The Collins Thesaurus in detail

The Collins Thesaurus contains lots of information. Let’s look at it in detail.

The entry word list been selected on the basis of frequency as determined by the Collins Corpus, which means that the entry words given are those most likely to be looked up by our users.

The key synonyms for each sense is shown first, which not only offers you the most helpful alternative but also lets you identify the sense you want at a glance. Other synonyms are arranged in order of frequency of occurrence, with the more literary or unfamiliar ones coming towards the end of the list. Any synonyms which are informal or slang usage are labelled as such so that they can used appropriately.

Examples taken from the Collins Corpus are used to show each sense of the entry word. These help you not only identify the sense you are looking for, but show how the entry word is used in real English. Many of the synonyms themselves are illustrated by an example of usage, helping you to select more precisely the word you require for the context.
To offer you even more choice, each of the synonyms given is listed again in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page with links to additional synonyms and examples of them in context.

As well as numerous synonyms, key antonyms are given for many entry words. For example, the entry for big offers not just synonyms such as large, great, and huge, it also offers antonyms such as little, tiny, and miniature.

A wide range of phrasal verbs, set phrases, and idioms are also included to help you add colour and interest to your language. For example, if you look up the entry own, you will find the phrasal verb own up as well as the phrases get your own back and hold your own.

The related words feature enables you to find information such as adjectives, collective nouns, manias, and phobias connected with many entry words. By looking up, for instance, the entry for spider, you will find out that the fear of spiders is arachnophobia.

Informative and extensive subject word lists provide a wealth of material connected with many entry words. For example, look up the entry orchestra and you will find a list of instruments in a full orchestra. Look up animal and you will find, for instance, the names of animal habitations, and the names of the male, female, and young of many animal species.

To make the pages even more interesting to read through, many include quotations and proverbs relating to the entry word.

All these features mean that the Collins Thesaurus is a treasury of useful and practical words and information, arranged in the most helpful way possible.

Other Articles

Cracking the police code: 11 Line of Duty acronyms explained

BBC’s Line of Duty is back after a two-year hiatus and we couldn’t be more excited to resume our role of armchair detective. But for civilians, deciphering all the police jargon can be pretty difficult. When you’re busy nicking bent coppers, you don’t have time to waste on trivial things… Read More


The twenty-third of March marks the anniversary of the first UK lockdown, that fateful Monday evening when the PM announced drastic measures to halt the spread of COVID-19. On social media there is talk of a lockdownversary, a portmanteau word which shows how elastic English is. Read More

World Book Day: read up on the language of books

Thursday marks UK World Book Day. Fifteen million UK primary and secondary pupils will receive a £1 voucher to cash in for a book priced by publishers at a nominal £1. The aim is to encourage reading for pleasure. Reading for pleasure is, paradoxically, not pure and simple pleasure. Read More