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Custom Thesaurus

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You can add to the spell checker's dictionary in MS Word, so why not the other favorite tool? Often searching one word leads you to another synonym, which leads you to an even better one, until you get the word you want. Or sometimes the right word emerges from divine inspiration, a clever roommate, or (gasp!) a paper thesaurus. This way you could add it to the synonym list of the first word you looked up, saving time the next time around.

For purists, there could be a separate list for words which aren't exact synonyms but closely related words. Although it seems to me that's what a thesaurus is anyway.

ickle me, Apr 22 2002

Moby Thesaurus http://www.dcs.shef...esearch/ilash/Moby/
Build your own from Grady Ward's spectacular thesaurus components. All in the public domain. [bristolz, Apr 22 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

My favourite Thesaurus http://www.plumbdes...hesaurus/index.html
Probably over-engineered in the graphics department... [hippo, Apr 23 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       --and really easy to implement, too. But maybe bristolz link bakes it to a crisp? Back in a jiff...Argh. OK, hard for me to say: is Moby's thesaurus implemented in a database software--MySQL or similar--or it it a set of lists sans relational querying and other amenities? Anyone?
Dog Ed, Apr 23 2002
  

       I must be thick today. I'm not seeing the value of this. Spell checkers do an entirely different function than thesauri. The logic of one does not apply to the other.   

       You can add words to spell checkers so that they will stop tripping over proper names, variant or intentional misspellings (which a fiction writer may be wont to use), that sort of thing. Thesauri are a collection of synonyms. They work in context, and when you search from one word to the next, you move out of context. You can't create synonyms, so there's no need to add to the list. When you remove or dilute the contextual function, you reduce the value of the tool as a whole.   

       Using this idea's title as a example, I plugged "customize" into Word's thesaurus. ("Custom" means "tradition.") From there, I followed "modify" and, from there, I found "adapt" and "alter". Neither of those two words is a synomym for "customize" and could not be used in the same context, at least without changing the original meaning. An "adaptable" or "alterable" thesaurus is not what you are proposing.   

       There may be circumstances where this works, but I would imagine there aren't enough to warrant this function. The only possible use I can see for this is the intentional bastardi(s)zation of the language, and I cannot support that.
waugsqueke, Apr 23 2002
  

       Mmm... custard.
lubbit, Apr 23 2002
  

       Hmmm, a highly customized car is, in fact, highly traditional? Learn sumpin' new everyday.   

       Is there a functional difference between, say: "The Orion was adapted for flight into hurricanes," and " The Orion was customized for flight into hurricanes," and "The Orion was altered for flight into hurricanes?"   

       The beauty of Moby Thesaurus is that a headword search returns a huge cloud of *related* words rather than just strict synonyms. I find it much more thought provoking when writing (or naming stuff).   

       That plumbdesign thesaurus just makes me plum crazy.
bristolz, Apr 23 2002
  

       // a highly customized car is, in fact, highly traditional? //   

       "Customized," no. "Custom," yes.   

       I do think there is a functional difference in your Orion-into-hurricane examples. Varying degrees of change are indicated. "Adapted" suggests, to me at least, that less change was required than "altered" does. "Customized" suggests an even more radical adjustment. Whether this changes the point being made, I don't know.
waugsqueke, Apr 23 2002
  

       I use a thesaurus more to find the word that I'm looking for than to find an equivalent to a word I already have. So if you're looking for "customized" but all you can think of is "modified," wouldn't it be nice to look up the word you have and find the one you want? Like in the Moby Thesaurus, I'm talking about *related* words.   

       I see this more as a way to avoid the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon being repeated with the same words. (I'm pretty confident I associate certain words together time after time, and I know I've forgotten the good word I had come up with a few minutes before.)   

       Granted, in the wrong hands, a thesaurus is a dangerous tool. I appreciate concern for the purity of the English language, but if people are going to use big words to sound intelligent, I don't think this will make too much difference.
ickle me, Apr 23 2002
  

       So, a custom car shop is in fact a traditional car shop?
bristolz, Apr 23 2002
  

       You're enjoying this, aren't you?
waugsqueke, Apr 23 2002
  

       "Custom" never means "traditional".   

       As a noun, a "custom" is a tradition. As an adjective "custom" is synonymous with "customized".   

       cf Merriam-Webster:   

       1cus·tom Pronunciation: 'k&s-t&m Function: noun Etymology: Middle English custume, from Old French, from Latin consuetudin-, consuetudo, from consuescere to accustom, from com- + suescere to accustom; akin to suus one's own -- more at SUICIDE Date: 13th century 1 a : a usage or practice common to many or to a particular place or class or habitual with an individual b : long-established practice considered as unwritten law c : repeated practice d : the whole body of usages, practices, or conventions that regulate social life 2 plural a : duties, tolls, or imposts imposed by the sovereign law of a country on imports or exports b usually singular in construction : the agency, establishment, or procedure for collecting such customs 3 a : business patronage b : usually habitual patrons   

       2custom Function: adjective Date: 1830 1 : made or performed according to personal order 2 : specializing in custom work or operation <a custom tailor>
globaltourniquet, Apr 23 2002
  

       Nyah, nyah.
bristolz, Apr 24 2002
  

       A very good idea... and we could use it for translating using our own vocabularies
josem, Jun 26 2004
  
      
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