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In general usage, a thesaurus is a reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning (containing synonyms and sometimes antonyms), in contrast to a dictionary, which provides definitions for words, and generally lists them in alphabetical order. The main purpose of such reference works is to help the user "to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed" – to quote Peter Mark Roget, architect of the best known thesaurus in the English language.<ref name="Roget">Roget, Peter. 1852. Thesaurus of English Language Words and Phrases</ref>

Although including synonyms, a thesaurus should not be taken as a complete list of all the synonyms for a particular word. The entries are also designed for drawing distinctions between similar words and assisting in choosing exactly the right word. Unlike a dictionary, a thesaurus entry does not give the definition of words.

In library science and information science thesauri have been widely used to specify domain models. Recently, thesauri have been implements with SKOS.

Thesaurus sections
Intro  Etymology  History   List of thesauri    See also    References    External links   

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