Synonym


Synonym list in cuneiform on a clay tablet, Neo-Assyrian period[1]

A synonym is a word, morpheme, or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word, morpheme, or phrase in a given language. For example, in the English language, 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 sense: 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 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 the latter, near-synonyms,[2] plesionyms[3] or poecilonyms.[4]

  1. ^ K.4375
  2. ^ Stanojević, Maja (2009), "Cognitive synonymy: a general overview" (PDF), Facta Universitatis, Linguistics and Literature Series, 7 (2): 193–200.
  3. ^ DiMarco, 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.
  4. ^ Grambs, David. The Endangered English Dictionary: Bodacious Words Your Dictionary Forgot. WW Norton & Company, 1997.

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