Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope

A thesaurus may refer to any of the following:

1. A thesaurus is a software tool included with some word processors that provides synonyms for selected words on command. Users using Microsoft Word can open a thesaurus by highlighting the word they want to look up and pressing the keyboard shortcut Shift+F7.

Thesaurus and Dictionary

2. A thesaurus is a book, program, or online service that provides alternative or similar words to a word. For example, searching for "hope" may return synonyms like "achievement," "faith," "ambition," and "optimism."

Online thesaurus services include and the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus.

Thesaurus vs. dictionary

A thesaurus groups words with the same meaning (synonyms) and similar words. On the other hand, a dictionary explains the definition of a word. For example, looking up the word "computer" in a thesaurus may give words like "PC," "CPU (central processing unit)," "calculator," "abacus," and "laptop" that could be used instead of the word computer. Looking up the word "computer" in a dictionary would define the word like what is found on our computer definition.

Why would someone need a thesaurus on a computer?

A thesaurus is used on a computer while writing an e-mail, letter, or paper to find an alternative meaning for words. For example, repeating the same word throughout your writing can become repetitive to a reader, and you could use a thesaurus to get a synonym of the word.

A thesaurus can also be used for someone creating a business name or registering a domain. For example, many of the most common .com domain names are already registered. When creating a new name, you could use a thesaurus to find related words that may relate to your business. For example, if you did repairs, you could look up the word "repair" and find related words like "fix," "correct," "improve," "mend," etc. that could be used as a replacement to repair.


An excellent, free downloadable thesaurus for Windows is WordWeb.

Dictionary, Spell checker, Synonym, WordWeb