Finding the #Write #Words? No. 21: New Nuttall Dictionary of English Synonyms and Antonyms

Continuing the description of books on words and language listed in the introductory post, which you’ll find here.

Book 21: The New Nuttall Dictionary of English Synonyms and Antonyms:

Hardback, 442 pages. First published in 1943 by Frederick Warne and Co. Mine is the 1986 edition, revised by Editor Rosalind Fergusson and published by Viking. I paid £9.95 for it. It doesn’t appear to have been revised since and I can only find my version, sold as a used book for around £3.00.

I bought it because most thesauruses fail to offer antonyms, and it’s often difficult to think of a suitable opposite of the word you’re trying to invert. I’ve tended to use it almost exclusively to find antonyms, but occasionally as an alternative thesaurus.

Unlike many thesauruses, this one has no index but simply lists all words in alphabetical order. I opened it at random, for this post, at pages 206/207. Page 207 begins with suggestions for ‘gregarious’ and lists the following alternatives: sociable, social, outgoing, friendly, affable, companionable, genial, cordial, and convivial. It provides an antonym in caps: RECLUSIVE. There are no suggested synonyms for ‘reclusive’, however, ‘recluse’ is listed and offers the following alternatives: hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, eremite, ascetic, monk, and nun. So, it is possible to find opposites or approximate antonyms for most of the suggestions given for ‘gregarious’. Page 207 ends with ‘guide’ as a verb, and gives the following suggested synonyms: lead, direct, pilot, steer, conduct, usher, escort, accompany, control, regulate, handle, manage, govern, rule, influence, teach, instruct, advise, and counsel. It provides FOLLOW as an antonym, and that provides an excellent series of its own synonyms. The noun section for ‘guide’ is on the following page.

I’ve found this book useful in those situations when my aged brain refuses to supply an opposite – great relief for that sort of frustration!

English is a complex language, made up of words from many countries, and it borrows rules of grammar, punctuation and even style from those originating lands, which makes it interestingly familiar to learners but also frequently frustratingly baffling to the same students.

Those learning the English Language will find help on pronunciation here. And you’ll find a friendly group on Facebook through this link.

Post 2 is here, post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6, post 7, post 8, post 9, post 10, post 11, post 12, post 13, post 14, post 15, post 16, post 17, post 18, post 19, and post 20 here.

2 thoughts on “Finding the #Write #Words? No. 21: New Nuttall Dictionary of English Synonyms and Antonyms

  1. Thanks, Miriam. In common with most English folk, my ‘foreign’ language skills are minimal (I usually manage enough to get by in politeness when overseas on holiday – smatterings of German, French, Greek and Italian). But good dictionaries show the etymology of words and we have many from our days as an empire – India, Africa, the Middle East and many other lands have contributed, and continue to contribute to our ever-broadening language. I love the subtlety such wide variety provides us and feel privileged to live in a country with such richness of expression.

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  2. Interesting post again, Stuart. Your book is quite a treasure and I bet is supplies intriguing antonyms and synonyms.

    I am also intrigued with your mention of English and it’s composition of so many languages. If you know a few languages you keep spotting the origin of many words. One thing was always said among students; ‘ It is the language with more exceptions than rules’.

    Long may the variety languages and their cultures live. Sameness can be boring.


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