Monday, December 15, 2008

The Writer’s Digest Flip Dictionary
By Barbara Amm Kipfer, Ph.D.

I once had a friend once accuse me of “cheating” with my writing. She presumed that a writer wouldn’t need a thesaurus or other helps to write a novel or a script. My friend thought that all our fabulous words merely pour out of the writer’s mind and onto the page. (If only . . .) Seeing my well-worn thesaurus she exclaimed, “I could do that.” She meant writing with the use of a thesaurus. I believe she’d still find writing a challenge even with the wonderful tools I use to keep me sane.

All the same, I love to write and I love my readers. I want my writing to be exciting, arousing the emotions of our readers, maybe even heal emotional and spiritual wounds along the way. Words are the only medium I have to communicate what is in my heart. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get.

Writers paint images in the mind and we find the colors for our pallets in dictionaries, thesauruses, and other prayer answering resources. I have a “tool box” at finger’s reach from my desktop computer. Among my favorite tools is my Hitchcock’s Topical Bible that I reviewed last time. I also have various types of dictionaries.

The classic Merriam Webster isn’t the only show in town. There are all sorts of dictionaries that help us find the words we want to use to set a particular emotional stage. One of my favorites is the Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipher, Ph. D., a publication of Writer’s Digest. This dictionary is designed to help the writer find the perfect word to fit the context.

We all know how frustrating it is to have a word “on the tip of our tongues” and not be able to spit it out or, worse yet, write it down. Maybe you want to need a word to describe a specific action or thing. You might need a specialized technical term. The Flip Dictionary will help you find exactly the right word you’ve been looking for.

The Flip Dictionary uses clue words under broad headings—such as Furniture Terms, Combat Sports and Martial Arts, or Types of Boats and Ships with thousands of entries in between. The Flip Dictionary will save hours of frustration; Googling and praying to come across the correct verbage. The word you seek will always be right at the finger tips.

The Flip Dictionary is formatted by subject in alphabetical order and is very easy to use and also doubles as a thesaurus, giving the writer and even broader choice of words to use. No writer should be without this valuable tool.


  1. Wow! That sounds like a wonderful tool. I use a thesaurus all the time and a dictionary quite often. Any of us that are word people need help, for sure.

  2. That sounds an interesting book; I will have to get hold a have copy and have a look.

  3. I'd better get hold of a book on proof reading too...or a pair of glasses!


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