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What Are Synonyms? (with Examples)A synonym is a word or phrase that can be substituted for another word or phrase in a particular context. For example, happy is a synonym of glad. We can say that happy and glad are synonymous.
Examples of SynonymsHere are some more examples of synonyms (shaded):
- He studied law at Oxford.
- He read law at Oxford. (In this context, the verbs to study and to read are synonyms.)
- She is an excellent student.
- She is a strong student. (In this context, the adjectives excellent and strong are synonyms.)
- She is a real Picasso.
- She is a great artist . (In this context, the phrases are synonyms.)
Context Is Important When Considering SynonymsWords which are synonyms in one context might not be synonyms in another. For example:
- He was studying in the kitchen.
- He was reading in the kitchen. (In this context, the meanings of to study and to read are not close enough to be synonyms.)
- This is an excellent cheese.
- This is a strong cheese. (In this context, excellent and strong are not synonyms.)
Synonyms Can Be Any Part of SpeechSynonyms can be any part of speech. For example:
- The reason is unimportant.
- The reason is irrelevant.
- He eats fast.
- He eats quickly.
- 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.
- Shall I take the dogs?
- Shall I take the mutts?
- Upon arrival, take a ticket.
- On arrival, take a ticket.
- I'll show you my yacht. She is a beauty.
- I'll show you my yacht. It is a beauty.
- I need to contemplate the consequences.
- I need to consider the consequences.