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A synonym (adjective: synonymous)[p] is a word, or phrase, that has the same (or almost the same) meaning as another, in some or all uses.[1][2]


Synonyms can be nouns, verbs, adverbs or adjectives, but both words must be of the same part of speech. That means, only a noun can be a synonym of another noun, only a verb can be a synonym of another verb, and so on.

One can find sets of synonyms in a thesaurus, which is a book listing groups of related words.



The word "synonym" dates back over 500 years, to late Middle English.[2] The term is derived from Latin from the Greek word sunōnumon, neuter form (used as a noun) of the adjective sunōnumos, from sun- meaning 'with' + onoma meaning 'name' in the Greek language.[2]

The meaning of the word has remained unchanged for all these centuries. There is even a saying, going back to 1892, "Once a synonym, always a synonym".[3] The word has been taught to generations of English-language students and is commonly known by the general public. Many other languages have a similar word for "synonym" with the same or similar spelling.

Other pages


  [p] - The word "synonym" is said as "Sin-o-nim" with "synonymous" as "suh-Non-uh-mus".

  1. "Synonym - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", June 2011, webpage: MW-syn.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Definition of synonym from Oxford Dictionaries Online",, June 2011, web: OD-syn.
  3. Science, John Michels, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1892, page 220, web: BG-AJ.