Right-Click Synonyms?

Hi all,

I believe I posted about this once before in a previous list of wishes (and it has been brought up by others, too), but even so, I think it merits a post of its own. While I love Apple’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, and they are very handy tools to have, one thing I really miss about Microsoft Word (both as a writer and user) was the ability to just right-click on a given word and have, right there in the menu, a list of click-and-insert alternatives to the selected word. After all — understanding a word’s usage is great, but sometimes, you just need quick and dirty alternatives. No launching a separate app, no opening a new window, no copying and pasting . . . just select, click!, insert. I know there is considerable discussion as to whether or not it is a better practice to use the built-in Writing Tools (Apple’s Dictionary and Thesaurus tools), and why the right-click-synonym feature isn’t really a necessary one. But I disagree with this assessment. I think it’s better to have both — synonyms at a click, and the thesaurus for more in-depth word-research; for writers like me, who have a big vocabulary already but who sometimes reach for words just beyond the tip of our brain’s tongue and fail to find them, this would be a great addition to Scrivener’s features. Not to mention a great tool for poets and and more experimental writers. As a writer of fiction, I found it an invaluable convenience, and it’s really the only thing that I truly miss about MS Word. As far as I’m concerned, all my other Wish List postings and feature requests aside, if I could see any single one of them implemented, this would be it! I know such a thing may be a point of contention among power-users and purists, but speaking purely for myself, the addition of this one tiny feature would make my writing life a lot more productive, because I could get more done quicker, with fewer side-trips to other apps.

So — Thoughts, opinions?

Andy H.

This would pretty much involve me creating my own full thesaurus (for all languages?) from scratch, seeing as, alas, there is no way to hook into the Apple one. So, while I agree that this would be a nice feature, it is not really feasible. If Apple opened up its thesaurus code and made it possible to query it for results for a specific word, it would be straightforward, but unfortunately there is just no way of doing that as things stand at the moment.
All the best,

There are a variety of open source libraries that offer thesaurus results.


There’s also a few places with web services… some require license fees, some don’t. For example,


I downloaded the WordNet source other night and played around with it for a while. It seemed to work pretty well. The library isn’t the largest but it looks like it would be easy to roll your own.

Sorry to hear that, Keith. I’ll just chime in and agree with the fact that WordNet seems pretty good, and the license seems to allow for usage in Scrivener: wordnet.princeton.edu/wordnet/license/

As a Norwegian I am not so much interested in a Norwegian thesaurus, as a thesaurus that lets me get new ideas and input. The WordNet one has synonyms, antonyms, homonyms and a fountain of other -nyms, that can broaden or limit your search for the exact word you need.

Having this inside Scrivener would be nice, but for the impatient adding the following page, wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn, to research might be a quick and easy way to open the gates.

The same for other dictionaries, as mentioned in this thread and others. Rhyming being one I noticed in another thread.

For jumping back and forth between any two programs, cmd/ctrl + tab is easy, and Clue, a dictionary program I’ve been using on and off for the last decade, or any system built in one, is easily referenced thus.

I still believe that it would be wonderful to integrate a synonym function like Word (right click). I write in Italian and there is not much on the net that I can use. If you have any suggestion…
Have a nice one.

There’s not much chance of us building our own Italian synonyms database, sorry. :slight_smile:

If we can access alternative words via a contextual menu and if we can replace initial words with the potential alternatives as you go (as in MS Word), it works as a very useful learning tool as well as a writing aid. As an academic whose second language is English, this option is very important to me.

I am surprised that this option is missing in such an outstanding software otherwise. Therefore, I like to add this feature to the most VITAL wish list!

I don’t know if you have kids or not, but with this forum, you have more kids than any parent should ever be blessed with.