Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Burton's Legal Thesaurus

Burton bookAs the school year begins, don't forget about Burton's Legal Thesaurus, a helpful place to find synonyms for law-related words. I just looked up the word disdain, because I write about judges' reactions to errors in legal writing. Among the many synonyms listed are abhor, decry, deem unbecoming, and reject, all of which might be helpful in discussing courts' views of lawyers' infractions. 

I always remind students to be discriminating in using a thesaurus. As Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." There's a real risk of choosing the almost-right word from a Thesaurus, so students must devote some thought to selecting the best phrasing.

The author of the thesaurus, by the way, is the founder of the prestigious Burton Awards for legal writing. 

hat tip: Ralph Brill

(jdf)

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