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synonym

[sin-uh-nim] /ˈsɪn ə nɪm/
noun
1.
a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language, as happy, joyful, elated. A dictionary of synonyms and antonyms (or opposites), such as Thesaurus.com, is called a thesaurus.
2.
a word or expression accepted as another name for something, as Arcadia for pastoral simplicity or Wall Street for U.S. financial markets; metonym.
3.
Biology. one of two or more scientific names applied to a single taxon.
Origin
1400-1450
1400-50; < Latin synōnymum < Greek synṓnymon, noun use of neuter of synṓnymos synonymous; replacing Middle English sinonyme < Middle French < Latin, as above
Related forms
synonymic, synonymical, adjective
synonymity
[sin-uh-nim-i-tee] /ˌsɪn əˈnɪm ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun
Grammar note
English, with its long history of absorbing terminology from a wealth of other tongues, is a language particularly rich in synonyms—words so close in meaning that in many contexts they are interchangeable, like the nouns tongue and language in the first part of this sentence. Just about every popular dictionary defines synonym as a term having “the same or nearly the same” meaning as another, but there is an important difference between “the same” and “nearly the same.”
Noun synonyms sometimes mean exactly the same thing. A Dalmatian is a coach dog—same dog. A bureau is a chest of drawers. And if you ask for a soda on the east coast of the U.S., you’ll get the same drink that asking for a pop will get you farther west. The object referred to remains constant. But forest and wood, though often interchangeable, have different shades of meaning: a forest tends to be larger and denser than a wood. And when we move from nouns to other parts of speech, we almost always find subtle but important differences among synonyms: although the meanings overlap, they differ in emphasis and connotation. A sunset might be described equally well as beautiful or resplendent, but a beautiful baby would not usually be described as resplendent, which implies an especially dazzling appearance. The verbs make and construct mean roughly the same thing, but one is more likely to make a cake but construct a building, which is a more complex undertaking.
Lists of synonyms are useful when we are struggling to write and looking for just the right word, but each word must be considered in light of its specific definition. Notes at the bottom of a dictionary entry—especially usage notes and synonym studies—are often where we’ll find the detailed information that allows us to improve (or refine or polish) our writing.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for synonym
  • Remember that evolution is not a synonym for improvement.
  • Others employ it as a synonym for the entire workforce, a definition so broad as to be meaningless.
  • Thus genius became not merely a synonym for exalted intellectual power but a performed role.
  • Maleness has become a synonym for insufficient attentiveness to risk.
  • Your tenacity is worthy of encouragement, but effort is not a synonym for accomplishment.
  • The painful problem of finding a synonym for withdrawal re-emerged this year.
  • A synonym of phonetic, adjective pertaining to sounds or speech.
British Dictionary definitions for synonym

synonym

/ˈsɪnənɪm/
noun
1.
a word that means the same or nearly the same as another word, such as bucket and pail
2.
a word or phrase used as another name for something, such as Hellene for a Greek
3.
(biology) a taxonomic name that has been superseded or rejected
Derived Forms
synonymic, synonymical, adjective
synonymity, noun
Word Origin
C16: via Late Latin from Greek sunōnumon, from syn- + onoma name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for synonym
n.

early 15c. (but rare before 18c.), from Latin synonymum, from Greek synonymon "word having the same sense as another," noun use of neuter of synonymos "having the same name as, synonymous," from syn- "together, same" (see syn-) + onyma, Aeolic dialectal form of onoma "name" (see name (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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15
16
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