Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thsrs – The Shorter Thesaurus

Thanks to a comment over on Twitter (by @SharnAtlanta), I stumbled upon found the Thsrs (the shorter thesaurus) site), which does what it says. You type in a word, and it finds shorter ones. Entering “glorious” returns: known, blessed, blest and some more.

Why bother, you might ask. Well first, for those addicted to Twitter, Thsrs can help you to get more bang for your  140 character tweet. If you don’t know what Twitter is, of if you don’t care, then this probably is no big deal. If yoiu are a twitter addict, then you can use it to fit more thoughts into your 140-character max limit.

The other place it’s useful is in writing and you want to find a simpler or shorter word. By using shorter or simpler words, you can make your writing a bit more accessible to the average person. This is doubly useful when writing for a global audience (some/many of whom may not speak English, or American, as their native language).

In some cases, for example when you are deliberately [NB: Thsrs suggests by design, by choice, on purpose] writing for a highly educated audience, longer words may be OK. Even if it sometimes feel like the writing is pretentious [NB: Thsrs suggests: flaunty, arty, inflated, showy, splashy] rather than educated. But for mass market, especially an international one where your thoughts are more important than the specific word, then Thsrs can be useful.

As noted on the blog entry, the source of the words used by Thsrs come from the Big Huge Thesaurus. BHT, in turn, gets from the WordNet database, created at Princeton University.

And one final thing – from the main Thsrs page (, you can get a search engine plug-in for FireFox (etc) that enables you to add this site for searches. That way, you can search directly from your browser. Neat!

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