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Title: English Synonyms and Antonyms
With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions
Author: James Champlin Fernald
Release Date: May 21, 2009 [EBook #28900]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII
Produced by Jan-Fabian Humann, Stephen Blundell and the
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English Synonyms
and Antonyms
_A Practical and Invaluable Guide to Clear and
Precise Diction for Writers, Speakers, Students,
Business and Professional Men_
Connectives of
English Speech
"The work is likely to prove of great value to all writers."--_Washington
Evening Star._
"The book will receive high appreciation from thoughtful students who
seek the most practical help."--_Grand Rapids Herald._
"It is written in a clear and pleasing style and so arranged that but a
moment's time is needed to find any line of the hundreds of important
though small words which this book discusses."--_Chattanooga Times._
"Its practical reference value is great, and it is a great satisfaction
to note the care and attention to detail and fine shades of meaning the
author has bestowed upon the words he discusses."--_Church Review_,
"A work of great practical helpfulness to a large class of
people."--_Louisville Courier-Journal._
"This is one of the most useful books for writers, speakers, and all who
care for the use of language, which has appeared in a long
time."--_Cumberland Presbyterian_, Nashville.
"It is a book of great value to all who take any interest in correct and
elegant language."--_Methodist_, Baltimore.
"This work is a welcome aid to good writing and good speech. It is
worthy the close study of all who would cultivate finished style. Its
admirable arrangement and a good index make it easy for
reference."--_Christian Observer._
"His book has some excellent qualities. In the first place, it is
absolutely free from dogmatic assertion; in the second place, it
contains copious examples from good authors, which should guide aright
the person investigating any word, if he is thoroughly conversant with
English."--_The Sun_, New York.
_Editor of Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions
in the Standard Dictionary_
_Copyright, 1896, by FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY._
_Registered at Stationers' Hall, London, Eng._
Transcriber's Note:
Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note, whilst
a list of significant amendments can be found at the end of the
text. Inconsistent hyphenation and conflicting variant spellings
have been standardised, except where used for emphasis. Non-standard
characters have been represented as follows:
[=a] _a_ with upper macron;
[=o] _o_ with upper macron.
The English language is peculiarly rich in synonyms, as, with such a
history, it could not fail to be. From the time of Julius Caesar,
Britons, Romans, Northmen, Saxons, Danes, and Normans fighting,
fortifying, and settling upon the soil of England, with Scotch and Irish
contending for mastery or existence across the mountain border and the
Channel, and all fenced in together by the sea, could not but influence
each other's speech. English merchants, sailors, soldiers, and
travelers, trading, warring, and exploring in every clime, of necessity
brought back new terms of sea and shore, of shop and camp and
battlefield. English scholars have studied Greek and Latin for a
thousand years, and the languages of the Continent and of the Orient in
more recent times. English churchmen have introduced words from Hebrew,
Greek, and Latin, through Bible and prayer-book, sermon and tract. From
all this it results that there is scarcely a language ever spoken among
men that has not some representative in English speech. The spirit of
the Anglo-Saxon race, masterful in language as in war and commerce, has
subjugated all these various elements to one idiom, making not a
patchwork, but a composite language. Anglo-Saxon thrift, finding often
several words that originally expressed the same idea, has detailed them
to different parts of the common territory or to different service, so
that we have an almost unexampled variety of words, kindred in meaning
but distinct in usage, for expressing almost every shade of human
Scarcely any two of such words, commonly known as synonyms, are
identical at once in signification and in use. They have certain common
ground within which they are interchangeable; but outside of that each
has its own special province, within which any other word comes as an
intruder. From these two qualities arises the great value of synonyms as
contributing to beauty and effectiveness of expression. As
interchangeable, they make possible that freedom and variety by which
the diction of an accomplished writer or speaker differs from the wooden
uniformity of a legal document. As distinct and specific, they enable a
master of style to choose in every instance the one term that is the
most perfect mirror of his thought. To write or speak to the best
purpose, one should know in the first place all the words from which he
may choose, and then the exact reason why in any case any particular
word should be chosen. To give such knowledge in these two directions is
the office of a book of synonyms.
Of Milton's diction Macaulay writes:
"His poetry acts like an incantation. Its merit lies less in its
obvious meaning than in its occult power. There would seem, at first
sight, to be no more in his words than in other words. But they are
words of enchantment. No sooner are they pronounced, than the past
is present and the distant near. New forms of beauty start at once
into existence, and all the burial places of the memory give up
their dead. Change the structure of the sentence; _substitute one
synonym for another_, and the whole effect is destroyed. The spell
loses its power; and he who should then hope to conjure with it
would find himself as much mistaken as Cassim in the Arabian tale,
when he stood crying, 'Open Wheat,' 'Open Barley,' to the door which
obeyed no sound but 'Open Sesame.' The miserable failure of Dryden
in his attempt to translate into his own diction some parts of the
'Paradise Lost' is a remarkable instance of this."
Macaulay's own writings abound in examples of that exquisite precision
in the choice of words, which never seems to be precise, but has all the
aspect of absolute freedom. Through his language his thought bursts upon
the mind as a landscape is seen instantly, perfectly, and beautifully
from a mountain height. A little vagueness of thought, a slight
infelicity in the choice of words would be like a cloud upon the
mountain, obscuring the scene with a damp and chilling mist. Let anyone
try the experiment with a poem like Gray's "Elegy," or Goldsmith's
"Traveller" or "Deserted Village," of substituting other words for those
the poet has chosen, and he will readily perceive how much of the charm
of the lines depends upon their fine exactitude of expression.
In our own day, when so many are eager to write, and confident that they
can write, and when the press is sending forth by the ton that which is
called literature, but which somehow lacks the imprint of immortality,
it is of the first importance to revive the study of synonyms as a
distinct branch of rhetorical culture. Prevalent errors need at times to
be noted and corrected, but the teaching of pure English speech is the
best defense against all that is inferior, unsuitable, or repulsive. The
most effective condemnation of an objectionable word or phrase is that
it is not found in scholarly works, and a student who has once learned
the rich stores of vigorous, beautiful, exact, and expressive words that
make up our noble language, is by that very fact put beyond the reach of
all temptation to linguistic corruption.
Special instruction in the use of synonyms is necessary, for the reason
that few students possess the analytical power and habit of mind
required to hold a succession of separate definitions in thought at
once, compare them with each other, and determine just where and how
they part company; and the persons least able to do this are the very
ones most in need of the information. The distinctions between words
similar in meaning are often so fine and elusive as to tax the ingenuity
of the accomplished scholar; yet when clearly apprehended they are as
important for the purposes of language as the minute differences between
similar substances are for the purposes of chemistry. Often definition
itself is best secured by the comparison of kindred terms and the
pointing out where each differs from the other. We perceive more clearly
and remember better what each word is, by perceiving where each divides
from another of kindred meaning; just as we see and remember better the
situation and contour of adjacent countries, by considering them as
boundaries of each other, rather than by an exact statement of the
latitude and longitude of each as a separate portion of the earth's
The great mass of untrained speakers and writers need to be reminded, in
the first place, _that there are synonyms_--a suggestion which they
would not gain from any precision of separate definitions in a
dictionary. The deplorable repetition with which many slightly educated
persons use such words as "elegant," "splendid," "clever," "awful,"
"horrid," etc., to indicate (for they can not be said to express) almost
any shade of certain approved or objectionable qualities, shows a
limited vocabulary, a poverty of language, which it is of the first
importance to correct. Many who are not given to such gross misuse would
yet be surprised to learn how often they employ a very limited number of
words in the attempt to give utterance to thoughts and feelings so
unlike, that what is the right word on one occasion must of necessity be
the wrong word at many other times. Such persons are simply unconscious
of the fact that there are other words of kindred meaning from which
they might choose; as the United States surveyors of Alaska found "the
shuddering tenant of the frigid zone" wrapping himself in furs and
cowering over a fire of sticks with untouched coal-mines beneath his
Such poverty of language is always accompanied with poverty of thought.
One who is content to use the same word for widely different ideas has
either never observed or soon comes to forget that there is any
difference between the ideas; or perhaps he retains a vague notion of a
difference which he never attempts to define to himself, and dimly hints
to others by adding to his inadequate word some such phrase as "you see"
or "you know," in the helpless attempt to inject into another mind by
suggestion what adequate words would enable him simply and distinctly to
say. Such a mind resembles the old maps of Africa in which the interior
was filled with cloudy spaces, where modern discovery has revealed great
lakes, fertile plains, and mighty rivers. One main office of a book of
synonyms is to reveal to such persons the unsuspected riches of their
own language; and when a series of words is given them, from which they
may choose, then, with intelligent choice of words there comes of
necessity a clearer perception of the difference of the ideas that are
to be expressed by those different words. Thus, copiousness and
clearness of language tend directly to affluence and precision of
Hence there is an important use for mere lists of classified synonyms,
like Roget's Thesaurus and the works of Soule and Fallows. Not one in a
thousand of average students would ever discover, by independent study
of the dictionary, that there are fifteen synonyms for _beautiful_,
twenty-one for _beginning_, fifteen for _benevolence_, twenty for
_friendly_, and thirty-seven for _pure_. The mere mention of such
numbers opens vistas of possible fulness, freedom, and variety of
utterance, which will have for many persons the effect of a revelation.
But it is equally important to teach _that synonyms are not identical_
and to explain why and how they differ. A person of extensive reading
and study, with a fine natural sense of language, will often find all
that he wants in the mere list, which recalls to his memory the
appropriate word. But for the vast majority there is needed some work
that compares or contrasts synonymous words, explains their differences
of meaning or usage, and shows in what connections one or the other may
be most fitly used. This is the purpose of the present work, to be a
guide to selection from the varied treasures of English speech.
This work treats within 375 pages more than 7500 synonyms. It has been
the study of the author to give every definition or distinction in the
fewest possible words consistent with clearness of statement, and this
not merely for economy of space, but because such condensed statements
are most easily apprehended and remembered.
The method followed has been to select from every group of synonyms one
word, or two contrasted words, the meaning of which may be settled by
clear definitive statement, thus securing some fixed point or points to
which all the other words of the group may be referred. The great source
of vagueness, error, and perplexity in many discussions of synonyms is,
that the writer merely associates stray ideas loosely connected with the
different words, sliding from synonym to synonym with no definite point
of departure or return, so that a smooth and at first sight pleasing
statement really gives the mind no definite resting-place and no sure
conclusion. A true discussion of synonyms is definition by comparison,
and for this there must be something definite with which to compare.
When the standard is settled, approximation or differentiation can be
determined with clearness and certainty. It is not enough to tell
something about each word. The thing to tell is how each word is related
to others of that particular group. When a word has more than one
prominent meaning, the synonyms for one signification are treated in one
group and a reference is made to some other group in which the synonyms
for another signification are treated, as may be seen by noting the
synonyms given under APPARENT, and following the reference to EVIDENT.
It has been impossible within the limits of this volume to treat in full
all the words of each group of synonyms. Sometimes it has been necessary
to restrict the statement to a mere suggestion of the correct use; in
some cases only the chief words of a group could be considered, giving
the key to the discussion, and leaving the student to follow out the
principle in the case of other words by reference to the definitive
statements of the dictionary. It is to be hoped that at some time a
dictionary of synonyms may be prepared, giving as full a list as that of
Roget or of Soule, with discriminating remarks upon every word. Such a
work would be of the greatest value, but obviously beyond the scope of a
text-book for the class-room.
The author has here incorporated, by permission of the publishers of the
Standard Dictionary, much of the synonym matter prepared by him for that
work. All has been thoroughly revised or reconstructed, and much wholly
new matter has been added.
The book contains also more than 3700 antonyms. These are valuable as
supplying definition by contrast or by negation, one of the most
effective methods of defining being in many cases to tell what a thing
is not. To speakers and writers antonyms are useful as furnishing
oftentimes effective antitheses.
Young writers will find much help from the indication of the correct use
of prepositions, the misuse of which is one of the most common of
errors, and one of the most difficult to avoid, while their right use
gives to style cohesion, firmness, and compactness, and is an important
aid to perspicuity. To the text of the synonyms is appended a set of
Questions and Examples to adapt the work for use as a text-book. Aside
from the purposes of the class-room, this portion will be found of value
to the individual student. Excepting those who have made a thorough
study of language most persons will discover with surprise how difficult
it is to answer any set of the Questions or to fill the blanks in the
Examples without referring to the synonym treatment in Part I., or to a
dictionary, and how rarely they can give any intelligent reason for
preference even among familiar words. There are few who can study such a
work without finding occasion to correct some errors into which they
have unconsciously fallen, and without coming to a new delight in the
use of language from a fuller knowledge of its resources and a clearer
sense of its various capabilities.
_West New Brighton, N. Y._, Sept. 4, 1896.
Crabb's "English Synonymes Explained." [H.]
Soule's "Dictionary of English Synonyms." [L.]
Smith's "Synonyms Discriminated." [BELL.]
Graham's "English Synonyms." [A.]
Whateley's "English Synonyms Discriminated." [L. & S.]
Campbell's "Handbook of Synonyms." [L. & S.]
Fallows' "Complete Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms." [F. H. R.]
Roget's "Thesaurus of English Words." [F. & W. CO.]
Trench's "Study of English Words." [W. J. W.]
Richard Grant White, "Words and their Uses," and "Every Day
English." [H. M. & CO.]
Geo. P. Marsh, "Lectures on the English Language," and "Origin and
History of the English Language." [S.]
Fitzedward Hall, "False Philology." [S.]
Maetzner's "English Grammar," tr. by Grece. [J. M.]
The Synonyms of the Century and International Dictionaries have also
been consulted and compared.
The Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary has been used as the authority
* * * * *
A. D. Appleton & Co. | K.-F. Krauth-Fleming
AS. Anglo-Saxon | "Vocabulary of Philosophy."
BELL; B. & S. Bell & Sons | L. Latin; Lippincott & Co.
F. French | L. & S. Lee & Shepard
F. H. R. Fleming H. Revell | M. Murray's New English Dictionary
F. & W. CO. Funk & Wagnalls Co. | MACM. Macmillan & Co.
G. German | S. Chas. Scribner's Sons
Gr. Greek | Sp. Spanish
H. Harper & Bros. | T. & F. Ticknor & Fields
H. M. & CO. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. | T. & H. Troutman & Hayes
It. Italian | T. & M. Taylor, Walton & Maberley
J. M. John Murray | W. J. W. W. J. Widdleton
* * * * *
abdicate, desert, leave, resign,
abjure, discontinue, quit, retire from,
cast off, forego, recant, retract,
cease, forsake, relinquish, surrender,
cede, forswear, renounce, vacate,
depart from, give up, repudiate, withdraw from.
_Abandon_ is a word of wide signification, applying to persons or things
of any kind; _abdicate_ and _resign_ apply to office, authority, or
power; _cede_ to territorial possessions; _surrender_ especially to
military force, and more generally to any demand, claim, passion, etc.
_Quit_ carries an idea of suddenness or abruptness not necessarily
implied in _abandon_, and may not have the same suggestion of finality.
The king _abdicates_ his throne, _cedes_ his territory, _deserts_ his
followers, _renounces_ his religion, _relinquishes_ his titles,
_abandons_ his designs. A cowardly officer _deserts_ his ship; the
helpless passengers _abandon_ it. We _quit_ business, _give up_
property, _resign_ office, _abandon_ a habit or a trust. _Relinquish_
commonly implies reluctance; the fainting hand _relinquishes_ its grasp;
the creditor _relinquishes_ his claim. _Abandon_ implies previous
association with responsibility for or control of; _forsake_ implies
previous association with inclination or attachment, real or assumed; a
man may _abandon_ or _forsake_ house or friends; he _abandons_ an
enterprise; _forsakes_ God. _Abandon_ is applied to both good and evil
action; a thief _abandons_ his designs, a man his principles. _Forsake_,
like _abandon_, may be used either in the favorable or unfavorable
sense; _desert_ is always unfavorable, involving a breach of duty,
except when used of mere localities; as, "the Deserted Village." While a
monarch _abdicates_, a president or other elected or appointed officer
_resigns_. It was held that James II. _abdicated_ his throne by
_deserting_ it.
adopt, defend, occupy, seek,
advocate, favor, prosecute, support,
assert, haunt, protect, undertake,
cherish, hold, pursue, uphold,
claim, keep, retain, vindicate.
court, maintain,
* * * * *
bring low, depress, dishonor, lower,
cast down, discredit, humble, reduce,
debase, disgrace, humiliate, sink.
_Abase_ refers only to outward conditions. "Exalt him that is low, and
_abase_ him that is high." _Ezek._ xxi, 26. _Debase_ applies to quality
or character. The coinage is _debased_ by excess of alloy, the man by
vice. _Humble_ in present use refers chiefly to feeling of heart;
_humiliate_ to outward conditions; even when one is said to _humble_
himself, he either has or affects to have humility of heart. To
_disgrace_ may be to bring or inflict odium upon others, but the word is
chiefly and increasingly applied to such moral odium as one by his own
acts brings upon himself; the noun _disgrace_ retains more of the
passive sense than the verb; he _disgraced_ himself by his conduct; he
brought _disgrace_ upon his family. To _dishonor_ a person is to deprive
him of honor that should or might be given. To _discredit_ one is to
injure his reputation, as for veracity or solvency. A sense of
unworthiness _humbles_; a shameful insult _humiliates_; imprisonment for
crime _disgraces_. _Degrade_ may refer to either station or character.
An officer is _degraded_ by being _reduced_ to the ranks, _disgraced_ by
cowardice; vile practises _degrade_; drunkenness is a _degrading_ vice.
Misfortune or injustice may _abase_ the good; nothing but their own
ill-doing can _debase_ or _disgrace_ them.
advance, elevate, honor, raise,
aggrandize, exalt, promote, uplift.
* * * * *
bewilder, daunt, embarrass, mortify,
chagrin, discompose, humble, overawe,
confound, disconcert, humiliate, shame.
confuse, dishearten,
Any sense of inferiority _abashes_, with or without the sense of wrong.
The poor are _abashed_ at the splendor of wealth, the ignorant at the
learning of the wise. "I might have been _abashed_ by their authority."
GLADSTONE _Homeric Synchron._, p. 72. [H. '76.] To _confuse_ is to bring
into a state of mental bewilderment; to _confound_ is to overwhelm the
mental faculties; to _daunt_ is to subject to a certain degree of fear.
_Embarrass_ is a strong word, signifying primarily hamper, hinder,
impede. A solitary thinker may be _confused_ by some difficulty in a
subject, or some mental defect; one is _embarrassed_ in the presence of
others, and because of their presence. Confusion is of the intellect,
embarrassment of the feelings. A witness may be _embarrassed_ by
annoying personalities, so as to become _confused_ in statements. To
_mortify_ a person is to bring upon him a painful sense of humiliation,
whether because of his own or another's fault or failure. A pupil is
_confused_ by a perplexing question, a general _confounded_ by
overwhelming defeat. A hostess is _discomposed_ by the tardiness of
guests, a speaker _disconcerted_ by a failure of memory. The criminal
who is not _abashed_ at detection may be _daunted_ by the officer's
weapon. Sudden joy may _bewilder_, but will not _abash_. The true
worshiper is _humbled_ rather than _abashed_ before God. The parent is
_mortified_ by the child's rudeness, the child _abashed_ at the parent's
reproof. The _embarrassed_ speaker finds it difficult to proceed. The
mob is _overawed_ by the military, the hypocrite _shamed_ by exposure.
"A man whom no denial, no scorn could _abash_." FIELDING _Amelia_ bk.
iii, ch. 9, p. 300. [B. & S. '71.] Compare CHAGRIN; HINDER.
animate, cheer, encourage, rally,
buoy, embolden, inspirit, uphold.
* * * * *
decline, ebb, mitigate, reduce,
decrease, lessen, moderate, subside.
diminish, lower,
The storm, the fever, the pain _abates_. Interest _declines_.
Misfortunes may be _mitigated_, desires _moderated_, intense anger
_abated_, population _decreased_, taxes _reduced_. We _abate_ a
nuisance, _terminate_ a controversy, _suppress_ a rebellion. See
aggravate, enhance, foment, rage,
amplify, enlarge, increase, raise,
continue, extend, magnify, revive.
Abate _in_ fury; abated _by_ law.
* * * * *
abridgment, contraction.
An _abbreviation_ is a shortening by any method; a _contraction_ is a
reduction of size by the drawing together of the parts. A _contraction_
of a word is made by omitting certain letters or syllables and bringing
together the first and last letters or elements; an _abbreviation_ may
be made either by omitting certain portions from the interior or by
cutting off a part; a _contraction_ is an _abbreviation_, but an
_abbreviation_ is not necessarily a _contraction_; _rec't_ for receipt,
_mdse._ for merchandise, and _Dr._ for debtor are _contractions_; they
are also _abbreviations_; _Am._ for American is an _abbreviation_, but
not a _contraction_. _Abbreviation_ and _contraction_ are used of words
and phrases, _abridgment_ of books, paragraphs, sentences, etc. Compare
* * * * *
advocate, countenance, incite, sanction,
aid, embolden, instigate, support,
assist, encourage, promote, uphold.
_Abet_ and _instigate_ are now used almost without exception in a bad
sense; one may _incite_ either to good or evil. One _incites_ or
_instigates_ to the doing of something not yet done, or to increased
activity or further advance in the doing of it; one _abets_ by giving
sympathy, countenance, or substantial aid to the doing of that which is
already projected or in process of commission. _Abet_ and _instigate_
apply either to persons or actions, _incite_ to persons only; one
_incites_ a person _to_ an action. A clergyman will _advocate_ the
claims of justice, _aid_ the poor, _encourage_ the despondent,
_support_ the weak, _uphold_ the constituted authorities; but he will
not _incite_ to a quarrel, _instigate_ a riot, or _abet_ a crime. The
originator of a crime often _instigates_ or _incites_ others to _abet_
him in it, or one may _instigate_ or _incite_ others to a crime in the
commission of which he himself takes no active part. Compare HELP.
baffle, deter, dissuade, hinder,
confound, disapprove, expose, impede,
counteract, disconcert, frustrate, obstruct.
denounce, discourage,
* * * * *
abominate, dislike, loathe, scorn,
despise, hate, nauseate, shun.
_Abhor_ is stronger than _despise_, implying a shuddering recoil,
especially a moral recoil. "How many _shun_ evil as inconvenient who do
not _abhor_ it as hateful." TRENCH _Serm. in Westm. Abbey_ xxvi, 297.
[M.] _Detest_ expresses indignation, with something of contempt.
_Loathe_ implies disgust, physical or moral. We _abhor_ a traitor,
_despise_ a coward, _detest_ a liar. We _dislike_ an uncivil person. We
_abhor_ cruelty, _hate_ tyranny. We _loathe_ a reptile or a flatterer.
We _abhor_ Milton's heroic Satan, but we can not _despise_ him.
admire, crave, esteem, love,
approve, desire, like, relish.
covet, enjoy,
* * * * *
anticipate, dwell, remain, stop,
await, endure, reside, tarry,
bear, expect, rest, tolerate,
bide, inhabit, sojourn, wait,
confront, live, stay, watch.
continue, lodge,
To _abide_ is to remain continuously without limit of time unless
expressed by the context: "to-day I must _abide_ at thy house," _Luke_
xix, 5; "a settled place for thee to _abide_ in forever," _1 Kings_
viii, 13; "_Abide_ with me! fast falls the eventide," LYTE _Hymn_.
