Chinese thesaurus

My passive vocab is much much bigger than my active vocab, and now that I’m trying to write essays, I find myself wishing that I had a Chinese language thesaurus. I’ve been looking up words in a Chinese-Chinese dictionary, but I’m not sure that this is a good approach. I went to the bookshop and couldn’t find a thesaurus.

Does anyone know what the name for thesaurus is in Chinese, and does anyone have recommendations for good ones?

Look for titles roughly along the lines of
同義辭辭典tong2yi4ci2 ci2dian3 (synonyms dict.)
近義辭辭典 jin4yi4ci2 ci2dian3 (near synonyms dict.).

I looked for some a few years back but never found any really good ones. However, something might have been published more recently.

On hand, I do have one entitled 近义词应用词典 by 语文出版社 which I bought through Schoenhof’s under the title Dic of Chinese Syno. I’ve never used it however. It’s all in simplified Chinese.

I have a book called The Chinese Synonyms Usage Dictionary, which has Chinese examples and English translations and explanations of various Chinese synonyms. For example under B you will see bu 佈, and it explains the differences between 頒佈 ban1bu4 公佈 gong1bu4 宣佈 xuan1bu4 and 宣告 xuan1gao4 and also explains which are considered colloquial, formal, literary, along with a fairly extensive list of collocations for each of the words too.

近義詞用法詞典 Chinese Synonyms Usage Dictionary
登守信 主編 Ting Shou-Hsin Editor
文鶴出版有限公司 Crane Publishing Co Ltd.
台北台灣 Taipei Taiwan 1994

Unfortunately, it was published in 1994, and has no ISBN number, so I don’t know how easy it might be to find. I’d suggest going to the publishers own bookstore, or perhaps to the Lucky Bookstore near Shida, or the Lai Lai Bookstore on Roosevelt Rd.

Another very good book, which may also be useful to you for writing essays, although it uses simplified Chinese, is
the Times Dictionary of Chinese Function Words,
时代汉语虚词辞典 联邦出版社/汉语教学出版社
新加坡 1998
ISBN 981 01 3084 8
This one has fairly detailed usage explanations of various Chinese function words such as adverbs , verbs etc, with much better examples and explanations than your average Chinese to English dictionary. I got this one from the Lai Lai Bookstore on Roosevelt Road.

If you are feeling really extravagant in your writing, then the ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs (Chinese to English, with a very nice index in English according to topic and theme) may be useful to you too. Imagine the reaction from your teacher when you start putting them in :slight_smile:
University of Hawaii Press Honolulu USA 2002
ISBN 0 8248 2221 8

Thanks dragonbones and ensign, I’ll go and have a look.

I have just one Chinese thesaurus: the Tongyici Cilin 同义词词林 published by 上海辞书 in Shanghai and reprinted by 商務印書館 in Hong Kong. Mine is the 1984 edition – I bought it around 1986 and it’s one of the very few books I’ve kept a hold on since then – I’ve always considered it a core book in my language library, though come to think of it I’ve only very rarely referred to it (I don’t write in Chinese all that much). When I have, I’ve found it helpful as a solid barebones reference thesaurus for general Mandarin terms.

It’s arranged thematically, kind of like the old Roget’s in English – which makes it interesting to peruse, because it kind of gives a world/universe view of the compilers. (It also has an alphabetic pinyin index.)

I would guess the same publisher still puts out a thesaurus, and you can probably find a copy in the big new Eslite near city hall. If I get over there in the near future, I’ll take a look, as I’m curious whether they’ve got an updated one.