What Are Synonyms? (with Examples)
SynonymsA synonym is a word or phrase that means the same (or very nearly the same) as another word or phrase. Words that are synonyms are described as synonymous.
Easy Examples of Synonyms
- He is happy /glad. (Happy and glad are synonymous.)
- Actress Kate Beckinsale studied / read French and Russian literature at Oxford. (Studied and read are synonymous.)
- He studied / read in the kitchen. (Here, studied and read are not synonymous.)
More Examples of SynonymsSynonyms usually relate to adjectives, adverbs, nouns, or verbs. However, they can be any part of speech.
- The reason is unimportant.
- The reason is irrelevant.
- He eats fast.
- He eats quickly.
- Shall I take the dogs?
- Shall I take the mutts?
- I need to contemplate the consequences.
- I need to consider the consequences.
- I should tell her as she is my sister.
- I should tell her because she is my sister. (Note: These are known as subordinating conjunctions.)
- Yes, Captain.
- Aye, Captain.
- Upon arrival, take a ticket.
- On arrival, take a ticket.
- I'll show you my yacht "Unsinkable II". She is a beauty.
- I'll show you my yacht "Unsinkable II". It is a beauty.
Synonyms Contrast with Antonyms.Synonyms contrast with antonyms. Antonyms are words with opposite meanings, making them the opposite of synonyms. For example:
- "Bad" is an antonym of "good."
- "Coward" is an antonym of "hero."
Examples of Synonyms and Antonyms.The table below shows some examples of synonyms and antonyms.
|defend||protect, shield||attack, assault|
|enemy||foe, opponent||ally, friend|
|gather||collect, accumulate||scatter, disperse|
|irritate||annoy, agitate, provoke||soothe, calm|
|jubilant||delighted, elated, overjoyed||dejected, depressed|
|kind||considerate, tender, thoughtful||mean, cruel, inconsiderate|
|maximum||greatest, highest, uppermost||minimum, least|
Try a drag-and-drop test on synonyms and antonyms.
Why Should I Care about Synonyms?There are three good reasons and one bad reason to care about synonyms:
(Good Reason 1) To keep your writing interestingRepeating the same word can make writing dull.
- Thank you for your cooperation. We would have failed without your cooperation.
- Thank you for your assistance. We would have failed without your cooperation.
(Good Reason 2) To fine-tune your communicationsRemember that synonyms are words that mean, or very nearly mean, the same. Those differences can be important. Recognizing the different connotations (i.e., the implied meanings) of synonyms will help you nail the right word, be it in a poem or a business letter.
- The pond was dark /murky. (Choose the word that fits the precise image you want to portray.)
(Good Reason 3) To find a rhyming, rhythmic, or alliterative wordTo find a word that fits your needs poetically, put a synonym and then use your thesaurus to hunt down a better-fitting synonym.
pieceshard of shrapnel shaved her shoulder blade.
(Bad Reason 1) To avoid a word you can't spellAccording to Musician Burt Bacharach, a synonym is "a word you use when you can't spell the first word you thought of." (He was joking, of course.)
conscence consianceintegrity won't allow it.
(If you can't spell conscience...)