_Lodge_, _sojourn_, _stay_, _tarry_, and _wait_ always imply a limited
time; _lodge_, to pass the night; _sojourn_, to _remain_ temporarily;
_live_, _dwell_, _reside_, to have a permanent home. _Stop_, in the
sense of _stay_ or _sojourn_, is colloquial, and not in approved use.
abandon, forfeit, migrate, reject,
avoid, forfend, move, resist,
depart, journey, proceed, shun.
Abide _in_ a place, _for_ a time, _with_ a person, _by_ a statement.
* * * * *
abate, eradicate, prohibit, stamp out,
abrogate, exterminate, remove, subvert,
annihilate, extirpate, repeal, supplant,
annul, nullify, reverse, suppress,
destroy, obliterate, revoke, terminate.
end, overthrow, set aside,
_Abolish_, to do away with, bring absolutely to an end, especially as
something hostile, hindering, or harmful, was formerly used of persons
and material objects, a usage now obsolete except in poetry or highly
figurative speech. _Abolish_ is now used of institutions, customs, and
conditions, especially those wide-spread and long existing; as, to
_abolish_ slavery, ignorance, intemperance, poverty. A building that is
burned to the ground is said to be _destroyed_ by fire. _Annihilate_, as
a philosophical term, signifies to put absolutely out of existence. As
far as our knowledge goes, matter is never _annihilated_, but only
changes its form. Some believe that the wicked will be _annihilated_.
_Abolish_ is not said of laws. There we use _repeal_, _abrogate_,
_nullify_, etc.: _repeal_ by the enacting body, _nullify_ by
revolutionary proceedings; a later statute _abrogates_, without formally
_repealing_, any earlier law with which it conflicts. An appellate court
may _reverse_ or _set aside_ the decision of an inferior court.
_Overthrow_ may be used in either a good or a bad sense; _suppress_ is
commonly in a good, _subvert_ always in a bad sense; as, to _subvert_
our liberties; to _suppress_ a rebellion. The law _prohibits_ what may
never have existed; it _abolishes_ an existing evil. We _abate_ a
nuisance, _terminate_ a controversy. Compare CANCEL; DEMOLISH;
authorize, establish, reinstate, revive,
cherish, institute, renew, set up,
confirm, introduce, repair, support,
continue, legalize, restore, sustain.
enact, promote,
* * * * *
abhorrence, curse, hatred, plague,
abuse, detestation, horror, shame,
annoyance, disgust, iniquity, villainy,
aversion, evil, nuisance, wickedness.
crime, execration, offense,
_Abomination_ (from the L. _ab omen_, a thing of ill omen) was
originally applied to anything held in religious or ceremonial
_aversion_ or _abhorrence_; as, "The things which are highly esteemed
among men are _abomination_ in the sight of God." _Luke_ xvi, 15. The
word is oftener applied to the object of such _aversion_ or _abhorrence_
than to the state of mind that so regards it; in common use
_abomination_ signifies something very much disliked or loathed, or that
deserves to be. Choice food may be an object of _aversion_ and _disgust_
to a sick person; vile food would be an _abomination_. A toad is to many
an object of _disgust_; a foul sewer is an _abomination_. As applied to
crimes, _abomination_ is used of such as are especially brutal,
shameful, or revolting; theft is an _offense_; infanticide is an
affection, blessing, enjoyment, joy,
appreciation, delight, esteem, satisfaction,
approval, desire, gratification, treat.
* * * * *
abbreviation, compend, epitome, summary,
abstract, compendium, outline, synopsis.
analysis, digest,
An _abridgment_ gives the most important portions of a work
substantially as they stand. An _outline_ or _synopsis_ is a kind of
sketch closely following the plan. An _abstract_ or _digest_ is an
independent statement of what the book contains. An _analysis_ draws out
the chief thoughts or arguments, whether expressed or implied. A
_summary_ is the most condensed statement of results or conclusions. An
_epitome_, _compend_, or _compendium_ is a condensed view of a subject,
whether derived from a previous publication or not. We may have an
_abridgment_ of a dictionary, but not an _analysis_, _abstract_,
_digest_, or _summary_. We may have an _epitome_ of religion, a
_compendium_ of English literature, but not an _abridgment_. Compare
* * * * *
arbitrary, compulsory, haughty, peremptory,
arrogant, controlling, imperative, positive,
authoritative, despotic, imperious, supreme,
autocratic, dictatorial, irresponsible, tyrannical,
coercive, dogmatic, lordly, unconditional,
commanding, domineering, overbearing, unequivocal.
compulsive, exacting,
In the strict sense, _absolute_, free from all limitation or control,
and _supreme_, superior to all, can not properly be said of any being
except the divine. Both words are used, however, in a modified sense, of
human authorities; _absolute_ then signifying free from limitation by
other authority, and _supreme_ exalted over all other; as, an _absolute_
monarch, the _supreme_ court. _Absolute_, in this use, does not
necessarily carry any unfavorable sense, but as _absolute_ power in
human hands is always abused, the unfavorable meaning predominates.
_Autocratic_ power knows no limits outside the ruler's self; _arbitrary_
power, none outside the ruler's will or judgment, _arbitrary_ carrying
the implication of wilfulness and capriciousness. _Despotic_ is commonly
applied to a masterful or severe use of power, which is expressed more
decidedly by _tyrannical_. _Arbitrary_ may be used in a good sense; as,
the pronunciation of proper names is _arbitrary_; but the bad sense is
the prevailing one; as, an _arbitrary_ proceeding. _Irresponsible_ power
is not necessarily bad, but eminently dangerous; an executor or trustee
should not be _irresponsible_; an _irresponsible_ ruler is likely to be
_tyrannical_. A perfect ruler might be _irresponsible_ and not
_tyrannical_. _Authoritative_ is used always in a good sense, implying
the right to claim authority; _imperative_, _peremptory_, and _positive_
are used ordinarily in the good sense; as, an _authoritative_
definition; an _imperative_ demand; a _peremptory_ command; _positive_
instructions; _imperious_ signifies assuming and determined to command,
rigorously requiring obedience. An _imperious_ demand or requirement may
have in it nothing offensive; it is simply one that resolutely insists
upon compliance, and will not brook refusal; an _arrogant_ demand is
offensive by its tone of superiority, an _arbitrary_ demand by its
unreasonableness; an _imperious_ disposition is liable to become
_arbitrary_ and _arrogant_. A person of an independent spirit is
inclined to resent an _imperious_ manner in any one, especially in one
whose superiority is not clearly recognized. _Commanding_ is always used
in a good sense; as, a _commanding_ appearance; a _commanding_
accountable, constitutional, gentle, lowly, responsible,
complaisant, contingent, humble, meek, submissive,
compliant, docile, lenient, mild, yielding.
conditional, ductile, limited,
* * * * *
acquit, exculpate, forgive, pardon,
clear, exempt, free, release,
discharge, exonerate, liberate, set free.
To _absolve_, in the strict sense, is to _set free_ from any bond. One
may be _absolved_ from a promise by a breach of faith on the part of one
to whom the promise was made. To _absolve_ from sins is formally to
remit their condemnation and penalty, regarded as a bond upon the soul.
"Almighty God ... _pardoneth_ and _absolveth_ all those who truly
repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel." _Book of Common
Prayer, Declar. of Absol._ To _acquit_ of sin or crime is to _free_ from
the accusation of it, pronouncing one guiltless; the innocent are
rightfully _acquitted_; the guilty may be mercifully _absolved_. Compare
accuse, charge, condemn, impeach, obligate,
bind, compel, convict, inculpate, oblige.
One is absolved _from_ (rarely _of_) a promise, a sin, etc.
* * * * *
consume, engross, suck up, take in,
drink in, exhaust, swallow, take up.
drink up, imbibe, swallow up,
A fluid that is _absorbed_ is _taken up_ into the mass of the
_absorbing_ body, with which it may or may not permanently combine. Wood
expands when it _absorbs_ moisture, iron when it _absorbs_ heat, the
substance remaining perhaps otherwise substantially unchanged;
quicklime, when it _absorbs_ water, becomes a new substance with
different qualities, hydrated or slaked lime. A substance is _consumed_
which is destructively appropriated by some other substance, being, or
agency, so that it ceases to exist or to be recognized as existing in
its original condition; fuel is _consumed_ in the fire, food in the
body; _consume_ is also applied to whatever is removed from the market
for individual use; as, silk and woolen goods are _consumed_. A great
talker _engrosses_ the conversation. A credulous person _swallows_ the
most preposterous statement. A busy student _imbibes_ or _drinks in_
knowledge; he is _absorbed_ in a subject that takes his whole attention.
"I only postponed it because I happened to get _absorbed_ in a book."
KANE _Grinnell Exped._ ch. 43, page 403. [H. '54.]
cast out, dissipate, emit, put forth, shoot forth,
disgorge, distract, exude, radiate, throw off,
disperse, eject, give up, send out, vomit.
Plants absorb moisture _from_ the air; the student is absorbed _in_
thought; nutriment may be absorbed _into_ the system _through_ the skin.
* * * * *
abstemiousness, frugality, self-denial, sobriety,
continence, moderation, self-restraint, temperance.
fasting, self-control,
_Abstinence_ from food commonly signifies going without;
_abstemiousness_, partaking moderately; _abstinence_ may be for a single
occasion, _abstemiousness_ is habitual _moderation_. _Self-denial_ is
giving up what one wishes; _abstinence_ may be refraining from what one
does not desire. _Fasting_ is _abstinence_ from food for a limited time,
and generally for religious reasons. _Sobriety_ and _temperance_ signify
maintaining a quiet, even temper by moderate indulgence in some things,
complete _abstinence_ from others. We speak of _temperance_ in eating,
but of _abstinence_ from vice. _Total abstinence_ has come to signify
the entire abstaining from intoxicating liquors.
drunkenness, greed, reveling, sensuality,
excess, intemperance, revelry, wantonness.
gluttony, intoxication, self-indulgence,
The negative side of virtue is abstinence _from_ vice.
* * * * *
appropriate, distract, purloin, steal,
detach, divert, remove, take away,
discriminate, eliminate, separate, withdraw.
The central idea of _withdrawing_ makes _abstract_ in common speech a
euphemism for _appropriate_ (unlawfully), _purloin_, _steal_. In mental
processes we _discriminate_ between objects by _distinguishing_ their
differences; we _separate_ some one element from all that does not
necessarily belong to it, _abstract_ it, and view it alone. We may
_separate_ two ideas, and hold both in mind in comparison or contrast;
but when we _abstract_ one of them, we drop the other out of thought.
The mind is _abstracted_ when it is _withdrawn_ from all other subjects
and concentrated upon one, _diverted_ when it is drawn away from what it
would or should attend to by some other interest, _distracted_ when the
attention is divided among different subjects, so that it can not be
given properly to any. The trouble with the _distracted_ person is that
he is not _abstracted_. Compare DISCERN.
add, complete, fill up, restore, unite.
combine, conjoin, increase, strengthen,
The purse may be abstracted _from_ the pocket; the substance _from_ the
accidents; a book _into_ a compend.
* * * * *
absent, heedless, listless, preoccupied,
absent-minded, inattentive, negligent, thoughtless.
absorbed, indifferent, oblivious,
As regards mental action, _absorbed_, _abstracted_, and _preoccupied_
refer to the cause, _absent_ or _absent-minded_ to the effect. The man
_absorbed_ in one thing will appear _absent_ in others. A _preoccupied_
person may seem _listless_ and _thoughtless_, but the really _listless_
and _thoughtless_ have not mental energy to be _preoccupied_. The
_absent-minded_ man is _oblivious_ of ordinary matters, because his
thoughts are elsewhere. One who is _preoccupied_ is intensely busy in
thought; one may be _absent-minded_ either through intense concentration
or simply through inattention, with fitful and aimless wandering of
thought. Compare ABSTRACT.
alert, on hand, ready, wide-awake.
attentive, prompt, thoughtful,
* * * * *
anomalous, ill-considered, ludicrous, ridiculous,
chimerical, ill-judged, mistaken, senseless,
erroneous, inconclusive, monstrous, stupid,
false, incorrect, nonsensical, unreasonable,
foolish, infatuated, paradoxical, wild.
ill-advised, irrational, preposterous,
That is _absurd_ which is contrary to the first principles of reasoning;
as, that a part should be greater than the whole is _absurd_. A
_paradoxical_ statement appears at first thought contradictory or
_absurd_, while it may be really true. Anything is _irrational_ when
clearly contrary to sound reason, _foolish_ when contrary to practical
good sense, _silly_ when petty and contemptible in its folly,
_erroneous_ when containing error that vitiates the result,
_unreasonable_ when there seems a perverse bias or an intent to go
wrong. _Monstrous_ and _preposterous_ refer to what is overwhelmingly
_absurd_; as, "_O monstrous!_ eleven buckram men grown out of two,"
SHAKESPEARE _1 King Henry IV_, act ii, sc. 4. The _ridiculous_ or the
_nonsensical_ is worthy only to be laughed at. The lunatic's claim to be
a king is _ridiculous_; the Mother Goose rimes are _nonsensical_.
certain, incontrovertible, rational, substantial,
consistent, indisputable, reasonable, true,
demonstrable, indubitable, sagacious, undeniable,
demonstrated, infallible, sensible, unquestionable,
established, logical, sound, wise.
* * * * *
aggrieve, impose on _or_ oppress, ruin,
damage, upon, persecute, slander,
defame, injure, pervert, victimize,
defile, malign, prostitute, vilify,
disparage, maltreat, rail at, violate,
harm, misemploy, ravish, vituperate,
ill-treat, misuse, reproach, wrong.
ill-use, molest, revile,
_Abuse_ covers all unreasonable or improper use or treatment by word or
act. A tenant does not _abuse_ rented property by "reasonable wear,"
though that may _damage_ the property and _injure_ its sale; he may
_abuse_ it by needless defacement or neglect. It is possible to _abuse_
a man without _harming_ him, as when the criminal _vituperates_ the
judge; or to _harm_ a man without _abusing_ him, as when the witness
tells the truth about the criminal. _Defame_, _malign_, _rail at_,
_revile_, _slander_, _vilify_, and _vituperate_ are used always in a bad
sense. One may be justly _reproached_. To _impose on_ or to _victimize_
one is to _injure_ him by _abusing_ his confidence. To _persecute_ one
is to _ill-treat_ him for opinion's sake, commonly for religious belief;
to _oppress_ is generally for political or pecuniary motives. "Thou
shalt not _oppress_ an hired servant that is poor and needy," _Deut._
xxiv, 14. _Misemploy_, _misuse_, and _pervert_ are commonly applied to
objects rather than to persons. A dissolute youth _misemploys_ his time,
_misuses_ his money and opportunities, _harms_ his associates,
_perverts_ his talents, _wrongs_ his parents, _ruins_ himself, _abuses_
every good gift of God.
applaud, conserve, favor, protect, sustain,
benefit, consider, laud, regard, tend,
care for, eulogize, panegyrize, respect, uphold,
cherish, extol, praise, shield, vindicate.
* * * * *
abetter _or_ abettor, associate, companion, henchman,
accomplice, attendant, confederate, participator,
ally, coadjutor, follower, partner,
assistant, colleague, helper, retainer.
_Colleague_ is used always in a good sense, _associate_ and _coadjutor_
generally so; _ally_, _assistant_, _associate_, _attendant_,
_companion_, _helper_, either in a good or a bad sense; _abetter_,
_accessory_, _accomplice_, _confederate_, almost always in a bad sense.
_Ally_ is oftenest used of national and military matters, or of some
other connection regarded as great and important; as, _allies_ of
despotism. _Colleague_ is applied to civil and ecclesiastical
connections; members of Congress from the same State are _colleagues_,
even though they may be bitter opponents politically and personally. An
_Associate_ Justice of the Supreme Court is near in _rank_ to the Chief
Justice. A surgeon's _assistant_ is a physician or medical student who
shares in the treatment and care of patients; a surgeon's _attendant_ is
one who rolls bandages and the like. _Follower_, _henchman_, _retainer_
are persons especially devoted to a chief, and generally bound to him by
necessity, fee, or reward. _Partner_ has come to denote almost
exclusively a business connection. In law, an _abettor_ (the general
legal spelling) is always present, either actively or constructively, at
the commission of the crime; an _accessory_ never. An _accomplice_ is
usually a principal; an _accessory_ never. If present, though only to
stand outside and keep watch against surprise, one is an _abettor_, and
not an _accessory_. At common law, an _accessory_ implies a principal,
and can not be convicted until after the conviction of the principal;
the _accomplice_ or _abettor_ can be convicted as a principal.
_Accomplice_ and _abettor_ have nearly the same meaning, but the former
is the popular, the latter more distinctively the legal term. Compare
adversary, chief, foe, leader, principal,
antagonist, commander, hinderer, opponent, rival.
betrayer, enemy, instigator, opposer,
An accessory _to_ the crime; _before_ or _after_ the fact; the
accessories _of_ a figure _in_ a painting.
* * * * *
adventure, contingency, happening, misfortune,
calamity, disaster, hazard, mishap,
casualty, fortuity, incident, possibility.
chance, hap, misadventure,
An _accident_ is that which happens without any one's direct intention;
a _chance_ that which happens without any known cause. If the direct
cause of a railroad _accident_ is known, we can not call it a _chance_.
To the theist there is, in strictness, no _chance_, all things being by
divine causation and control; but _chance_ is spoken of where no special
cause is manifest: "By _chance_ there came down a certain priest that
way," _Luke_ x, 31. We can speak of a game of _chance_, but not of a
game of _accident_. An _incident_ is viewed as occurring in the regular
course of things, but subordinate to the main purpose, or aside from the
main design. _Fortune_ is the result of inscrutable controlling forces.
_Fortune_ and _chance_ are nearly equivalent, but _chance_ can be used
of human effort and endeavor as _fortune_ can not be; we say "he has a
_chance_ of success," or "there is one _chance_ in a thousand," where we
could not substitute _fortune_; as personified, _Fortune_ is regarded as
having a fitful purpose, _Chance_ as purposeless; we speak of fickle
_Fortune_, blind _Chance_; "_Fortune_ favors the brave." The slaughter
of men is an _incident_ of battle; unexpected defeat, the _fortune_ of
war. Since the unintended is often the undesirable, _accident_ tends to
signify some _calamity_ or _disaster_, unless the contrary is expressed,
as when we say a fortunate or happy _accident_. An _adventure_ is that
which may turn out ill, a _misadventure_ that which does turn out ill. A
slight disturbing _accident_ is a _mishap_. Compare EVENT; HAZARD.
appointment, decree, intention, ordainment, preparation,
calculation, fate, law, ordinance, provision,
certainty, foreordination, necessity, plan, purpose.
The accident _of_ birth; an accident _to_ the machinery.
* * * * *
association, experience, fellowship, intimacy,
companionship, familiarity, friendship, knowledge.
_Acquaintance_ between persons supposes that each knows the other; we
may know a public man by his writings or speeches, and by sight, but can
not claim _acquaintance_ unless he personally knows us. There may be
pleasant _acquaintance_ with little _companionship_; and conversely,
much _companionship_ with little _acquaintance_, as between busy clerks
at adjoining desks. So there may be _association_ in business without
_intimacy_ or _friendship_. _Acquaintance_ admits of many degrees, from
a slight or passing to a familiar or intimate _acquaintance_; but
_acquaintance_ unmodified commonly signifies less than _familiarity_ or
_intimacy_. As regards persons, _familiarity_ is becoming restricted to
the undesirable sense, as in the proverb, "_Familiarity_ breeds
contempt;" hence, in personal relations, the word _intimacy_, which
refers to mutual knowledge of thought and feeling, is now uniformly
preferred. _Friendship_ includes _acquaintance_ with some degree of
_intimacy_, and ordinarily _companionship_, though in a wider sense
_friendship_ may exist between those who have never met, but know each
other only by word and deed. _Acquaintance_ does not involve
_friendship_, for one may be well acquainted with an enemy. _Fellowship_
involves not merely _acquaintance_ and _companionship_, but sympathy as
well. There may be much _friendship_ without much _fellowship_, as
between those whose homes or pursuits are far apart. There may be
pleasant _fellowship_ which does not reach the fulness of _friendship_.
Compare ATTACHMENT; FRIENDSHIP; LOVE. As regards studies, pursuits,
etc., _acquaintance_ is less than _familiarity_, which supposes minute
_knowledge_ of particulars, arising often from long _experience_ or
ignorance, ignoring, inexperience, unfamiliarity.
Acquaintance _with_ a subject; _of_ one person _with_ another; _between_
* * * * *
acerbity, harshness, severity, tartness,
asperity, malignity, sharpness, unkindness,
bitterness, moroseness, sourness, virulence.
_Acerbity_ is a _sharpness_, with a touch of _bitterness_, which may
arise from momentary annoyance or habitual impatience; _asperity_ is
keener and more pronounced, denoting distinct irritation or vexation; in
speech _asperity_ is often manifested by the tone of voice rather than
by the words that are spoken. _Acrimony_ in speech or temper is like a
corrosive acid; it springs from settled character or deeply rooted
feeling of aversion or unkindness. One might speak with momentary
_asperity_ to his child, but not with _acrimony_, unless estrangement
had begun. _Malignity_ is the extreme of settled ill intent; _virulence_
is an envenomed hostility. _Virulence_ of speech is a quality in
language that makes the language seem as if exuding poison. _Virulence_
is outspoken; _malignity_ may be covered with smooth and courteous
phrase. We say intense _virulence_, deep _malignity_. _Severity_ is
always painful, and may be terrible, but carries ordinarily the
implication, true or false, of justice. Compare ANGER; BITTER; ENMITY.
amiability, gentleness, kindness, smoothness,
courtesy, good nature, mildness, sweetness.
* * * * *
ACT, _n._
accomplishment, execution, movement,
achievement, exercise, operation,
action, exertion, performance,
consummation, exploit, proceeding,
deed, feat, transaction,
doing, motion, work.
An _act_ is strictly and originally something accomplished by an
exercise of power, in which sense it is synonymous with _deed_ or
_effect_. _Action_ is a _doing_. _Act_ is therefore single, individual,
momentary; _action_ a complex of _acts_, or a process, state, or habit
of exerting power. We say a virtuous _act_, but rather a virtuous course
of _action_. We speak of the _action_ of an acid upon a metal, not of
its _act_. _Act_ is used, also, for the simple _exertion_ of power; as,
an _act_ of will. In this sense an _act_ does not necessarily imply an
external _effect_, while an _action_ does. Morally, the _act_ of murder
is in the determination to kill; legally, the _act_ is not complete
without the striking of the fatal blow. _Act_ and _deed_ are both used
for the thing done, but _act_ refers to the power put forth, _deed_ to
the result accomplished; as, a voluntary _act_, a bad _deed_. In
connection with other words _act_ is more usually qualified by the use
of another noun, _action_ by an adjective preceding; we may say a kind
_act_, though oftener an _act_ of kindness, but only a kind _action_,
not an _action_ of kindness. As between _act_ and _deed_, _deed_ is
commonly used of great, notable, and impressive _acts_, as are
_achievement_, _exploit_, and _feat_.
_Festus_: We live in _deeds_, not years; in thoughts, not breaths.
BAILEY _Festus, A Country Town_, sc. 7.
