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Synonym
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Synonym

Synonyms are different words with similar or identical meanings. Antonyms are words with opposite meanings.

An example of synonyms are the words cat and feline. Each describes any member of the family Felidae. Similarly, if we talk about a long time or an extended time, long and extended become synonyms.

Examples of other English synonyms are:

car and automobile
baby and infant
student and pupil
pretty and attractive
smart and intelligent
sick and ill
funny and humorous
died and expired

Synonyms can be nouns, adverbs or adjectives, as long as both members of the pair are the same part of speech.

Some lexicographers claim that there are no synonyms that have exactly the same meaning (in all contexts or social levels of language); however, most speakers of languages sense that some synonym pairs are identical in meaning, for all practical purposes. Different words 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, such as a long arm and an extended arm.

The purpose of a thesaurus is to offer the user a listing of similar or related words; these are often, but not always, synonyms. See hyponym for a closely related phenomenon, "words included in other words", as tulip is included by flower, but not vice-versa.

In contrast, antonyms (an opposite pair) would be:

Homonyms are words that sound alike and can even be spelled the same but mean different things, such as to, too and two, or they're, there and their, or, fluke, fluke, and fluke. See article.

See also