Nisus Thesaurus

technology

I like words. I like using them inventively and correctly, but I often need a lot of help. While I own several paper dictionaries and thesauruses (thesauri? I rest my case...), I'm a fan of the electronic versions because they obviate the need for that tedious trudge to the bookcase. Enter the new, free Nisus Thesaurus; it's a neat little Cocoa application, with matching Services menu for quick lookup of words in other applications. Using it is pretty straightforward: you enter your word in the input box at the top, hit return, and wait for a plethora of synonyms to turn up. You get words that are similar to, opposite to, more general than, or more specific than the word you selected, and a definition of the word as well. It's all very neat, and seems to come with quite a decent database of words.

I was trying to think of a word to test it with, and for some reason came up with 'discombobulate'. An evil grin spread over my face--"That'll fox it" I thought. But it didn't. I even got two related definitions of discombobulate, including alternative words such as bemuse, bewilder, fox (ha!) and fuddle. In case you are curious, here are the definitions:

discombobulate (as in "bewilder") v. : cause to be confused emotionally

discombobulate (as in "confuse") v. : be confusing or perplexing to; cause to be unable to think clearly: "These questions confuse even the experts"; "This question completely threw me"; "This question befuddled even the teacher"

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