A _feat_ exhibits strength, skill, personal power, whether mental or
physical, especially the latter; as, a _feat_ of arms, a _feat_ of
memory. An _exploit_ is a conspicuous or glorious _deed_, involving
valor or heroism, usually combined with strength, skill, loftiness of
thought, and readiness of resource; an _achievement_ is the doing of
something great and noteworthy; an _exploit_ is brilliant, but its
effect may be transient; an _achievement_ is solid, and its effect
enduring. _Act_ and _action_ are both in contrast to all that is merely
passive and receptive. The intensest _action_ is easier than passive
cessation, immobility, inertia, quiet, suffering,
deliberation, inaction, passion,[A] repose, suspension.
endurance, inactivity, quiescence, rest,
[A] In philosophic sense.
* * * * *
agile, energetic, officious, sprightly,
alert, expeditious, prompt, spry,
brisk, industrious, quick, supple,
bustling, lively, ready, vigorous,
busy, mobile, restless, wide awake.
diligent, nimble,
_Active_ refers to both quickness and constancy of action; in the former
sense it is allied with _agile_, _alert_, _brisk_, etc.; in the latter,
with _busy_, _diligent_, _industrious_. The _active_ love employment,
the _busy_ are actually employed, the _diligent_ and the _industrious_
are habitually _busy_. The _restless_ are _active_ from inability to
keep quiet; their activity may be without purpose, or out of all
proportion to the purpose contemplated. The _officious_ are undesirably
_active_ in the affairs of others. Compare ALERT; ALIVE; MEDDLESOME.
dull, inactive, lazy, slow,
heavy, indolent, quiescent, sluggish,
idle, inert, quiet, stupid.
Active _in_ work, _in_ a cause; _for_ an object, as _for_ justice;
_with_ persons or instrumentalities; _about_ something, as _about_ other
people's business.
* * * * *
acuteness, insight, perspicacity, sharpness,
cleverness, keenness, sagacity, shrewdness.
discernment, penetration,
_Sharpness_, _acuteness_, and _insight_, however keen, and
_penetration_, however deep, fall short of the meaning of _acumen_,
which implies also ability to use these qualities to advantage. There
are persons of keen _insight_ and great _penetration_ to whom these
powers are practically useless. _Acumen_ is _sharpness_ to some purpose,
and belongs to a mind that is comprehensive as well as keen.
_Cleverness_ is a practical aptitude for study or learning. _Insight_
and _discernment_ are applied oftenest to the judgment of character;
_penetration_ and _perspicacity_ to other subjects of knowledge.
_Sagacity_ is an uncultured skill in using quick perceptions for a
desired end, generally in practical affairs; _acumen_ may increase with
study, and applies to the most erudite matters. _Shrewdness_ is
_keenness_ or _sagacity_, often with a somewhat evil bias, as ready to
take advantage of duller intellects. _Perspicacity_ is the power to see
clearly through that which is difficult or involved. We speak of the
_acuteness_ of an observer or a reasoner, the _insight_ and
_discernment_ of a student, a clergyman, or a merchant, the _sagacity_
of a hound, the _keenness_ of a debater, the _shrewdness_ of a usurer,
the _penetration_, _perspicacity_, and _acumen_ of a philosopher.
bluntness, dulness, obtuseness, stupidity.
* * * * *
adjoin, annex, augment, extend, make up,
affix, append, cast up, increase, subjoin,
amplify, attach, enlarge, join on, sum up.
To _add_ is to _increase_ by _adjoining_ or _uniting_: in distinction
from multiply, which is to _increase_ by repeating. To _augment_ a thing
is to _increase_ it by any means, but this word is seldom used directly
of material objects; we do not _augment_ a house, a farm, a nation, etc.
We may _enlarge_ a house, a farm, or an empire, _extend_ influence or
dominion, _augment_ riches, power or influence, _attach_ or _annex_ a
building to one that it _adjoins_ or papers to the document they refer
to, _annex_ a clause or a codicil, _affix_ a seal or a signature,
_annex_ a territory, _attach_ a condition to a promise. A speaker may
_amplify_ a discourse by a fuller treatment throughout than was
originally planned, or he may _append_ or _subjoin_ certain remarks
without change of what has gone before. We _cast up_ or _sum up_ an
account, though _add up_ and _make up_ are now more usual expressions.
abstract, diminish, lessen, remove, withdraw.
deduct, dissever, reduce, subtract,
Other items are to be added _to_ the account.
* * * * *
abandoned, devoted, given over, inclined,
accustomed, disposed, given up, prone,
attached, given, habituated, wedded.
One is _addicted_ to that which he has allowed to gain a strong,
habitual, and enduring hold upon action, inclination, or involuntary
tendency, as to a habit or indulgence. A man may be _accustomed_ to
labor, _attached_ to his profession, _devoted_ to his religion, _given_
to study or to gluttony (in the bad sense, _given over_, or _given up_,
is a stronger and more hopeless expression, as is _abandoned_). One
_inclined_ to luxury may become _habituated_ to poverty. One is _wedded_
to that which has become a second nature; as, one is _wedded_ to science
or to art. _Prone_ is used only in a bad sense, and generally of natural
tendencies; as, our hearts are _prone_ to evil. _Abandoned_ tells of the
acquired viciousness of one who has given himself up to wickedness.
_Addicted_ may be used in a good, but more frequently a bad sense; as,
_addicted_ to study; _addicted_ to drink. _Devoted_ is used chiefly in
the good sense; as, a mother's _devoted_ affection.
averse, disinclined, indisposed, unaccustomed.
Addicted _to_ vice.
* * * * *
cost, approach, hail, speak to,
apostrophize, court, salute, woo.
appeal, greet,
To _accost_ is to speak first, to friend or stranger, generally with a
view to opening conversation; _greet_ is not so distinctly limited,
since one may return another's _greeting_; _greet_ and _hail_ may imply
but a passing word; _greeting_ may be altogether silent; to _hail_ is to
_greet_ in a loud-voiced and commonly hearty and joyous way, as appears
in the expression "_hail_ fellow, well met." To _salute_ is to _greet_
with special token of respect, as a soldier his commander. To
_apostrophize_ is to solemnly _address_ some person or personified
attribute apart from the audience to whom one is speaking; as, a
preacher may _apostrophize_ virtue, the saints of old, or even the
Deity. To _appeal_ is strictly to call for some form of help or support.
_Address_ is slightly more formal than _accost_ or _greet_, though it
may often be interchanged with them. One may _address_ another at
considerable length or in writing; he _accosts_ orally and briefly.
avoid, elude, overlook, pass by,
cut, ignore, pass, shun.
Address the memorial _to_ the legislature; the president addressed the
people _in_ an eloquent speech; he addressed an intruder _with_
* * * * *
adroitness, discretion, manners, readiness,
courtesy, ingenuity, politeness, tact.
_Address_ is that indefinable something which enables a man to gain his
object without seeming exertion or contest, and generally with the favor
and approval of those with whom he deals. It is a general power to
direct to the matter in hand whatever qualities are most needed for it
at the moment. It includes _adroitness_ and _discretion_ to know what to
do or say and what to avoid; _ingenuity_ to devise; _readiness_ to speak
or act; the _dexterity_ that comes of practise; and _tact_, which is the
power of fine touch as applied to human character and feeling.
_Courtesy_ and _politeness_ are indispensable elements of good
_address_. Compare SPEECH.
awkwardness, clumsiness, ill-breeding, stupidity,
boorishness, fatuity, ill manners, unmannerliness,
clownishness, folly, rudeness, unwisdom.
Address _in_ dealing with opponents; the address _of_ an accomplished
intriguer; an address _to_ the audience.
* * * * *
able, competent, fitted, satisfactory,
adapted, equal, fitting, sufficient,
capable, fit, qualified, suitable.
_Adequate_, _commensurate_, and _sufficient_ signify _equal_ to some
given occasion or work; as, a sum _sufficient_ to meet expenses; an
_adequate_ remedy for the disease. _Commensurate_ is the more precise
and learned word, signifying that which exactly measures the matter in
question. _Adapted_, _fit_, _suitable_, and _qualified_ refer to the
qualities which match or suit the occasion. A clergyman may have
strength _adequate_ to the work of a porter; but that would not be a
_fit_ or _suitable_ occupation for him. Work is _satisfactory_ if it
satisfies those for whom it is done, though it may be very poor work
judged by some higher standard. _Qualified_ refers to acquired
abilities; _competent_ to both natural and acquired; a _qualified_
teacher may be no longer _competent_, by reason of ill health. _Able_
and _capable_ suggest general ability and reserved power, _able_ being
the higher word of the two. An _able_ man will do something well in any
position. A _capable_ man will come up to any ordinary demand. We say an
_able_ orator, a _capable_ accountant.
disqualified, inferior, unequal, unsatisfactory, useless,
inadequate, insufficient, unfit, unsuitable, worthless.
incompetent, poor, unqualified,
Adequate _to_ the demand; _for_ the purpose.
* * * * *
aid, ally, disciple, partisan, supporter.
aider, backer, follower,
An _adherent_ is one who is devoted or attached to a person, party,
principle, cause, creed, or the like. One may be an _aider_ and
_supporter_ of a party or church, while not an _adherent_ to all its
doctrines or claims. An _ally_ is more independent still, as he may
differ on every point except the specific ground of union. The _Allies_
who overthrew Napoleon were united only against him. _Allies_ are
regarded as equals; _adherents_ and _disciples_ are followers. The
_adherent_ depends more on his individual judgment, the _disciple_ is
more subject to command and instruction; thus we say the _disciples_
rather than the _adherents_ of Christ. _Partisan_ has the narrow and
odious sense of adhesion to a party, right or wrong. One may be an
_adherent_ or _supporter_ of a party and not a _partisan_. _Backer_ is a
sporting and theatrical word, personal in its application, and not in
the best usage. Compare ACCESSORY.
adversary, betrayer, enemy, opponent, traitor.
antagonist, deserter, hater, renegade,
Adherents _to_ principle; adherents _of_ Luther.
* * * * *
cohesive, gummy, sticky, viscous.
glutinous, sticking, viscid,
_Adhesive_ is the scientific, _sticking_ or _sticky_ the popular word.
That which is _adhesive_ tends to join itself to the surface of any
other body with which it is placed in contact; _cohesive_ expresses the
tendency of particles of the same substance to hold together. Polished
plate glass is not _adhesive_, but such plates packed together are
intensely _cohesive_. An _adhesive_ plaster is in popular language a
_sticking_-plaster. _Sticky_ expresses a more limited, and generally
annoying, degree of the same quality. _Glutinous_, _gummy_, _viscid_,
and _viscous_ are applied to fluid or semi-fluid substances, as pitch or
free, inadhesive, loose, separable.
The stiff, wet clay, adhesive _to_ the foot, impeded progress.
* * * * *
abutting, bordering, contiguous, neighboring,
adjoining, close, coterminous, next,
attached, conterminous, near, nigh.
_Adjacent_ farms may not be connected; if _adjoining_, they meet at the
boundary-line. _Conterminous_ would imply that their dimensions were
exactly equal on the side where they adjoin. _Contiguous_ may be used
for either _adjacent_ or _adjoining_. _Abutting_ refers rather to the
end of one building or estate than to the neighborhood of another.
Buildings may be _adjacent_ or _adjoining_ that are not _attached_.
_Near_ is a relative word, places being called _near_ upon the railroad
which would elsewhere be deemed remote. _Neighboring_ always implies
such proximity that the inhabitants may be neighbors. _Next_ views some
object as the nearest of several or many; _next_ neighbor implies a
detached, disconnected, disjoined, distant, remote, separate.
The farm was adjacent _to_ the village.
* * * * *
adore, delight in, extol, respect, venerate,
applaud, enjoy, honor, revere, wonder.
approve, esteem, love,
In the old sense of _wonder_, _admire_ is practically obsolete; the word
now expresses a delight and approval, in which the element of wonder
unconsciously mingles. We _admire_ beauty in nature and art, _delight
in_ the innocent happiness of children, _enjoy_ books or society, a walk
or a dinner. We _approve_ what is excellent, _applaud_ heroic deeds,
_esteem_ the good, _love_ our friends. We _honor_ and _respect_ noble
character wherever found; we _revere_ and _venerate_ it in the aged. We
_extol_ the goodness and _adore_ the majesty and power of God.
abhor, contemn, detest, execrate, ridicule,
abominate, despise, dislike, hate, scorn.
_Admire at_ may still very rarely be found in the old sense of _wonder
* * * * *
beautify, decorate, garnish, illustrate,
bedeck, embellish, gild, ornament.
To _embellish_ is to brighten and enliven by adding something that is
not necessarily or very closely connected with that to which it is
added; to _illustrate_ is to add something so far like in kind as to
cast a side-light upon the principal matter. An author _embellishes_ his
narrative with fine descriptions, the artist _illustrates_ it with
beautiful engravings, the binder _gilds_ and _decorates_ the volume.
_Garnish_ is on a lower plane; as, the feast was _garnished_ with
flowers. _Deck_ and _bedeck_ are commonly said of apparel; as, a mother
_bedecks_ her daughter with silk and jewels. To _adorn_ and to
_ornament_ alike signify to add that which makes anything beautiful and
attractive, but _ornament_ is more exclusively on the material plane;
as, the gateway was _ornamented_ with delicate carving. _Adorn_ is more
lofty and spiritual, referring to a beauty which is not material, and
can not be put on by ornaments or decorations, but seems in perfect
harmony and unity with that to which it adds a grace; if we say, the
gateway was _adorned_ with beautiful carving, we imply a unity and
loftiness of design such as _ornamented_ can not express. We say of some
admirable scholar or statesman, "he touched nothing that he did not
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks _adorned_ the venerable place.
GOLDSMITH _Deserted Village_, l. 178.
deface, deform, disfigure, mar, spoil.
Adorn his temples _with_ a coronet.
* * * * *
aggravate, exasperate, offend, vex,
annoy, insult, provoke, wound.
displease, irritate, tease,
One may be _annoyed_ by the well-meaning awkwardness of a servant,
_irritated_ by a tight shoe or a thoughtless remark, _vexed_ at some
careless neglect or needless misfortune, _wounded_ by the ingratitude of
child or friend. To _tease_ is to give some slight and perhaps playful
annoyance. _Aggravate_ in the sense of _offend_ is colloquial. To
_provoke_, literally to call out or challenge, is to begin a contest;
one _provokes_ another to violence. To _affront_ is to offer some
defiant offense or indignity, as it were, to one's face; it is somewhat
less than to _insult_. Compare PIQUE.
conciliate, content, gratify, honor, please.
* * * * *
actor, factor, means, operator, promoter.
doer, instrument, mover, performer,
In strict philosophical usage, the prime _mover_ or _doer_ of an act is
the _agent_. Thus we speak of man as a voluntary _agent_, a free
_agent_. But in common usage, especially in business, an _agent_ is not
the prime _actor_, but only an _instrument_ or _factor_, acting under
orders or instructions. Compare CAUSE.
chief, inventor, originator, principal.
An agent _of_ the company _for_ selling, etc.
* * * * *
accede, admit, coincide, concur,
accept, approve, combine, consent,
accord, assent, comply, harmonize.
_Agree_ is the most general term of this group, signifying to have like
qualities, proportions, views, or inclinations, so as to be free from
jar, conflict, or contradiction in a given relation. To _concur_ is to
_agree_ in general; to _coincide_ is to _agree_ in every particular.
Whether in application to persons or things, _concur_ tends to
expression in action more than _coincide_; we may either _concur_ or
_coincide_ in an opinion, but _concur_ in a decision; views _coincide_,
causes _concur_. One _accepts_ another's terms, _complies_ with his
wishes, _admits_ his statement, _approves_ his plan, _conforms_ to his
views of doctrine or duty, _accedes_ or _consents_ to his proposal.
_Accede_ expresses the more formal agreement, _consent_ the more
complete. To _assent_ is an act of the understanding; to _consent_, of
the will. We may _concur_ or _agree_ with others, either in opinion or
decision. One may silently _acquiesce_ in that which does not meet his
views, but which he does not care to contest. He _admits_ the charge
brought, or the statement made, by another--_admit_ always carrying a
suggestion of reluctance. _Assent_ is sometimes used for a mild form of
_consent_, as if agreement in the opinion assured approval of the
contend, demur, disagree, oppose,
contradict, deny, dispute, protest,
decline, differ, dissent, refuse.
I agree _in_ opinion _with_ the speaker; _to_ the terms proposed;
persons agree _on_ or _upon_ a statement of principles, rules, etc.; we
must agree _among_ ourselves.
* * * * *
cultivation, gardening, kitchen-gardening,
culture, horticulture, market-gardening,
farming, husbandry, tillage.
_Agriculture_ is the generic term, including at once the science, the
art, and the process of supplying human wants by raising the products of
the soil, and by the associated industries; _farming_ is the practise of
_agriculture_ as a business; there may be theoretical _agriculture_, but
not theoretical _farming_; we speak of the science of _agriculture_, the
business of _farming_; scientific _agriculture_ may be wholly in books;
scientific _farming_ is practised upon the land; we say an
_agricultural_ college rather than a college of _farming_. _Farming_
refers to the _cultivation_ of considerable portions of land, and the
raising of the coarser crops; _gardening_ is the close _cultivation_ of
a small area for small fruits, flowers, vegetables, etc., and while it
may be done upon a farm is yet a distinct industry. _Gardening_ in
general, _kitchen-gardening_, the _cultivation_ of vegetables, etc., for
the household, _market-gardening_, the raising of the same for sale,
_floriculture_, the _culture_ of flowers, and _horticulture_, the
_culture_ of fruits, flowers, or vegetables, are all departments of
_agriculture_, but not strictly nor ordinarily of _farming_; _farming_
is itself one department of _agriculture_. _Husbandry_ is a general word
for any form of practical _agriculture_, but is now chiefly poetical.
_Tillage_ refers directly to the work bestowed upon the land, as
plowing, manuring, etc.; _cultivation_ refers especially to the
processes that bring forward the crop; we speak of the _tillage_ of the
soil, the _cultivation_ of corn; we also speak of land as in a state of
_cultivation_, under _cultivation_, etc. _Culture_ is now applied to the
careful development of any product to a state of perfection, especially
by care through successive generations; the choice varieties of the
strawberry have been produced by wise and patient _culture_; a good crop
in any year is the result of good _cultivation_.
* * * * *
aspiration, endeavor, intention, tendency.
design, goal, mark,
determination, inclination, object,
end, intent, purpose,
The _aim_ is the direction in which one shoots, or sometimes that which
is aimed at. The _mark_ is that at which one shoots; the _goal_, that
toward which one runs. All alike indicate the direction of _endeavor_.
The _end_ is the point at which one expects or hopes to close his
labors; the _object_, that which he would grasp as the reward of his
labors. _Aspiration_, _design_, _endeavor_, _purpose_, referring to the
mental acts by which the _aim_ is attained, are often used as
interchangeable with _aim_. _Aspiration_ applies to what are viewed as
noble _aims_; _endeavor_, _design_, _intention_, _purpose_,
indifferently to the best or worst. _Aspiration_ has less of decision
than the other terms; one may aspire to an _object_, and yet lack the
fixedness of _purpose_ by which alone it can be attained. _Purpose_ is
stronger than _intention_. _Design_ especially denotes the adaptation
of means to an end; _endeavor_ refers to the exertions by which it is to
be attained. One whose _aims_ are worthy, whose _aspirations_ are high,
whose _designs_ are wise, and whose _purposes_ are steadfast, may hope
to reach the _goal_ of his ambition, and will surely win some _object_
worthy of a life's _endeavor_. Compare AMBITION; DESIGN.
aimlessness, heedlessness, negligence, purposelessness,
avoidance, neglect, oversight, thoughtlessness.
* * * * *
appearance, demeanor, manner, sort,
bearing, expression, mien, style,
behavior, fashion, port, way.
carriage, look,
_Air_ is that combination of qualities which makes the entire impression
we receive in a person's presence; as, we say he has the _air_ of a
scholar, or the _air_ of a villain. _Appearance_ refers more to the
dress and other externals. We might say of a travel-soiled pedestrian,
he has the _appearance_ of a tramp, but the _air_ of a gentleman.
_Expression_ and _look_ especially refer to the face. _Expression_ is
oftenest applied to that which is habitual; as, he has a pleasant
_expression_ of countenance; _look_ may be momentary; as, a _look_ of
dismay passed over his face. We may, however, speak of the _look_ or
_looks_ as indicating all that we look at; as, he had the _look_ of an
adventurer; I did not like his _looks_. _Bearing_ is rather a lofty
word; as, he has a noble _bearing_; _port_ is practically identical in
meaning with _bearing_, but is more exclusively a literary word.
_Carriage_, too, is generally used in a good sense; as, that lady has a
good _carriage_. _Mien_ is closely synonymous with _air_, but less often
used in a bad sense. We say a rakish _air_ rather than a rakish _mien_.
_Mien_ may be used to express some prevailing feeling; as, "an indignant
_mien_." _Demeanor_ goes beyond _appearance_, including conduct,
behavior; as, a modest _demeanor_. _Manner_ and _style_ are, in large
part at least, acquired. Compare BEHAVIOR.
* * * * *
aerial, ethereal, frolicsome, joyous, lively,
animated, fairylike, gay, light, sprightly.
_Aerial_ and _airy_ both signify of or belonging to the air, but _airy_
also describes that which seems as if made of air; we speak of _airy_
shapes, _airy_ nothings, where we could not well say _aerial_;
_ethereal_ describes its object as belonging to the upper air, the pure
ether, and so, often, heavenly. _Sprightly_, spiritlike, refers to
light, free, cheerful activity of mind and body. That which is _lively_
or _animated_ may be agreeable or the reverse; as, an _animated_
discussion; a _lively_ company.
clumsy, heavy, ponderous, sluggish, wooden.
dull, inert, slow, stony,
* * * * *
affright, disquietude, fright, solicitude,
apprehension, dread, misgiving, terror,
consternation, fear, panic, timidity.
_Alarm_, according to its derivation _all'arme_, "to arms," is an
arousing to meet and repel danger, and may be quite consistent with true
courage. _Affright_ and _fright_ express sudden _fear_ which, for the
time at least, overwhelms courage. The sentinel discovers with _alarm_
the sudden approach of the enemy; the unarmed villagers view it with
_affright_. _Apprehension_, _disquietude_, _dread_, _misgiving_, and
_solicitude_ are in anticipation of danger; _consternation_, _dismay_,
and _terror_ are overwhelming _fear_, generally in the actual presence
of that which is terrible, though these words also may have an
anticipative force. _Timidity_ is a quality, habit, or condition, a
readiness to be affected with _fear_. A person of great _timidity_ is
constantly liable to needless _alarm_ and even _terror_. Compare FEAR.
assurance, calmness, confidence, repose, security.
Alarm was felt _in_ the camp, _among_ the soldiers, _at_ the news.
* * * * *
active, lively, prepared, vigilant,
brisk, nimble, prompt, watchful,
hustling, on the watch, ready, wide-awake.
_Alert_, _ready_, and _wide-awake_ refer to a watchful promptness for
action. _Ready_ suggests thoughtful preparation; the wandering Indian is
_alert_, the trained soldier is _ready_. _Ready_ expresses more life and
vigor than _prepared_. The gun is _prepared_; the man is _ready_.
_Prompt_ expresses readiness for appointment or demand at the required
moment. The good general is _ready_ for emergencies, _alert_ to perceive
opportunity or peril, _prompt_ to seize occasion. The sense of _brisk_,
_nimble_ is the secondary and now less common signification of _alert_.
drowsy, dull, heavy, inactive, slow, sluggish, stupid.
