Are there any compilations of lists of words by domain?

For example, there could be a domain 'Literature' and it would include the words

writer, reader, critic, book, essay, novel, publisher, inspiration, exposition, climax, fiction, Nabokov, ... etc.

This particular domain would probably include many of the words or notions discussed on this particular site. Then there could be a domain 'Japan' which would include the words relevant to Japan.

This is similar to association lists, but really broad. For instance, a word tea could be on the 'Japan' list, but I suspect it wouldn't be a first association with Japan for most people.

These lists could be used to form metaphors in a given domain, which is why the question is here.

  • Would something like Dictionary of associations satisfy you?
    – SF.
    Dec 18, 2014 at 14:26
  • Search for "collocation". There are text corpora available online that analyse for example all newspapers in a certain language and output, among other things of linguistic interest, the collocations of a word, that is the other words that regularly appear close to this word in a text. For example, here is the results page for the German word "Hand": dwds.de/?qu=Hand On that page (if you don't view the mobile version) there is a section headed "Überblick zu 'Hand'" - those are the collocations. I'm German, so that's what I know resources for, but probably similar exist for English.
    – user5645
    Dec 18, 2014 at 14:54
  • @SF. This is not broad enough. I have just tried to explain why in a comment for TuringTest's answer. On the other hand, WordNet, the database behind the specific site you gave, could probably used to create better lists. Not sure how yet.
    – komark
    Dec 19, 2014 at 21:38
  • @what collocations could be useful. just the word is particularly useful, as it just shows the raw sentences with a given word, not, say, adjectives before or after the word. Not enough rep to upvote the comment...
    – komark
    Dec 19, 2014 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


That kind reference work is called a thesaurus. It's similar to a dictionary of synonyms, but the words grouped together do not mean exactly the same - they just have related meanings by similitude or context.

To get words only from a specific domain, you can find a thematic thesaurus that is specialized for words relevant to it. Using your example, here is an online thesaurus on literature.

  • Thesaurus is a good direction, but I'm looking for something broader, with more words. Consider a person answering a question: 'What is literature for you?', by using a collection of words. I want these words (from many persons). Perhaps if there was a resource that opens the traversed thesaurus (that is, at once, all the related words, and words related to related, two or three times) it might be suitable. It is an interesting question in itself whether it would be suitable or not.
    – komark
    Dec 19, 2014 at 20:35

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