Primitive, prehistoric, bygone, lost, irrevocable, lapsed, expired, run out, ended, finished

A heavy-hearted moment is upon me.

This moment has been coming for years and years and years.

It is time.

Time to throw away my cherished childhood friend.  She that accompanied me through crushes, pimples and teenage angst.  She that caused this heart to leap endless times up to the stars and back to that red typewriter in my white bedroom in our Yale house.

It is time to throw away my thesaurus.

Thesaurus?  some of you may ask.  What the living heck is that?

thesaurus 1

Others of you may be nodding in recognition, your own childhood treasures returning to memory.

I loved you, my dear thesaurus.  How I loved you, The Original Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. How you shared the secrets of the English language as I typed story after story.

Thesaurus, says Google:  a book that lists words in groups of synonyms and related concepts.

Can’t find the appropriate word that carries just the right zest?  Let’s say you’re looking for an adjective to describe “magnificent”.  You scurry to the Index and look up that word.  Are you seeking an adjective to describe “excellent”?  Or an adjective like “splendid”?  Or–better yet–if you even know what the word means–an adjective meaning “ostentatious” (which  I must now look up).   I am sure you all already know what it means:  characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice.

thesaurus 2

In my story, let’s pretend, we’re looking up another word for “splendid”.   The thesaurus begs you to visit #841 adjective.

Here we’re given all these words to try:  beautiful, pulchritudinous (kudos to anyone who knows what THAT means!), beauteous, of beauty, lovely, fair, bright, radiant, comely, goodly, bonny, pretty, sweet, sweetly pretty, pretty-nice, nice, good enough to eat, pretty as a picture, paintable, photogenic….well, I could keep typing, but you get the drift.  Eventually you might find the PERFECT word to add to your story.  Such as “sublime” or “exquisite” or “superb”.

The thesaurus was the most amazing thing a 13- or 14- or 15-year old wannabe writer could find.  I remember feeling dizzied by it.  Feeling so in love that my heart thrilled.  Feeling like the Secret to the Universe had been revealed, word by precious word.

thesaurus 3

But, alas, the years pass.  Computers appear.  You can type in “talkativeness” and get a glib definition with possible adjectives.  My darling thesaurus says:  Loquacity.  Conversableness.  Flowing Tongue.   Running on.  Verbal diarrhea!!   Can a computer compare with this, I ask you?  What teenage wannabe writer will swoon before Google, lost in a world of amazing possibilities?  Very few, I suggest.

Oh my dears, it is time to throw away this childhood friend.  She’s missing a front cover.  She starts on Page xi, like those ancient textbooks that still understood Roman Numerals.  She’s ripped and faded and I never look at her bosom anymore. About six times in the past six years I’ve looked at her sitting on the book shelf and thought:  begone with ye, Thesaurus!  You’re so yesterday.  The Zen-simple-monklike part of me doesn’t like clutter, and Ms. Thesaurus smells musty and old and decrepit–and, wait a minute, let me look up some more adjectives.

She’s primitive, prehistoric, bygone, lost, irrevocable, lapsed, expired, run out, ended, finished.

Wonder what art project they'll make with these old bottles?


How can I throw this away, friends?  I mean–seriously.  Right now my heart is pounding with joy.  824 noun.  Pleasure, great pleasure, keen pleasure, thrill, kick, tickle, exaltation, ecstasy.

Have any of you ever used a thesaurus?  And if this didn’t bring you to ecstasy–what childhood memory might you remember right now that did?  When you sat in your bedroom and your heart throbbed?  The world of your childhood opened up–maybe only briefly–and you smiled in delight?

I am now thinking of 45 rpm records spinning round and round and the song:  Crimson and Clover, Over and Over…

What should I do?  Keep her or throw her?  (Husband justs suggests an edit:  recycle it, Kathy!  Or better yet, how about we make kindling out of it?)  What’s a grownup girl to do?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in August, 2020 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Primitive, prehistoric, bygone, lost, irrevocable, lapsed, expired, run out, ended, finished

  1. Robin says:

    I guess I get some kudos today for knowing pulchritudinous (having found it many, many years ago in a thesaurus). The thesaurus and I are old friends, too. I’ll be keeping mine for a while. Our internet connection is so shoddy at home that it’s nice to know I have backup. The thesaurus opened up a whole world of words for me, but the book that made my heart throb was a book about Greek mythology. I was sure those gods and goddesses still existed somewhere in the world, waiting to create new myths and stories. Perhaps they are… 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I am so VERY thrilled to hear that you and Ms. Thesaurus (or maybe yours is a Mr., hmmmm) are good old friends, as well. Was wondering if anyone would even relate to this post. Am deeply listening and thinking about you and that Greek Mythology book and imagining the pictures of gods and goddesses. If there were pictures. Funny how things catch our hearts and imaginations in childhood. So nice to hear that you relate and that you know pulchritudinous!