* * * * *
ALIEN, _a._
conflicting, distant, inappropriate, strange,
contradictory, foreign, irrelevant, unconnected,
contrary, hostile, opposed, unlike.
contrasted, impertinent, remote,
_Foreign_ refers to difference of birth, _alien_ to difference of
allegiance. In their figurative use, that is _foreign_ which is
_remote_, _unlike_, or _unconnected_; that is _alien_ which is
_conflicting_, _hostile_, or _opposed_. _Impertinent_ and _irrelevant_
matters can not claim consideration in a certain connection;
_inappropriate_ matters could not properly be considered. Compare ALIEN,
_n._; CONTRAST, _v._
akin, apropos, germane, proper,
appropriate, essential, pertinent, relevant.
Such a purpose was alien _to_ (or _from_) my thought: _to_ preferable.
* * * * *
ALIEN, _n._
foreigner, stranger.
A naturalized citizen is not an _alien_, though a _foreigner_ by birth,
and perhaps a _stranger_ in the place where he resides. A person of
foreign birth not naturalized is an _alien_, though he may have been
resident in the country a large part of a lifetime, and ceased to be a
_stranger_ to its people or institutions. He is an _alien_ in one
country if his allegiance is to another. The people of any country still
residing in their own land are, strictly speaking, _foreigners_ to the
people of all other countries, rather than _aliens_; but _alien_ and
_foreigner_ are often used synonymously.
citizen, fellow-countryman, native-born inhabitant,
countryman, native, naturalized person.
Aliens _to_ (more rarely _from_) our nation and laws; aliens _in_ our
land, _among_ our people.
* * * * *
akin, equivalent, kindred, same,
analogous, homogeneous, like, similar,
equal, identical, resembling, uniform.
_Alike_ is a comprehensive word, signifying as applied to two or more
objects that some or all qualities of one are the same as those of the
other or others; by modifiers _alike_ may be made to express more or
less resemblance; as, these houses are somewhat (_i. e._, partially)
_alike_; or, these houses are exactly (_i. e._, in all respects)
_alike_. Cotton and wool are _alike_ in this, that they can both be
woven into cloth. Substances are _homogeneous_ which are made up of
elements of the _same_ kind, or which are the _same_ in structure. Two
pieces of iron may be _homogeneous_ in material, while not _alike_ in
size or shape. In geometry, two triangles are _equal_ when they can be
laid over one another, and fit, line for line and angle for angle; they
are _equivalent_ when they simply contain the same amount of space. An
_identical_ proposition is one that says the same thing precisely in
subject and predicate. _Similar_ refers to close resemblance, which yet
leaves room for question or denial of complete likeness or identity. To
say "this is the _identical_ man," is to say not merely that he is
_similar_ to the one I have in mind, but that he is the very _same_
person. Things are _analogous_ when they are _similar_ in idea, plan,
use, or character, tho perhaps quite unlike in appearance; as, the gills
of fishes are said to be _analogous_ to the lungs in terrestrial
different, dissimilar, distinct, heterogeneous, unlike.
The specimens are alike _in_ kind; they are all alike _to_ me.
* * * * *
active, breathing, live, quick,
alert, brisk, lively, subsisting,
animate, existent, living, vivacious.
animated, existing,
_Alive_ applies to all degrees of life, from that which shows one to be
barely _existing_ or _existent_ as a living thing, as when we say he is
just _alive_, to that which implies the very utmost of vitality and
power, as in the words "he is all _alive_," "thoroughly _alive_." So the
word _quick_, which began by signifying "having life," is now mostly
applied to energy of life as shown in swiftness of action. _Breathing_
is capable of like contrast. We say of a dying man, he is still
_breathing_; or we speak of a _breathing_ statue, or "_breathing_ and
sounding, beauteous battle," TENNYSON _Princess_ can. v, l. 155, where
it means having, or seeming to have, full and vigorous breath, abundant
life. Compare ACTIVE; ALERT; NIMBLE.
dead, defunct, dull, lifeless,
deceased, dispirited, inanimate, spiritless.
Alive _in_ every nerve; alive _to_ every noble impulse; alive _with_
fervor, hope, resolve; alive _through_ all his being.
* * * * *
alleviate, compose, quiet, still,
appease, mollify, soothe, tranquilize.
calm, pacify,
_Allay_ and _alleviate_ are closely kindred in signification, and have
been often interchanged in usage. But, in strictness, to _allay_ is to
lay to rest, _quiet_ or _soothe_ that which is excited; to _alleviate_,
on the other hand, is to lighten a burden. We _allay_ suffering by using
means to _soothe_ and _tranquilize_ the sufferer; we _alleviate_
suffering by doing something toward removal of the cause, so that there
is less to suffer; where the trouble is wholly or chiefly in the
excitement, to _allay_ the excitement is virtually to remove the
trouble; as, to _allay_ rage or panic; we _alleviate_ poverty, but do
not _allay_ it. _Pacify_, directly from the Latin, and _appease_, from
the Latin through the French, signify to bring to peace; to _mollify_ is
to soften; to _calm_, _quiet_, or _tranquilize_ is to make still;
_compose_, to place together, unite, adjust to a calm and settled
condition; to _soothe_ (originally to assent to, humor) is to bring to
pleased quietude. We _allay_ excitement, _appease_ a tumult, _calm_
agitation, _compose_ our feelings or countenance, _pacify_ the
quarrelsome, _quiet_ the boisterous or clamorous, _soothe_ grief or
distress. Compare ALLEVIATE.
agitate, excite, kindle, rouse, stir up.
arouse, fan, provoke, stir,
* * * * *
adduce, asseverate, claim, maintain, produce,
advance, assign, declare, offer, say,
affirm, aver, introduce, plead, state.
assert, cite,
To _allege_ is formally to state as true or capable of proof, but
without proving. To _adduce_, literally to lead to, is to bring the
evidence up to what has been _alleged_. _Adduce_ is a secondary word;
nothing can be _adduced_ in evidence till something has been _stated_ or
_alleged_, which the evidence is to sustain. An _alleged_ fact stands
open to question or doubt. To speak of an _alleged_ document, an
_alleged_ will, an _alleged_ crime, is either to question, or at least
very carefully to refrain from admitting, that the document exists, that
the will is genuine, or that the crime has been committed. _Alleged_ is,
however, respectful; to speak of the "so-called" will or deed, etc.,
would be to cast discredit upon the document, and imply that the speaker
was ready to brand it as unquestionably spurious; _alleged_ simply
concedes nothing and leaves the question open. To _produce_ is to bring
forward, as, for instance, papers or persons. _Adduce_ is not used of
persons; of them we say _introduce_ or _produce_. When an _alleged_
criminal is brought to trial, the counsel on either side are accustomed
to _advance_ a theory, and _adduce_ the strongest possible evidence in
its support; they will _produce_ documents and witnesses, _cite_
precedents, _assign_ reasons, _introduce_ suggestions, _offer_ pleas.
The accused will usually _assert_ his innocence. Compare STATE.
* * * * *
devotion, fealty, loyalty, obedience, subjection.
faithfulness, homage,
_Allegiance_ is the obligation of fidelity and obedience that an
individual owes to his government or sovereign, in return for the
protection he receives. The feudal uses of these words have mostly
passed away with the state of society that gave them birth; but their
origin still colors their present meaning. A patriotic American feels an
enthusiastic _loyalty_ to the republic; he takes, on occasion, an oath
of _allegiance_ to the government, but his _loyalty_ will lead him to do
more than mere _allegiance_ could demand; he pays _homage_ to God alone,
as the only king and lord, or to those principles of right that are
spiritually supreme; he acknowledges the duty of _obedience_ to all
rightful authority; he resents the idea of _subjection_. _Fealty_ is
becoming somewhat rare, except in elevated or poetic style. We prefer to
speak of the _faithfulness_ rather than the _fealty_ of citizen, wife,
or friend.
disaffection, disloyalty, rebellion, sedition, treason.
We honor the allegiance _of_ the citizen _to_ the government; the
government has a right to allegiance _from_ the citizen.
* * * * *
fable, fiction, illustration, metaphor, parable, simile.
In modern usage we may say that an _allegory_ is an extended _simile_,
while a _metaphor_ is an abbreviated _simile_ contained often in a
phrase, perhaps in a word. The _simile_ carries its comparison on the
surface, in the words _as_, _like_, or similar expressions; the
_metaphor_ is given directly without any note of comparison. The
_allegory_, _parable_, or _fable_ tells its story as if true, leaving
the reader or hearer to discover its fictitious character and learn its
lesson. All these are, in strict definition, _fictions_; but the word
_fiction_ is now applied almost exclusively to novels or romances. An
_allegory_ is a moral or religious tale, of which the moral lesson is
the substance, and all descriptions and incidents but accessories, as in
"The Pilgrim's Progress." A _fable_ is generally briefer, representing
animals as the speakers and actors, and commonly conveying some lesson
of practical wisdom or shrewdness, as "The _Fables_ of AEsop." A
_parable_ is exclusively moral or religious, briefer and less adorned
than an _allegory_, with its lesson more immediately discernible, given,
as it were, at a stroke. Any comparison, analogy, instance, example,
tale, anecdote, or the like which serves to let in light upon a subject
may be called an _illustration_, this word in its widest use including
all the rest. Compare FICTION; STORY.
chronicle, fact, history, narrative, record.
* * * * *
abate, lighten, reduce, remove,
assuage, mitigate, relieve, soften.
lessen, moderate,
Etymologically, to _alleviate_ is to lift a burden toward oneself, and
so _lighten_ it for the bearer; to _relieve_ is to lift it back from the
bearer, nearly or quite away; to _remove_ is to take it away altogether.
_Alleviate_ is thus less than _relieve_; _relieve_, ordinarily, less
than _remove_. We _alleviate_, _relieve_ or _remove_ the trouble; we
_relieve_, not _alleviate_, the sufferer. _Assuage_ is, by derivation,
to sweeten; _mitigate_, to make mild; _moderate_, to bring within
measure; _abate_, to beat down, and so make less. We _abate_ a fever;
_lessen_ anxiety; _moderate_ passions or desires; _lighten_ burdens;
_mitigate_ or _alleviate_ pain; _reduce_ inflammation; _soften_,
_assuage_, or _moderate_ grief; we _lighten_ or _mitigate_ punishments;
we _relieve_ any suffering of body or mind that admits of help, comfort,
or remedy. _Alleviate_ has been often confused with _allay_. Compare
aggravate, embitter, heighten, intensify, make worse.
augment, enhance, increase, magnify,
* * * * *
coalition, confederation, fusion, partnership,
compact, federation, league, union.
_Alliance_ is in its most common use a connection formed by treaty
between sovereign states as for mutual aid in war. _Partnership_ is a
mercantile word; _alliance_ chiefly political or matrimonial.
_Coalition_ is oftenest used of political parties; _fusion_ is now the
more common word in this sense. In an _alliance_ between nations there
is no surrender of sovereignty, and no _union_ except for a specified
time and purpose. _League_ and _alliance_ are used with scarcely
perceptible difference of meaning. In a _confederacy_ or _confederation_
there is an attempt to unite separate states in a general government
without surrender of sovereignty. _Union_ implies so much concession as
to make the separate states substantially one. _Federation_ is mainly a
poetic and rhetorical word expressing something of the same thought, as
in Tennyson's "_federation_ of the world," _Locksley Hall_, l. 128. The
United States is not a _confederacy_ nor an _alliance_; the nation might
be called a _federation_, but prefers to be styled a federal _union_.
antagonism, disunion, enmity, schism, separation,
discord, divorce, hostility, secession, war.
Alliance _with_ a neighboring people; _against_ the common enemy; _for_
offense and defense; alliance _of_, _between_, or _among_ nations.
* * * * *
appoint, destine, give, portion out,
apportion, distribute, grant, select,
assign, divide, mete out, set apart.
_Allot_, originally to assign by lot, applies to the giving of a
definite thing to a certain person. A portion or extent of time is
_allotted_; as, I expect to live out my _allotted_ time. A definite
period is _appointed_; as, the audience assembled at the _appointed_
hour. _Allot_ may also refer to space; as, to _allot_ a plot of ground
for a cemetery; but we now oftener use _select_, _set apart_, or
_assign_. _Allot_ is not now used of persons. _Appoint_ may be used of
time, space, or person; as, the _appointed_ day; the _appointed_ place;
an officer was _appointed_ to this station. _Destine_ may also refer to
time, place, or person, but it always has reference to what is
considerably in the future; a man _appoints_ to meet his friend in five
minutes; he _destines_ his son to follow his own profession. _Assign_ is
rarely used of time, but rather of places, persons, or things. We
_assign_ a work to be done and _assign_ a man to do it, who, if he
fails, must _assign_ a reason for not doing it. That which is
_allotted_, _appointed_, or _assigned_ is more or less arbitrary; that
which is _awarded_ is the due requital of something the receiver has
done, and he has right and claim to it; as, the medal was _awarded_ for
valor. Compare APPORTION.
appropriate, deny, resume, seize,
confiscate, refuse, retain, withhold.
Allot _to_ a company _for_ a purpose.
* * * * *
admit, consent to, let, sanction, tolerate,
concede, grant, permit, suffer, yield.
We _allow_ that which we do not attempt to hinder; we _permit_ that to
which we give some express authorization. When this is given verbally it
is called permission; when in writing it is commonly called a permit.
There are establishments that any one will be _allowed_ to visit without
challenge or hindrance; there are others that no one is _allowed_ to
visit without a permit from the manager; there are others to which
visitors are _admitted_ at specified times, without a formal permit. We
_allow_ a child's innocent intrusion; we _concede_ a right; _grant_ a
request; _consent_ to a sale of property; _permit_ an inspection of
accounts; _sanction_ a marriage; _tolerate_ the rudeness of a
well-meaning servant; _submit_ to a surgical operation; _yield_ to a
demand or necessity against our wish or will, or _yield_ something under
compulsion; as, the sheriff _yielded_ the keys at the muzzle of a
revolver, and _allowed_ the mob to enter. _Suffer_, in the sense of mild
concession, is now becoming rare, its place being taken by _allow_,
_permit_, or _tolerate_. Compare PERMISSION.
deny, disapprove, protest, reject, withstand.
disallow, forbid, refuse, resist,
See also synonyms for PROHIBIT.
To allow _of_ (in best recent usage, simply to _allow_) such an action;
allow one _in_ such a course; allow _for_ spending-money.
* * * * *
admixture, adulteration, debasement, deterioration.
_Alloy_ may be either some admixture of baser with precious metal, as
for giving hardness to coin or the like, or it may be a compound or
mixture of two or more metals. _Adulteration_, _debasement_, and
_deterioration_ are always used in the bad sense; _admixture_ is
neutral, and may be good or bad; _alloy_ is commonly good in the literal
sense. An excess of _alloy_ virtually amounts to _adulteration_; but
_adulteration_ is now mostly restricted to articles used for food,
drink, medicine, and kindred uses. In the figurative sense, as applied
to character, etc., _alloy_ is unfavorable, because there the only
standard is perfection.
* * * * *
advert, indicate, intimate, point, signify,
hint, insinuate, mention, refer, suggest.
_Advert_, _mention_, and _refer_ are used of language that more or less
distinctly utters a certain thought; the others of language from which
it may be inferred. We _allude_ to a matter slightly, perhaps by a word
or phrase, as it were in byplay; we _advert_ to it when we turn from our
path to treat it; we _refer_ to it by any clear utterance that
distinctly turns the mind or attention to it; as, marginal figures
_refer_ to a parallel passage; we _mention_ a thing by explicit word, as
by naming it. The speaker _adverted_ to the recent disturbances and the
remissness of certain public officers; tho he _mentioned_ no name, it
was easy to see to whom he _alluded_. One may _hint_ at a thing in a
friendly way, but what is _insinuated_ is always unfavorable, generally
both hostile and cowardly. One may _indicate_ his wishes, _intimate_ his
plans, _imply_ his opinion, _signify_ his will, _suggest_ a course of
action. Compare SUGGESTION.
The passage evidently alludes _to_ the Jewish Passover.
* * * * *
attract, captivate, decoy, entice, lure, tempt,
cajole, coax, draw, inveigle, seduce, win.
To _allure_ is to _draw_ as with a lure by some charm or some prospect
of pleasure or advantage. We may _attract_ others to a certain thing
without intent; as, the good unconsciously _attract_ others to virtue.
We may _allure_ either to that which is evil or to that which is good
and noble, by purpose and endeavor, as in the familiar line, "_Allured_
to brighter worlds, and led the way," GOLDSMITH _Deserted Village_, l.
170. _Lure_ is rather more akin to the physical nature. It is the word
we would use of drawing on an animal. _Coax_ expresses the attraction of
the person, not of the thing. A man may be _coaxed_ to that which is by
no means _alluring_. _Cajole_ and _decoy_ carry the idea of deceiving
and ensnaring. To _inveigle_ is to lead one blindly in. To _tempt_ is to
endeavor to lead one wrong; to _seduce_ is to succeed in _winning_ one
from good to ill. _Win_ may be used in either a bad or a good sense, in
which latter it surpasses the highest sense of _allure_, because it
succeeds in that which _allure_ attempts; as, "He that _winneth_ souls
is wise," _Prov._ xi, 30.
chill, damp, deter, dissuade, drive away, repel, warn.
Allure _to_ a course; allure _by_ hopes; allure _from_ evil _to_ good.
* * * * *
as well, in addition, likewise, too,
as well as, in like manner, similarly, withal.
While some distinctions between these words and phrases will appear to
the careful student, yet in practise the choice between them is largely
to secure euphony and avoid repetition. The words fall into two groups;
_as well as_, _besides_, _in addition_, _too_, _withal_, simply add a
fact or thought; _also_ (all so), _in like manner_, _likewise_,
_similarly_, affirm that what is added is like that to which it is
added. _As well_ follows the word or phrase to which it is joined. We
can say the singers _as well as_ the players, or the players, and the
singers _as well_.
but, nevertheless, on the contrary, yet.
in spite of, notwithstanding, on the other hand,
* * * * *
choice, election, option, pick, preference, resource.
A _choice_ may be among many things; an _alternative_ is in the
strictest sense a _choice_ between two things; oftener it is one of two
things between which a _choice_ is to be made, and either of which is
the _alternative_ of the other; as, the _alternative_ of surrender is
death; or the two things between which there is a _choice_ may be called
the _alternatives_; both Mill and Gladstone are quoted as extending the
meaning of _alternative_ to include several particulars, Gladstone even
speaking of "the fourth and last of these _alternatives_." _Option_ is
the right or privilege of choosing; _choice_ may be either the right to
choose, the act of choosing, or the thing chosen. A person of ability
and readiness will commonly have many _resources_. _Pick_, from the
Saxon, and _election_, from the Latin, picture the objects before one,
with freedom and power to choose which he will; as, there were twelve
horses, among which I could take my _pick_. A _choice_, _pick_,
_election_, or _preference_ is that which suits one best; an
_alternative_ is that to which one is restricted; a _resource_, that to
which one is glad to betake oneself.
compulsion, necessity.
* * * * *
accumulate, collect, heap up, hoard up, store up.
aggregate, gather, hoard, pile up,
To _amass_ is to bring together materials that make a mass, a great bulk
or quantity. With some occasional exceptions, _accumulate_ is applied to
the more gradual, _amass_ to the more rapid gathering of money or
materials, _amass_ referring to the general result or bulk, _accumulate_
to the particular process or rate of gain. We say interest is
_accumulated_ (or _accumulates_) rather than is _amassed_; he
_accumulated_ a fortune in the course of years; he rapidly _amassed_ a
fortune by shrewd speculations. Goods or money for immediate
distribution are said to be _collected_ rather than _amassed_. They may
be _stored up_ for a longer or shorter time; but to _hoard_ is always
with a view of permanent retention, generally selfish. _Aggregate_ is
now most commonly used of numbers and amounts; as, the expenses will
_aggregate_ a round million.
disperse, divide, portion, spend, waste.
dissipate, parcel, scatter, squander,
Amass _for_ oneself; _for_ a purpose; _from_ a distance; _with_ great
labor; _by_ industry.
* * * * *
connoisseur, critic, dilettante, novice, tyro.
Etymologically, the _amateur_ is one who loves, the _connoisseur_ one
who knows. In usage, the term _amateur_ is applied to one who pursues
any study or art simply from the love of it; the word carries a natural
implication of superficialness, tho marked excellence is at times
attained by _amateurs_. A _connoisseur_ is supposed to be so thoroughly
informed regarding any art or work as to be able to criticize or select
intelligently and authoritatively; there are many incompetent _critics_,
but there can not, in the true sense, be an incompetent _connoisseur_.
The _amateur_ practises to some extent that in regard to which he may
not be well informed; the _connoisseur_ is well informed in regard to
that which he may not practise at all. A _novice_ or _tyro_ may be a
_professional_; an _amateur_ never is; the _amateur_ may be skilled and
experienced as the _novice_ or _tyro_ never is. _Dilettante_, which had
originally the sense of _amateur_, has to some extent come to denote one
who is superficial, pretentious, and affected, whether in theory or
An amateur _in_ art.
* * * * *
admiration, awe, confusion, surprise,
astonishment, bewilderment, perplexity, wonder.
_Amazement_ and _astonishment_ both express the momentary overwhelming
of the mind by that which is beyond expectation. _Astonishment_
especially affects the emotions, _amazement_ the intellect. _Awe_ is the
yielding of the mind to something supremely grand in character or
formidable in power, and ranges from apprehension or dread to reverent
worship. _Admiration_ includes delight and regard. _Surprise_ lies
midway between _astonishment_ and _amazement_, and usually respects
matters of lighter consequence or such as are less startling in
character. _Amazement_ may be either pleasing or painful, as when
induced by the grandeur of the mountains, or by the fury of the storm.
We can say pleased _surprise_, but scarcely pleased _astonishment_.
_Amazement_ has in it something of _confusion_ or _bewilderment_; but
_confusion_ and _bewilderment_ may occur without _amazement_, as when a
multitude of details require instant attention. _Astonishment_ may be
without _bewilderment_ or _confusion_. _Wonder_ is often pleasing, and
may be continuous in view of that which surpasses our comprehension; as,
the magnitude, order, and beauty of the heavens fill us with increasing
_wonder_. Compare PERPLEXITY.
anticipation, composure, expectation, preparation, steadiness,
calmness, coolness, indifference, self-possession, stoicism.
I was filled with amazement _at_ such reckless daring.
* * * * *
aspiration, competition, emulation, opposition, rivalry.
_Aspiration_ is the desire for excellence, pure and simple. _Ambition_,
literally a going around to solicit votes, has primary reference to the
award or approval of others, and is the eager desire of power, fame, or
something deemed great and eminent, and viewed as a worthy prize. The
prizes of _aspiration_ are virtue, nobility, skill, or other high
qualities. The prizes of _ambition_ are advancement, fame, honor, and
the like. There is a noble and wise or an ignoble, selfish, and harmful
_ambition_. _Emulation_ is not so much to win any excellence or success
for itself as to equal or surpass other persons. There is such a thing
as a noble _emulation_, when those we would equal or surpass are noble,
and the means we would use worthy. But, at the highest, _emulation_ is
inferior as a motive to _aspiration_, which seeks the high quality or
character for its own sake, not with reference to another. _Competition_
is the striving for something that is sought by another at the same
time. _Emulation_ regards the abstract, _competition_ the concrete;
_rivalry_ is the same in essential meaning with _competition_, but
differs in the nature of the objects contested for, which, in the case
of _rivalry_, are usually of the nobler sort and less subject to direct
gaging, measurement, and rule. We speak of _competition_ in business,
_emulation_ in scholarship, _rivalry_ in love, politics, etc.;
_emulation_ of excellence, success, achievement; _competition_ for a
prize; _rivalry_ between persons or nations. _Competition_ may be
friendly, _rivalry_ is commonly hostile. _Opposition_ is becoming a
frequent substitute for _competition_ in business language; it implies
that the competitor is an opponent and hinderer.
carelessness, contentment, humility, indifference, satisfaction.
