2

The adjectival form of thesaurus does not seem to have been listed on (all) standard dictionaries. However, thesaurical occurs in literature1 and is also defined in Urban Dictionary.

Do we have an alternate 'listed' word for a context like the one below (a question of the sort dealt with on the pages of thesauri)?

But, Sir, that's a thesaurical question.

1 These are the next epithets theorists have up their thesaurical sleeves. (New Scientist, 1977)

7

OED has

thesaurus noun

Etymology:  Latin, < Greek θησαυρός a store, treasure, storehouse, treasury.

1. Archaeol. A treasury, as of a temple, etc.
2.
  a. A ‘treasury’ or ‘storehouse’ of knowledge, as a dictionary, encyclopædia, or the like.
  b. A collection of concepts or words arranged according to sense; also (U.S.) a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms.
  c. A classified list of terms, esp. key-words, in a particular field, for use in indexing and information retrieval.

I didn't realise the word meant treasury, but that leads us to

thesaurarial adjective

Etymology:  < Latin thēsaurārius (see thesaurary n.) + -al suffix1.

Of or pertaining to the office of treasurer.

thesaury noun

Cheifly Sc. Obs.: The treasury; the treasurership.

OED doesn't list a canonical adjective for "of or pertaining a dictionary of synonyms", but it would be possible to coin thesaurial from thesaury which is sufficiently like thesaurus to be intelligible, and which introduces neither the extra syllable of thesaurarial nor the -c- in thesaurical.

I guess that New Scientist coined thesaurical because of its similar sound to rhetorical, but that is to misuse the -ical ending. The base word does not end -ic.

  • I had never connected the Italian word, tesoro (treasure), with thesaurus but it does make a lot of sense. Thank you for that gold nugget! – Mari-Lou A Jun 17 '13 at 7:41
  • Great find. However, the context I stated does not related to 'treasury' as you can see. Thanks all the same. – Kris Jun 17 '13 at 12:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.