Similar to how a thesaurus lists synonyms, is there a book that groups words (or phrases) together by conceptual usage?

For example, this question is looking for words that describe a person's character. I would be interested in a book that would help me identify words commonly used to describe

  • an inanimate object
  • a physical motion
  • nature

Ideally this would highlight what is considered a cliche description.

  • I would tag this question "concordance" but I don't have enough rep to create a new tag. – goodguys_activate Jun 18 '11 at 12:38

Roget's Original Thesaurus was organized exactly that way. Its table of contents is organized by general theme; it is only once you traverse down to single words that he provides the set of synonyms.


I'm not sure if it's exactly what you have in mind, but you might try looking for a "thematic dictionary". One that I own is "The Longman Lexicon of Contemporary English". A search for "thematic dictionary" (including the double quotes) on Google yields lots of hits.

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