Thesauruses, or if you are more classically inclined thesauri, appear to be in vogue. In ET12 (Oct 87), we reviewed the latest Longman revision of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, which the company had first published in 1852. Then, in ET14 (Apr 88) we drew attention to the rather surprising facsimile reproduction by Bloomsbury of the original 1852 Roget. Now, it is both relevant and important to highlight some developments on the part of a third British publisher, Collins, who have brought out not one but two new wordbooks:
• The COLLINS School Thesaurus, ISBN 0-00-313318-4, £5.95: This is actually an Australian work, first published by Jacaranda Press in 1986 under the copyright of Macquarie University, New South Wales, and edited by Linsay Knight. The blurb claims ‘over 940 word groups, each consisting of words and phrases with closely related meanings’. The keyword in each group is explained, after which its associate words take their turn, as shown in the group for the verb fall reproduced below. The school thesaurus is a concise and powerful tool, lucidly organized and complemented by an easy-to-use index.
• The COLLINS Dictionary and Thesaurus in One Volume, 0-00-433186-9, £11.95; Collins already had a concise version of their standard dictionary of English, and a companion thesaurus. The trick here has been to combine them, so that the thesaurus section runs along the bottom of each page, in time with the alphabetic columns. The blurb says: ‘Here for the first time in one handy volume the reader is offered a general-purpose Dictionary and a Thesaurus in dictionary form’. And the blurb is right, as far as we know. Collins claim 71,000 dictionary references and 250,000 thesaurus ‘synonyms’. We already have on our shelves the volumes before they were unified, and have concluded that the unification is to be preferred. (See sample page.)