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. A synonym is a word that means the same thing as another word. If you replace a word in a sentence with its synonym, the meaning of the sentence won’t really change that much. For example, happy is a synonym of glad. We can say that happy and glad are synonymous.

Examples of Synonyms

Here are some more examples of synonyms (bold):

  • 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 Synonyms

Words 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 an strong cheese.

(In this context, excellent and strong are not synonyms.)

Synonyms Can Be Any Part of Speech

Synonyms can be any part of speech. For example: Adjectives

  • The reason is unimportant.
  • The reason is irrelevant.

Adverbs

  • He eats fast.
  • He eats quickly.

Conjunctions

  • 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.)

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