Continuing the description of books on words and language listed in the introductory post, which you’ll find here.
Book 22: Oxford Compact Thesaurus:
Hardback, 967 pages. First published in 1997 by Oxford University Press. Mine is the 2001 second edition. I paid nothing for it; it was part of a free promotional offer from an online book club I joined. It was revised again in 2008 and that third edition is available in hardback, with 976 pages, at £9.59 (RRP is £15.99).
I chose it as one of the bundle of books on offer at the time because I love books about the English language.
Many thesauruses have an index; this one doesn’t, simply listing all words in alphabetical order. I opened it at random, for this post, at pages 406/407. Page 406 begins with ‘helter-skelter’ and gives various alternatives for its use as both an adverb and an adjective.
Unlike my favourite thesaurus (Roget’s, of which more in a future post) it doesn’t differentiate in the list between those alternatives for which additional listings are given and those for which no such list exists. It does, however, give some antonyms, which is a useful feature.
Page 407 ends with ‘hidden’ for which it gives alternatives as an adjective, providing two types of usage. One is ‘a hidden camera’, for which it gives eight alternatives. The other is ‘a hidden meaning’, for which it provides another eighteen choices. It lists two antonyms; ‘visible’ and ‘obvious’.
I’m attached to my ancient copy of the Roget’s Thesaurus, so I’ve rarely consulted this other option, but suspect it would suit those who prefer not to use an index. It’s certainly a relatively comprehensive volume, in spite of its title that suggests it’s a truncated version of the available information.
English is a complex language, made up of words from many countries, and borrows rules of grammar, punctuation and even style from the originating lands, which can make it interestingly familiar to learners but also frequently frustratingly baffling to the same students.