* * * * *
advance, correct, meliorate, rectify,
ameliorate, emend, mend, reform,
better, improve, mitigate, repair.
cleanse, make better, purify,
To _amend_ is to change for the better by removing faults, errors, or
defects, and always refers to that which at some point falls short of a
standard of excellence. _Advance_, _better_, and _improve_ may refer
either to what is quite imperfect or to what has reached a high degree
of excellence; we _advance_ the kingdom of God, _improve_ the minds of
our children, _better_ the morals of the people. But for matters below
the point of ordinary approval we seldom use these words; we do not
speak of _bettering_ a wretched alley, or _improving_ a foul sewer.
There we use _cleanse_, _purify_, or similar words. We _correct_ evils,
_reform_ abuses, _rectify_ incidental conditions of evil or error; we
_ameliorate_ poverty and misery, which we can not wholly remove. We
_mend_ a tool, _repair_ a building, _correct_ proof; we _amend_
character or conduct that is faulty, or a statement or law that is
defective. A text, writing, or statement is _amended_ by the author or
by some adequate authority; it is often _emended_ by conjecture. A
motion is _amended_ by the mover or by the assembly; a constitution is
_amended_ by the people; an ancient text is _emended_ by a critic who
believes that what seems to him the better reading is what the author
wrote. Compare ALLEVIATE.
aggravate, debase, harm, mar, tarnish,
blemish, depress, impair, spoil, vitiate.
corrupt, deteriorate, injure,
* * * * *
agreeable, engaging, lovable, pleasing,
attractive, gentle, lovely, sweet,
benignant, good-natured, loving, winning,
harming, kind, pleasant, winsome.
_Amiable_ combines the senses of _lovable_ or _lovely_ and _loving_; the
_amiable_ character has ready affection and kindliness for others, with
the qualities that are adapted to win their love; _amiable_ is a higher
and stronger word than _good-natured_ or _agreeable_. _Lovely_ is often
applied to externals; as, a _lovely_ face. _Amiable_ denotes a
disposition desirous to cheer, please, and make happy. A selfish man of
the world may have the art to be _agreeable_; a handsome, brilliant, and
witty person may be _charming_ or even _attractive_, while by no means
_amiable_. The _engaging_, _winning_, and _winsome_ add to amiability
something of beauty, accomplishments, and grace. The _benignant_ are
calmly kind, as from a height and a distance. _Kind_, _good-natured_
people may be coarse and rude, and so fail to be _agreeable_ or
_pleasing_; the really _amiable_ are likely to avoid such faults by
their earnest desire to please. The _good-natured_ have an easy
disposition to get along comfortably with every one in all
circumstances. A _sweet_ disposition is very sure to be _amiable_, the
_loving_ heart bringing out all that is _lovable_ and _lovely_ in
acrimonious, crusty, hateful, ill-tempered, surly,
churlish, disagreeable, ill-conditioned, morose, unamiable,
crabbed, dogged, ill-humored, sour, unlovely,
cruel, gruff, ill-natured, sullen,
* * * * *
amidst, amongst, betwixt, mingled with,
among, between, in the midst of, surrounded by.
_Amid_ or _amidst_ denotes _surrounded by_; _among_ or _amongst_ denotes
_mingled with_. _Between_ (archaic or poetic, _betwixt_) is said of two
persons or objects, or of two groups of persons or objects. "Let there
be no strife, I pray thee, _between_ me and thee, and _between_ my
herdmen and thy herdmen," _Gen._ xiii, 9; the reference being to two
bodies of herdmen. _Amid_ denotes mere position; _among_, some active
relation, as of companionship, hostility, etc. Lowell's "_Among_ my
Books" regards the books as companions; _amid_ my books would suggest
packing, storing, or some other incidental circumstance. We say _among_
friends, or _among_ enemies, _amidst_ the woods, _amid_ the shadows. _In
the midst of_ may have merely the local meaning; as, I found myself _in
the midst of_ a crowd; or it may express even closer association than
_among_; as, "I found myself _in the midst of_ friends" suggests their
pressing up on every side, oneself the central object; so, "where two or
three are met together in my name, there am I _in the midst of_ them,"
_Matt._ xviii, 20; in which case it would be feebler to say "_among_
them," impossible to say "_amid_ them," not so well to say "_amidst_
afar from, away from, beyond, far from, outside, without.
* * * * *
augment, dilate, expand, extend, unfold,
develop, enlarge, expatiate, increase, widen.
_Amplify_ is now rarely used in the sense of _increase_, to add material
substance, bulk, volume, or the like; it is now almost wholly applied to
discourse or writing, signifying to make fuller in statement, whether
with or without adding matter of importance, as by stating fully what
was before only implied, or by adding illustrations to make the meaning
more readily apprehended, etc. The chief difficulty of very young
writers is to _amplify_, to get beyond the bare curt statement by
_developing_, _expanding_, _unfolding_ the thought. The chief difficulty
of those who have more material and experience is to condense
sufficiently. So, in the early days of our literature _amplify_ was used
in the favorable sense; but at present this word and most kindred words
are coming to share the derogatory meaning that has long attached to
_expatiate_. We may _develop_ a thought, _expand_ an illustration,
_extend_ a discussion, _expatiate_ on a hobby, _dilate_ on something
joyous or sad, _enlarge_ a volume, _unfold_ a scheme, _widen_ the range
of treatment.
abbreviate, amputate, condense, cut down, reduce, summarize,
abridge, "boil down," curtail, epitomize, retrench, sum up.
To amplify _on_ or _upon_ the subject is needless. Amplify this matter
_by_ illustrations.
* * * * *
affinity, likeness, relation, similarity,
coincidence, parity, resemblance, simile,
comparison, proportion, semblance, similitude.
_Analogy_ is specifically a _resemblance_ of relations; a _resemblance_
that may be reasoned from, so that from the _likeness_ in certain
respects we may infer that other and perhaps deeper relations exist.
_Affinity_ is a mutual attraction with or without seeming likeness; as,
the _affinity_ of iron for oxygen. _Coincidence_ is complete agreement
in some one or more respects; there may be a _coincidence_ in time of
most dissimilar events. _Parity_ of reasoning is said of an argument
equally conclusive on subjects not strictly analogous. _Similitude_ is a
rhetorical comparison of one thing to another with which it has some
points in common. _Resemblance_ and _similarity_ are external or
superficial, and may involve no deeper relation; as, the _resemblance_
of a cloud to a distant mountain. Compare ALLEGORY.
disagreement, disproportion, dissimilarity, incongruity, unlikeness.
The analogy _between_ (or _of_) nature and revelation; the analogy _of_
sound _to_ light; a family has some analogy _with_ (or _to_) a state.
* * * * *
animosity, fury, offense, rage,
choler, impatience, passion, resentment,
displeasure, indignation, peevishness, temper,
exasperation, ire, pettishness, vexation,
fretfulness, irritation, petulance, wrath.
_Displeasure_ is the mildest and most general word. _Choler_ and _ire_,
now rare except in poetic or highly rhetorical language, denote a still,
and the latter a persistent, _anger_. _Temper_ used alone in the sense
of _anger_ is colloquial, tho we may correctly say a hot _temper_, a
fiery _temper_, etc. _Passion_, tho a word of far wider application,
may, in the singular, be employed to denote _anger_; "did put me in a
towering _passion_," SHAKESPEARE _Hamlet_ act v, sc. 2. _Anger_ is
violent and vindictive emotion, which is sharp, sudden, and, like all
violent passions, necessarily brief. _Resentment_ (a feeling back or
feeling over again) is persistent, the bitter brooding over injuries.
_Exasperation_, a roughening, is a hot, superficial intensity of
_anger_, demanding instant expression. _Rage_ drives one beyond the
bounds of prudence or discretion; _fury_ is stronger yet, and sweeps one
away into uncontrollable violence. _Anger_ is personal and usually
selfish, aroused by real or supposed wrong to oneself, and directed
specifically and intensely against the person who is viewed as
blameworthy. _Indignation_ is impersonal and unselfish _displeasure_ at
unworthy acts (L. _indigna_), _i. e._, at wrong as wrong. Pure
_indignation_ is not followed by regret, and needs no repentance; it is
also more self-controlled than _anger_. _Anger_ is commonly a sin;
_indignation_ is often a duty. _Wrath_ is deep and perhaps vengeful
_displeasure_, as when the people of Nazareth were "filled with _wrath_"
at the plain words of Jesus (_Luke_ iv, 28); it may, however, simply
express the culmination of righteous _indignation_ without malice in a
pure being; as, the _wrath_ of God. _Impatience_, _fretfulness_,
_irritation_, _peevishness_, _pettishness_, _petulance_, and _vexation_
express the slighter forms of anger. _Irritation_, _petulance_, and
_vexation_ are temporary and for immediate cause. _Fretfulness_,
_pettishness_, and _peevishness_ are chronic states finding in any petty
matter an occasion for their exercise. Compare ACRIMONY; ENMITY; HATRED.
amiability, leniency, mildness, peacefulness,
charity, lenity, patience, self-control,
forbearance, long-suffering, peace, self-restraint.
gentleness, love, peaceableness,
Anger _at_ the insult prompted the reply. Anger _toward_ the offender
exaggerates the offense.
* * * * *
beast, fauna, living organism, sentient being.
brute, living creature,
An _animal_ is a _sentient being_, distinct from inanimate matter and
from vegetable life on the one side and from mental and spiritual
existence on the other. Thus man is properly classified as an _animal_.
But because the animal life is the lowest and rudest part of his being
and that which he shares with inferior _creatures_, to call any
individual man an _animal_ is to imply that the animal nature has undue
supremacy, and so is deep condemnation or utter insult. The _brute_ is
the _animal_ viewed as dull to all finer feeling; the _beast_ is looked
upon as a being of appetites. To call a man a _brute_ is to imply that
he is unfeeling and cruel; to call him a _beast_ is to indicate that he
is vilely sensual. We speak of the cruel father as a _brute_ to his
children; of the drunkard as making a _beast_ of himself. So firmly are
these figurative senses established that we now incline to avoid
applying _brute_ or _beast_ to any creature, as a horse or dog, for
which we have any affection; we prefer in such cases the word _animal_.
_Creature_ is a word of wide signification, including all the things
that God has created, whether inanimate objects, plants, animals,
angels, or men. The _animals_ of a region are collectively called its
angel, man, mind, soul, substance (material),
inanimate object, matter, mineral, spirit, vegetable.
* * * * *
advertise, give notice (of), proclaim, reveal,
circulate, give out, promulgate, say,
communicate, herald, propound, spread abroad,
declare, make known, publish, state,
enunciate, notify, report, tell.
To _announce_ is to give intelligence of in some formal or public way.
We may _announce_ that which has occurred or that which is to occur, tho
the word is chiefly used in the anticipative sense; we _announce_ a book
when it is in press, a guest when he arrives. We _advertise_ our
business, _communicate_ our intentions, _enunciate_ our views; we
_notify_ an individual, _give notice_ to the public. _Declare_ has often
an authoritative force; to _declare_ war is to cause war to be, where
before there may have been only hostilities; we say _declare_ war,
_proclaim_ peace. We _propound_ a question or an argument, _promulgate_
the views of a sect or party, or the decision of a court, etc. We
_report_ an interview, _reveal_ a secret, _herald_ the coming of some
distinguished person or great event. _Publish_, in popular usage, is
becoming closely restricted to the sense of issuing through the press;
we _announce_ a book that is to be _published_.
bury, cover (up), hush, keep secret, suppress,
conceal, hide, keep back, secrete, withhold.
The event was announced _to_ the family _by_ telegraph.
* * * * *
rejoinder, repartee, reply, response, retort.
A verbal _answer_ is a return of words to something that seems to call
for them, and is made to a charge as well as to a question; an _answer_
may be even made to an unspoken implication or manifestation; see _Luke_
v, 22. In a wider sense, anything said or done in return for some word,
action, or suggestion of another may be called an _answer_. The blow of
an enraged man, the whinny of a horse, the howling of the wind, the
movement of a bolt in a lock, an echo, etc., may each be an _answer_ to
some word or movement. A _reply_ is an unfolding, and ordinarily
implies thought and intelligence. A _rejoinder_ is strictly an _answer_
to a _reply_, tho often used in the general sense of _answer_, but
always with the implication of something more or less controversial or
opposed, tho lacking the conclusiveness implied in _answer_; an
_answer_, in the full sense, to a charge, an argument, or an objection
is adequate, and finally refutes and disposes of it; a _reply_ or
_rejoinder_ may be quite inadequate, so that one may say, "This _reply_
is not an _answer_;" "I am ready with an _answer_" means far more than
"I am ready with a _reply_." A _response_ is accordant or harmonious,
designed or adapted to carry on the thought of the words that called it
forth, as the _responses_ in a liturgical service, or to meet the wish
of him who seeks it; as, the appeal for aid met a prompt and hearty
_response_. _Repartee_ is a prompt, witty, and commonly good-natured
_answer_ to some argument or attack; a _retort_ may also be witty, but
is severe and may be even savage in its intensity.
An answer _in_ writing, or _by_ word of mouth, _to_ the question.
* * * * *
apprehend, forecast, hope,
expect, foretaste, look forward to.
To _anticipate_ may be either to take before in fact or to take before
in thought; in the former sense it is allied with _prevent_; in the
latter, with the synonyms above given. This is coming to be the
prevalent and favorite use. We _expect_ that which we have good reason
to believe will happen; as, a boy _expects_ to grow to manhood. We
_hope_ for that which we much desire and somewhat _expect_. We
_apprehend_ what we both _expect_ and fear. _Anticipate_ is commonly
used now, like _foretaste_, of that which we _expect_ both with
confidence and pleasure. In this use it is a stronger word than _hope_,
where often "the wish is father to the thought." I _hope_ for a visit
from my friend, tho I have no word from him; I _expect_ it when he
writes that he is coming; and as the time draws near I _anticipate_ it
with pleasure. Compare ABIDE; PREVENT.
despair of, doubt, dread, fear, recall, recollect, remember.
* * * * *
antepast, expectation, foresight, hope,
apprehension, foreboding, foretaste, presentiment,
expectancy, forecast, forethought, prevision.
_Expectation_ may be either of good or evil; _presentiment_ almost
always, _apprehension_ and _foreboding_ always, of evil; _anticipation_
and _antepast_, commonly of good. Thus, we speak of the pleasures of
_anticipation_. A _foretaste_ may be of good or evil, and is more than
imaginary; it is a part actually received in advance. _Foresight_ and
_forethought_ prevent future evil and secure future good by timely
looking forward, and acting upon what is foreseen. Compare ANTICIPATE.
astonishment, despair, dread, fear, surprise,
consummation, doubt, enjoyment, realization, wonder.
* * * * *
abhorrence, disgust, hatred, repugnance,
antagonism, dislike, hostility, repulsion,
aversion, distaste, opposition, uncongeniality.
_Antipathy_, _repugnance_, and _uncongeniality_ are instinctive; other
forms of _dislike_ may be acquired or cherished for cause.
_Uncongeniality_ is negative, a want of touch or sympathy. An
_antipathy_ to a person or thing is an instinctive recoil from
connection or association with that person or thing, and may be physical
or mental, or both. _Antagonism_ may result from the necessity of
circumstances; _opposition_ may spring from conflicting views or
interests; _abhorrence_ and _detestation_ may be the result of religious
and moral training; _distaste_ and _disgust_ may be acquired; _aversion_
is a deep and permanent _dislike_. A natural _antipathy_ may give rise
to _opposition_ which may result in _hatred_ and _hostility_. Compare
affinity, attraction, fellow-feeling, kindliness, sympathy.
agreement, congeniality, harmony, regard,
Antipathy _to_ (less frequently _for_ or _against_) a person or thing;
antipathy _between_ or _betwixt_ two persons or things.
* * * * *
ancient, old-fashioned, quaint, superannuated.
_Antique_ refers to an _ancient_, _antiquated_ to a discarded style.
_Antique_ is that which is either _ancient_ in fact or _ancient_ in
style. The reference is to the style rather than to the age. We can
speak of the _antique_ architecture of a church just built. The
difference between _antiquated_ and _antique_ is not in the age, for a
Puritan style may be scorned as _antiquated_, while a Roman or
Renaissance style may be prized as _antique_. The _antiquated_ is not so
much out of date as out of vogue. _Old-fashioned_ may be used
approvingly or contemptuously. In the latter case it becomes a synonym
for _antiquated_; in the good sense it approaches the meaning of
_antique_, but indicates less duration. We call a wide New England
fireplace _old-fashioned_; a coin of the Caesars, _antique_. _Quaint_
combines the idea of age with a pleasing oddity; as, a _quaint_
gambrel-roofed house. _Antiquated_ is sometimes used of persons in a
sense akin to _superannuated_. The _antiquated_ person is out of style
and out of sympathy with the present generation by reason of age; the
_superannuated_ person is incapacitated for present activities by reason
of age. Compare OLD.
fashionable, fresh, modern, modish, new, recent, stylish.
* * * * *
anguish, disquiet, foreboding, perplexity,
apprehension, disturbance, fretfulness, solicitude,
care, dread, fretting, trouble,
concern, fear, misgiving, worry.
_Anxiety_ is, according to its derivation, a choking _disquiet_, akin to
_anguish_; _anxiety_ is mental; _anguish_ may be mental or physical;
_anguish_ is in regard to the known, _anxiety_ in regard to the unknown;
_anguish_ is because of what has happened, _anxiety_ because of what may
happen. _Anxiety_ refers to some future event, always suggesting hopeful
possibility, and thus differing from _apprehension_, _fear_, _dread_,
_foreboding_, _terror_, all of which may be quite despairing. In matters
within our reach, _anxiety_ always stirs the question whether something
can not be done, and is thus a valuable spur to doing; in this respect
it is allied to _care_. _Foreboding_, _dread_, etc., commonly
incapacitate for all helpful thought or endeavor. _Worry_ is a more
petty, restless, and manifest _anxiety_; _anxiety_ may be quiet and
silent; _worry_ is communicated to all around. _Solicitude_ is a milder
_anxiety_. _Fretting_ or _fretfulness_ is a weak complaining without
thought of accomplishing or changing anything, but merely as a relief
to one's own _disquiet_. _Perplexity_ often involves _anxiety_, but
may be quite free from it. A student may be _perplexed_ regarding a
translation, yet, if he has time enough, not at all anxious regarding
apathy, calmness, confidence, light-heartedness, satisfaction,
assurance, carelessness, ease, nonchalance, tranquillity.
Anxiety _for_ a friend's return; anxiety _about_, _in regard to_, or
_concerning_ the future.
* * * * *
calmness, indifference, quietness, stoicism,
composure, insensibility, quietude, tranquillity,
immobility, lethargy, sluggishness, unconcern,
impassibility, phlegm, stillness, unfeelingness.
_Apathy_, according to its Greek derivation, is a simple absence of
feeling or emotion. There are persons to whom a certain degree of
_apathy_ is natural, an innate _sluggishness_ of the emotional nature.
In the _apathy_ of despair, a person gives up, without resistance or
sensibility, to what he has fiercely struggled to avoid. While _apathy_
is want of feeling, _calmness_ is feeling without agitation. _Calmness_
is the result of strength, courage, or trust; _apathy_ is the result of
dulness or weakness. _Composure_ is freedom from agitation or
disturbance, resulting ordinarily from force of will, or from perfect
confidence in one's own resources. _Impassibility_ is a philosophical
term applied to the Deity, as infinitely exalted above all stir of
passion or emotion. _Unfeelingness_, the Saxon word that should be the
exact equivalent of _apathy_, really means more, a lack of the feeling
one ought to have, a censurable hardness of heart. _Indifference_ and
_insensibility_ designate the absence of feeling toward certain persons
or things; _apathy_, entire absence of feeling. _Indifference_ is a want
of interest; _insensibility_ is a want of feeling; _unconcern_ has
reference to consequences. We speak of _insensibility_ of heart,
_immobility_ of countenance. _Stoicism_ is an intentional suppression of
feeling and deadening of sensibilities, while _apathy_ is involuntary.
agitation, disturbance, feeling, sensibility, sympathy,
alarm, eagerness, frenzy, sensitiveness, turbulence,
anxiety, emotion, fury, storm, vehemence,
care, excitement, passion, susceptibility, violence.
The apathy _of_ monastic life; apathy _toward_ good.
* * * * *
distributively, each, individually, separately, severally.
There is no discernible difference in sense between so much _apiece_ and
so much _each_; the former is the more common and popular, the latter
the more elegant expression. _Distributively_ is generally used of
numbers and abstract relations. _Individually_ emphasizes the
independence of the individuals; _separately_ and _severally_ still more
emphatically hold them apart. The signers of a note may become jointly
and _severally_ responsible, that is, _each_ liable for the entire
amount, as if he had signed it alone. Witnesses are often brought
_separately_ into court, in order that no one may be influenced by the
testimony of another. If a company of laborers demand a dollar _apiece_,
that is a demand that _each_ shall receive that sum; if they
_individually_ demand a dollar, _each_ individual makes the demand.
accumulatively, confusedly, indiscriminately, together, unitedly.
collectively, _en masse_, synthetically,
* * * * *
acknowledgment, defense, excuse, plea,
confession, exculpation, justification, vindication.
All these words express one's answer to a charge of wrong or error that
is or might be made. _Apology_ has undergone a remarkable change from
its old sense of a valiant _defense_--as in Justin Martyr's _Apologies_
for the Christian faith--to its present meaning of humble _confession_
and concession. He who offers an _apology_ admits himself, at least
technically and seemingly, in the wrong. An _apology_ is for what one
has done or left undone; an _excuse_ may be for what one proposes to do
or leave undone as well; as, one sends beforehand his _excuse_ for not
accepting an invitation; if he should fail either to be present or to
excuse himself, an _apology_ would be in order. An _excuse_ for a fault
is an attempt at partial justification; as, one alleges haste as an
_excuse_ for carelessness. _Confession_ is a full _acknowledgment_ of
wrong, generally of a grave wrong, with or without _apology_ or
_excuse_. _Plea_ ranges in sense from a prayer for favor or pardon to an
attempt at full _vindication_. _Defense_, _exculpation_,
_justification_, and _vindication_ are more properly antonyms than
synonyms of _apology_ in its modern sense, and should be so given, but
for their connection with its historic usage. Compare CONFESS; DEFENSE.
accusation, charge, condemnation, injury, offense,
censure, complaint, imputation, insult, wrong.
An apology _to_ the guest _for_ the oversight would be fitting.
* * * * *
likely, presumable, probable, seeming.
