Most, if not all, writers are familiar with using a thesaurus when we’re stuck on a word. Thesaurus.com is probably one of my most visited websites of all time. It’s quick and easy, and there’s always some good options.
But what about for the times when you’re really, really stuck and the basic thesaurus is just not cutting it?
Good news, there are even better thesauruses (thesaurusi?) out there! Here are my top 5 websites to help stuck writers. Not only will these resources assist your word searching, I use them for naming characters, places, and even deeper world building. (None of these are sponsored or anything; they’re all just my personal faves!)
I really do love thesaurus.com. But sometimes, I need more. And Power Thesaurus delivers so much more! It goes beyond the main matching synonyms and pulls in slightly related ones as well. It also tells you the part of speech and a one word definition at a quick glance. When I’m not sure what exact word I want but I know the vibes I want, Power Thesaurus is perfect resource
Like the name says, this website pulls any and ALL related words that might apply to your search query. This site is also really helpful when you’re looking more for an idea or concept but aren’t sure what exactly you want (again with the vibes!) I use this site a lot when I’m drafting; especially if I need to come up with a term or a slang word that my characters will use within the world I’m creating.
Have you ever been trying to find a word for your fantasy or sci-fi world and you’re using Google Translate and going through every single language trying to find something that fits? I’ve been there and, wow, is that time consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if you could see one word in multiple languages all at once? Oh, but you can! That’s what In Different Languages does. Type in a word and see it in like 100 different languages in a list. Amazing or incroyable!
We’re moving past basic synonyms into world building with these last few sites. Behind the Name is exactly what it sounds like—a name database where you can look up name meanings. But beyond just meanings, you can also see nicknames and derivatives or how that name translates into other languages. It goes a few steps beyond a typical baby name website—you can search by meaning, origin, or even pronunciation. (They also have a random name generator with all sorts of parameters you can set!) There’s also a surname section too.
For those of us who really like to get deep into the language we use in our world building, Wiktionary is a site you should be familiar with. I love digging into word origins. And with Wiktionary, you can get lost in the root words from a plethora of languages (Greek, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, Norse, even more!) I love this because, oftentimes, I will use the roots of words from different languages to make my own new term or name.
So there they are! Five great word-nerd sites for writers. Did any of these sites surprise you? Which ones did you know about already?
A version of this post appeared in Wolves and Wonder, my monthly newsletter that includes no-nonsense writing advice along with book updates and sci-fi inspiration. Get it in your inbox; you'll love it.