Difference Between Dictionary and Thesaurus

Dictionaries and thesaurus both are books that have various words listed in them and give us additional knowledge about them. They are tools that help people gain external knowledge and enhance it.


Education Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to education

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Dr. Luke attends to emotionally disturbed students. Which service is being provided by Dr. Luke?

2 / 5

What word, taken from German, names the traditional first formal year of U.S. schooling?

3 / 5

Dianne has the above-average mental ability, but she is poorly motivated in class. That is why she has low grades in her academic performance. Is she?

4 / 5

The purpose of the evaluation is to make a judgment about educational...

5 / 5

GPA is considered important as it is required for taking admission into the Bachelor's and Master's degree programme. State true or false. 

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That is the only similarity that they have, rest both these books they function and have very different work from each other and can be differentiated on several grounds.

Dictionary vs Thesaurus

The difference between a dictionary and a thesaurus is that a dictionary can help one know more about that word and how it can be used in sentences whereas thesaurus only gives the synonym or antonym to a particular word.

Dictionary vs Thesaurus

Dictionary is a tool used by people to find information, definition, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translations, and much more information regarding a particular topic. It is used by tourists, translators, and language learners to help them build up their knowledge regarding a particular language.

Thesaurus on the other hand is used by people to increase their vocabulary as they present synonyms and antonyms regarding any word. The list all the words that have a similar meaning or have little essence to it from the original word.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonDictionaryThesaurus
DefinitionCollection of words in a specific language alphabetically providing information, definition, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translationsCollections of words listed together providing synonyms or antonyms
First PublishedIn 2300 BCE in modern Syria1852 peter mark
ArrangedArranged alphabeticallyArranged alphabetically or conceptually
WordsOxford dictionary has 500,000 wordsThe largest thesaurus has more than 920,000 words
UsageUsed my more peopleUsed by less amount of people
LanguageStates what a word means in other languagesOnly in one language

What is Dictionary?

A dictionary is described as a collection of words in one or more than one specific language, which is listed in alphabetical order. It provides information, definition, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translations, and much more information regarding the required topic.

It also further describes the word as to which parts of speech it is. Dictionary also helps us know about the origin of the actual word.

Dictionary can also be referred to as an etymological or grammatical tool of knowledge of words and languages. A dictionary helps a person learn one’s language along with other languages as it gives a huge grammatical knowledge to one.

They are used by tourists, translators, and language learners to enhance their knowledge of words.

 Dictionary can further be classified under two types namely- general dictionary and specialized dictionary. The specialized dictionary includes a collection of words from a specific topic rather than a complete book of words from all the fields and genres.

And the general dictionary is the regular dictionary that one is used to, which comprises all the words and is not divided into any category as such.

Apart from these two, there are also few other types of dictionaries found these days they are- bilingual dictionary (translation), defining dictionary, historical dictionary, collegiate dictionary, electronic dictionary, reverse dictionary, visual dictionary, phonetic dictionary, satirical dictionary, and many more.


What is Thesaurus?

Thesaurus is a book consisting of a list of words arranged alphabetically and their synonyms and antonyms are available. It is also known as a synonym dictionary.

It is majorly used by writers and poets to find a suitable word to express their ideas. The term “thesaurus” was first used in 1852 by peter mark Roget for his Roget’s thesaurus.

Thesaurus does not include any information, definition, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translations, etc., unlike the dictionary. It only sincerely lists all the synonyms regarding the words and certain times their antonyms.

Thesaurus gives an ample amount of information regarding the word in similar connotations. Synonyms that are listed either mean similar to the original word or give similar essence to the original word certain times.

Thesaurus is used to avoid repetition of words as using similar words in a sentence can often get too repetitive and boring, and readers might lose insert from the text. Hence it is one such tool that is used by the authors or poets to make their text more flawless and grab the reader’s attention.


Main Differences Between Dictionary and Thesaurus.

  1. A dictionary was first published officially in the 2300 BCE in modern Syria where thesaurus was published much later in 1852 by Peter Mark.
  2. A dictionary is a collection of words arranged alphabetically where information, definition, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translations, and much more information regarding the particular topic. However,a thesaurus is a collection of words listed together proving their synonyms and antonyms.
  3. The words in a dictionary are arranged alphabetically whereas the words in a thesaurus are arranged alphabetically or conceptually.
  4. The oxford dictionary consists of around 500,000 words whereas the largest thesaurus has more than 920,000 words.
  5. A dictionary is used by more people whereas a thesaurus is recognized and used by a fewer number of people.
  6. A dictionary helps one also know about the word in other languages whereas there is no such additional information in the thesaurus, it list’s the synonyms and antonyms in the same language as the word.
Difference Between Dictionary and Thesaurus


  1. https://www.secret-bases.co.uk/wiki/Oxford_English_Dictionary
  2. http://www.cavesbooks.com.tw/files/webpage/cavesweb/2016book/elt-a/P55-57.pdf
  3. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=koL0Fs_ZSvQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=thesaurus&ots=KaVx0YGhcx&sig=ePWE9R_BOVnOZgA3FaRhtPt0Iw0
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