Sometimes, when I need some inspiration and ideas for words to use in a project, I take the visual route and consult a “visual thesaurus”.
These handy Web applications can help you quickly find new words for a concept you’re working with, visualize its relationship with other words, and, of course, amplify your vocabulary and aid you in avoiding repetition, replication, redundancy, and echolalia, et &…
Here are a few online visual thesaurus applications that are free to use:
SnappyWords -Soon to have its open source code available for the public, SnappyWords can came in handy when you want to share a word’s connections with others: each entry has a unique search entry URL that takes users straight to its visual “network map”. This service also provides a built-in hover-over dictionary (when you hover over each word’s node, of course).
VisuWords -Very similar to SnappyWords, this application doesn’t seem to allow direct linking to specific words. Built-in dictionary.
WordVis – This simple visual thesaurus lets you filter words by different parts of speech and categories. Once again, no direct hyperlinking to specific words is provided. Built-in dictionary.
GraphWords – This visual thesaurus has handy (am I using the word “handy” too often in this post?), I meant “commodious” social media sharing buttons for quickly sharing your word maps with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Unlike the previous services on this list, GraphWords has a drawback: no built-in dictionary is provided.
Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary – This is a typical illustrated dictionary. Illustrations are available in different categories. The search mechanism (custom Google search) isn’t very effective, but the illustration work is quite comprehensive.