What’s Another Word For Dictionary?

, , , | Right | April 12, 2018

(I work in a bookstore. School is about to start, so we’ve had a lot of people coming in looking for dictionaries for their children. Usually this is not a complicated request, until this lady comes in.)

Lady: “Hi, I’m looking for a dictionary?”

Me: “Of course. They’re just over here.” *starts walking toward dictionaries*

Lady: “So, um… Is a dictionary the same as a thesis?”

Me: “You mean a thesaurus?”

Lady: “Yeah, that.”

Me: *shocked that she has no idea what a thesaurus is, or even what it’s called* “Um, no. Not at all. A dictionary tells you what a word means, and a thesaurus gives you other words that mean the same thing as that word.”

Lady: *still seems really confused* “Oh… Okay… So… Do I need both, then?”

Me: “I… couldn’t say. That’s really up to you.”

Lady: “Well, they only told me to get a dictionary. I thought they were the same thing.”

Me: “We do have packs that come with both, but if they only said to get a dictionary, then that’s probably all you need.”

Lady: “So, I don’t need to get both? But what if she needs it?”

Me: *deciding enough’s enough* “No, you won’t need a thesaurus. Just get the dictionary and you’ll be fine.”

Lady: “Oh, okay. Thank you for your help!”

(I’ve never had so much trouble with what should have been a very quick and simple request! Who on earth doesn’t know the difference between a dictionary and a thesaurus, or what either of them are for? And why did anyone send her to pick them up if she had no idea what she was looking for?)


This story is part of our Book Lovers roundup!

Read the first Book Lovers Roundup story!

Read the Book Lovers Roundup!

1 Thumbs
394