The _apparent_ is that which appears; the word has two contrasted
senses, either of that which is manifest, visible, certain, or of that
which merely seems to be and may be very different from what is; as, the
_apparent_ motion of the sun around the earth. _Apparent_ kindness casts
a doubt on the reality of the kindness; _apparent_ neglect implies that
more care and pains may have been bestowed than we are aware of.
_Presumable_ implies that a thing may be reasonably supposed beforehand
without any full knowledge of the facts. _Probable_ implies that we know
facts enough to make us moderately confident of it. _Seeming_ expresses
great doubt of the reality; _seeming_ innocence comes very near in
meaning to _probable_ guilt. _Apparent_ indicates less assurance than
_probable_, and more than _seeming_. A man's _probable_ intent we
believe will prove to be his real intent; his _seeming_ intent we
believe to be a sham; his _apparent_ intent may be the true one, tho we
have not yet evidence on which to pronounce with certainty or even with
confidence. _Likely_ is a word with a wide range of usage, but always
implying the belief that the thing is, or will be, true; it is often
used with the infinitive, as the other words of this list can not be;
as, it is _likely_ to happen. Compare EVIDENT.
doubtful, dubious, improbable, unimaginable, unlikely.
(When _apparent_ is used in the sense of evident): His guilt is apparent
_in_ every act _to_ all observers.
* * * * *
have the appearance _or_ semblance, look, seem.
_Appear_ and _look_ refer to what manifests itself to the senses; to a
semblance or probability presented directly to the mind. _Seem_ applies
to what is manifest to the mind on reflection. It suddenly _appears_ to
me that there is smoke in the distance; as I watch, it _looks_ like a
fire; from my knowledge of the locality and observation of particulars,
it _seems_ to me a farmhouse must be burning.
be, be certain, real, _or_ true, be the fact, exist.
Appear _at_ the front; _among_ the first; _on_ or _upon_ the surface;
_to_ the eye; _in_ evidence, _in_ print; _from_ reports; _near_ the
harbor; _before_ the public; _in_ appropriate dress; _with_ the insignia
of his rank; _above_ the clouds; _below_ the surface; _under_ the lee;
_over_ the sea; _through_ the mist; appear _for_, _in behalf of_, or
_against_ one in court.
* * * * *
accessory, addition, appurtenance, concomitant,
accompaniment, adjunct, attachment, extension,
addendum, appendix, auxiliary, supplement.
An _adjunct_ (something joined to) constitutes no real part of the thing
or system to which it is joined, tho perhaps a valuable _addition_; an
_appendage_ is commonly a real, tho not an essential or necessary part
of that with which it is connected; an _appurtenance_ belongs
subordinately to something by which it is employed, especially as an
instrument to accomplish some purpose. A horse's tail is at once an
ornamental _appendage_ and a useful _appurtenance_; we could not call it
an _adjunct_, tho we might use that word of his iron shoes. An
_attachment_ in machinery is some mechanism that can be brought into
optional connection with the principal movement; a hemmer is a valuable
_attachment_ of a sewing-machine. An _extension_, as of a railroad or of
a franchise, carries out further something already existing. We add an
_appendix_ to a book, to contain names, dates, lists, etc., which would
encumber the text; we add a _supplement_ to supply omissions, as, for
instance, to bring it up to date. An _appendix_ may be called an
_addendum_; but _addendum_ may be used of a brief note, which would not
be dignified by the name of _appendix_; such notes are often grouped as
_addenda_. An _addition_ might be matter interwoven in the body of the
work, an index, plates, editorial notes, etc., which might be valuable
_additions_, but not within the meaning of _appendix_ or _supplement_.
main body, original, total, whole.
That which is thought of as added we call an appendage _to_; that which
is looked upon as an integral part is called an appendage _of_.
* * * * *
appetency, impulse, lust, propensity,
craving, inclination, passion, relish,
desire, liking, proclivity, thirst,
disposition, longing, proneness, zest.
_Appetite_ is used only of the demands of the physical system, unless
otherwise expressly stated, as when we say an _appetite_ for knowledge;
_passion_ includes all excitable impulses of our nature, as anger, fear,
love, hatred, etc. _Appetite_ is thus more animal than _passion_; and
when we speak of _passions_ and _appetites_ as conjoined or contrasted,
we think of the _appetites_ as wholly physical and of the _passions_ as,
in part at least, mental or spiritual. We say an _appetite_ for food, a
_passion_ for fame. Compare DESIRE.
antipathy, disgust, distaste, indifference, repugnance,
aversion, dislike, hatred, loathing, repulsion.
detestation, disrelish,
He had an insatiable appetite _for_ the marvellous.
* * * * *
allot, appropriate, deal, distribute, grant,
appoint, assign, dispense, divide, share.
To _allot_ or _assign_ may be to make an arbitrary division; the same is
true of _distribute_ or _divide_. That which is _apportioned_ is given
by some fixed rule, which is meant to be uniform and fair; as,
representatives are _apportioned_ among the States according to
population. To _dispense_ is to give out freely; as, the sun _dispenses_
light and heat. A thing is _appropriated_ to or for a specific purpose
(to which it thus becomes _proper_, in the original sense of being its
own); money _appropriated_ by Congress for one purpose can not be
expended for any other. One may _apportion_ what he only holds in trust;
he _shares_ what is his own. Compare ALLOT.
cling to, consolidate, gather together, receive,
collect, divide arbitrarily, keep together, retain.
Apportion _to_ each a fair amount; apportion the property _among_ the
heirs, _between_ two claimants; apportion _according to_ numbers, etc.
* * * * *
approach, likeness, neighborhood, resemblance,
contiguity, nearness, propinquity, similarity.
In mathematics, _approximation_ is not guesswork, not looseness, and not
error. The process of _approximation_ is as exact and correct at every
point as that by which an absolute result is secured; the result only
fails of exactness because of some inherent difficulty in the problem.
The attempt to "square the circle" gives only an _approximate_ result,
because of the impossibility of expressing the circumference in terms of
the radius. But the limits of error on either side are known, and the
_approximation_ has practical value. Outside of mathematics, the correct
use of _approximation_ (and the kindred words _approximate_ and
_approximately_) is to express as near an approach to accuracy and
certainty as the conditions of human thought or action in any given case
make possible. _Resemblance_ and _similarity_ may be but superficial and
apparent; _approximation_ is real. _Approach_ is a relative term,
indicating that one has come nearer than before, tho the distance may
yet be considerable; an _approximation_ brings one really near.
_Nearness_, _neighborhood_, and _propinquity_ are commonly used of
place; _approximation_, of mathematical calculations and abstract
reasoning; we speak of _approach_ to the shore, _nearness_ to the town,
_approximation_ to the truth.
difference, distance, error, remoteness, unlikeness, variation.
The approximation _of_ the vegetable _to_ the animal type.
* * * * *
accouterments, armor, harness, mail, weapons.
_Arms_ are implements of attack; _armor_ is a defensive covering. The
knight put on his _armor_; he grasped his _arms_. With the disuse of
defensive _armor_ the word has practically gone out of military use, but
it is still employed in the navy, where the distinction is clearly
preserved; any vessel provided with cannon is an _armed_ vessel; an
_armored_ ship is an ironclad. Anything that can be wielded in fight may
become a _weapon_, as a pitchfork or a paving-stone; _arms_ are
especially made and designed for conflict.
* * * * *
armament, forces, military, soldiers,
array, host, multitude, soldiery,
force, legions, phalanx, troops.
An _army_ is an organized body of men armed for war, ordinarily
considerable in numbers, always independent in organization so far as
not to be a constituent part of any other command. Organization, unity,
and independence, rather than numbers are the essentials of an _army_.
We speak of the invading _army_ of Cortes or Pizarro, tho either body
was contemptible in numbers from a modern military standpoint. We may
have a little _army_, a large _army_, or a vast _army_. _Host_ is used
for any vast and orderly assemblage; as, the stars are called the
heavenly _host_. _Multitude_ expresses number without order or
organization; a _multitude_ of armed men is not an _army_, but a mob.
_Legion_ (from the Latin) and _phalanx_ (from the Greek) are applied by
a kind of poetic license to modern _forces_; the plural _legions_ is
preferred to the singular. _Military_ is a general word for
land-_forces_; the _military_ may include all the armed _soldiery_ of a
nation, or the term may be applied to any small detached company, as at
a fort, in distinction from civilians. Any organized body of men by whom
the law or will of a people is executed is a _force_; the word is a
usual term for the police of any locality.
* * * * *
accuse, charge, impeach, prosecute,
censure, cite, indict, summon.
_Arraign_ is an official word; a person accused of crime is _arraigned_
when he is formally called into court, the indictment read to him, and
the demand made of him to plead guilty or not guilty; in more extended
use, to _arraign_ is to call in question for fault in any formal,
public, or official way. One may _charge_ another with any fault, great
or trifling, privately or publicly, formally or informally. _Accuse_ is
stronger than _charge_, suggesting more of the formal and criminal; a
person may _charge_ a friend with unkindness or neglect; he may
_accuse_ a tramp of stealing. _Censure_ carries the idea of fault, but
not of crime; it may be private and individual, or public and official.
A judge, a president, or other officer of high rank may be _impeached_
before the appropriate tribunal for high crimes; the veracity of a
witness may be _impeached_ by damaging evidence. A person of the highest
character may be _summoned_ as defendant in a civil suit; or he may be
_cited_ to answer as administrator, etc. _Indict_ and _arraign_ apply
strictly to criminal proceedings, and only an alleged criminal is
_indicted_ or _arraigned_. One is _indicted_ by the grand jury, and
_arraigned_ before the appropriate court.
acquit, discharge, exonerate, overlook, release,
condone, excuse, forgive, pardon, set free.
Arraign _at_ the bar, _before_ the tribunal, _of_ or _for_ a crime; _on_
or _upon_ an indictment.
* * * * *
army, collection, line of battle, parade,
arrangement, disposition, order, show,
battle array, exhibition, order of battle, sight.
The phrase _battle array_ or _array of battle_ is archaic and poetic; we
now say in _line_ or _order of battle_. The _parade_ is for _exhibition_
and oversight, and partial rehearsal of military manual and maneuvers.
_Array_ refers to a continuous _arrangement_ of men, so that all may be
seen or reviewed at once. This is practically impossible with the vast
_armies_ of our day. We say rather the _disposition_ of troops, which
expresses their location so as to sustain and support, though unable to
see or readily communicate with each other. Compare DRESS.
* * * * *
apprehend, detain, restrain, stop,
capture, hold, secure, take into custody,
catch, make prisoner, seize, take prisoner.
The legal term _arrest_ carries always the implication of a legal
offense; this is true even of _arresting_ for debt. But one may be
_detained_ by process of law when no offense is alleged against him, as
in the case of a witness who is _held_ in a house of detention till a
case comes to trial. One may be _restrained_ of his liberty without
arrest, as in an insane asylum; an individual or corporation may be
_restrained_ by injunction from selling certain property. In case of an
arrest, an officer may _secure_ his prisoner by fetters, by a locked
door, or other means effectually to prevent escape. _Capture_ is
commonly used of seizure by armed force; as, to _capture_ a ship, a
fort, etc. Compare HINDER; OBSTRUCT.
discharge, dismiss, free, liberate, release, set free.
Arrested _for_ crime, _on_ suspicion, _by_ the sheriff; _on_, _upon_, or
_by virtue of_ a warrant; _on_ final process; _in_ execution.
* * * * *
art, craft, finesse, invention, stratagem,
blind, cunning, fraud, machination, subterfuge,
cheat, device, guile, maneuver, trick,
contrivance, dodge, imposture, ruse, wile.
A _contrivance_ or _device_ may be either good or bad. A _cheat_ is a
mean advantage in a bargain; a _fraud_, any form of covert robbery or
injury. _Imposture_ is a deceitful _contrivance_ for securing charity,
credit, or consideration. A _stratagem_ or _maneuver_ may be of the good
against the bad, as it were a skilful movement of war. A _wile_ is
usually but not necessarily evil.
E'en children followed with endearing _wile_.
GOLDSMITH _Deserted Village_, l. 184.
A _trick_ is often low, injurious, and malicious; we say a mean _trick_;
the word is sometimes used playfully with less than its full meaning. A
_ruse_ or a _blind_ may be quite innocent and harmless. An _artifice_ is
a carefully and delicately prepared _contrivance_ for doing indirectly
what one could not well do directly. A _device_ is something studied out
for promoting an end, as in a mechanism; the word is used of indirect
action, often, but not necessarily directed to an evil, selfish, or
injurious end. _Finesse_ is especially subtle _contrivance_, delicate
_artifice_, whether for good or evil. Compare FRAUD.
artlessness, frankness, ingenuousness, openness, sincerity,
candor, guilelessness, innocence, simplicity, truth.
fairness, honesty,
* * * * *
artificer, artisan, mechanic, operative, workman.
_Artist_, _artificer_ and _artisan_ are all from the root of _art_, but
_artist_ holds to the esthetic sense, while _artificer_ and _artisan_
follow the mechanical or industrial sense of the word (see ART under
SCIENCE). _Artist_ thus comes only into accidental association with the
other words of this group, not being a synonym of any one of them and
having practically no synonym of its own. The work of the _artist_ is
creative; that of the _artisan_ mechanical. The man who paints a
beautiful picture is an _artist_; the man who makes pin-heads all day is
an _artisan_. The _artificer_ is between the two, putting more thought,
intelligence, and taste into his work than the _artisan_, but less of
the idealizing, creative power than the _artist_. The sculptor, shaping
his model in clay, is _artificer_, as well as _artist_; patient
_artisans_, working simply by rule and scale, chisel and polish the
stone. The man who constructs anything by mere routine and rule is a
_mechanic_. The man whose work involves thought, skill, and constructive
power is an _artificer_. The hod-carrier is a _laborer_; the bricklayer
is a _mechanic_; the master mason is an _artificer_. Those who operate
machinery nearly self-acting are _operatives_.
* * * * *
beg, crave, entreat, petition, request, solicit,
beseech, demand, implore, pray, require, supplicate.
One _asks_ what he feels that he may fairly claim and reasonably expect;
"if a son shall _ask_ bread of any of you that is a father," _Luke_ xi,
11; he _begs_ for that to which he advances no claim but pity. _Demand_
is a determined and often an arrogant word; one may rightfully _demand_
what is his own or his due, when it is withheld or denied; or he may
wrongfully _demand_ that to which he has no claim but power. _Require_
is less arrogant and obtrusive than _demand_, but is exceedingly
strenuous; as, the court _requires_ the attendance of witnesses.
_Entreat_ implies a special earnestness of asking, and _beseech_, a
still added and more humble intensity; _beseech_ was formerly often used
as a polite intensive for _beg_ or _pray_; as, I _beseech_ you to tell
me. To _implore_ is to _ask_ with weeping and lamentation; to
_supplicate_ is to _ask_, as it were, on bended knees. _Crave_ and
_request_ are somewhat formal terms; _crave_ has almost disappeared from
conversation; _request_ would seem distant between parent and child.
_Pray_ is now used chiefly of address to the Supreme Being; _petition_
is used of written request to persons in authority; as, to _petition_
the legislature to pass an act, or the governor to pardon an offender.
claim, deny, enforce, exact, extort, insist, refuse, reject.
Ask a person _for_ a thing; ask a thing _of_ or _from_ a person; ask
_after_ or _about_ one's health, welfare, friends, etc.
* * * * *
accomplice, coadjutor, comrade, fellow, mate,
ally, colleague, confederate, friend, partner,
chum, companion, consort, helpmate, peer.
An _associate_ as used officially implies a chief, leader, or principal,
to whom the _associate_ is not fully equal in rank. _Associate_ is
popularly used of mere friendly relations, but oftener implies some
work, enterprise, or pursuit in which the associated persons unite. We
rarely speak of _associates_ in crime or wrong, using _confederates_ or
_accomplices_ instead. _Companion_ gives itself with equal readiness to
the good or evil sense, as also does _comrade_. One may be a _companion_
in travel who would not readily become an _associate_ at home. A lady
advertises for a _companion_; she would not advertise for an
_associate_. _Peer_ implies equality rather than companionship; as, a
jury of his _peers_. _Comrade_ expresses more fellowship and good
feeling than _companion_. _Fellow_ has almost gone out of use in this
connection, except in an inferior or patronizing sense. _Consort_ is a
word of equality and dignity, as applied especially to the marriage
antagonist, foe, hinderer, opponent, opposer, rival, stranger.
These were the associates _of_ the leader _in_ the enterprise.
* * * * *
alliance, confederacy, familiarity, lodge,
club, confederation, federation, participation,
community, conjunction, fellowship, partnership,
companionship, connection, fraternity, society,
company, corporation, friendship, union.
We speak of an _alliance_ of nations, a _club_ of pleasure-seekers, a
_community_ of Shakers, a _company_ of soldiers or of friends, a
_confederacy_, _confederation_, _federation_, or _union_ of separate
states under one general government, a _partnership_ or _company_ of
business men, a _conjunction_ of planets. The whole body of Freemasons
constitute a _fraternity_; one of their local organizations is called a
_lodge_. A _corporation_ or _company_ is formed for purposes of
business; an _association_ or _society_ (tho also incorporated) is for
learning, literature, benevolence, religion, etc. Compare ASSOCIATE;
disintegration, independence, isolation, separation, solitude.
An association _of_ scholars _for_ the advancement of knowledge;
association _with_ the good is ennobling.
* * * * *
accept, arrogate, postulate, put on,
affect, claim, presume, take,
appropriate, feign, pretend, usurp.
The distinctive idea of _assume_ is to _take_ by one's own independent
volition, whether well or ill, rightfully or wrongfully. One may
_accept_ an obligation or _assume_ an authority that properly belongs to
him, or he may _assume_ an obligation or indebtedness that could not be
required of him. He may _assume_ authority or office that is his right;
if he _assumes_ what does not belong to him, he is said to _arrogate_ or
_usurp_ it. A man may _usurp_ the substance of power in the most
unpretending way; what he _arrogates_ to himself he _assumes_ with a
haughty and overbearing manner. One _assumes_ the robes or insignia of
office by _putting_ them _on_, with or without right. If he _takes_ to
himself the credit and appearance of qualities he does not possess, he
is said to _affect_ or _feign_, or to _pretend_ to, the character he
thus _assumes_. What a debater _postulates_ he openly states and _takes_
for granted without proof; what he _assumes_ he may take for granted
without mention. A favorite trick of the sophist is quietly to _assume_
as true what would at once be challenged if expressly stated. What a man
_claims_ he asserts his right to _take_; what he _assumes_ he _takes_.
* * * * *
arrogance, boldness, impudence, self-confidence,
assertion, confidence, presumption, self-reliance,
assumption, effrontery, self-assertion, trust.
_Assurance_ may have the good sense of a high, sustained _confidence_
and _trust_; as, the saint's _assurance_ of heaven. _Confidence_ is
founded upon reasons; _assurance_ is largely a matter of feeling. In the
bad sense, _assurance_ is a vicious courage, with belief of one's
ability to outwit or defy others; the hardened criminal is remarkable
for habitual _assurance_. For the calm conviction of one's own rectitude
and ability, _self-confidence_ is a better word than _assurance_;
_self-reliance_ expresses confidence in one's own resources,
independently of others' aid. In the bad sense _assurance_ is less gross
than _impudence_, which is (according to its etymology) a shameless
_boldness_. _Assurance_ is in act or manner; _impudence_ may be in
speech. _Effrontery_ is _impudence_ defiantly displayed. Compare FAITH;
bashfulness, consternation, distrust, hesitancy, shyness,
confusion, dismay, doubt, misgiving, timidity.
* * * * *
acute, discerning, penetrating, sharp,
clear-sighted, discriminating, penetrative, shrewd,
crafty, keen, perspicacious, subtile,
cunning, knowing, sagacious, subtle.
_Acute_, from the Latin, suggests the sharpness of the needle's point;
_keen_, from the Saxon, the sharpness of the cutting edge. _Astute_,
from the Latin, with the original sense of _cunning_ has come to have a
meaning that combines the sense of _acute_ or _keen_ with that of
_sagacious_. The _astute_ mind adds to _acuteness_ and _keenness_ an
element of cunning or finesse. The _astute_ debater leads his opponents
into a snare by getting them to make admissions, or urge arguments, of
which he sees a result that they do not perceive. The _acute_, _keen_
intellect may take no special advantage of these qualities; the _astute_
mind has always a point to make for itself, and seldom fails to make it.
A _knowing_ look, air, etc., in general indicates practical knowledge
with a touch of shrewdness, and perhaps of cunning; in regard to some
special matter, it indicates the possession of reserved knowledge which
the person could impart if he chose. _Knowing_ has often a slightly
invidious sense. We speak of a _knowing_ rascal, meaning _cunning_ or
_shrewd_ within a narrow range, but of a _knowing_ horse or dog, in the
sense of _sagacious_, implying that he knows more than could be expected
of such an animal. A _knowing_ child has more knowledge than would be
looked for at his years, perhaps more than is quite desirable, while to
speak of a child as _intelligent_ is altogether complimentary.
blind, idiotic, shallow, stolid, undiscerning,
dull, imbecile, short-sighted, stupid, unintelligent.
* * * * *
adherence, devotion, friendship, regard,
adhesion, esteem, inclination, tenderness,
affection, estimation, love, union.
An _attachment_ is a feeling that binds a person by ties of heart to
another person or thing; we speak of a man's _adherence_ to his purpose,
his _adhesion_ to his party, or to anything to which he clings
tenaciously, tho with no special tenderness; of his _attachment_ to his
church, to the old homestead, or to any persons or objects that he may
hold dear. _Affection_ expresses more warmth of feeling; we should not
speak of a mother's _attachment_ to her babe, but of her _affection_ or
of her _devotion_. _Inclination_ expresses simply a tendency, which may
be good or bad, yielded to or overcome; as, an _inclination_ to study;
an _inclination_ to drink. _Regard_ is more distant than _affection_ or
_attachment_, but closer and warmer than _esteem_; we speak of high
_esteem_, kind _regard_. Compare ACQUAINTANCE; APPENDAGE; FRIENDSHIP;
alienation, aversion, distance, estrangement, repugnance,
animosity, coolness, divorce, indifference, separation,
antipathy, dislike, enmity, opposition, severance.
Attachment _of_ a true man _to_ his friends; attachment _to_ a leader
_for_ his nobility of character; the attachments _between_ two persons
or things; attachment _by_ muscular fibers, or _by_ a rope, etc.
* * * * *
ATTACK, _v._
assail, beset, combat, invade,
assault, besiege, encounter, set upon,
beleaguer, charge, fall upon, storm.
To _attack_ is to begin hostilities of any kind. A general _invades_ a
country by marching in troops; he _attacks_ a city by drawing up an army
against it; he _assaults_ it by hurling his troops directly upon its
defenses. _Assail_ and _assault_, tho of the same original etymology,
have diverged in meaning, so that _assault_ alone retains the meaning of
direct personal violence. One may _assail_ another with reproaches; he
_assaults_ him with a blow, a brandished weapon, etc. Armies or
squadrons _charge_; _combat_ and _encounter_ may be said of individual
contests. To _beset_ is to set around, or, so to speak, to stud one's
path, with menaces, attacks, or persuasions. To _besiege_ and
_beleaguer_ are the acts of armies. To _encounter_ is to meet face to
face, and may be said either of the _attacking_ or of the resisting
force or person, or of both.
aid, cover, protect, shelter, support, uphold,
befriend, defend, resist, shield, sustain, withstand.
