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“A Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms”

I unburied a treasure today. I found it in a dark corner of an old bookcase where it had been placed and forgotten a long time ago.

Visiting my 94 year-old father-in-law, I came across this amazing book: “A Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms,” copyright 1938. Although I have owned a thesaurus of course, there is something special about this book with its yellowed pages, red edges and torn binding.

inside of book

I did a little research on the publisher, The World Syndicate Publishing Company, and learned the founder arrived in Ohio from Europe in 1902. The company published “Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language” in 1941 after becoming the largest publisher of Bibles and dictionaries in the U.S. in 1940. The company was sold in 1963.

My continual quest for new words allures [entices, cajoles, captivates] me to this book in the same way I am fascinated [enchanted, bewitched, enamored] by the archaic words discovered through Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. No techno-speak resides here. Rather there are 190 pages crowded with a multitude [throng, collection, assemblage] of words to add color and life to my writing.

Words are a gift because without them, how would we unfetter [unchain, emancipate, inspirit] our thoughts?

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