So here's something interesting that I stumbled across on thesaurus.org: the word "masochist." Notice anything depressing about the suggested synonyms?
Not only are they all highly inaccurate, but the suggestions with the most votes are:
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. And I'm not, really. I am annoyed though. I'm annoyed that the so-called synonyms have to come wrapped in a negative value judgement. And I'm annoyed at the assumption that any of the words on this list even come close to being anything like a synonym. All of those things on that list are very, very different, and very, very specific.
And sure, of course I shouldn't be relying on some website that suggests avocado as a possible synonym for oak, but it's different. An oak does not equal an avocado. The comparison is stupid, but it's not offensive.
Oaks aren't avocados, any more than masochists are degenerate.
I'd say the whole thing is like comparing apples and oranges, but then thesaurus.org probably can't tell the difference.