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Dictionary or Thesaurus?

Dictionaries and thesauruses are reference books for words. But what's the difference between them? When do we use a dictionary and when do we use a thesaurus?

Dictionary

A dictionary is a list of words arranged alphabetically, and for each word you can see:

Here is a simple example of a dictionary entry for the noun "dog":

dog (noun): a domesticated, meat-eating animal that usually has a long snout, excellent sense of smell, and a barking or howling voice

When you want to know what a word means, you look in a dictionary.

Thesaurus

A thesaurus is a list of words arranged in conceptual groups or alphabetically, and for each word you can see:

Here is a simple example of a thesaurus entry for the noun "dog":

dog (noun): hound, canine, mongrel, tyke; bitch, pup, puppy, whelp; doggy, mutt

When you don't know the exact word you that want, you look in a thesaurus.

Note: