Skip to main content
Select Source:

SYNONYM

SYNONYM. A WORD that means the same as another, such as male and masculine. Linguists and many writers agree that there is ‘no such thing as a synonym’, though the reasons for their opinions may differ. Linguists maintain that no two words have the same distribution, frequency, connotation, or language level; the reasons given by others are often vague, but in essence focus on differences in connotation, or reactions evoked in the reader or hearer by alternative words for the same thing. It is therefore perhaps best to say that a synonym is a word that shares the same denotation with another word. Notwithstanding disputes over the validity of the concept, there is a substantial body of published information containing synonym lists and studies, and it has become standard practice among dictionary publishers to include some of that information in general dictionaries. See ANTONYM, BISOCIATION, BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, SEMANTICS, SYNONYMY, THESAURUS.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"SYNONYM." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"SYNONYM." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/synonym

"SYNONYM." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/synonym

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

syn·o·nym / ˈsinəˌnim/ • n. a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close. ∎  a person or thing so closely associated with a particular quality or idea that the mention of their name calls it to mind: the Victorian age is a synonym for sexual puritanism. ∎  Biol. a taxonomic name that has the same application as another, esp. one that has been superseded and is no longer valid. DERIVATIVES: syn·o·nym·ic / ˌsinəˈnimik/ adj. syn·o·nym·i·ty / ˌsinəˈnimitē/ n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-1

"synonym." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonym (sĬn´ənĬm) [Gr.,=having the same name], word having a meaning that is the same as or very similar to the meaning of another word of the same language. Some are alike in some meanings only, as live and dwell. As a language develops, words that once were synonyms tend to become restricted so that eventually they differ in meaning or in usage (e.g., prostitute and strumpet, in which the latter is now confined to literary use). Words taken into English from French and Latin have created many synonyms, e.g., wax (taken from Old English), increase (taken from Old French), and augment (taken from Latin). The classic English synonym collections are George Crabb's Synonymes and P. M. Roget's Thesaurus.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/synonym

"synonym." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/synonym

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonym XVI. In early use first in pl. in L. form (-a) or anglicized (-es, -aes), later in sg. -ymum-ymon, -ime, -yme. XV. — L. synōnymum — Gr. sunṓnumon, sb. use of n. sg. of sunṓnumos, f. SYN- + ónuma NAME.
So synonymous XVII. synonymy (-Y3) XVII. — late L. — Gr.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-2

"synonym." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonym In taxonomy, a plant name that differs from the official name. Usually, it is an older name that does not conform to the rules governing priority in the application of names.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym

"synonym." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonym In taxonomy, a plant name that differs from the official name. Usually, it is an older name that does not conform to the rules governing priority in the application of names.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-0

"synonym." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonym a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym

"synonym." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonym In taxonomy, a different name for the same species or variety of organism.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-1

"synonym." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

synonym

synonymbedim, brim, crim, dim, glim, grim, Grimm, gym, him, hymn, Jim, Kim, limb, limn, nim, prim, quim, rim, scrim, shim, Sim, skim, slim, swim, Tim, trim, vim, whim •poem • goyim • cherubim • Hasidim •seraphim, teraphim •Elohim • Sikkim • Joachim • prelim •forelimb • Muslim • Blenheim •paynim • minim • pseudonym •homonym • anonym • synonym •eponym • acronym • antonym •metonym • Antrim • megrim •Leitrim • pilgrim • Purim • interim •passim • maxim • kibbutzim •Midrashim • literatim •seriatim, verbatim •victim •system • ecosystem • subsystem •item • Ashkenazim

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"synonym." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"synonym." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-0

"synonym." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/synonym-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.