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Synonyms

words and english

SYNONYMS, words of the same language which are the precise equivalents of each other; in popular acceptation, words sufficiently alike in general signification to be liable to be con founded, but yet so different as to require to be distinguished are synonyms. The following pairs of words are pairs of synonyms: teacher, instructor; resemblance, similarity; supposition, hypothesis; beginning, conunencement. But words commonly regarded as synonymous are seldom perfectly so, as is seen in works on synonyms. There is always going on in a lan guage a process of "desynonymizationp whidi tends to restrict one member of a synonymous pair to one meaning, the other to another. For example, ((wave° and °billow" originally meant precisely the same thing; but ubillow" is now restricted to poetical use, while wave is used chiefly in practical matters. The study of synonyms is a valuable intellectual discipline in itself, apart from consideration of its high importance as a guide to the right use of words.

((The habit of thorough investigation into the meaning of words, and of exact discrimination in the use of them, is indispensable to precision and accuracy of thought, and it is surprising how soon the process becomes spontaneous, so that one often finds himself making nice and yet sound distinctions between particular words which he has ne% er made the subject of critical analysis?' Consult Crabbe, George, (English Synonyms' (new ed., New York 1891): Fernald, 'English Synonyms and Antonyms' (ib. 1896) ; Ordway, E. B., 'Synonyms and Antonyms' (ib. 1913) ; Roget, P. M., 'Thesaurus of English Words' (new ed., ib. 1914) ; Smith, C J., 'Synonyms Discriminated' (3d ed., 1908).