So, 86% of students admit to using a thesaurus to replace small words with big ones in their essays in an effort to look smarter. This is a bad idea. http://web.princeton.edu/sites/opplab/papers/Opp Consequences of Erudite Vernacular.pdf That's a study demonstrating (argh! - "showing") that using bigger words offers a worse result and makes you look less intelligent. If you wish to improve on an essay using a thesaurus, simplify! Take all your big or rare words and replace them with simple ones, and try to get in the habit of using the simplest synonym you know, even if it's not a perfect synonym. I have no idea where this should be filed. It's just something good to know for the many students among us. Edit: oh yeah, and note that this does not apply to jargon. Use technical terms when you should.