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National Thesaurus Day, January 18, 2023. The Man Who Made Lists

National Thesaurus Day

National Thesaurus Day

Peter Roget

Peter Roget

Peter Roget Later Years

Peter Roget Later Years

Roget's Thesaurus

Roget's Thesaurus

Roget's Thesaurus

Roget's Thesaurus

Peter Mark Roget, Developer of the Thesaurus

Many of us have used Roget's Thesaurus to find the perfect word to avoid repetition in our writing, and we have Peter Mark Roget to thank for his endless list-making to condense his words into the book.

Peter was born in London in 1779. His father died when he was just four years old. After years of living in many small boarding homes, his mother moved to Edinburgh so Peter could attend Edinburgh University. Peter had started very early in his young life compiling lists of everything he could. It is believed his listmaking compulsion was his way of coping with the mental illness he suffered.

Mental illness ran in his family, with his grandmother and mother suffering from the illness. At any rate, Peter graduated from Edinburgh with his medical degree in 1798 to begin the practice of medicine. But, with his lack of social skills, he found it hard to build his medical practice. It would be his skill in lecturing that he found his niche. He was in demand as a lecturer because of his knowledge of medicine.

Peter was a physician and became the secretary of the Royal Society of Medicine, where he remained for over twenty years.

Roget And The Slide Ruler

Peter was more than simply a listmaker; he loved the chess game and invented a pocket chessboard that began being manufactured in 1858. The pocket chessboard would be used throughout the Civil War by the soldiers on both sides.

He also invented the slide ruler he called the 'log-log.' This slide ruler was used for years until the invention of the calculator.

Roget's Log-Log

Roget's Log-Log

After Retirement

After retiring in 1840, Peter began seriously putting his lists into book form, calling at Thesaurus. Thesaurus comes from the Greek word "thesaurus," which means 'treasure' or 'chest.' First published in 1852 after working on it his whole life, by the time Roget died in 1869, the book had gone through twenty-eight printings and had NEVER been out of print.

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Peter's book is the go-to book for finding exciting words to use in place of other terms and a must for writers to make texts more interesting.

After Peter's death, his son, John Lewis Roget (1828-1908), continued working and expanding his father's Thesaurus. It is estimated that 30 million copies have been sold worldwide.

Peter is buried in St. James Churchyard, Malvern, Worcestershire. His daughter, Catherine, is buried with him.

Roget's Grave Marker

Roget's Grave Marker

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The Historical Thesaurus Of The Oxford Dictionary

The Historical Thesaurus Oxford Dictionary was published in 2009. It is referred to as HTOED and consists of 4000 pages, and is the largest in the world with 800,000 words with meanings from Old English to the present day.

The book took forty-four years to complete, and 230 people worked on the project, taking 320,000 hours to complete, costing 1.8 million dollars.

The book can be found at the University of Glasgow.

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford Dictionary

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford Dictionary

Sources Used

https://www.publishersweekly.com

https://nytimes.com

https://behindeveryday.com

https://languagetool.org


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