Oftentimes thesaurus users are not looking for something that means exactly the same as the word they already have. To help in this situation, this thesaurus includes lists of related words, which are words whose meanings are close enough to the synonymy group to be of interest to the user. These related words do not qualify as synonyms because they have meanings that differ from the basic meaning shared by the synonymy group in some significant way.
For example, the word funny has the meaning of "causing or intended to cause laughter." A person who is making funny faces is causing, or at least trying to cause, others to laugh. Witty, which is certainly closely related to funny, has a slightly different meaning: "given to or marked by mature intelligent humor." A witty person is someone who has a habit of making clever remarks that display a grown-up sense of humor. Thus, funny and witty are related, but the words are not synonymous. Because of the close relationship between two words like funny and witty, all of the words listed as synonyms at witty are given as related words at funny.
The lists of related words at a main entry in the thesaurus may be likened to the hyperlinks that connect one Web site to another on the Internet. Following the links between Web sites often takes one to new and unexpected places. Thesaurus users are encouraged to go from one related entry to another in their search for just the right word. Some words are not true synonyms of anything, but because they are so fundamentally useful, they have been included in this thesaurus among the lists of related words and in places where they are likely to be most helpful. For example, the word ballast, which refers to "any type of heavy material used to make a ship steady," is too narrow in meaning to have any synonyms of its own. It is related to the more general term load, however, and so, fittingly, it is included as a related word at the entry for load.
You will see that in most cases there are more related words than synonyms. That is because there is much more flexibility in choosing words for these lists. They do not have to match the shared meaning: they only need to relate to some aspect of it.
Related words are often divided into subgroups separated by a semicolon. Words within each subgroup are generally closer in meaning to each other than to the members of the following subgroups. The subgroups tend to be presented in order of most relevant to least relevant.
Entry Word: object
Text: 1 something material that can be perceived by the senses <I kept tripping over countless little objects scattered about the darkened room>
Related Words: article, item, piece; being, entity, substance; commodity, good, ware; accessory, accompaniment; bauble, curio, knickknack, spangle, token, trinket