book in the English language that is more comprehensive (the number of pages is an obvious give away) nor more helpful. As a lover of language, I frequently examine other such books, and always find that they come up short against this exhaustive resource. What makes this particular reference so valuable is that it recognizes each word usually has more than one meaning, and when it gives a synonym, it is by meaning, not simply by word. Moreover, the reference gives various examples when a word is used as an adjective or adverb, and either as a noun or a verb. It's this breadth and depth that makes this particular synonym finder so extraordinarily superior to the competition. My only lament is that it doesn't include antonymns, but then the book would probably be too large and too cumbersome. As it stands now, the words are clearly displayed, and the synonyms - in all their variety - are abundant.
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This review will be short but sweet. This is the BEST Synonym book around. I have bought a look in my search for the best, and this is my second copy of this book. It is a WRITER's MUST...if you don't have it, you are missing out.
Everyone I have recommended this to have come back and thanked me for 'saving' them!!
Easy to read print, EXTENSIVE listing of Synonym.
Worth every penny and a bargin at that!!
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on December 4, 2009
I love thesauri. I have two editions of the "Original Roget's International Thesaurus" (RIT) [http://www.amazon.com/Rogets-International-Thesaurus-Barbara-Kipfer/dp/0060935448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259963225&sr=1-1], and it has been for many years my most cherished book. English is my second language.

I recently purchased the Synonym Finder (SF). I am disappointed with the SF, in comparison with the superior and richer RIT.

The most helpful review on this site says: "There are 1.5 million words in the SF [...]. That's more than 4 times the number of words in the RIT.". How misleading! It is not the number of repeated words that is important, but the number of index words and word-assoociations. The organization of the SF is linear ("dictionary form"): the same word is merely repeated over and over. The RIT is hierarchical and associative, leading the reader systematically and efficiently from perfect synonyms to "near" and "related" words, and of course includes antonyms and word-lists as well.

The SF has nearly 20,000 index words. The RIT has over 25,000. Check it out!

Try to find index words like "at first sight", "bring together", "consequently", "downplay", "easy on the eye", or "fine-tune" in the SF. And these are just a few examples.

But the big difference between the linear SF and the by-category RIT is not just the number of index-words, but the natural way one searches for a synonym associately. For each index word, the RIT will recommend perhaps only ten alternatives, but each of these is an entire category, leading to 20, 50 or 200 more. The SF, on the other hand, will just provide a linear list of 5-15 other words - invariably a poorer set of choices.

Of all the dictionary-format thesauri, the SF is probably the best. But it consistently pales next to the Original RIT. Three stars, not because it is a bad thesaurus in any way, but because if I were to give it 5 stars, I would have to give the RIT 10 stars!
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on August 26, 2001
When I bought the 1978 edition twenty years ago or so (am I really that old?), I just needed something to help me with my writing in college. To me it was just a thesaurus, and I needed a thesaurus. Over the years I have bought and used other thesauri and have discovered that none helps me find that elusive word as well as The Synonym Finder. I am not a writer, but I do value the quality of my writing. Frequently I find that I want to say something a certain way. I know there is a word that expresses the subtleties of what I want to say, but I cannot think of the word. I have found that the only book which can lead me to that word nearly every time is The Synonym Finder. No Thesaurus has ever been so consistently helpful to me. Recently I have found a stiff competitor (thesaurus.com) that works very well, but it is not a book. For anyone who wants a source that you can hold in your hand and find that word. This is your book.
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on January 1, 2004
The fifth ace for your junior high/high school/college/ student - will help them write better papers faster as they get smarter - because vocabulary is the develop-able skill that elevates the GREAT STUDENTS from the Near Great. And you can't buy IQ or creativity in a book. You learn a lot just browsing it - it's fun to look up the words in a pre-1961 dictionary (when they started dumbing down) - what IS the difference betweeh true/real/honest/factual... or smart/brilliant/intelligent... or funny/witty/comical/jocular/hilarious...
you won't need anything else except a pre-1961 dictionary to go along with this on your reference shelf! I find the paperback pages heftier and sturdier than the hardcover and more able to withstand the frequent use this will get. That's my only criticism - I wish Rodale would make a sturdier hardcover, never mind the bulk or cost - I'd pay a pretty penny for a sturdy hardcover, even leatherbound collectible.
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on October 19, 1999
I love using the exact word...but it doesn't always pop into my brain. So when I read the reviews of this book, I couldn't believe all the hype.
So I bought it to put it through my own personal test...ready to return it when I proved that it wasn't all it was advertised to be.
Well, it's awesome and clearly the best reference on the market. And it's easy to use. Believe the hype...It's a super reference for all wordsmithers!
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on April 7, 1999
I have used _Rodale's Synonym Finder_ for a number of years in preparing lectures and sermons, as well as in writing. A few years ago, I introduced it to a colleague while he was writing a book. His response? "This book saved my life!" This past year, I introduced my [homeschooled] 13-year-old to it in order to give some help with writing a novel. The response? "This book is great, Dad! Thanks for telling me about it!" Needless to add, it is now a necessary part of our writing. I cannot recommend it too highly.
The alphabetical approach makes it extremely easy to use, and removes the step of consulting an index. The [numerous] synonyms are listed alphabetically in categories (e.g., casual/slang); it is difficult to see how Rodale could have made it easier to use--or more useful. I recommend _The Synonym Finder_ most highly it to all of my students, and to anyone who writes.
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on June 9, 2000
Roget's thesaurus was never real quality. The Synonym Finder beats it cold. I write books for a living. Because of my love for words and desire for variety--I use this book constantly. I encourage my students and everyone to secure a copy of this new classic.
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