  2. Marie Maxwell says:

    Definitely keep it!! Irreplaceable. You’ll regret it and think about it a lot, if you throw it out. But….if you put it back on the shelf, you’ll forget about it, because your brain will be calm and comfortable with that decision. Just my opinion…based on my experiences 😊

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for your opinion, Marie. I will truly take your thoughts to heart. Every time I want to throw that old book away…I open it up…and once again am transported back to those earlier years. Thank you for sharing, truly!

  3. monicadevine says:

    Hahaha! Oh, this is so great. I would pitch it, but first, look carefully. Are there many words in the book that don’t show up on websites? I use Free Dictionary a lot; they have a Definition tab as well as a Thesaurus tab, and I use both. Wait. I just looked up conversableness. And they don’t even have it in their thesaurus. With that, I change my mind! Keep it. I shall use “flowing tongue” in my fiction
    , but would not have come across it but for this post. Thanks, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Monica, I am laughing out loud! (And it is nice to laugh out loud because today has been a long gray rainy day…) Am so glad to have shared “flowing tongue” for you to use in your delightful (pleasurable, amusing, pleasing, agreeable, welcome, wonderful, marvelous) fiction. I can see why you did not jump at “verbal diarrhea”. Laughing again.

  4. Such a long time friend is cherished. Why not frame it and hang it on the wall.

  5. Susan D. Durham says:

    Oh, how I loved my thesaurus! She went to a neighbor who loved words when I moved from Cali to the U.P. She was marked up and dog-eared and had notes on the cover pages. I used to read her just for fun; the dictionary, too. I agree with Monica! The online equivalent sites do NOT always have the colorful words. Even if never used for writing again, the book will still elicit wonderful memories, and, yes, laughter. Oh, and how fun to hear Crimson and Clover. Loved that song!

    • Kathy says:

      Ahhh, you are one who had to let your thesaurus friend go when you moved from there to here. Wondering if you ever miss her, or do you feel peace with your decision? (Maybe I should put a certain “Laughter” stone on top of her ripped-off pages?) Crimson and Clover, over and over…!

      • Susan D. Durham says:

        Just read your sweet peaceful “quiet” post from today, and here I am responding on this post… I did miss my thesaurus friend for a while; then got used to her being gone. Fickle friend am I. Oddly, on the trip out, I lost a Bible I’d had since I was 9 years old … don’t know to this day if I left it in a dank motel room, or if it somehow missed the thesaurus and felt it was a more faithful friend, so flitted away on angel’s wings. Thank you for you, and for all you contribute to our well being. Much love…

        • Kathy says:

          Susan, thank you for sharing more of your thesaurus story. And how your cherished childhood Bible stayed behind as well. Perhaps when it’s time for things to go…they will go. That thought kind of gives me comfort that a decision will come forth in its right time. Thank you for your kind words and being always you. 💗

  6. I have a different thesaurus now as the one I had as a kid took quite a beating. Definately agree that it opened up a world of words to my burgeoning writer spirit. I don’t use my new one much anymore (probably because my writing has long since fallen to the back burner) but I can see evidence of its use in my older work. If you’re loathe to toss it.. turn it into a keepsake. You know those books you store a little flask in? Something like that!

    • Kathy says:

      Unidragonfrag, you cracked me up! Yep, maybe I could hide a flask in it, lol. Or a secret treasure. So glad to hear that your thesaurus opened up your writing spirit, too. Maybe we both need to spend an hour exploring it to put our writing on the front burner.

      • Glad to have gotten a chuckle from you! A secret treasure would be cool too, bonus points if it’s something from your childhood as well. Yeah, maybe. I keep telling myself I need to start writing again, maybe that could be the kick in the right direction. Who knows?

        • Kathy says:

          Maybe you need to write (journal?) an exploration of why you quit writing. All of the reasons little and medium-sized and big. That thought just popped into my mind. 🙂

  7. Larissa says:

    a conundrum, a perplexity, a dilemma, a puzzle. no advice here, just sympathy ❤

    • Kathy says:

      I wanted to look up so more words to reply to you–but you know what one of the problems is? It’s too dark in this corner to really SEE the words in the thesaurus easily with magnifying glass (OK, maybe it’s these aging eyes) and that may be one of the reasons this conundrum, perplexity, dilemma, puzzle still exists. Hmmm….

  8. Carol says:

    A grown up woman has to have a heartfelt discussion with herself to determine which is most important in her life, sentiment or less clutter.
    And well of course pulchritudinous means splendid!

