In general, I try not to rely on a thesaurus while I’m writing. I’ve found that, unless you already have a very clear idea of the type of word you need, staring at a list of not-always-exact synonyms with all their sneaky connotations and roots and sounds will only lead you astray. However, I do love the thesaurus for those moments when you know there’s a word that starts with “m” and it means something like fake or cheap, but your brain is refusing to give up the goods.
So, the other day, I fell down a thesaurus hole (and I would guess that thesauri would dig rather large holes) while I was on just such a quest, and I found a list of synonyms for “surprised” that were so strange I was sure that some of them must be fake. Someone must have hacked into the online thesaurus and added these words, I thought to myself, like I saw my high school students do with Wikipedia. (The town where I taught was famous for being the home of several of my 11th graders.) But it turns out that these wonderful words were real. The first–anoetic–which actually means ‘unthinkable’ (and which isn’t recognized by WordPress’s spell check, apparently), sounded familiar. The next, blutterbunged, had that too-perfect-to-be-true sound to it, and it’s an antiquated adjective that means exactly what it should mean. A ferly is a Scottish adjective or noun meaning something strange and amazing and unexpected. Best of all was gloppened–which is a form of the verb gloppen, meaning to surprise or frighten someone. You can be a gloppener. You can do something gloppeningly. You can have said something gloppenedly.
For some reason, this makes me ridiculously happy.
And just for fun, here’s Brom on the porch, disemboweling a new toy.