Today, this present day, is Nationwide Wordfinder Day. (Chambers)
It could also be called Civic Wordstock Period. (Roget)
Otherwise known as National Thesaurus Day.
It's named in honour of Peter Mark Roget who was born on 18thJanuary, 1779. He began working on his thesaurus in 1846 and the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas or Assist in Literary Composition was published in 1852.
These days I tend to use Word's thesaurus for ease, but above my desk, along with my Chambers Dictionary I have my Chambers Thesaurus, but hidden away on the shelf above is my original Roget's.
It's an edition published in 1962 which makes me think it is indeed my original copy. When I was growing up, two of the more senior executives in the bus company where my mum worked as secretary to the General Manager, used to give me a Christmas present every year, often a book, and I think this was one of my gifts.
Husband and I were talking when we were walking George about the fact that most houses, when we were growing up, would have a dictionary and an encyclopaedia of some sort. Husband said he was regularly given such presents by his aunties and uncles because he 'was the clever one who was going to grammar school.'
I'm not sure whether either of us appreciated such worthy gifts but I did love browsing through my thesaurus, a magical lexicon, bursting with words I'd never dreamt of. I don't use it enough these days. I am inclined to stick with my safe words, especially wary of using words, even in writing, when I'm not sure how to pronounce them.
It was comparatively recently that I discovered that awry is pronounced a-rye rather than ow-ree.
And while we're talking words, does anyone use 'one' rather than 'you' these days?