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: one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses
: a word or phrase that by association is held to embody something (such as a concept or quality)
a tyrant whose name has become a synonym for oppression
: one of two or more scientific names used to designate the same taxonomic group — compare homonym
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The English language (and, we may presume, many other languages) has both antonyms and synonyms. There are many more words with synonyms than there are words with antonyms, since many things exist which do not have an opposite (the word sandwich, for instance, may be said to have synonyms in the words hoagie, grinder, submarine, and many other words, but there is no opposite of sandwich). Antonym is also a much more recent addition to English than synonym is; it first appeared in the 1860s, whereas synonym has been used for more than 500 years.
Additionally, both nouns have adjectival forms: synonymous and antonymous. Synonymous, which is often used loosely ("She has become synonymous with good taste"), is the more common of the two.
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'synonym.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Middle English sinonyme, from Latin synonymum, from Greek synōnymon, from neuter of synōnymos synonymous, from syn- + onyma name — more at name
Resources for synonym
26 Oct 2018
Time Traveler for synonym
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More Definitions for synonym
: a word that has the same meaning as another word in the same language
: a word, name, or phrase that very strongly suggests a particular idea, quality, etc.
See the full definition for synonym in the English Language Learners Dictionary
: a word having the same or almost the same meaning as another word in the same language
: a taxonomic name rejected as being incorrectly applied or incorrect in form
Other Words from synonym
More from Merriam-Webster on synonym
See words that rhyme with synonym
Spanish Central: Translation of synonym
Nglish: Translation of synonym for Spanish Speakers
Britannica English: Translation of synonym for Arabic Speakers
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playful or foolish behavior
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