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A synonym is a , , or that means exactly or nearly the same as another word, morpheme, or phrase in a given language. For example, in the , the words begin, start, commence, and initiate are all synonyms of one another: they are synonymous. The standard test for synonymy is substitution: one form can be replaced by another in a sentence without changing its meaning. Words are considered synonymous in only one particular : for example, long and extended in the context long time or extended time are synonymous, but long cannot be used in the phrase extended family. Synonyms with exactly the same meaning share a seme or denotational , whereas those with inexactly similar meanings share a broader denotational or sememe and thus overlap within a . The former are sometimes called cognitive synonyms and the latter, near-synonyms, plesionymsDiMarco, Chrysanne, and Graeme Hirst. "Usage notes as the basis for a representation of near-synonymy for lexical choice." Proceedings of 9th annual conference of the University of Waterloo Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary and Text Research. 1993. or poecilonyms.Grambs, David. The Endangered English Dictionary: Bodacious Words Your Dictionary Forgot. WW Norton & Company, 1997.


Lexicography
Some claim that no synonyms have exactly the same meaning (in all contexts or social levels of language) because , , phonic qualities, , ambiguous meanings, usage, and so on make them unique."In the strictest sense, synonymous words scarcely exist". Standard Dictionary (Funk & Wagnalls, 1894), entry for synonyms or synonymous, as quoted in Webster's New Dictionary of Synonyms: A Dictionary of Discriminated Synonyms with Antonyms and Analogous and Contrasted Words (Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam (Merriam-Webster ser.), 4th 1973 (SBN 0-87779-141-4)), p. 19a ( Survey of the History of English Synonymy, in Introductory Matter); accord, Webster's New Dictionary of Synonyms, id., pp. 23a–25a, passim ( Synonym: Analysis and Definition (titular word & colon italicized in original & subtitle not), in Introductory Matter). 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 .

can sometimes be a form of synonymy: the is used as a synonym of the administration in referring to the U.S. executive branch under a specific president. Thus, a metonym is a type of synonym, and the word metonym is a hyponym of the word synonym.

The analysis of synonymy, , hyponymy, and hypernymy is inherent to taxonomy and ontology in the information science senses of those terms.Hirst, Graeme. "ftp://ftp.db.toronto.edu/public_html/dist/gh/Hirst-Ontol-2009-as-published.pdf." Handbook on ontologies. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2009. 269-292. It has applications in and , because they rely on word-sense disambiguation.

(2024). 9781905593446, Association for Computational Linguistics. .


Etymology
The word is borrowed from synōnymum, in turn borrowed from Ancient Greek (συνώνυμον]]), composed of (σύν]] 'together, similar, alike') and -- (-ωνυμ-), a form of (ὄνομα]] 'name'). Oxford English Dictionary, 1st edition, 1919, s.v.


Sources
Synonyms are often some from the different strata making up a language. For example, in English, words and substratum words continue to coexist. Thus, today we have synonyms like the Norman-derived people, liberty and archer, and the Saxon-derived folk, freedom and bowman. For more examples, see the list of Germanic and Latinate equivalents in English.

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 continue to be used in non-technical contexts. In East Asia, borrowings from in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese often double native terms. In Islamic cultures, and are large sources of synonymous borrowings.

For example, in , kara and siyah both mean 'black', the former being a native Turkish word, and the latter being a borrowing from Persian. In Ottoman Turkish, there were often three synonyms: water can be su (Turkish), âb (Persian), or (Arabic): "such a triad of synonyms exists in Ottoman for every meaning, without exception". As always with synonyms, there are nuances and shades of meaning or usage.Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism, 1968, p. 78

In English, similarly, we often have Latin (L) and Greek (Gk) terms synonymous with Germanic ones: thought, notion (L), idea (Gk); ring, circle (L), cycle (Gk). English often uses the Germanic term only as a noun, but has Latin and Greek adjectives: hand, manual (L), chiral (Gk); heat, thermal (L), caloric (Gk). Sometimes the Germanic term has become rare, or restricted to special meanings: tide, time/ temporal, chronic.Carl Darling Buck, A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, 1949, reprinted as

Many in English are borrowed from Latin and Greek and are synonyms for native words or morphemes: fish, pisci- (L), ichthy- (Gk).

Another source of synonyms is , which may be motivated by linguistic purism. Thus, the English word foreword was coined to replace the Romance preface. In Turkish, okul was coined to replace the Arabic-derived mektep and mederese, but those words continue to be used in some contexts.Geoffrey Lewis, The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success, 1999, , p. 44, 70, 117


Uses
Synonyms often express a nuance of meaning or are used in different registers of speech or writing.

Various technical domains may employ synonyms to convey precise technical nuances.

Some writers avoid repeating the same word in close proximity, and prefer to use synonyms: this is called elegant variation. Many modern style guides criticize this.


Examples
Synonyms can be any part of speech, as long as both words belong to the same part of speech. Examples:

  • noun: drink and beverage
  • verb: buy and purchase
  • adjective: big and large
  • adverb: quickly and speedily
  • preposition: on and upon

Synonyms are defined with respect to certain senses of words: pupil as the aperture in the iris of the eye is not synonymous with student. Similarly, he expired means the same as he died, yet my passport has expired cannot be replaced by my passport has died.

A lists similar or related words; these are often, but not always, synonyms.

  • The word poecilonym is a rare synonym of the word synonym. It is not entered in most major dictionaries and is a curiosity or piece of trivia for being an because of its meta quality as a synonym of synonym.
  • are words with opposite or nearly opposite meanings. For example: hotcold, largesmall, thickthin, synonymantonym
  • 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.
  • are words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings. For example, witch and which are homophones in most accents (because they are pronounced the same).
  • are words that have the same spelling but different meanings. For example, one can record a song or keep a record of documents.
  • are words that have the same pronunciation and spelling but different meanings. For example, rose (a type of flower) and rose (past tense of rise) are homonyms.


See also
  • Synonym (taxonomy)
  • Cognitive synonymy
  • Semantic equivalence (linguistics)
  • Elegant variation, the gratuitous use of a synonym in prose
  • Synonymy in Japanese


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