John Dyke says there's not much you can do with a thesaurus except dig it up and carbon date it. Some claim, he maintains, that it was a French tea-drinking lizard (thesaurus), others that it was the generic dinosaur (the-saurus).
Send it back to the Jurassic, advises Mollie Caird, where it can browse happily among the fragrant synonym bushes. Eric Bridgstock suggests extracting a DNA sample from a modern thesaurus to grow a sequel to Jurassic Park, possibly called Back to the Chambers. He also mentions that the WordPerfect thesaurus does not recognise the word "thesaurus".
A similar point is made by Mark Foley, who recommends that you buy a thesaurus from your local bookshop, try looking up the word "thesaurus", and demand your money back. (We don't use the things ourselves, but we are informed that if you want to find "thesaurus" in a thesaurus, you have to look up "dictionary".)
Read, peruse, scrutinise, construe, study it, says RJ Pickles, to increase, develop, enlarge, expand, widen, extend, stretch your vocabulary, lexicon glossary, etymology, language, phraseology.
A good party game, says GP Bowman, is to tear out all the pages of a thesaurus and rearrange them into a dictionary. He always recommends that everyone uses a good-quality thesaurus to look up words with similar meanings. Or alternatively, one incessantly expostulates that one and all utilise a humanitarian peculiarity lexicon to ameliorate spats with consanguineous denotations.
AJ Brewer tell us that:
The Thesaurus is a type of bird
Who'll never ever fly
His weight to volume ratio
Is very much too high.
He flapped his wings with vigour
And so it was he found
The weight of knowledge he contained
Kept him firmly on the ground.
Use a thesaurus, says Tom Gaunt, for swatting verbose insects. Also, he claims, for settling arguments: "Just hit the person you are arguing with on the head with a thesaurus and they'll soon see your point of view. This is known as argumentum ad hominem."
Equipped with a thesaurus, says Maurice Hulks, our army could jam the enemy's fax machines and bore them into submission. Equally belligerently Martin Brown points out that a thesaurus catapulted out of a hammock can crack a tortoise's shell at 50 paces.
"Thesaurus if porous will take up your make-up," says MA Higgs. "If not, you can jot folk's ages on t' pages."
Stuart Cockerill informs us that the International Commission on Scientific Nomenclature has identified the thesaurus as related to the tortoise, so all tortoidal ideas apply. He therefore advocates their use as prosthetic beer-bellies for visitors to Yorkshire. Roy Bland prefers using them as humps for Quasimodo impersonators.
Win it/one, says Nicholas E Gough. He does, and so do GP Bowman and Tom Gaunt. Next week, we shall discuss semi-colons.
Meanwhile, we are looking for things to do with escalators. Can you help? Ideas to: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Combined Dictionary-Thesaurus prizes for the best suggestions.