Synonyms of thesaurus in English:
We turn to a thesaurus when in search of a word—ideally, when one knows just the right word but has forgotten it; less ideally, and almost always disappointingly, both for reader and writer, when one goes in blindly to hunt down something cooler, smarter, rarer, or bigger. There is a class of words taken from the lexicon of pathologists that detail the disorders of the mind afflicting (not literally, and mercifully only temporarily) every flailing, thesaurus-wielding writer. My favorites are anomia, a form of aphasia in which the writer (er, patient) is unable to recall the names of everyday objects; dysnomia, the difficulty of retrieving the correct words or names from memory; echolalia, the meaningless repetition of words and phrases; and dysgraphia, the difficulty in writing coherently. Cures for the latter two can be found in no reference book. It’s interesting how similar these terms for neurological disease sound like those for rhetorical devices, like parataxis, apophasis, meiosis. In the end, and done correctly, writing’s just another pathology.Joshua Ferris
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