Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or other words in a language.
  • noun A word or expression that serves as a figurative or symbolic substitute for another.
  • noun Biology One of two or more scientific names that have been applied to the same species or other taxonomic group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A word having the same signification as another; one of two or more words which have the same meaning; by extension, a word having nearly the same meaning as another; one of two or more words which in use cover to a considerable extent the same ground: the opposite of antonym.
  • noun A word of one language which corresponds in meaning with a word in another language. See heteronym, 2, paronym, 2, and the quotation from Camden under synonymize.
  • noun In natural history, a systematic name having the same, or approximately the same, meaning or application as another which has superseded it; a technical name which, by the rules of nomenclature, is not tenable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One of two or more words (commonly words of the same language) which are equivalents of each other; one of two or more words which have very nearly the same signification, and therefore may often be used interchangeably. See under synonymous.
  • noun An incorrect or incorrectly applied scientific name, as a new name applied to a species or genus already properly named, or a specific name preoccupied by that of another species of the same genus; -- so used in the system of nomenclature (which see) in which the correct scientific names of certain natural groups (usually genera, species, and subspecies) are regarded as determined by priority.
  • noun Rare One of two or more words corresponding in meaning but of different languages; a heteronym.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun semantics, with respect to a given word or phrase A word or phrase with a meaning that is the same as, or very similar to, another word or phrase.
  • noun zoology, with respect to a name for a given taxon Any of the formal names for the taxon, including the valid name (i.e. the senior synonym).
  • noun botany, with respect to a name for a given taxon Any name for the taxon, usually a validly published, formally accepted one, but often also an unpublished name.
  • noun databases An alternative (often shorter) name defined for an object in a database.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun two words that can be interchanged in a context are said to be synonymous relative to that context

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English sinonyme, from Old French synonyme, from Latin synōnymum, from Greek sunōnumon, from neuter of sunōnumos, synonymous; see synonymous.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English sinonyme, from Latin synōnymum, from Ancient Greek συνώνυμον (sunōnumon), neuter singular form of συνώνυμος (sunōnumos, "synonymous"), from σύν ("with") + ὄνομα ("name").

Examples

  • In a previous column, cleared by copy editors and other arbiters of editorial taste after great hair-tearing and teeth-gnashing, we explored the penile and ornamental origins of the German-Yiddish schmuck, which has lost its taboo and is now a slang synonym for jerk, nerd, dork and creep.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • In a previous column, cleared by copy editors and other arbiters of editorial taste after great hair-tearing and teeth-gnashing, we explored the penile and ornamental origins of the German-Yiddish schmuck, which has lost its taboo and is now a slang synonym for jerk, nerd, dork and creep.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • In a previous column, cleared by copy editors and other arbiters of editorial taste after great hair-tearing and teeth-gnashing, we explored the penile and ornamental origins of the German-Yiddish schmuck, which has lost its taboo and is now a slang synonym for jerk, nerd, dork and creep.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • In a previous column, cleared by copy editors and other arbiters of editorial taste after great hair-tearing and teeth-gnashing, we explored the penile and ornamental origins of the German-Yiddish schmuck, which has lost its taboo and is now a slang synonym for jerk, nerd, dork and creep.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Another synonym is "maison de tolérance" (house of tolerance) and the humor is not lost on me as I go about putting together this unexpected edition ...

    Braise The Dog

  • Around 1960, it became a slang synonym for any kind of failure, "we cratered."

    Oil spill: Even worse worst-case scenarios!

  • Maybe we could mix it up with your tag synonym service too?

    Recent Search Queries - Freshblog

  • While the zoot suit eventually attained widespread popularity in the mainstream, it also became a pejorative synonym for "Mexican" on the West Coast as some Americans took umbrage at so many able-bodied young men who were not "helping to win the war."

    From Zoot Suits to Border Walls

  • While toilet and lavatory have discarded their original meanings, terms such as bog retained their original meanings (` a marshy place ') as well as being understood in Britain as a slang synonym for a toilet; it achieved an entry in Hotten's dictionary as early as 1864 as "a privy as distinguished from a water-closet."

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIX No 4

  • Among the relatively new slang words: stella, "good-looking female," from stellar, "starlike, " improbably influenced by the shouted name of Stanley Kowalski's wife in Tennessee Williams's "Streetcar Named Desire." A synonym is shorty or shawty, imported from vintage hip-hop for "girlfriend of any height." Such attractiveness is the opposite of the fast-fading butterface ("Great body, but her face .... "), and a less-than-good-looking male or female is a blockamore, who "only looks good from a block or more."

    Old NY Times Writers Trying To Understand How “The Kids” Talk Is, Like, Totes Adorkable | Best Week Ever

Comments

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  • A lowercase word that weirdly never existed on Wordie Classic; see Synonym.

    November 18, 2009

  • Uh, I came here to write the same thing :)

    November 30, 2009

  • JM wonders if there is another word for synonym.

    July 17, 2011

  • Just because it is a synonym, does not mean it connotes the same meaning.

    February 13, 2012