Thesaurus Function

Hi. I am new to Scrivener. I really do like the software but am a little confused about the thesaurus function. I read a “Wish List” post ([url]]) that recommends using the “define” option to access the thesaurus in Windows but “define --> thesaurus” doesn’t come up when I right click on a word (and it’s not present in the tools drop down either).

When I right click, all I am given is the option to go online to use google,, etc. “Define” does not appear under writing tools and, unless I’m missing it, my version does not have an option to add a dictionary or thesaurus icon to the toolbar, as suggested in the “Wish List” thread.

Going online to use the thesaurus isn’t convenient. So any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance :slight_smile:

Make sure you have the most recent version of Scrivener, 1.8.0 - I forget when that feature was added, but I think it was relatively recently.

Bear in mind it doesn’t work for every word - it has to be words that are in the database. For instance words like “to” and “you” and “helped” and “because” don’t seem to be in the database, and so can’t be defined.

For words that can be defined - when you right-click on them you should see Define and Synonyms options at about the middle of the context menu, just above Spelling (not in the Writing Tools Section).

And take any definitions it gives you with a grain of salt - it’s telling me that “was” is “a state in northwestern United States on the Pacific”

Thanks so much! I downloaded the update and now have a thesaurus and dictionary which is an improvement. I do agree that the thesaurus is kind of spotty. It seems that quite a few words aren’t included and those that are aren’t always very well defined (such as secret = info or information with no other synonym listed).

Also mine seems to be set to UK English which sometime requires an extra step but it is a thesaurus and something to try before going online.

I do like the software overall and hope that this is something they will improve upon in the near future.

I also really appreciate the help :slight_smile:

To be clear, this isn’t a standard dictionary or thesaurus, which would be a rather enormous task for us to build as a non-Microsoft-sized company. :slight_smile: Scrivener uses Princeton’s WordNet, which you can read about here.

Hi Jennifer thanks. I did look at the site but am still not completely clear on why so many words are missing. Possibly because Wordnet is not really meant to serve as a thesaurus?

The site says:

So, I have to say honestly that I’m not quite sure what that means but it does seem to me that there might be a better thesaurus choice than WordNet. I’m sure that WordNet is quite good at what it does but I don’t think that its primary application is connecting synonyms.

Right now I’m using the WordWeb free version and will probably buy that software to use along side Scrivener. Again, I do like Scrivener and feel it is very useful in structuring my book but find the thesaurus issue problematic.

Thanks for your help :slight_smile:

Thank you SO MUCH for the info on this thread. I almost just gave up on Scrivener even though I love almost everything about it, but I really hate having to switch context, open Google and type “Define blah”. Turns out I was just using an older version and needed to update (btw, why doesn’t it just automatically update?) so now I can get synonyms just like I do in Word or StoryBox! p.s. Pretty please make the Thesaurus better, it’s still not triggering on a lot of words.

<3 Scrivener.

Oh good. I’m glad if it helped.

I think the reason that WordNet doesn’t work all that well as thesaurus is that it is designed to be used as a linguistical tool and (as WordNet says in their own description) only “superficially reassembles a thesaurus.”

I have to say honestly that I don’t fully understand the WordNet site, but my guess is that the associated words WordNet supplies may share a similar root origin but not necessarily a similar current meaning / usage. If that’s the case it might explain why WordNet is spotty and sometimes just plain off as a thesaurus.

I am still using Scrivener but have also downloaded another thesaurus software called WordWeb. I am using the free version of WordWeb because I’m still hoping for a change in Scrivener.

I have found that the free version of WordWeb does work reasonably well as a thesaurus. Unfortunately in order to use WordWeb in Scrivener you have to highlight the word you want to look up, then press Ctrl + Alt +W. I don’t use it enough to remember the sequence most of the time and even when I do I find it a bit clunky.

Pressing Ctrl + Alt +W isn’t required in all software, however. The WordWeb site says that with some software you only have to right click. So maybe Scrivener could be made more compatible with WordWeb or another similar outside program that we could buy as an add on?

Here is the WordWeb FAQ for anyone who needs it:

Best Wishes,

Just to clarify - while you do have to highlight then press Ctrl + Alt +W to look up a word with WordWeb, you do not have to go online or switch windows. The WordWeb info pops up in an interactive text box, which is a help.