We were attacked _by_ the enemy _with_ cannon and musketry.
* * * * *
ATTACK, _n._
aggression, incursion, invasion, onslaught,
assault, infringement, onset, trespass.
encroachment, intrusion,
An _attack_ may be by word; an _aggression_ is always by deed. An
_assault_ may be upon the person, an _aggression_ is upon rights,
possessions, etc. An _invasion_ of a nation's territories is an act of
_aggression_; an _intrusion_ upon a neighboring estate is a _trespass_.
_Onslaught_ signifies intensely violent _assault_, as by an army or a
desperado, tho it is sometimes used of violent speech.
defense, repulsion, resistance, retreat, submission, surrender.
The enemy made an attack _upon_ (or _on_) our works.
* * * * *
accomplish, arrive at, gain, master, reach,
achieve, compass, get, obtain, secure,
acquire, earn, grasp, procure, win.
A person may _obtain_ a situation by the intercession of friends, he
_procures_ a dinner by paying for it. _Attain_ is a lofty word, pointing
to some high or desirable result; a man _attains_ the mountain summit,
he _attains_ honor or learning as the result of strenuous and earnest
labor. Even that usage of _attain_ which has been thought to refer to
mere progress of time carries the thought of a result desired; as, to
_attain_ to old age; the man desires to live to a good old age; we
should not speak of his _attaining_ his dotage. One may _attain_ an
object that will prove not worth his labor, but what he _achieves_ is in
itself great and splendid; as, the Greeks at Marathon _achieved_ a
glorious victory. Compare DO; GET; REACH.
abandon, fail, forfeit, give up, let go, lose, miss.
* * * * *
pose, position, posture.
_Position_ as applied to the arrangement or situation of the human body
or limbs may denote that which is conscious or unconscious, of the
living or the dead; but we do not speak of the _attitude_, _pose_, or
_posture_ of a corpse; unless, in some rare case, we might say the body
was found in a sitting _posture_, where the _posture_ is thought of as
assumed in life, or as, at first glance, suggesting life. A _posture_ is
assumed without any special reference to expression of feeling; as, an
erect _posture_, a reclining _posture_; _attitude_ is the _position_
appropriate to the expression of some feeling; the _attitude_ may be
unconsciously taken through the strength of the feeling; as, an
_attitude_ of defiance; or it may be consciously assumed in the attempt
to express the feeling; as, he assumed an _attitude_ of humility. A
_pose_ is a _position_ studied for artistic effect, or considered with
reference to such effect; the unconscious _posture_ of a spectator or
listener may be an admirable _pose_ from an artist's standpoint.
* * * * *
ascribe, associate, connect, impute, refer.
assign, charge,
We may _attribute_ to a person either that which belongs to him or that
which we merely suppose to be his. We _attribute_ to God infinite power.
We may _attribute_ a wrong intent to an innocent person. We may
_attribute_ a result, rightly or wrongly, to a certain cause; in such
case, however, _attribute_ carries always a concession of uncertainty or
possible error. Where we are quite sure, we simply _refer_ a matter to
the cause or class to which it belongs or _ascribe_ to one what is
surely his, etc. Many diseases formerly _attributed_ to witchcraft are
now _referred_ to the action of micro-organisms. We may _attribute_ a
matter in silent thought; we _ascribe_ anything openly in speech or
writing; King Saul said of the singing women, "They have _ascribed_ unto
David ten thousands, and to me they have _ascribed_ but thousands." We
_associate_ things which may have no necessary or causal relation; as,
we may _associate_ the striking of a clock with the serving of dinner,
tho the two are not necessarily connected. We _charge_ a person with
what we deem blameworthy. We may _impute_ good or evil, but more
commonly evil.
deny, disconnect, dissociate, separate, sever, sunder.
It is uncharitable to attribute evil motives _to_ (archaic _unto_)
* * * * *
property, quality.
A _quality_ (L. _qualis_, such)--the "suchness" of anything, according
to the German idiom--denotes what a thing really is in some one respect;
an _attribute_ is what we conceive a thing to be in some one respect;
thus, while _attribute_ may, _quality_ must, express something of the
real nature of that to which it is ascribed; we speak of the
_attributes_ of God, the _qualities_ of matter. "Originally 'the
_attributes_ of God' was preferred, probably, because men assumed no
knowledge of the actual _qualities_ of the Deity, but only of those more
or less fitly attributed to him." J. A. H. MURRAY. [M.] Holiness is an
_attribute_ of God; the _attributes_ of many heathen deities have been
only the _qualities_ of wicked men joined to superhuman power. A
_property_ (L. _proprius_, one's own) is what belongs especially to one
thing as its own peculiar possession, in distinction from all other
things; when we speak of the _qualities_ or the _properties_ of matter,
_quality_ is the more general, _property_ the more limited term. A
_quality_ is inherent; a _property_ may be transient; physicists now,
however, prefer to term those _qualities_ manifested by all bodies (such
as impenetrability, extension, etc.), _general properties_ of matter,
while those peculiar to certain substances or to certain states of those
substances (as fluidity, malleability, etc.) are termed _specific
properties_; in this wider use of the word _property_, it becomes
strictly synonymous with _quality_. Compare CHARACTERISTIC; EMBLEM.
being, essence, nature, substance.
* * * * *
betoken, divine, foretell, predict, prognosticate,
bode, forebode, portend, presage, prophesy.
"Persons or things _augur_; persons only _forebode_ or _presage_; things
only _betoken_ or _portend_." CRABB _English Synonymes_. We _augur_ well
for a voyage from past good fortune and a good start; we _presage_
success from the stanchness of the ship and the skill of the captain.
We _forebode_ misfortune either from circumstances that _betoken_
failure, or from gloomy fancies for which we could not give a reason.
Dissipation among the officers and mutiny among the crew _portend_
disaster. _Divine_ has reference to the ancient soothsayers' arts (as in
_Gen._ xliv, 5, 15), and refers rather to reading hearts than to reading
the future. We say I could not _divine_ his motive, or his intention.
assure, demonstrate, establish, make sure, settle,
calculate, determine, insure, prove, warrant.
I augur _from_ all circumstances a prosperous result; I augur ill _of_
the enterprise; "augurs ill _to_ the rights of the people," THOMAS
JEFFERSON _Writings_ vol. ii, p. 506. [T. & M. '53.] I augur well, or
this augurs well, _for_ your cause.
* * * * *
accepted, certain, original, sure,
accredited, current, real, true,
authoritative, genuine, received, trustworthy,
authorized, legitimate, reliable, veritable.
That is _authentic_ which is true to the facts; that is _genuine_ which
is true to its own claims; as, _authentic_ history; _genuine_ money.
A '_genuine_' work is one written by the author whose name it bears;
an '_authentic_' work is one which relates truthfully the matters of
which it treats. For example, the apocryphal Gospel of St. Thomas is
neither '_genuine_' nor '_authentic_.' It is not '_genuine_,' for
St. Thomas did not write it; it is not '_authentic_,' for its
contents are mainly fables and lies.
TRENCH _On the Study of Words_ lect. vi, p. 189. [W. J. W.]
_Authentic_ is, however, used by reputable writers as synonymous with
_genuine_, tho usually where genuineness carries a certain authority. We
speak of _accepted_ conclusions, _certain_ evidence, _current_ money,
_genuine_ letters, a _legitimate_ conclusion or _legitimate_ authority,
_original_ manuscripts, _real_ value, _received_ interpretation, _sure_
proof, a _true_ statement, a _trustworthy_ witness, a _veritable_
apocryphal, counterfeit, exploded, false, spurious,
baseless, disputed, fabulous, fictitious, unauthorized.
* * * * *
accessory, ally, coadjutor, helper, promoter,
aid, assistant, confederate, mercenary, subordinate.
An _auxiliary_ is a person or thing that helps in a subordinate
capacity. _Allies_ unite as equals; _auxiliaries_ are, at least
technically, inferiors or subordinates. Yet the _auxiliary_ is more than
a mere _assistant_. The word is oftenest found in the plural, and in the
military sense; _auxiliaries_ are troops of one nation uniting with the
armies, and acting under the orders, of another. _Mercenaries_ serve
only for pay; _auxiliaries_ often for reasons of state, policy, or
patriotism as well. Compare ACCESSORY; APPENDAGE.
antagonist, hinderer, opponent, opposer.
The auxiliaries _of_ the Romans; an auxiliary _in_ a good cause; an
auxiliary _to_ learning.
* * * * *
close, greedy, niggardly, penurious, sordid,
covetous, miserly, parsimonious, rapacious, stingy.
_Avaricious_ and _covetous_ refer especially to acquisition, _miserly_,
_niggardly_, _parsimonious_, and _penurious_ to expenditure. The
_avaricious_ man has an eager craving for money, and ordinarily desires
both to get and to keep, the _covetous_ man to get something away from
its possessor; tho one may be made _avaricious_ by the pressure of great
expenditures. _Miserly_ and _niggardly_ persons seek to gain by mean and
petty savings; the _miserly_ by stinting themselves, the _niggardly_ by
stinting others. _Parsimonious_ and _penurious_ may apply to one's
outlay either for himself or for others; in the latter use, they are
somewhat less harsh and reproachful terms than _niggardly_. The _close_
man holds like a vise all that he gets. _Near_ and _nigh_ are provincial
words of similar import. The _rapacious_ have the robber instinct, and
put it in practise in some form, as far as they dare. The _avaricious_
and _rapacious_ are ready to reach out for gain; the _parsimonious_,
_miserly_, and _niggardly_ prefer the safer and less adventurous way of
avoiding expenditure. _Greedy_ and _stingy_ are used not only of money,
but often of other things, as food, etc. The _greedy_ child wishes to
enjoy everything himself; the _stingy_ child, to keep others from
getting it.
bountiful, free, generous, liberal, munificent, prodigal, wasteful.
The monarch was avaricious _of_ power.
* * * * *
punish, retaliate, revenge, vindicate, visit.
_Avenge_ and _revenge_, once close synonyms, are now far apart in
meaning. To _avenge_ is to _visit_ some offense with punishment, in
order to _vindicate_ the righteous, or to uphold and illustrate the
right by the suffering or destruction of the wicked. "And seeing one of
them suffer wrong, he _avenged_ him that was oppressed, and smote the
Egyptian," _Acts_ vii, 24. To _revenge_ is to inflict harm or suffering
upon another through personal anger and resentment at something done to
ourselves. _Avenge_ is unselfish; _revenge_ is selfish. _Revenge_,
according to present usage, could not be said of God. To _retaliate_ may
be necessary for self-defense, without the idea of _revenge_. Compare
Avenge _on_ or _upon_ (rarely, avenge oneself _of_) a wrong-doer.
* * * * *
knowledge, aver, confess, own, profess, testify,
admit, avouch, declare, proclaim, protest, witness.
_Acknowledge_, _admit_, and _declare_ refer either to oneself or to
others; all the other words refer only to one's own knowledge or action.
To _avow_ is to declare boldly and openly, commonly as something one is
ready to justify, maintain, or defend. A man _acknowledges_ another's
claim or his own promise; he _admits_ an opponent's advantage or his own
error; he _declares_ either what he has seen or experienced or what he
has received from another; he _avers_ what he is sure of from his own
knowledge or consciousness; he gives his assurance as the voucher for
what he _avouches_; he _avows_ openly a belief or intention that he has
silently held. _Avow_ and _avouch_ take a direct object; _aver_ is
followed by a conjunction: a man _avows_ his faith, _avouches_ a deed,
_avers_ that he was present. _Avow_ has usually a good sense; what a
person _avows_ he at least does not treat as blameworthy, criminal, or
shameful; if he did, he would be said to _confess_ it; yet there is
always the suggestion that some will be ready to challenge or censure
what one _avows_; as, the clergyman _avowed_ his dissent from the
doctrine of his church. _Own_ applies to all things, good or bad, great
or small, which one takes as his own. Compare CONFESS; STATE.
contradict, deny, disavow, disclaim, disown, ignore, repudiate.
* * * * *
alarming, direful, frightful, majestic, solemn,
appalling, dread, grand, noble, stately,
august, dreadful, horrible, portentous, terrible,
dire, fearful, imposing, shocking, terrific.
_Awful_ should not be used of things which are merely disagreeable or
annoying, nor of all that are _alarming_ and _terrible_, but only of
such as bring a solemn awe upon the soul, as in the presence of a
superior power; as, the _awful_ hush before the battle. That which is
_awful_ arouses an oppressive, that which is _august_ an admiring
reverence; we speak of the _august_ presence of a mighty monarch, the
_awful_ presence of death. We speak of an _exalted_ station, a _grand_
mountain, an _imposing_ presence, a _majestic_ cathedral, a _noble_
mien, a _solemn_ litany, a _stately_ march, an _august_ assembly, the
_awful_ scene of the Judgment Day.
base, contemptible, inferior, paltry,
beggarly, despicable, lowly, undignified,
commonplace, humble, mean, vulgar.
* * * * *
boorish, clumsy, rough, unhandy,
bungling, gawky, uncouth, unskilful.
clownish, maladroit, ungainly,
_Awkward_, from _awk_ (kindred with _off_, from the Norwegian), is
_off-ward_, turned the wrong way; it was anciently used of a back-handed
or left-handed blow in battle, of squinting eyes, etc. _Clumsy_, on the
other hand (from _clumse_, also through the Norwegian), signifies
benumbed, stiffened with cold; this is the original meaning of _clumsy_
fingers, _clumsy_ limbs. Thus, _awkward_ primarily refers to action,
_clumsy_ to condition. A tool, a vehicle, or the human frame may be
_clumsy_ in shape or build, _awkward_ in motion. The _clumsy_ man is
almost of necessity _awkward_, but the _awkward_ man may not be
naturally _clumsy_. The finest untrained colt is _awkward_ in harness; a
horse that is _clumsy_ in build can never be trained out of awkwardness.
An _awkward_ statement has an uncomfortable, and perhaps recoiling
force; a statement that contains ill-assorted and incongruous material
in ill-chosen language is _clumsy_. We speak of an _awkward_
predicament, an _awkward_ scrape. An _awkward_ excuse commonly reflects
on the one who offers it. We say the admitted facts have an _awkward_
appearance. In none of these cases could _clumsy_ be used. _Clumsy_ is,
however, applied to movements that seem as unsuitable as those of
benumbed and stiffened limbs. A dancing bear is both _clumsy_ and
adroit, clever, dexterous, handy, skilful.
The raw recruit is awkward _in_ action; _at_ the business.
* * * * *
Both the _axiom_ and the _truism_ are instantly seen to be true, and
need no proof; but in an _axiom_ there is progress of thought, while the
_truism_ simply says the same thing over again, or says what is too
manifest to need saying. The _axiom_ that "things which are equal to the
same thing are equal to one another" unfolds in the latter part of the
sentence the truth implied in the first part, which might have been
overlooked if not stated. In the _truism_ that "a man can do all he is
capable of," the former and the latter part of the sentence are simply
identical, and the mind is left just where it started. Hence the _axiom_
is valuable and useful, while the _truism_ is weak and flat, unless the
form of statement makes it striking or racy, as "all fools are out of
their wits." Compare PROVERB.
absurdity, contradiction, demonstration, nonsense, paradox, sophism.
* * * * *
blab, cackle, gabble, murmur, prattle,
blurt, chat, gossip, palaver, tattle,
blurt out, chatter, jabber, prate, twaddle.
Most of these words are onomatopoetic. The _cackle_ of a hen, the
_gabble_ of a goose, the _chatter_ of a magpie, the _babble_ of a
running stream, as applied to human speech, indicate a rapid succession
of what are to the listener meaningless sounds. _Blab_ and _blurt_
(commonly _blurt out_) refer to the letting out of what the lips can no
longer keep in; _blab_, of a secret; _blurt out_, of passionate feeling.
To _chat_ is to talk in an easy, pleasant way, not without sense, but
without special purpose. _Chatting_ is the practise of adults,
_prattling_ that of children. To _prate_ is to talk idly,
presumptuously, or foolishly, but not necessarily incoherently. To
_jabber_ is to utter a rapid succession of unintelligible sounds,
generally more noisy than _chattering_. To _gossip_ is to talk of petty
personal matters, as for pastime or mischief. To _twaddle_ is to talk
feeble nonsense. To _murmur_ is to utter suppressed or even inarticulate
sounds, suggesting the notes of a dove, or the sound of a running
stream, and is used figuratively of the half suppressed utterances of
affection or pity, or of complaint, resentment, etc. Compare SPEAK.
Babies babble _for_ the moon; the crowd babbles _of_ a hero; the sick
man babbles _of_ home.
* * * * *
ban, dismiss, evict, expatriate, ostracize,
discharge, drive out, exile, expel, oust.
dislodge, eject,
_Banish_, primarily to put under _ban_, to compel by authority to leave
a place or country, perhaps with restriction to some other place or
country. From a country, a person may be _banished_, _exiled_, or
_expatriated_; _banished_ from any country where he may happen to be,
but _expatriated_ or _exiled_ only from his own. One may _expatriate_ or
_exile_ himself; he is _banished_ by others. _Banish_ is a word of wide
import; one may _banish_ disturbing thoughts; care may _banish_ sleep.
To _expel_ is to _drive out_ with violence or rudeness, and so often
with disgrace.
Cataline was banished _from_ Rome; John the Apostle was banished _to_
* * * * *
beach, bound, brink, edge, margin, shore,
border, brim, coast, marge, rim, strand.
_Bank_ is a general term for the land along the edge of a water course;
it may also denote a raised portion of the bed of a river, lake, or
ocean; as, the _Banks_ of Newfoundland. A _beach_ is a strip or expanse
of incoherent wave-worn sand, which is often pebbly or full of boulders;
we speak of the _beach_ of a lake or ocean; a _beach_ is sometimes found
in the bend of a river. _Strand_ is a more poetic term for a wave-washed
shore, especially as a place for landing or embarking; as, the keel
grates on the _strand_. The whole line of a country or continent that
borders the sea is a _coast_. _Shore_ is any land, whether cliff, or
sand, or marsh, bordering water. We do not speak of the _coast_ of a
river, nor of the _banks_ of the ocean, tho there may be _banks_ by or
under the sea. _Edge_ is the line where land and water meet; as, the
water's _edge_. _Brink_ is the place from which one may fall; as, the
river's _brink_; the _brink_ of a precipice; the _brink_ of ruin.
* * * * *
badinage, derision, jeering, raillery, sarcasm,
chaff, irony, mockery, ridicule, satire.
_Banter_ is the touching upon some fault, weakness, or fancied secret of
another in a way half to pique and half to please; _badinage_ is
delicate, refined _banter_. _Raillery_ has more sharpness, but is
usually good-humored and well meant. _Irony_, the saying one thing that
the reverse may be understood, may be either mild or bitter. All the
other words have a hostile intent. _Ridicule_ makes a person or thing
the subject of contemptuous merriment; _derision_ seeks to make the
object derided seem utterly despicable--to laugh it to scorn. _Chaff_ is
the coarse witticism of the streets, perhaps merry, oftener malicious;
_jeering_ is loud, rude _ridicule_, as of a hostile crowd or mob.
_Mockery_ is more studied, and may include mimicry and personal
violence, as well as scornful speech. A _satire_ is a formal
composition; a _sarcasm_ may be an impromptu sentence. The _satire_
shows up follies to keep people from them; the _sarcasm_ hits them
because they are foolish, without inquiring whether it will do good or
harm; the _satire_ is plainly uttered; the _sarcasm_ is covert.
* * * * *
atrocious, brutal, merciless, uncivilized,
barbarian, cruel, rude, uncouth,
barbaric, inhuman, savage, untamed.
Whatever is not civilized is _barbarian_; _barbaric_ indicates rude
magnificence, uncultured richness; as, _barbaric_ splendor, a _barbaric_
melody. _Barbarous_ refers to the worst side of _barbarian_ life, and to
revolting acts, especially of cruelty, such as a civilized man would not
be expected to do; as, a _barbarous_ deed. We may, however, say
_barbarous_ nations, _barbarous_ tribes, without implying anything more
than want of civilization and culture. _Savage_ is more distinctly
bloodthirsty than _barbarous_. In this sense we speak of a _savage_
beast and of _barbarous_ usage.
civilized, cultured, elegant, humane, polite, tender,
courtly, delicate, graceful, nice, refined, urbane.
* * * * *
bar, bulwark, obstruction, rampart,
barricade, hindrance, parapet, restraint,
breastwork, obstacle, prohibition, restriction.
A _bar_ is something that is or may be firmly fixed, ordinarily with
intent to prevent entrance or egress; as, the _bars_ of a prison cell;
the _bars_ of a wood-lot. A _barrier_ obstructs, but is not necessarily
impassable. _Barrier_ is used of objects more extensive than those to
which _bar_ is ordinarily applied. A mountain range may be a _barrier_
to exploration; but a mass of sand across the entrance to a harbor is
called a _bar_. Discovered falsehood is a _bar_ to confidence.
_Barricade_ has become practically a technical name for an improvised
street fortification, and, unless in some way modified, is usually so
understood. A _parapet_ is a low or breast-high wall, as about the edge
of a roof, terrace, etc., especially, in military use, such a wall for
the protection of troops; a _rampart_ is the embankment surrounding a
fort, on which the _parapet_ is raised; the word _rampart_ is often used
as including the _parapet_. _Bulwark_ is a general word for any
defensive wall or _rampart_; its only technical use at present is in
nautical language, where it signifies the raised side of a ship above
the upper deck, topped by the rail. Compare BOUNDARY; IMPEDIMENT.
admittance, opening, road, transit,
entrance, passage, thoroughfare, way.
A barrier _to_ progress, _against_ invasion; a barrier _between_
* * * * *
action, combat, encounter, passage of arms,
affair, conflict, engagement, skirmish,
bout, contest, fight, strife.
_Conflict_ is a general word which describes opponents, whether
individuals or hosts, as dashed together. One continuous _conflict_
between entire armies is a _battle_. Another _battle_ may be fought upon
the same field after a considerable interval; or a new _battle_ may
follow immediately, the armies meeting upon a new field. An _action_ is
brief and partial; a _battle_ may last for days. _Engagement_ is a
somewhat formal expression for _battle_; as, it was the commander's
purpose to avoid a general _engagement_. A protracted war, including
many _battles_, may be a stubborn _contest_. _Combat_, originally a
hostile _encounter_ between individuals, is now used also for extensive
_engagements_. A _skirmish_ is between small detachments or scattered
troops. An _encounter_ may be either purposed or accidental, between
individuals or armed forces. _Fight_ is a word of less dignity than
_battle_; we should not ordinarily speak of Waterloo as a _fight_,
unless where the word is used in the sense of fighting; as, I was in the
thick of the _fight_.
armistice, concord, peace, suspension of hostilities, truce.
A battle _of_ giants; battle _between_ armies; a battle _for_ life,
_against_ invaders; a battle _to_ the death; the battle _of_ (more
rarely _at_) Marathon.
* * * * *
bastinado, chastise, overcome, spank, thrash,
batter, conquer, pommel, strike, vanquish,
belabor, cudgel, pound, surpass, whip,
bruise, defeat, scourge, switch, worst.
castigate, flog, smite,
_Strike_ is the word for a single blow; to _beat_ is to _strike_
repeatedly, as a bird _beats_ the air with its wings. Others of the
above words describe the manner of _beating_, as _bastinado_, to _beat_
on the soles of the feet; _belabor_, to inflict a comprehensive and
exhaustive _beating_; _cudgel_, to _beat_ with a stick; _thrash_, as
wheat was _beaten_ out with the old hand-flail; to _pound_ (akin to L.