    • Kathy says:

      This grown up woman has already debated endlessly about this pulchritudinous conundrum. The only answer which arose–write a blog about it. For two years now I have wanted to write this post, but every time the desire arose I was taking a blogging break. Now after writing this blog it doesn’t feel like a conundrum any more, although nothing’s been solved. Now I am just smiling and open to see what happens next.

  9. Val says:

    Keep her, Kathy. Get yourself a newer copy but keep the old one. I did that and still use the old one over the new as rather than adding more definitions, synonyms and antonyms, newer versions tend to reduce them. Also you’ve got so used to and so love your old one.And what does it matter if she’s falling apart? We’re all falling apart! Keep her.

    • Kathy says:

      I am laughing out loud a bit now, Val. Yes, indeed, we’re all falling apart and we don’t want to get rid of US yet! She is such a treasure. The only thing that’s clear after writing this blog post is that I’m not throwing her away immediately. She’s proven her worth for now. It feels like she’s come alive again just by writing about her gifts.

  10. Stacy says:

    Keep her! This aspiring writer still has her high school thesaurus-one of her few pre-Katrina possessions. Google is no substitute! Who cares if she doesn’t have a cover? One should not go around judging books by their cover anyway!
    P.S. This writer knew the meaning of pulchritude, and if she is not mistaken, its etymology is Greek. And to fact check that, one would need an antiquated dictionary. Or 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Oh my, Stacy! If she survived Katrina, then she obviously is one special thesaurus. And you have added a great reminder–never judge a book by its cover (or lack thereof). And double oh my! If you can share etymology, you get a special award. I am closing my eyes and placing the invisible award on your thesaurus. Hope you find it. 🙂

  11. lisaspiral says:

    Ritual fire sounds about right to me. It’s hard to give things like that up! At least give it the honor it deserves in its passing.

    • Kathy says:

      Now, Lisa, I had not thought of a ritual fire. Thank you for that suggestion. When the day comes to truly say goodbye–if this body hasn’t said goodbye first–I will think again of honoring it ritually. (Although in some ways it feels like this blog post is a kind of ritual that honors its passing, aging spirit.)

  12. Just keep it, Kathy! This baby has a lot of life. Or recycle it into something pretty – tons of crafty ideas online. As long as it is with you.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh I love when people can come up with crafty ideas to keep honoring the spirit of an object like this. Are you one of those crafty folks? The only crafty thing that I usually do is make cards out of recycled calendars.

  13. Hmmm… I never had a thesaurus as a child. But I do use thesaurus(dot)com nowadays. I still remember the time my father teasingly accused me of having verbal diarrhea. 🙂 Two childhood memories that opened my world and made me happy were receiving a radio and being able to listen to rock music alone in my bedroom. And when an older cousin gave me my first record album, for a Christmas present, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Both the radio and the album are long gone, but I remember them fondly. ♡

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Barbara! I am sure your father was in error. I have known you years now and have never once seen an indication of verbal diarrhea. Usually I see joy hopping out between your words as you describe nature’s beauty or your great grandfather’s ancestry. And wasn’t it so lovely to listen to rock music in our closed-door bedrooms? Loved listening to the Beatles, too. My mom just gave away all our albums to a nephew downstate. No way to listen to them anymore anyway.

  14. You’re still here! I reblogged one of your posts years ago. I peeked, guessing you were gone. I am pleasantly surprised to find you again. Awesome, or extraordinary, according to the thessaurus.

    • Kathy says:

      My goodness, Fish Eye Farm! Your comment was trapped in Spam and I just freed it. So glad to see you again. Have been here and gone and here and gone dozens of times. This is a “here” time. 🙂

  15. Reggie says:

    Ohh! I still have my mom’s Roget’s Thesaurus, published in 1966; it is still on my bookshelf, with the front cover barely hanging on. I used it throughout school, from when we started learning English (we were in a German-medium school), and I vividly remember the feeling of delight, and joy, and magic, when I found the right word, after bouncing back and forth from one entry to another. There is no way I am discarding this treasure chest. 😀 I love knowing that you also have one!

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Reggie, I am so glad you understand and that you remember those joyous feelings when reading through your mom’s precious thesaurus. How wonderful that you still have it. I am starting to feel that there is a community of us who have been expanded and delighted by our dear thesauruses. (Not sure if that’s the plural or not!)

