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.