Christine Lovatt

If you are one of those people (like me) who makes lists, you will be interested to hear that Peter Mark Roget was such a man. If he hadn’t been, we might not have the wonderful reference book known as Roget’s Thesaurus

Roget was highly qualified in several fields. He was a physician, scholar and lexicographer, interested in many aspects of life. Born in London, he studied medicine in Edinburgh, and wrote articles about the use of laughing gas as an anaesthetic.

He invented a slide rule which was widely used until the calculator was invented. He showed remarkable ingenuity in inventing and solving chess problems and designed an inexpensive pocket chessboard. He was interested in optics and wrote a paper suggesting ways to improve the kaleidoscope. However, his enduring avocation was the English language.

All his life, he made lists of words and at the age of 26 had collated and classified his massive word collection. However, it was at the age of 73, well after he had retired, that he set about preparing