For me, one of the most difficult phases of language learning (by myself or inn part-time language courses) is after 1 or 2 years, when I have some basic knowledge but, as you start to learn more and increase your vocabulary, a lot of words sound/look "the same", this was the case with both German and Russian.

I think this is because you are trying to put a lot of knowledge in your brain but it's much harder to remember words without context. For example, take words you hear every day, you make lots of connections when you hear that word said by a person you know, in a situation you remember, so on and so on.

Learning similarities between new words and words you already know helps a lot. For this reason, I'm looking for some kind of book or software that shows related words (with the same root, same origin, etc) given some word, for example:

You look for the word monetary, you get also money, moneyed, and so on.

I've been using etymological dictionaries for this and it helps me somewhat, but not as much as I wanted.

  • It sounds like you want an etymology dictionary.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 9, 2016 at 9:00
  • 3
    I think this question is too language specific to attract any general answers. Here are a few ideas:
    – Ansa211
    Apr 9, 2016 at 11:56
  • Yeah, why not just looking at some etymology dictionaries for this?
    – fi12
    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:14
  • Have you tried learning new words not in isolation but as part of a phrase or sentence?
    – J.Past
    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:37

2 Answers 2


This kind of information is more likely to appear in an online dictionary than in a printed one because of the space constraints of a printed dictionary. Wiktionaries (and many online versions of monolingual dictionaries) have the "related terms" section (called "Wortbildungen" in the German Wiktionary) which should give the kind of information you are looking for.

Books dedicated solely to vocabulary building often include exercises concentrating on etymological relations between words, word formation and the like.


One way to find related words is a thesaurus. A thesaurus lists words together according to similarity in meaning, which includes synonyms and antonyms. Some thesauri exist in digital form, e.g. OpenThesaurus for German, Power Thesaurus, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, etc.

Another way to find related words is a learner's dictionary. Some learner's dictionary's contain tables, illustrations, etc. with related words. Some entries contain notes that explain how a word differs from certain related words (in meaning, usage, register, ...). However, this would only cover a small subset of the vocabulary in a learner's dictionary.

A special example of a learner's dictionary is or was the Longman Language Activator, which was something between a learner's dictionary, a thesaurus and a vocabulary buuilder. It helped you find more precise words that are similar to words you already know. (See also the review by the Japanese linguist Taeko TOMIOKA, who points out, among other things, that this dictionary would be more useful in an electronic format.)

Another way to find related words is a visual dictionary, but this type of dictionary covers only things that can be explained through images.

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