Origin of synonym
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.
Examples from the Web for synonym
Contemporary Examples of synonym
Most importantly, foreign policy should not be reduced to a synonym for military action and covert operations.After Bipartisan Bush-Obama Blundering, Let’s Try a Libertarian Foreign Policy
July 16, 2014
My students seem to really want to use “however” as a conjunction—more or less a synonym for “but.”Ben Yagoda: How I Not Write Bad
February 13, 2013
A synonym given for submissive is “compliant,” and among those given for submit is “yield” and “defer.”Is Michele Bachmann Submissive?
August 12, 2011
Call it Lesbian Lite, a synonym for someone who doesn't get to have sex with men.Sexual Orientation and the Supremes
April 17, 2010
A star is born, another goes down courtesy of a synonym for bovine rabies, and the judges try but fail to steal the show.7 Best Moments from the Scripps National Spelling Bee
The Daily Beast Video
May 29, 2009
Historical Examples of synonym
The name of the Roman matron became a synonym of all that is noble, wifely, and motherly in the home.History of Education
This seemed to be the height of the season at Spa, whose name has come into our language as a synonym for gaiety and relaxation.The Spell of Belgium
You wrong Justice, when you degrade it to the condition of successful force, making Might the substitute and synonym for Right.Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 18 (of 20)
Bewaffnung des Volkes; "people" used as a synonym for the proletarian section of it.And the Kaiser abdicates
S. Miles Bouton
It is not quite a synonym of harbour, since the latter does not imply traffic.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth