Macquarie Dictionary


About Keywords

The Macquarie Thesaurus is divided into 809 keywords. A keyword denotes a broad area of meaning, within which related words are grouped.

Each keyword is divided into a number of sections, firstly by part of speech using the following abbreviations:

  • N = noun
  • ADJ = adjective
  • V = verb
  • ADV = adverb
  • PREP = preposition
  • CONJ = conjunction
  • INTERJ = interjection
  • PHR = phrase

Within each part of speech there are paragraphs and subparagraphs, arranged to reflect levels of meaning within the main concept. Usually, words with a general or abstract meaning are grouped before words with a more specific meaning. Each subparagraph has a summary word in bold type which serves as an indication of the area of meaning of the following words. Although the words within each subparagraph are close in meaning, they are not necessarily exact synonyms. They may be similar in meaning but have varying nuances.

The words and phrases following each summary word are in alphabetical order, except for those used in informal language. These informal words appear in alphabetical order after the subheading ‘Informal’ at the end of the subparagraph. Other labels indicating that a word is restricted in use by reason of region, time or level of language appear in italic type in brackets after the word. These labels include, for example, Archaic, Obsolete, Rare, Poetic, Literary, US (United States), Brit. (Britain), NZ (New Zealand), and those indicating an Australian regional usage. The symbol ‡ after a word indicates that the word may give offence, either because the word itself is taboo or because it has sexist or racist overtones. The use of two such symbols, applied to a small group of words, indicates an extreme degree of this restriction.

Finding Words

p>What do you do when you want to use a word with a particular meaning but cannot bring the exact word to mind? For example, you want to describe a meal you have enjoyed and the only word you can think of is ‘nice’. Key the word ‘nice’ into the Search panel of the Thesaurus.

The following will appear on your screen:

18 Keyword hits for nice:

  • SEX

As you want to describe food, the best choice in this list is PLEASANT FLAVOUR. Click on this and the following will appear:



1 pleasant flavour deliciousness, lusciousness, mellowness, niceness, palatability, palatableness, sapidity, savour, savouriness, tastiness, toothsomeness; relish life, tang, zest.

ADJ 2 delicious ambrosial, ambrosian, delectable, epicurean, fit for the gods, flavorous, lipsmacking, luscious, mouth-watering, nectareous, nice, succulent, sweet, tasty, yum; Informal: delish, goluptious, more-ish, nummy, scrummy, scrumptious, yummy; delicate dainty, manikin, nice; savoury appetising, enticing, flavourful, flavoursome, mouth-watering, palatable, piquant, sapid, savorous (Chiefly US), savory, tangy, tasty, toothsome, zestful, zesty.

3 savour lap up, lick one’s fingers, smack the lips; taste good tickle the palate.

INTERJ 4 yummy Informal: delish, mmm, scrummy, scrumptious, what a feast, yum, yum-o.

The word ‘nice’ is highlighted in red in the first subparagraph in paragraph 2. In that subparagraph, you will find a range of alternative terms to ‘nice’, including several informal words, all under the heading delicious. A wider choice of words can be found by reading the whole of paragraph 2, including the words listed under the headings delicate and savoury.

In some cases, a subparagraph may not contain synonyms at all, but may be a list of examples of a particular category. If, for example, you search on ‘cheese’, and go to the keyword FOOD, you will find a list of nearly 100 different types of cheese. If you continue to browse through this keyword, you will also find lists of different types of fruit, vegetables, cakes, soups, and more.


