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The Flip Dictionary

Posted by ESC on November 10, 2002

In Reply to: The Sorry Recommendations posted by R. Berg on November 10, 2002

: : Perhaps I'm just grumpy because I have a back injury, a mother recovering from surgery, and four non-functional computers in various stages of repair, but I've been amusing myself with Eugene Ehrlich's "Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate" and its companion dictionary and I am less amused than expected. "Swashbuckler" is offered as the sole synonym of "swordsman". "Carmelite" and "votary" are given equal weight as synonyms of "nun".

: : Granted, Ehrilich's books are clearly intended to be cotton candy for pseudo-intellectuals, but after flipping through other references for comparision, I've decided most thesauri are sloppy miserable things that need better categorization. Only Roget's passed muster in my library. Are there other decent thesauri out there?

: Perhaps not, but here's a recommendation for the grumpiness: (link below), a large collection of Monty Python scripts.

: The only thesaurus I use is an old paperback Roget's. How old? The cover price is 35 cents.

I don't use a thesaurus very often. But I like "The Writer's Digest Flip Dictionary: for when you know what you want to say but can't think of the word," by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D., (Writer's Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2000).

For purposes of comparison, the Flip Dictionary lists:

nun: abbess, anchorite, devotee, postulant, prioress, sister, vestal, votaress.
nun or monk: votary
nun who is superior of convent: abbess, prioress
nun, candidate for: neophyte, novice, novitiate, postulant
nun, to become a: take the veil, take vows
nun, woman living in religious community living without vows of: canoness

swashbuckler: adventurer, buccaneer, daredevil, pirate, ruffian, soldier, swordsman

sword: bilbo, blade, brand, broadsword, claymore, creese, cutlass, dagger, dirk, dris, épée, falchion, foil, hanbger, rapier, saber, sabre, scimitar, toledo, weapon, yalaghan.
(10 sword related entries follow)
swordsman: dueler, fencer, gladiator

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