  16. Barb says:

    I bought a new Thesaurus in 1988 to replace the falling-apart one I had through high school and college. Yes, it’s still on my bookshelf along with an old 1957 dictionary. I haven’t used either in about 20 years, but I think I’ll let them for my kids to find when they’re clearing out my books. I did get rid of most of my library years ago, but a few nostalgic items remain. Now, if you were artsy/crafty, Kathy, you could use some of the unusual words in a mixed media piece. Failing that, kindling might be appropriate – you could read a couple synonyms/antonyms before lighting a vocabulary fire.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, I am impressed that you bought another one after your original “baby” fell apart. Like you, I’ve culled my library in recent years. The hands paused again and again when they reached the thesaurus. Love your mixed media suggestion. That would be so fun–if a person was crafty. Wondering now if you’re a crafty-type person? I would guess not, but am willing to be surprised. 🙂

  17. I no longer have my thesaurus but I do have a concise Oxford dictionary (if I were rich I would own the 13 volume set and I covet the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica). I love words and have been using a dictionary since i started to read almost 55 years ago.

    Yes, online is quicker, easier but not as fun as one word in the dictionary leads to another as angel gives me the subsets of angel classes and leads me down the rabbit hole of a lost afternoon.

    I also still have my Strunk & White, a collection of 45s, and the first LP i bought with my own money (Shh- Puppy Love by Donny Osmond).

    Have a sundelightful (probably a word not in your dictionary because I discovered in a fiction book I read years ago) day!

    • Kathy says:

      Solitary Spinster–how nice to see you again! Smiling as I think of your love for the Oxford Dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica. Know what you mean about those rabbit holes of lost afternoons… Think we have a Strunk & White buried somewhere here on the book shelf too. And, oh, Donny, one of my first crushes. *grin* Sundelightful day back atcha!

  18. jeffstroud says:

    Ha ha !! A what? Well you spell that again? or do I have to look in up in the dictionary? Truthfully I never got into using a Thesaurus, isn’t that a type of Dinosaur anyway?
    Google rocks this, I don’t even really have to know how to spell which I am bad at in spite of all the words I put out…
    I know letting go is difficult at times yet it just maybe time to do so…

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, oh you’re funny! Thesaurus does sound like a HUGE dinosaur. Don’t tell, but he’s made completely of words. And now he’s extinct!! Yes, thank goodness Google came around and decided to help us out. Otherwise–if we didn’t use our thesauruses–where the heck would we be?

  19. dorannrule says:

    Oh I know the feeling. And I fear one day we will lose the internet and finally realize the true value of such tools. Even a dictionary is at risk.

    • Kathy says:

      Hmmm, Dor, you’ve brought up an interesting point. If we lose the internet–well, the thesaurus will come in mighty handy. On the other hand, if we lose the internet, will we write anymore? I so rarely want to write just for myself. It’s the connection in the blogging world that makes it oh-so-worth-it.

  20. Ally Bean says:

    Not to brag, but I have a 1937 Thesaurus that is my pride and joy. I love every page in it, all the obscure words and Latin phrases from that era, the whole book is writing magic. Thus I understand how you have a heavy heart. My condolences.

    • Kathy says:

      Brag away! I can see your thesaurus is a magical being from a bygone era. I hope she still has her clothes (errr, front and back cover). Thank you also for your sincere condolences. You are one who Understands.

  21. brandielroberts says:

    Use your favorite pages in a piece of artwork! 🙂

  22. Oh my, Kathy, why throw a good thing away just because it is old and tattered? I had one but it was not a good one. Not a large one and quiet deficient, so I threw it in the trash and gave all my huge dictionaries away because the print was just too small for me to read- even with glasses. Maybe one day I’ll get a good used one at the library book sale.

    I love reading words and meanings but for the last year or so, I just don’t see a need to read a dictionary. I’ve work cross word puzzles for entertainment for the past 30 years or so. Mind you, the ones I work are all easy but I digress from the topic of your post.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, I think you have pinpointed one of the big challenges–reading the fine print of my thesaurus. I didn’t even realize until writing this that the teeny tiny wee itsy bitsy print is actually a huge reason why it remains unused. How nice to hear that you enjoy cross word puzzles. My mother-in-law loved them and did them diligently for years. I do jigsaw puzzles on an app on the iPad.

      • I had no idea that one can work jigsaw puzzles on an ipad. I suppose their is not much one can’t do on a computer now days. I was never very good at doing jigsaw but they definitely have value for stimulating the brain.

  23. Joanne says:

    The sentimental, nostalgic, dewy-eyed, mushy, romantic side of me wouldn’t allow me to part with a thesaurus that I have loved to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, even he isn’t quite as handsome as he once was. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Smiling, Joanne. Ahhh, the many sides of us. That dewy-eyed mushy side and the practical Zen throw-away warrior. After writing this post am leaning toward that nostalgic, romantic side. Zen warrior raises her eyebrows. “All in good time, baby,” I say, “all in good time.” *grin*

  24. Elisa says:

    One could choose to get a new edition, a cleaner, less moldy, unstinking one. (ducking now just in case) Now i am off to the apple store to see if i can get a copy for the new ipad

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