I've created a small tool named Dicsaurus, out of a need to quickly look up words and synonyms for words, and out of a desire to make it as painless as possible.
Previously I was using the command-line
dict tool in OS X, and for thesaurus just a ZSH function opening thesaurus.com in a browser, with the search term encoded into a URL parameter.
Dicsaurus is a simple python script that makes HTTP callouts to Oxford Dictionaries API. It currently works in two modes: dictionary and thesaurus. The readme explains how to set it up, including registering a developer account at developer.oxforddictionaries.com.
Example usage in dictionary mode
The word 'blue' turns out to be a good test word for both dictionary and thesaurus modes.
./dicsaurus.py -t blue
Results from Oxford University Press: Definition(s) for 'blue' blue (Adjective) Example(s): a blue silk shirt the clear blue sky deep blue eyes he's feeling blue a blue movie the successful blue candidate Etomologie(s): Middle English: from Old French bleu, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to Old English blǣwen ‘blue’ and Old Norse blár ‘dark blue’ (see also blaeberry) blue (Noun) Example(s): she was dressed in blue armchairs in pastel blues and greens the dark blue of his eyes a flyweight boxing blue did you have a blue or what? his tactical blue in saying the opposition wasn't ready to govern only an Aussie could make a red-headed man ‘Blue.’ blue (Verb) Example(s): blued paper the day would haze, the air bluing with afternoon the light dims, bluing the retina they blued the shirts and starched the uniforms Etomologie(s): mid 19th century: perhaps a variant of blow</code></pre>
Example usage in thesaurus mode
./dicsaurus.py -t blue
Results from Oxford University Press: Synonym(s) for 'blue' blue (Adjective) Synonym(s): sky-blue azure cobalt cobalt blue sapphire cerulean navy navy blue saxe saxe blue Oxford blue Cambridge blue ultramarine lapis lazuli indigo aquamarine turquoise teal teal blue cyan of the colour of the sky of the colour of the sea Example(s): she had bright blue eyes Synonym(s): depressed down sad saddened unhappy melancholy miserable sorrowful gloomy dejected downhearted disheartened despondent dispirited low in low spirits low-spirited heavy-hearted glum morose dismal downcast cast down tearful Example(s): Dad had died that year and Mum was feeling a bit blue Synonyms(s): indecent dirty rude coarse vulgar bawdy lewd racy risqué salacious naughty wicked improper unseemly smutty spicy raw off colour ribald Rabelaisian Example(s): a blue movie