I have, for at least 13 years, used J.I. Rodale’s The Synonym Finder as my thesaurus of choice. It’s the best I’ve found, and I love me a good thesaurus.
But today I had to question my preference. Working on a client project, I wanted to find a term that connoted mental space, intellectual wiggle room, a physical distance from enclosure.
The Synonym Finder offered “enough room to swing a cat.”
Not quite what I was looking for.
As I flipped through, looking for another term, the book shouted, “lickspittle; legerdemain; inefficacy; ill-bred; debauchery; contumacious!” Well, that’s just rude.
I might be in the market for another thesaurus, if this one keeps misbehaving.
There’s not enough wiggle room in my mental space to swing a cat, so the JC Synonym Finder offered “pooped” and “frazzled.”
“lickspittle”? Well, that might be an interesting name for a swinging cat, anyway.
(And now my brain is thinking of a cat dressed like Austen Powers going “Oh behave!”)
lickspittle? That sounds like the first French kiss I ever got.
I loved stumbling across lickspittle. It’s a synonym for toady, sycophant, and yes man, but is so thoroughly disgusting in its connotations I can’t get it out of my head.
jc, I hear ya.
Ink, the Synonym Finder just suggested caterwauling for Meyers. ;-)
TKW, you are hilarious. I thought it was more “awash” than just “lick,” but maybe my memory of the story fails… ;-)
From one word nerd to another, it just might be time to trade in for another model…
And really, who the hell swings a cat and looks to make sure that there is enough room to do it? Seriously?
Also, you check out the spacious digs and think…maybe a painting studio or maybe a writing nook…nah. I’m gonna swing a cat in here.
My brothers used to swing our cat by the tail and see how far they could throw him. The winner got a 6-pack of Bass. Sycophantic lickspittles.
I’m in a serious relationship with J. I. Rodale’s Synonym Finder too. It sits here right next to my computer, battered and worn, covered with lickspittle, and missing both cover and backside. But I love him still…. Just as long as he doesn’t start swinging cats at me.
Lickspittle: sounds like eating a meal with my two children.
Thanks for this fun post, from one thesaurus lover to another.
(sorry to leave the url in my comments – so unsophisticated, but I can never tell if it shows up on another wordpress blog)