Synonym Full Form | Full Form of Synonym




  • A synonym is a word, morpheme, or phrase meaning exactly or nearly an equivalent as another word, morpheme, or phrase within the same language. For example, the words begin, start, commence, and initiate are all synonyms of one another; they're synonymous.
  • The quality test for synonymy is substitution: one form is often replaced by another in a sentence without changing its meaning.
  • Words are considered synonymous in one particular sense. For example, long and extended within the context long time or extended time are synonymous, but long can't be used in the phrase relatives.
  • Synonyms with precisely the same meaning share a broader denotational sememe, whereas those with inexactly similar meanings share a broader denotational or connotational sememe and thus overlap within a semantic field.
  • The former are sometimes called cognitive synonyms and therefore the latter, near-synonyms, plesionyms or poecilonyms.

Sources of synonyms

  • Synonyms are often some from the various strata making up a language. For example, in English, Norman French superstratum words and Old English substratum words still coexist.
  • Thus, today we've synonyms like the Norman-derived people, liberty and archer, and therefore the Saxon-derived folk, freedom and bowman. For more examples, see the list of Germanic and Latinate equivalents in English.
  • Loanwords are another rich source of synonyms, often from the language of the dominant culture of a region.
  • Thus most European languages have borrowed from Latin and Ancient Greek, especially for technical terms, but the native terms still are used in non-technical contexts. In East Asia, borrowings from Chinese in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese often double native terms. In Islamic cultures, Arabic and Persian are large sources of synonymous borrowings.
  • For example, in Turkish, kara and siyah both mean 'black', the first being a native Turkish word, and therefore the second being a borrowing from Persian.
  • Another source of synonyms is coinages, which can be motivated by linguistic purism.
  • Thus English word foreword was coined to exchange the Romance preface. In Turkish, okul was coined to exchange the Arabic-derived mektep and mederese, but those words still be used in some contexts.

Uses of synonyms

  • Synonyms often express a nuance of meaning or are used in different registers of speech or writing.
  • Different technical fields may appropriate synonyms for specific technical meanings.
  • Some writers avoid repeating the same word in close proximity, and like to use synonyms: this is often called elegant variation. Many modern style guides criticize this.

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