Dictionary.com Word FAQs
Can I use my dictionary to find synonyms?
In a way, yes, you can use a dictionary to find synonyms. In dictionary entries, oftentimes there are cross-references within the definitions. These cross-references may even be printed in small capital letters. In most cases, these can be regarded as synonymous or closely related to the headword of that entry. In an entry for "gallery," say, you may find a definition that says COLLECTION, AGGREGATION. It is essential to check the full entry of the word that is presented in small capital letters, in order to make sure that the word may truly be substituted in the context you have in mind. There may be an illustrative example that will help you determine this. In the example for "gallery," there may be an offering such as <the rich ~ of characters in this novel> which demonstrates its usage. Can you substitute COLLECTION or AGGREGATION in that sentence fragment? Other times, a closely related or synonymous word may be included in a definition and will not be set apart typographically. In an entry for the noun "grab," you might have a definition that says 'sudden seizure of something or someone; a snatch', where snatch could be regarded as synonymous with grab in this context. Brief paragraphs describing and discriminating words closely related in meaning are called synonym studies and synonym paragraphs. Dictionaries try to include as many of these as space allows. The shared element of meaning usually precedes the explanations of the individual words.