A thesaurus is a very effective way to look up synonyms. Most writing software, such as Microsoft Word or Pages, comes with a thesaurus and dictionary included. However, thesauruses are available for purchase as hard copies and are also accessible online.
An online tool useful for finding synonyms is the Visual Thesaurus, an interactive dictionary and thesaurus that creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. Its innovative display encourages exploration, discovery and learning. The hope is that users can come to understand language in a powerful new way.
For example, with the word "happy," the Visual Thesaurus provides a definition and helps users find related words from "cheerful" to "euphoric." The goal is for the Visual Thesaurus to function much like the human brain. The program helps the user write more descriptively, use his natural intuition, discover new words and gain a more precise knowledge of the English language.
Additional features include a word pronunciation program available for users who do not know how to pronounce the word they desire to use, personal settings for customers who use the program frequently, capability to email word maps to friends, and words in Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Italian.