The following is a list of the 809 areas of meaning into which the Macquarie Thesaurus is divided. Click a letter below to jump ahead or scroll for all keywords.
abandonment absence abstinence
accomplishment accord accounting
accusation acquirement acquittal
action actuality addition
adequacy advance affectedness
afterworld agent agreement
air alcohol alleviation
allure alphabet amusement
analysis anarchy anger
animal noise animals annoyance
answer anticipation anxiety
apathy appearance approval
aristocracy arrangement arrival
arrogance artist artlessness
ascent assertion atom
attack attempt attention
attraction authority avoidance
award badness bareness
beauty behaviour belief
bend black blemish
blue bluntness bodily discharge
body bombast book
boredom bottom bragging
brevity bribery brittleness
brown bubbliness bulge
the bush busyness buying
calculation callousness cancellation
carefulness cause cautiousness
centre certainty change
changeableness changelessness change of allegiance
channel character cheapness
choice city clarity
classification cleanliness closeness
closure clothes cloud
coldness colour colourlessness
combination coming after coming before
command commerce communication
companionship comparison compensation
competence complexity composure
computing conditionality conformity
confusion congratulation conjecture
contact container contentedness
contest continuation contract
contraction controlling device convergence
cookery cooling cooperation
copy cord cost
council counteraction courage
courtesy court of law covering
cowardice creation crossing
cunning curiosity curve
custom cut damage
dancing danger dark
day deafness death
deception decoration decrease
defeat defence deficiency
delusion denial departure
dependence depth descent
desire despair destruction
deterioration deviation diagram
difference difficulty digging
direction dirtiness disagreement
disappearance disapproval disbelief
discernment discontentedness discord
discouragement discourtesy disenchantment
dishonesty dismissal disobedience
disorder dispersion display
displeasure disrepute dissonance
distortion disuse dive
divergence drug dryness
dullness dwelling earliness
easiness edge effort
electricity eloquence emblem
emission emotion employment
emptiness enclosure encouragement
energy entertainer entertainment
enthusiasm entrance entreaty
equality erectness error
escape essay essence
eternity evidence evolution
exaggeration excess exchange
excitement exclusion exit
expectation expedience expensiveness
explosion extinguishing extraction
extravagance factory failure
fairness faithfulness fantasy
farming fashion fastening
faulty sight faulty speech feather
fertility a few fighter
figure of speech finance finding
fine arts finish fire
five and over flattery flood
flow flying fold
food fool foolishness
force foreignness forgetting
forgiveness formality four
frequency friendliness fright
front fuel fullness
funeral rites furniture furrow
the future gambling gap
gas gathering generality
generosity giving god
good fortune goodness good taste
government gradation grammatical error
gratefulness greatness green
grey grief growth
guidance guilt habitation
hair hanging happiness
hardness harshness hate
healing health hearing
heat heating heaviness
height help hiding
high regard hindrance hissing
hitting hold hollow
homogeneity honesty hope
humanity humour idea
idleness ignorance ill health
illogicality imitation immorality
impenitence imperfection importance
imposition impossibility imprecision
imprisonment improvement impulsiveness
imputation inadequacy inattention
inclusion incompetence increase
indebtedness indecision independence
inequality inevitability inexpedience
inferiority infertility infinity
influence informality information
innocence insanity insertion
inside insipidity insistence
intake intangibility intellectual
intelligence intention interaction
interpretation interruption interval
intolerance invisibility irregularity
irreverence irritableness jealousy
job joining joy
judge judgement jump
justification killing kindness
knowledge lake land
language lateness lawfulness
lawyer layer learning
left length lenience
level liberation life
light lightness likelihood
liquid list litigation
loan logicality losing
loudness love low regard
luck machine magic
man management manager
many mariner marriage
matter maturity meaning
meanness measurement mediation
medication mediocrity meekness
menace message metal
method middle class mind
misbehaviour misfortune misguidance
misjudgement misplacement misrepresentation
misuse mixture mockery
model moderation modesty
moment money morality
movement multicolour music
musical instrument musician name
narrative nation nature
necessity neglect neutrality
newness news night
nonconformity non-existence non-payment
nonsense number obedience
obligation obscenity obscurity
obviousness occurrence odourlessness
offer offspring oil
oldness one opacity
opening operation oppositeness
opposite position optics orange
order ordinariness organism
outside overindulgence overtaking
overturn ownership pain
parentage part participation
particularity partner the past
patience payment peace
penitence perception perfection
period permission persistence
photography pity placement
place of worship plan plants
pleasant flavour pleasantness pleasure
pliability poetry poison
pole politician politics
pose position possibility
poverty powder power
powerlessness precision prediction
preparedness presence the present
preservation pressure printing
profit prohibition promiscuity
property propriety protection
proverb psyche publicity
pulling pulp pungency
punishment purple pursuit
quantity question quietness
rainfall rareness rashness
raw materials reaction reading
realism rear record
red refusal region
regularity relation relative
religion religious ceremony religious leader
remembering remnant remoteness
removal repair repetition
representation repression reproduction
repulsion repute resonance
rest restraints result
retaliation reticence retreat
revelation reverence revolution
rhythm right rights
robbery rock romance
room roughness roundness
route rubbing rule
ruler safety sanity
satisfaction school scripture
sea season secrecy
selfishness selling separation
servant sex shallowness
shape shapelessness sharing
sharpness shelter shop
shortness shouting showiness
shrillness side sight
sign silence similarity
simplicity simultaneity single state
size skin sky
slander sleep slope
slowness sludge smallness
smell smoothness sociability
society softness solidity
solitude sombreness sound
sourness space speech
speed spin sport
start state steadiness
stickiness stoppage straightness
strangeness strength stubbornness
student stupidity subject matter
subtraction suggestion superiority
the supernatural supernatural being supply
support surety surprise
surroundings swamp swearing
sweetness taking talkativeness
taste teacher teaching
telecommunications temporariness test
textiles thickness thief
thinking thinness three
thrift throw time
timeliness time measurement tiredness
tobacco tolerance top
touch trade union transparency
transport travel traversing
truth turbulence twist
two ugliness uncertainty
unconditionality unconsciousness undertaking
unfairness unfaithfulness unfriendliness
ungratefulness unhappiness unimportance
unkindness unlawfulness unlikelihood
unpleasant flavour unpleasantness unpreparedness
unrelatedness unselfishness untimeliness
untruthfulness unwillingness use
uselessness vanity vehicle
verbosity vibration victim
violence visibility visit
voluptuousness vulgarity waking
wall war warning
watercraft weakness wealth
weapon weather wetness
white whole willingness
wind winning wise person
woman word work
worker working class writing
wrongdoing youth