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Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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This is the main project page of Wikisaurus—a Wiktionary subproject and a wiki namespace aiming at creating a thesaurus—a dictionary of synonyms, antonyms and further semantically related terms such as hyponyms, hypernyms, meronyms and holonyms.

New to Wikisaurus?

Please contribute your own Wikisaurus entries, or add to the existing Wikisaurus entries.


Chunked purpose
  • Purpose:
    • To help people find words that they
      • can't recall or
      • don't know
    • To help people explore the network of words
  • Semantic relations:
    • Synonymy – same or similar meaning
    • Antonymy – opposite meaning
    • Hyponymy – narrower meaning, subclass
    • Hypernymy – broader meaning, superclass
    • Being an instance – being an example of the class, set membership
    • Meronymy – part, such as wheel of a car
    • Holonymy – whole, such as car of a wheel
    • Troponymy – manner, such as trim to cut
  • Users:
    • Writers
    • Managers
    • Contributors to wikis
    • Bloggers
    • Writers of love letters
    • Journal writers

The purpose of Wikisaurus is to serve the role of an electronic thesaurus—a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms in a rather vague and inaccurate sense of the word "synonym", but also of other semantically related terms such as hyponyms, hypernyms, meronyms, holonyms, and troponyms. The definition of "synonym" is, quoting Wiktionary, "A word or phrase with a meaning that is the same as, or very similar to, the word or phrase." For the purpose of thesaurus, the definition needs to be adjusted: the word "very" has to be stricken out from the part "very similar". Many thesauri go much farther than that: they list words whose meaning is close enough to the headword to be interesting for the user, disregarding any precise meaning of the word "synonym". The concept of a dictionary of accurate synonyms is incapable of producing typical entries of 20 vague synonyms. (To remove the confusion, coinage of a new term, such as "similonym", would be helpful, although there already is "near-synonym".)

The purpose of such a thesaurus in general is mainly to help anyone who writes for living or fun—writers, managers, contributors to wikis, bloggers, and writers of love letters—to find words they don't recall or even know when they recall words that are semantically related to the sought word. In general, anyone to whom the choice of words matters can benefit from a thesaurus, especially one linked to a dictionary providing the definitions.

Added value of Wikisaurus is its Wiktionary integration—it links to and is linked from Wiktionary.

To do: add a link to an external consideration of value and uses of thesauri.

Candidate model thesauri include Roget's thesaurus, and, say, The Penguin Thesaurus. The two follow different design principles.

Whether Wikisaurus at en.wiktionary.org should contain entries for other languages than English is currently undecided or disputed. Entries for foreign languages could look like Wikisaurus:příbuzný and Wikisaurus:juoppo. An alternative naming of the entries is "Wikisaurus:cs:příbuzný" and "Wikisaurus:fi:juoppo", modeled on the naming of topic categories. See also Wikisaurus_talk:juoppo and BP: Wikisaurus - non-English entries, Mar 2009.

Formatting is specified and discussed at:

  • /Format
  • {{ws shell}} - A template for copying and pasting into new Wikisaurus entries.

Example entries:

The inclusion criteria for Wikisaurus entries are the same as those for the mainspace: Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion.

For the content of subpages of Wikisaurus entries starting with "/more" such as "Wikisaurus:breasts/more", there are no inclusion criteria; these subpages are left unregulated.

Lists of templates:

Template naming:

  • Use "ws " prefix. Basis for decision: Grease pit discussion of July 2008. (Past prefixes: "wse-", "wikisaurus-", "saurus-".)


Template Example Note
  • {{ws|beer|An alcoholic fermented malt drink.}}
  • {{ws|beer|*}}
  • {{ws|beer}}
The second entry is a lazy one. The third one shows no tooltip, but also does not make it clear that one is missing.
To be put around a list of {{ws}} entries. Currently formats the list as a 3-column one.


Entered at the very top of the entry. When without parameter, determines the headword automatically.
  • WikiSaurus.png Wikisaurus has an entry for “poor” in the sense of “impoverished”.
  • WikiSaurus.png Wikisaurus has an entry for “fatigued” in the sense of “physically and mentally exhausted”.
The second example only works if the subpage "/def" is there.
{{comment-link}} Deprecated in Wikisaurus. Preferred template: {{ws}}
{{R:Roget 1911|beauty}} beauty” in Roget's Thesaurus, T. Y. Crowell Co., 1911.
{{ws sense|glad; in a good mood}} Sense: glad; in a good mood Used after the third level heading for the part of speech.

Linking from mainspace to Wikisaurus entries:

  • A simple option: place "* See also [[Wikisaurus:headword]]" to "Synonyms" section, or to "Hyponyms" section if the Wikisaurus entry contains mainly hyponyms.
  • A template-based option: using {{ws refer|fatigued}}. Currently mostly unused.
  • Especially for Wikisaurus entries featuring mostly synonyms, it is good to add a link to the Wikisaurus entry from all the mainspace entries for the synonyms, so that the user knows that there is a Wikisaurus entry when visiting the mainspace.

Since its inception in 2004, the project is in an embryo stage. The formatting is in flux, the entries are few -- 275, so are the contributors. --Dan Polansky 12:38, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

As of the beginning of September 2009, Wikisaurus has around 800 entries, some of which feature hyponyms, hypernyms, meronyms and holonyms. Almost all entries follow a unified format.

Title: The current title of the project is "Wikisaurus". Alternatives considered include "Wikithesaurus".

Spelling: The current spelling is Wikisaurus with lowercase 's'. In the past, it must have been WikiSaurus with capital 'S' at some point.

Logo: The past, currently disabled, logo: WikiSaurus.png.

This logo Wikisaurus.svg was proposed here in December 2006.

To do: add links to discussions about logo.

Public domain

Free as in "freedom"

  • None listed.



Highlighted subpages:

Project subpages:

Things to do:

Lists of all Wikisaurus entries:

Discussions about Wikisaurus are scattered across various pages. In the future, they should better take place in Beer Parlour, a general policy discussion room.

Pages with discussions:

For more discussions, see #Beer Parlour.

Discussions about Wikisaurus at Beer parlour:

The following list is highly incomplete.

An index to this page:

In other languages

Definition from Wiktionary
Content avaible with GNU Free Documentation License

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