National Thesaurus Day 

The man who created Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget, was born on January 18, 1779, a date loquacious scholars celebrate as National Thesaurus Day. (Thanks, Alex E., for the heads-up. I had no idea this was a thing.) Though my research failed to unearth the authority who had the power to make such a declaration, it seems like a nice thing to remember the retired doctor whose passion project helps us all sound a bit more erudite.

Care to celebrate the unofficial holiday in class this week? Introduce students to Roget, hand out a few actual thesauruses (or thesauri – apparently, either is correct) and lead a little word play. Maybe rewrite one word per line of a poem you just studied? Change up the words of a platitudinous pop song?

You could also view this winsome clip from Friends:

And then follow up with the Prevent Thesaurus Abuse team activity. Click here to download a free copy of the worksheet and answer key that encourages students to unpack overloaded sentences. While I appreciate Roget’s contribution to our writing toolbox, students also need to resist the urge to indulge in too much of a good thing.

What else could we do to mark the day? Leave your ideas for everyone in the “reply” box below!

Illuminate on, everyone.


12 thoughts on “National Thesaurus Day 

  1. Oh my gosh, Mrs. McCutcheon, that book design is wonderful! Loving this opening quote, too:
    “The man is not wholly evil – he has a thesaurus in his cabin.” (Captain Hook as described by J. M. Barrie in Peter Pan) Thanks for sharing the link. Wishlisted!

  2. My students enjoy this activity every time. Lots of fun!

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with for National Grammar Day on March 4. (wink, wink) 🙂

  3. Wait, Michelle…there’s a National Grammar Day!?!! Oy vey!

  4. katieny1974 says:

    Too bad National Grammar Day doesn’t fall on March 5th for 2018 (M.U.G. Shot Monday). That would be funny!

  5. Oh, kateny1974, every day is Grammar Day in my book. 😉

  6. I had to add that book to my amazon cart. My kid is only two, but it looked so cool!

  7. Love all of these ideas! I purchased the book and will start my class by reading the book. My HS students will get a kick out of it! I am going to show the Friends clip which is AWESOME! I will then follow up with the freebie! Thank you so much, Laura! YOU ROCK!

  8. Hey, thought I’d share. Heard a good add-on for this. In Mike Rowe’s That’s the Way I Heard It series (, “Episode 133: “Call It What You Will”, is a 9 min. talk about Roget in the style of Paul Harvey. The beginning is a rather vivid account of his Uncle’s suicide, but I’m planning to start just after that.

  9. Great suggestion, Jenn! I really like Mike Rowe, so I’ll be sure to check this out. Thanks for this. 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: