:"This article deals with the general meaning of the term "synonym". For biological synonyms, see Synonym (taxonomy)."Synonyms are different words with identical or at least similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek polytonic| ("syn") "with" and polytonic| ("onoma") "name". The words "car" and "automobile" are synonyms. Similarly, if we talk about a "long time" or an "extended time", "long" and "extended" become synonyms. In the figurative sense, two words are often said to be synonymous if they have the same connotation:

:"a widespread impression that … Hollywood was synonymous with immorality" (Doris Kearns Goodwin)

Synonyms can be any part of speech (e.g. nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs or prepositions), as long as both members of the pair are the same part of speech. More examples of English synonyms are:

*"baby" and "infant" (noun)
*"petty crime" and "misdemeanor" (noun)
*"student" and "pupil" (noun)
*"buy" and "purchase" (verb)
*"pretty" and "attractive" (adjective)
*"sick" and "ill" (adjective)
*"quickly" and "speedily" (adverb)
*"on" and "upon" (preposition)
*"freedom" and "liberty" (noun)
*"dead" and "deceased" (adjective)

Note that the synonyms are defined with respect to certain senses of words; for instance, "pupil" as the "aperture in the iris of the eye" is not synonymous with "student". Similarly, "expired" as "having lost validity" (as in grocery goods) doesn't necessarily mean death.

In English many synonyms evolved from a mixture of Norman French and English words, often with some words associated with the Saxon countryside ("folk", "freedom") and synonyms with the Norman nobility ("people", "liberty").

Some lexicographers claim that no synonyms have exactly the same meaning (in all contexts or social levels of language) because etymology, orthography, phonic qualities, ambiguous meanings, usage, etc. make them unique. Different words that are similar in meaning usually differ for a reason: "feline" is more formal than "cat"; "long" and "extended" are only synonyms in one usage and not in others (for example, a "long arm" is not the same as an "extended arm"). Synonyms are also a source of euphemisms.

The purpose of a thesaurus is to offer the user a listing of similar or related words; these are often, but not always, synonyms.

"...there is no such thing as a true synonym."

The use of a human natural language is a matter of agreement between people and names of things (words) are arbitrarily given to objects. Such names are meant to identify things, etc. and are therefore unique identifiers at the start, though may be longer than a single word. Hence you need disambiguation in defining the meaning of Wikipedia entry words too.So what you have is a list of words that may replace each other subject to various contextual circumstances.

"Those who work with language know that there is no such thing as a true synonym. Even though the meanings of two words may be the same - or nearly so - there are three characteristics of words that almost never coincide: frequency, distribution and connotation."

This is well reflected in various new English dictionaries where you find frequency data next to a dictionary entry, etc.

One of the major achievements in lexicography belongs to a Hungarian translator Tibor Bartos, who compiled his Magyar szótár by claiming the very same idea as above. [Laurence Urdang in the Introduction to The Synonym Finder, (1979 Rodale Press, ISBN 0-87857-243-0) "...There is no such thing as a true synonym." ]

Related terms

Antonyms are words with opposite or nearly opposite meanings. For example:
*"short" and "tall"
*"dead" and "alive"
*"near" and "far"
*"war" and "peace"
*"increase and decrease"The words "synonym" and "antonym" are themselves antonyms.

Hypernyms and hyponyms are words that refer to, respectively, a general category and a specific instance of that category. For example, "vehicle" is a hypernym of "car", and "car" is a hyponym of "vehicle".

ee also

* -onym
* Synonym ring
* Thesaurus

External links

* [ Synonyms Dictionary] at Synonyms.Me
* [] - Online synonyms thesaurus reference resource that also provides images for search terms.
* [ Synomizer!] - supports word and a unique text analysis in five languages.
* [ Thesaurus] - Online synonyms in English, Italian, French and German.
* [ Free Online English Thesaurus and Dictionary.] Free Online English Thesaurus and dictionary containing synonyms, related Words, antonyms, definitions, idioms, words and terms using Merriam Websters Thesaurus, Wordnet Reference and Roget's Thesaurus Definitions.
* [ Synonym tool for websites] - creates lists of synonyms for arbitrary page on WWW
* [ English Synonym Dictionary] - offers 500 searches for synonym per user per day
* [ Russian Synonym Dictionary] - Over 250 000 synonyms
* [ Synonym Thesaurus]
* [ Synonyms] - Over 100 000 synonyms
* [ French synonyms]
* [ iGoogle Gadget] - Synonym Gadget for iGoogle
* [ English synonyms]

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  • Synonym — Synonym …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • synonym — Adj gleichbedeutend per. Wortschatz fach. (19. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. synonymique, dieses aus l. synōnymus, aus gr. synṓnymos, zu gr. ónoma Name, Benennung, Wort und gr. syn , also gleichnamig . Abstraktum: Synonymie.    Ebenso nndl.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Synonym — Syn o*nym (s[i^]n [ o]*n[i^]m), n.; pl. {Synonyms} (s[i^]n [ o]*n[i^]mz). [F. synonyme, L. synonyma, pl. of synonymum, Gr. synw nymon. See {Synonymous}.] 1. One of two or more words (commonly words of the same language) which are equivalents of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Synonȳm — (v. gr.), von gleicher Bedeutung sinnähnlich, sinnverwandt; bes. nennt Synonimus solche Wörter, welche unter einander gleiche Bedeutung haben od. doch wenigstens sinnverwandt sind. Streng genommen gibt es in keiner Sprache Wörter, welche… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Synonym — Synonȳm (grch.), gleichbedeutend, sinnverwandt; Synonyme (Synonўma), sinnverwandte Wörter, Synonymīe, Sinnähnlichkeit; Synonȳmik, Lehre von den sinnverwandten Wörtern …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Synonym — Synonym, gleichbedeutend (sinnverwandt); daher Synonymen: Worte, welche, obwohl ganz verschieden klingend, doch dasselbe bedeuten. Sie entstehen durch Einbürgerung von Fremdwörtern (wie civil = bürgerlich), durch Näherung der verschiedenen… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Synonym — Synonym, griech. dtsch., gleich od. ähnlichbedeutend, sinnverwandt; S.e, S.a, Wörter von gleicher od. ähnlicher Bedeutung; S. ik, die Darstellung des Unterschiedes der sog. S.en …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • synonym — index call (title), definition, same Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • synonym — (n.) early 15c. (but rare before 18c.), from L. synonymum, from Gk. synonymon word having the same sense as another, noun use of neut. of synonymos having the same name as, synonymous, from syn together, same (see SYN (Cf. syn )) + onyma, Aeolic… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Synonym — »sinnverwandtes Wort«: Der sprachwissenschaftliche Terminus wurde im 15./16. Jh. aus lat. (verbum) synonymum entlehnt, das seinerseits aus griech. (rhēma) synō̓nymon stammt. Griech. syn ō̓nymos »gleichbedeutend; gleichnamig« ist eine Bildung… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • synonym — ► NOUN ▪ a word or phrase that means the same as another word or phrase in the same language. DERIVATIVES synonymy noun. ORIGIN Greek sun numon, from onoma name …   English terms dictionary

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