As a writer, I have an ongoing love affair with words … and as a lover of words, I love my new Visual Thesaurus.
Type a word, and Visual Thesaurus places it in the center of a constellation of related words: synonyms, antonyms, related phrases. Each branch off that central word represents a different sense in which the keyword may be used. (Enter “mark,” for example, and you’ll get branches related to prices, grades, gospels, German currency, historical figures, written symbols, labels and tags, stains, and even the poor suckers targeted by con men.)
Click a word or branch, and the constellation of words dances around like a rubbery web, rearranging itself on screen as the Visual Thesaurus generates a new network of connotations and denotations. I’m a visual thinker who learns best by doing, so this interactive map of meaning feels tailor-made for me. In fact, I wish I had something similar for navigating and finding connections among all the documents on my hard disk.
You can sample the Visual Thesaurus for free (the site allows you to look up three words without subscribing), enjoy unlimited online use for $19.95 per year, or, if you’re feeling retro, download a desktop version for about forty bucks.