Wordnet is a fun, interesting tool that a writer can use when they get stumped for a word. According to the Wordnet site, it says that "WordNet® is a large lexical database of English. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept." While not falling neatly into the category of a thesaurus, the site allows for you to search a word and come up with a host of related words that could freshen up your prose.
Here's what came up when I searched the word dog:
- S: (n) dog, domestic dog, Canis familiaris (a member of the genus Canis (probably descended from the common wolf) that has been domesticated by man since prehistoric times; occurs in many breeds) "the dog barked all night"
- S: (n) frump, dog (a dull unattractive unpleasant girl or woman) "she got a reputation as a frump"; "she's a real dog"
- S: (n) dog (informal term for a man) "you lucky dog"
- S: (n) cad, bounder, blackguard, dog, hound, heel (someone who is morally reprehensible) "you dirty dog"
- S: (n) frank, frankfurter, hotdog, hot dog, dog, wiener, wienerwurst, weenie (a smooth-textured sausage of minced beef or pork usually smoked; often served on a bread roll)
- S: (n) pawl, detent, click, dog (a hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward)
- S: (n) andiron, firedog, dog, dog-iron (metal supports for logs in a fireplace) "the andirons were too hot to touch"
- S: (v) chase, chase after, trail, tail, tag, give chase, dog, go after, track (go after with the intent to catch) "The policeman chased the mugger down the alley"; "the dog chased the rabbit"
Check it out here: http://wordnet.princeton.edu/wordnet/tools/search/index.xml?search_type=site&submit=search&query=dog&submit=Search