What is a Synonym? Meaning and Examples

The post, What is a Synonym? Meaning and Examples, focuses on Synonyms, its definition and examples. We usually study synonym under the branch of linguistics known as Semantics. (See Branches of Linguistics).

Synonyms in English

Semantics deals with the study of meaning in terms of words and sentence relationships and we refer to this as lexical relations. Synonyms form part of the semantic relationships between words. Other semantic relationships include the following: antonyms, retronyms, endonym, demonym, heteronym, patronym, etc.


This is a type of synonym. It has to do with words associated with meanings which also have great similarities in form. For example:

What is a Synonym? Meaning and Examples

Let us start this discussion by first looking at the definition of synonyms…

Synonyms Meaning

A synonym is a word meaning same as another –  a word that means the same, or almost the same, as another word in the same language, either in all of its uses or in a specific context such as bucket and pail, environment and surroundings and the verbs “tear” and “rip.”

It also means an alternative name – a word or expression that is used as another name for something in some styles of speaking or writing or to emphasise a specific aspect or association such as Hellene for a Greek, Gotham and New York etc. Two words that can be interchanged in a context are said to be synonymous relative to that context, that is, equivalent word.

Synonyms Examples

While learning words of the English language many years ago, I used to have a notebook where I synonymize some words. Let me share with you some synonyms examples:

  • Strike-breaker – blackleg, scab, etc.
  • Putrid – rotten, malodorous, objectionable, smelly, etc.
  • Malfeasance – wrongdoing, misdeed, misconduct, etc.
  • Siesta – nap, forty winks, catnap, etc.
  • Impostor – charlatan, whipper-snapper, smart Alek, etc.
  • Hideous – horrible, terrible, awful, dreadful, frightful, horrid, grim, ghastly, grisly, gruesome, horrific, horrendous, etc.
  • Nonpareil – unmatched, unrivalled, peerless, unparalleled, matchless, unexampled, unequalled, unique, nonesuch, etc.
  • Palliate – mitigate, mollify, alleviate, assuage, abate, etc.
  • Exacerbate – aggravate, worsen, heighten, intensify, increase, magnify, etc.
  • Prostitute – tart, whore, strumpet, coquette, flirt, courtesan, philanderer, wench, scarlet woman, slattern, floozies, slut, trollop, panderer, etc.
  • Stupid – vacuous, fatuous, foolish, senseless, inane, inept, numskull, half-witted, softheaded, lumpish, etc.
  • Archaic – antiquated, obsolete, musty, outdated, antique, ancient, old, etc.
  • Strange – queer, odd, freakish, grotesque, weird, eerie, outlandish, uncanny, mysterious, etc.
  • Suave – polite, courteous, debonair, modest, demure, urbane, deferential, refined, etc.
  • Wicked – scoundrel, depraved, cruel, infamous, atrocious, savage, brutal, etc.
  • Crude – unrefined, uncultured, mannerless, uncivilised, uncouth, vulgar, coarse, rough, blunt, gross, stark, etc.

Synonyms List

Apart from specific numbers of examples given below, here is an inexhaustive list of synonyms in English…

10 Examples of Synonyms

Let us see some 10 examples of synonyms…

  1. Beep – peep, bleep, ping, ding, chime, ding-dong, cheep, chirp, squawk
  2. Spot – speck, blemish, dot, mark
  3. Innovator – inventor, forerunner, developer, creator, discoverer
  4. Recognition – acceptance, admission, confession, appreciation, tribute
  5. Response – reply, reaction, answer, rejoinder (formal), retort
  6. Acolyte – follower, devotee, disciple, adherent, supporter, admirer, enthusiast
  7. Acquaintance – associate, friend, contact, colleague, consociate (formal), confrère (formal)
  8. Acme – peak, summit, top, zenith, pinnacle, culmination, apex, apogee
  9. Acquaint – make aware, inform, let know, let in on, make familiar with, familiarize, apprise (formal), explain, notify, tell, and run by
  10. Acquiesce – agree, comply, accept, consent, assent, give in, submit, go along with, yield, concede, concur, and accede

List of Synonyms

  • Brush: scrub, clear, coat, groom, sweep, clean, polish
  • Obscurity: anonymity, insignificance, unimportance, inconspicuousness, oblivion
  • Incomprehensibility: vagueness, ambiguousness, doubt, murkiness, opacity, unintelligibility, abstruseness
  • Obsequious: servile, sycophantic, flattering, toadying, submissive, fawning, compliant, deferential, reverential, grovelling, unctuous, smarmy
  • Assertive: self-confident, self-assured, confident, firm, forceful, emphatic, insistent, positive, decided, pushy (informal), aggressive, forward
  • Timid: nervous, shy, fearful, timorous, diffident, coy, bashful, reticent, retiring, faint-hearted, cowardly, frightened, tentative, apprehensive, hesitant
  • timorous: nervous, fearful, timid, frightened, scared, afraid, shy, apprehensive, bashful, diffident, coy, retiring, reticent, cowardly, faint-hearted, hesitant
  • Tetchy: bad-tempered, irritable, grumpy, impatient, touchy, testy (informal), grouchy (informal), crabby, crotchety (informal), cross, temperamental, snappy, cranky (informal), petulant, peevish
  • Tactics: strategy, planning, campaign, manoeuvres, devices, diplomacy, policy, procedure, scheme
  • Tactless: insensitive, undiplomatic, indiscreet, indelicate, gauche, thoughtless, inconsiderate, unfeeling, injudicious, careless, impolite, unthinking, rude, unkind, clumsy, crass
  • Systematic: methodical, orderly, organized, efficient, logical, regular

List of Synonyms 2

  • Gunky: greasy, slimy, messy, filthy, mucky (informal), dirty
  • Gulp: guzzle (informal), swig (informal), swallow, knock back (informal), toss down, drink, quaff (literary or humorous), slug (informal)
  • Garish: brash, bright, loud, lurid, vulgar, tasteless, gaudy, showy, tawdry
  • Furtively: stealthily, secretly, sneakily, slyly, surreptitiously, shiftily, secretively
  • Furiously: angrily, irately, wrathfully, heatedly, crossly
  • Dandy: great (informal), excellent, cool (slang), groovy (dated slang), fine, superb, swell
  • Daft: silly, foolish, eccentric, daffy (informal), dippy
  • Generous: kind, big-hearted, open-handed, munificent, giving, charitable, liberal
  • Gape: stare, gawk (informal), gaze, ogle, look hard, gawp (UK, informal)
  • Sensational: extraordinary, dramatic, astonishing, unbelievable, historic, memorable
  • Amazing: astounding, marvellous, exciting, thrilling, breath-taking, out of this world, magnificent, incredible, striking, spectacular, remarkable
  • Alluring: appealing, attractive, tempting, interesting, fascinating, enthralling, charming, glamorous, captivating, charismatic, irresistible
  • Gracious: kind, polite, tactful, courteous, civil, diplomatic, amiable, cordial, affable


I am cocksure you have learned some synonyms and possibly some new vocabulary. Check other educative posts on this platform and share with your friends and other deserving individuals. See you around.

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