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Is it the same meaning in tyrannosaurus as in thesaurus?

I really can’t imagine what those two words could possibly have in common!

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

The two etymologies are different.

In thesaurus, the -saurus isn’t a suffix. It’s part of the word. The word actually comes from the Greek word thēsaurós, which means treasure or treasury.

In tyrannosaurus, the origin is from the Greek words turannos, which means tyrant, plus the word sauros, which means lizard.

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Thanks, that's interesting. But why do I feel somehow disappointed? Think I wanted "thesaurus" to be something to do with dinosaurs. – Urbycoz May 20 '11 at 12:08
Ah! The disappointment of truth! – Thursagen May 20 '11 at 12:13
Note that the etymology of Greek thêsauros is unknown according to Hofmann; the etymology of Greek sauros/saura is not explained in Hofmann but might be available elsewhere—if only the damned Leiden site would work that has Frisk's dictionary. – Cerberus May 20 '11 at 12:49
@Urbycoz This thesaurus does have something to do with dinosaurs :) – ajk May 20 '11 at 15:13
@Urbycoz Is there a thesaurus that does not contain "dinosaur"? – JeffSahol May 20 '11 at 15:45

They have different origins:

thesaurus ORIGIN late 16th cent.: via Latin from Greek thēsauros ‘storehouse, treasure.’ The original sense [dictionary or encyclopedia] was narrowed to the current meaning by the publication of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1852).

tyrannosaurus ORIGIN modern Latin, from Greek turannos ‘tyrant’ + sauros ‘lizard,’ on the pattern of dinosaur.

From NOAD.

So, obviously, they do not have the same meanings. Although some people do like to make jokes about this. Cf. What's a big vocabulary word for someone with a big vocabulary?

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Ahah nice quote... :D – Alenanno May 20 '11 at 10:05
Oh dear, oh dear. – Urbycoz May 20 '11 at 12:10
+1 for link to Thesaurus Rex, you smart-ass! – FumbleFingers May 20 '11 at 15:47
@FumbleFingers: You figured me out. – Robusto May 20 '11 at 15:58
Don't hide your light under a bushel, as they say! Anyway, the world would be a poorer place if that one got lost. – FumbleFingers May 20 '11 at 16:07

According to Wikipedia, thesaurus derived from Latin and meant “treasure store”. So assuming the first half of the word is treasure, then saurus must mean store presumably.

Contrarily, tyrannosaurus derived from the roots tyrannos and sauros from Greek, which meant “tyrant lizard”.

Therefore, since one derives from Latin and the other from Greek, I would assume the similarities in the roots are purely coincidental.

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Maybe I'm being dumb, but I can't see why this has been marked down. Seems correct to me. – Urbycoz May 20 '11 at 12:09
Thank you for using your brain. – Neil May 20 '11 at 16:03
While I did not personally mark it down, I can see the argument. The latin root of thesaurus is derived from greek, which invalidates the concluding paragraph. Also, any answer which includes the words "assuming" and "presumably" is suspect. The first paragraph is vague and not properly researched. Linguistically, there's no reason to assume the first half of thesaurus means "treasure" and the second half "store". My understanding is that thēsauros is synonymous with hoard. – ghoppe May 20 '11 at 18:41
Although I didn't vote down this answer, if I could I would have voted down the remark "Thank you for using your brain." – ghoppe May 20 '11 at 18:43
Thesaurus derived from Latin, and the Romans derived it from Greek, so technically we're both right. If you want to mark it down, that's your choice, though I don't think there's any risk that my answer might accidentally get considered correct. The little number to the left of my answer and its position on the page made sure of that. – Neil May 24 '11 at 10:54

As was mentioned in another comment, one interpretation of the Greek word thesaurus is "hoard". That interpretation made me think of "dragon's hoard". If saurus = lizard = dragon, that could be the link between the -saurus- root and thesaurus. Saurus is the dragon/lizard, and thesaurus implies the dragon's hoard.

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Actually the Greek for dragon was drakon/dragon, and they were seen as more serpentine than lizardlike (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons_in_Greek_mythology). – TimLymington Nov 24 '13 at 12:40

protected by tchrist Aug 13 '14 at 14:32

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