_pondus_, a weight) is to _beat_ with a heavy, and _pommel_ with a
blunt, instrument. To _batter_ and to _bruise_ refer to the results of
_beating_; that is _battered_ which is broken or defaced by repeated
blows on the surface (compare synonyms for SHATTER); that is _bruised_
which has suffered even one severe contusion. The metaphorical sense of
_beat_, however, so far preponderates that one may be very badly
_bruised_ and _battered_, and yet not be said to be _beaten_, unless he
has got the worst of the _beating_. To _beat_ a combatant is to disable
or dishearten him for further fighting. Hence _beat_ becomes the
synonym for every word which implies getting the advantage of another.
Compare CONQUER.
fail, fall, get the worst of, go down, go under, surrender.
Almost all antonyms in this class are passive, and can be formed
indefinitely from the conquering words by the use of the auxiliary _be_;
as, be beaten, be defeated, be conquered, etc.
Beat _with_ a stick _over_ the head; beat _by_ a trick; _out of_ town;
beat _to_ the ground; _into_ submission.
* * * * *
attractive, charming, exquisite, handsome,
beauteous, comely, fair, lovely,
bewitching, delightful, fine, picturesque,
bonny, elegant, graceful, pretty.
The definition of beauty, "perfection of form," is a good key to the
meaning of _beautiful_, if we understand "form" in its widest sense.
There must also be harmony and unity, and in human beings spiritual
loveliness, to constitute an object or a person really _beautiful_.
Thus, we speak of a _beautiful_ landscape, a _beautiful_ poem. But
_beautiful_ implies also, in concrete objects, softness of outline and
delicacy of mold; it is opposed to all that is hard and rugged, hence we
say a _beautiful_ woman, but not a _beautiful_ man. _Beautiful_ has the
further limit of not transcending our powers of appreciation. _Pretty_
expresses in a far less degree that which is pleasing to a refined taste
in objects comparatively small, slight, and dainty; as, a _pretty_
bonnet; a _pretty_ girl. That is _handsome_ which is not only
superficially pleasing, but well and harmoniously proportioned, with
usually the added idea that it is made so by art, breeding, or training;
as, a _handsome_ horse; a _handsome_ house. _Handsome_ is a term far
inferior to _beautiful_; we may even say a _handsome_ villain. _Fair_
denotes what is bright, smooth, clear, and without blemish; as, a _fair_
face. The word applies wholly to what is superficial; we can say
"_fair_, yet false." In a specific sense, _fair_ has the sense of blond,
as opposed to dark or brunette. One who possesses vivacity, wit, good
nature, or other pleasing qualities may be _attractive_ without beauty.
_Comely_ denotes an aspect that is smooth, genial, and wholesome, with a
certain fulness of contour and pleasing symmetry, tho falling short of
the _beautiful_; as, a _comely_ matron. That is _picturesque_ which
would make a striking picture.
awkward, frightful, grotesque, repulsive, uncouth,
clumsy, ghastly, hideous, shocking, ungainly,
deformed, grim, horrid, ugly, unlovely,
disgusting, grisly, odious, unattractive, unpleasant.
Beautiful _to_ the eye; beautiful _in_ appearance, _in_ spirit;
"beautiful _for_ situation," _Ps._ xlviii, 2; beautiful _of_ aspect,
_of_ its kind.
* * * * *
as, for, inasmuch as, since.
_Because_, literally _by_-cause, is the most direct and complete word
for giving the reason of a thing. _Since_, originally denoting
succession in time, signifies a succession in a chain of reasoning, a
natural inference or result. _As_ indicates something like, coordinate,
parallel. _Since_ is weaker than _because_; _as_ is weaker than _since_;
either may introduce the reason before the main statement; thus, _since_
or _as_ you are going, I will accompany you. Often the weaker word is
the more courteous, implying less constraint; for example, _as_ you
request it, I will come, rather than I will come _because_ you request
it. _Inasmuch as_ is a formal and qualified expression, implying by just
so much, and no more; thus, _inasmuch as_ the debtor has no property, I
abandon the claim. _For_ is a loose connective, giving often mere
suggestion or indication rather than reason or cause; as, it is morning,
_for_ (not _because_) the birds are singing.
altho, however, nevertheless, notwithstanding, yet.
Compare synonyms for BUT; NOTWITHSTANDING.
* * * * *
befitting, congruous, fit, meet, seemly,
beseeming, decent, fitting, neat, suitable,
comely, decorous, graceful, proper, worthy.
That is _becoming_ in dress which suits the complexion, figure, and
other qualities of the wearer, so as to produce on the whole a pleasing
effect. That is _decent_ which does not offend modesty or propriety.
That is _suitable_ which is adapted to the age, station, situation, and
other circumstances of the wearer; coarse, heavy boots are _suitable_
for farm-work; a juvenile style of dress is not _suitable_ for an old
lady. In conduct much the same rules apply. The dignity and gravity of a
patriarch would not be _becoming_ to a child; at a funeral lively,
cheery sociability would not be _decorous_, while noisy hilarity would
not be _decent_; sumptuous display would not be _suitable_ for a poor
person. _Fit_ is a compendious term for whatever fits the person, time,
place, occasion, etc.; as, a _fit_ person; a _fit_ abode; a _fit_ place.
_Fitting_, or _befitting_, is somewhat more elegant, implying a nicer
adaptation. _Meet_, a somewhat archaic word, expresses a moral fitness;
as, _meet_ for heaven. Compare BEAUTIFUL.
awkward, ill-fitting, indecent, unbecoming, unseemly,
ill-becoming, improper, indecorous, unfit, unsuitable.
The dress was becoming _to_ the wearer. Such conduct was becoming _in_
* * * * *
arising, inauguration, origin, source,
commencement, inception, outset, spring,
fount, initiation, rise, start.
fountain, opening,
The Latin _commencement_ is more formal than the Saxon _beginning_, as
the verb _commence_, is more formal than _begin_. _Commencement_ is for
the most part restricted to some form of action, while _beginning_ has
no restriction, but may be applied to action, state, material, extent,
enumeration, or to whatever else may be conceived of as having a first
part, point, degree, etc. The letter A is at the _beginning_ (not the
_commencement_) of every alphabet. If we were to speak of the
_commencement_ of the Pacific Railroad, we should be understood to refer
to the enterprise and its initiatory act; if we were to refer to the
roadway we should say "Here is the _beginning_ of the Pacific Railroad."
In the great majority of cases _begin_ and _beginning_ are preferable to
_commence_ and _commencement_ as the simple, idiomatic English words,
always accurate and expressive. "In the _beginning_ was the word,"
_John_ i, 1. An _origin_ is the point from which something starts or
sets out, often involving, and always suggesting causal connection; as,
the _origin_ of evil; the _origin_ of a nation, a government, or a
family. A _source_ is that which furnishes a first and continuous
supply, that which flows forth freely or may be readily recurred to; as,
the _source_ of a river; a _source_ of knowledge; a _source_ of
inspiration; fertile land is a _source_ (not an _origin_) of wealth. A
_rise_ is thought of as in an action; we say that a lake is the _source_
of a certain river, or that the river takes its _rise_ from the lake.
Motley wrote of "The _Rise_ of the Dutch Republic." _Fount_, _fountain_,
and _spring_, in their figurative senses, keep close to their literal
meaning. Compare CAUSE.
See synonyms for END.
* * * * *
action, breeding, conduct, deportment, manner,
bearing, carriage, demeanor, life, manners.
_Behavior_ is our _action_ in the presence of others; _conduct_ includes
also that which is known only to ourselves and our Maker. _Carriage_
expresses simply the manner of holding the body, especially in sitting
or walking, as when it is said of a lady "she has a fine _carriage_."
_Bearing_ refers to the bodily expression of feeling or disposition; as,
a haughty _bearing_; a noble _bearing_. _Demeanor_ is the bodily
expression, not only of feelings, but of moral states; as, a devout
_demeanor_. _Breeding_, unless with some adverse limitation, denotes
that _manner_ and _conduct_ which result from good birth and training.
_Deportment_ is _behavior_ as related to a set of rules; as, the pupil's
_deportment_ was faultless. A person's _manner_ may be that of a moment,
or toward a single person; his _manners_ are his habitual style of
_behavior_ toward or before others, especially in matters of etiquette
and politeness; as, good _manners_ are always pleasing.
The behavior _of_ the pastor _to_ or _toward_ his people, _on_ or _upon_
the streets, _before_ the multitude, or _in_ the church, _with_ the
godly, or _with_ the worldly, was alike faultless.
* * * * *
bias, curve, diverge, mold, submit, twist,
bow, deflect, incline, persuade, turn, warp,
crook, deviate, influence, stoop, twine, yield.
In some cases a thing is spoken of as _bent_ where the parts make an
angle; but oftener to _bend_ is understood to be to draw to or through a
curve; as, to _bend_ a bow. To _submit_ or _yield_ is to _bend_ the mind
humbly to another's wishes. To _incline_ or _influence_ is to _bend_
another's wishes toward our own; to _persuade_ is to draw them quite
over. To _warp_ is to _bend_ silently through the whole fiber, as a
board in the sun. To _crook_ is to _bend_ irregularly, as a _crooked_
stick. _Deflect_, _deviate_, and _diverge_ are said of any turning away;
_deviate_ commonly of a slight and gradual movement, _diverge_ of a more
sharp and decided one. To _bias_ is to cut across the texture, or
incline to one side; in figurative use always with an unfavorable
import. _Mold_ is a stronger work than _bend_; we may _bend_ by a
superior force that which still resists the constraint; as, a _bent_
bow; we _mold_ something plastic entirely to some desired form.
* * * * *
almsgiving, charity, kind-heartedness, munificence,
beneficence, generosity, kindliness, philanthropy,
benignity, good-will, kindness, sympathy,
bounty, humanity, liberality, unselfishness.
According to the etymology and original usage, _beneficence_ is the
doing well, _benevolence_ the wishing or willing well to others; but
_benevolence_ has come to include _beneficence_, and to displace it. We
should not now speak of _benevolence_ which did not help, unless where
there was no power to help; even then we should rather say _good-will_
or _sympathy_. _Charity_, which originally meant the purest love for God
and man (as in _1 Cor._ xiii), is now almost universally applied to some
form of _almsgiving_, and is much more limited in meaning than
_benevolence_. _Benignity_ suggests some occult power of blessing, such
as was formerly ascribed to the stars; we may say a good man has an air
of _benignity_. _Kindness_ and _tenderness_ are personal; _benevolence_
and _charity_ are general. _Kindness_ extends to all sentient beings,
whether men or animals, in prosperity or in distress. _Tenderness_
especially goes out toward the young, feeble, and needy, or even to the
dead. _Humanity_ is so much _kindness_ and _tenderness_ toward man or
beast as it would be inhuman not to have; we say of some act of care or
_kindness_, "common _humanity_ requires it." _Generosity_ is
self-forgetful _kindness_ in disposition or action; it includes much
besides giving; as, the _generosity_ of forgiveness. _Bounty_ applies to
ample giving, which on a larger scale is expressed by _munificence_.
_Liberality_ indicates broad, genial kindly views, whether manifested in
gifts or otherwise. We speak of the _bounty_ of a generous host, the
_liberality_ or _munificence_ of the founder of a college, or of the
_liberality_ of a theologian toward the holders of conflicting beliefs.
_Philanthropy_ applies to wide schemes for human welfare, often, but not
always, involving large expenditures in _charity_ or _benevolence_.
Compare MERCY.
barbarity, greediness, ill-will, malignity, self-seeking,
brutality, harshness, inhumanity, niggardliness, stinginess,
churlishness, illiberality, malevolence, selfishness, unkindness.
Benevolence _of_, _on the part of_, or _from_ the wealthy, _to_ or
_toward_ the poor.
* * * * *
compel, fetter, oblige, restrict, shackle,
engage, fix, restrain, secure, tie.
_Binding_ is primarily by something flexible, as a cord or bandage drawn
closely around an object or group of objects, as when we _bind_ up a
wounded limb. We _bind_ a sheaf of wheat with a cord; we _tie_ the cord
in a knot; we _fasten_ by any means that will make things hold together,
as a board by nails, or a door by a lock. The verbs _tie_ and _fasten_
are scarcely used in the figurative sense, tho, using the noun, we speak
of the _ties_ of affection. _Bind_ has an extensive figurative use. One
is _bound_ by conscience or honor; he is _obliged_ by some imperious
necessity; _engaged_ by his own promise; _compelled_ by physical force
or its moral equivalent.
free, loose, set free, unbind, unfasten, unloose, untie.
Bind _to_ a pillar; _unto_ an altar; _to_ a service; bind one _with_
chains or _in_ chains; one is bound _by_ a contract; a splint is bound
_upon_ a limb; the arms may be bound _to_ the sides or _behind_ the
back; bind a wreath _about_, _around_, or _round_ the head; twigs are
bound _in_ or _into_ fagots; for military purposes, they are bound _at_
both ends and _in_ the middle; one is bound _by_ a contract, or bound
_under_ a penalty to fulfil a contract.
* * * * *
acerb, acidulous, caustic, pungent, stinging,
acetous, acrid, cutting, savage, tart,
acid, acrimonious, harsh, sharp, vinegarish,
acidulated, biting, irate, sour, virulent.
_Acid_, _sour_, and _bitter_ agree in being contrasted with _sweet_,
but the two former are sharply distinguished from the latter. _Acid_ or
_sour_ is the taste of vinegar or lemon-juice; _bitter_ that of quassia,
quinine, or strychnine. _Acrid_ is nearly allied to _bitter_. _Pungent_
suggests the effect of pepper or snuff on the organs of taste or smell;
as, a _pungent_ odor. _Caustic_ indicates the corroding effect of some
strong chemical, as nitrate of silver. In a figurative sense, as applied
to language or character, these words are very closely allied. We say a
_sour_ face, _sharp_ words, _bitter_ complaints, _caustic_ wit,
_cutting_ irony, _biting_ sarcasm, a _stinging_ taunt, _harsh_ judgment,
a _tart_ reply. _Harsh_ carries the idea of intentional and severe
unkindness, _bitter_ of a severity that arises from real or supposed ill
treatment. The _bitter_ speech springs from the sore heart. _Tart_ and
_sharp_ utterances may not proceed from an intention to wound, but
merely from a wit recklessly keen; _cutting_, _stinging_, and _biting_
speech indicates more or less of hostile intent, the latter being the
more deeply malicious. The _caustic_ utterance is meant to burn, perhaps
wholesomely, as in the satire of Juvenal or Cervantes. Compare MOROSE.
dulcet, honeyed, luscious, nectared, saccharine, sweet.
* * * * *
BLEACH, _v._
blanch, make white, whiten, whitewash.
To _whiten_ is to _make white_ in general, but commonly it means to
overspread with white coloring-matter. _Bleach_ and _blanch_ both
signify to _whiten_ by depriving of color, the former permanently, as
linen; the latter either permanently (as, to _blanch_ celery) or
temporarily (as, to _blanch_ the cheek with fear). To _whitewash_ is to
_whiten_ superficially, especially by false approval.
blacken, color, darken, dye, soil, stain.
* * * * *
blot, defacement, disgrace, injury, spot,
blur, defect, dishonor, reproach, stain,
brand, deformity, fault, smirch, stigma,
crack, dent, flaw, soil, taint,
daub, disfigurement, imperfection, speck, tarnish.
Whatever mars the beauty or completeness of an object is a _blemish_,
whether original, as squinting eyes, or the result of accident or
disease, etc., as the pits of smallpox. A _blemish_ is superficial; a
_flaw_ or _taint_ is in structure or substance. In the moral sense, we
speak of a _blot_ or _stain_ upon reputation; a _flaw_ or _taint_ in
character. A _defect_ is the want or lack of something; _fault_,
primarily a failing, is something that fails of an apparent intent or
disappoints a natural expectation; thus a sudden dislocation or
displacement of geological strata is called a _fault_. Figuratively, a
_blemish_ comes from one's own ill-doing; a _brand_ or _stigma_ is
inflicted by others; as, the _brand_ of infamy.
* * * * *
box, concussion, disaster, misfortune, stripe,
buffet, cuff, knock, rap, stroke,
calamity, cut, lash, shock, thump.
A _blow_ is a sudden impact, as of a fist or a club; a _stroke_ is a
sweeping movement; as, the _stroke_ of a sword, of an oar, of the arm in
swimming. A _shock_ is the sudden encounter with some heavy body; as,
colliding railway-trains meet with a _shock_; the _shock_ of battle. A
_slap_ is given with the open hand, a _lash_ with a whip, thong, or the
like; we speak also of the _cut_ of a whip. A _buffet_ or _cuff_ is
given only with the hand; a _blow_ either with hand or weapon. A _cuff_
is a somewhat sidelong _blow_, generally with the open hand; as, a
_cuff_ or _box_ on the ear. A _stripe_ is the effect or mark of a
_stroke_. In the metaphorical sense, _blow_ is used for sudden,
stunning, staggering _calamity_ or sorrow; _stroke_ for sweeping
_disaster_, and also for sweeping achievement and success. We say a
_stroke_ of paralysis, or a _stroke_ of genius. We speak of the
_buffets_ of adverse fortune. _Shock_ is used of that which is at once
sudden, violent, and prostrating; we speak of a _shock_ of electricity,
the _shock_ of an amputation, a _shock_ of surprise. Compare BEAT.
* * * * *
abrupt, brusk, impolite, rough,
blunt, coarse, inconsiderate, rude,
blustering, discourteous, open, uncivil,
bold, frank, plain-spoken, unmannerly.
_Bluff_ is a word of good meaning, as are _frank_ and _open_. The
_bluff_ man talks and laughs loudly and freely, says and does whatever
he pleases with fearless good nature, and with no thought of annoying or
giving pain to others. The _blunt_ man says things which he is perfectly
aware are disagreeable, either from a defiant indifference to others'
feelings, or from the pleasure of tormenting.
bland, genial, polished, polite, refined, reserved, urbane.
* * * * *
ashes, clay, dust, frame, system,
carcass, corpse, form, remains, trunk.
_Body_ denotes the entire physical structure, considered as a whole, of
man or animal; _form_ looks upon it as a thing of shape and outline,
perhaps of beauty; _frame_ regards it as supported by its bony
framework; _system_ views it as an assemblage of many related and
harmonious organs. _Body_, _form_, _frame_, and _system_ may be either
dead or living; _clay_ and _dust_ are sometimes so used in religious or
poetic style, tho ordinarily these words are used only of the dead.
_Corpse_ and _remains_ are used only of the dead. _Corpse_ is the plain
technical word for a dead body still retaining its unity; _remains_ may
be used after any lapse of time; the latter is also the more refined and
less ghastly term; as, friends are invited to view the _remains_.
_Carcass_ applies only to the _body_ of an animal, or of a human being
regarded with contempt and loathing. Compare COMPANY.
intellect, intelligence, mind, soul, spirit.
* * * * *
twain, two.
_Both_ refers to _two_ objects previously _mentioned_, or had in mind,
viewed or acting in connection; as, _both_ men fired at once; "_two_ men
fired" might mean any two, out of any number, and without reference to
any previous thought or mention. _Twain_ is a nearly obsolete form of
_two_. _The two_, or _the twain_, is practically equivalent to _both_;
_both_, however, expresses a closer unity. We would say _both_ men
rushed against the enemy; the _two_ men flew at each other. Compare
each, either, every, neither, none, no one, not any.
* * * * *
barrier, confines, limit, margin,
border, edge, line, term,
bound, enclosure, marches, termination,
bourn, frontier, marge, verge.
bourne, landmark,
The _boundary_ was originally the _landmark_, that which marked off one
piece of territory from another. The _bound_ is the _limit_, marked or
unmarked. Now, however, the difference between the two words has come to
be simply one of usage. As regards territory, we speak of the
_boundaries_ of a nation or of an estate; the _bounds_ of a college, a
ball-ground, etc. _Bounds_ may be used for all within the _limits_,
_boundary_ for the limiting line only. _Boundary_ looks to that which is
without; _bound_ only to that which is within. Hence we speak of the
_bounds_, not the _boundaries_, of a subject, of the universe, etc.; we
say the students were forbidden to go beyond the _bounds_. A _barrier_
is something that bars ingress or egress. A _barrier_ may be a
_boundary_, as was the Great Wall of China. _Bourn_, or _bourne_, is a
poetical expression for _bound_ or _boundary_. A _border_ is a strip of
land along the _boundary_. _Edge_ is a sharp terminal line, as where
river or ocean meets the land. _Limit_ is now used almost wholly in the
figurative sense; as, the _limit_ of discussion, of time, of
jurisdiction. _Line_ is a military term; as, within the _lines_, or
through the _lines_, of an army. Compare BARRIER; END.
center, citadel, estate, inside, interior, land, region, territory.
The boundaries _of_ an estate; the boundary _between_ neighboring
* * * * *
adventurous, courageous, fearless, undaunted,
bold, daring, gallant, undismayed,
chivalric, dauntless, heroic, valiant,
chivalrous, doughty, intrepid, venturesome.
The _adventurous_ man goes in quest of danger; the _bold_ man stands out
and faces danger or censure; the _brave_ man combines confidence with
resolution in presence of danger; the _chivalrous_ man puts himself in
peril for others' protection. The _daring_ step out to defy danger; the
_dauntless_ will not flinch before anything that may come to them; the
_doughty_ will give and take limitless hard knocks. The _adventurous_
find something romantic in dangerous enterprises; the _venturesome_ may
be simply heedless, reckless, or ignorant. All great explorers have been
_adventurous_; children, fools, and criminals are _venturesome_. The
_fearless_ and _intrepid_ possess unshaken nerves in any place of
danger. _Courageous_ is more than _brave_, adding a moral element: the
_courageous_ man steadily encounters perils to which he may be keenly
sensitive, at the call of duty; the _gallant_ are _brave_ in a dashing,
showy, and splendid way; the _valiant_ not only dare great dangers, but
achieve great results; the _heroic_ are nobly _daring_ and _dauntless_,
truly _chivalrous_, sublimely _courageous_. Compare FORTITUDE.
afraid, cringing, fearful, pusillanimous, timid,
cowardly, faint-hearted, frightened, shrinking, timorous.
* * * * *
bankrupt, crack, destroy, rive, shatter, split,
burst, crush, fracture, rupture, shiver, sunder,
cashier, demolish, rend, sever, smash, transgress.
To _break_ is to divide sharply, with severance of particles, as by a
blow or strain. To _burst_ is to _break_ by pressure from within, as a
bombshell, but it is used also for the result of violent force otherwise
exerted; as, to _burst_ in a door, where the door yields as if to an
explosion. To _crush_ is to _break_ by pressure from without, as an
egg-shell. To _crack_ is to _break_ without complete severance of parts;
a _cracked_ cup or mirror may still hold together. _Fracture_ has a
somewhat similar sense. In a _fractured_ limb, the ends of the _broken_
bone may be separated, tho both portions are still retained within the
common muscular tissue. A _shattered_ object is _broken_ suddenly and in
numerous directions; as, a vase is _shattered_ by a blow, a building by
an earthquake. A _shivered_ glass is _broken_ into numerous minute,
needle-like fragments. To _smash_ is to _break_ thoroughly to pieces
with a crashing sound by some sudden act of violence; a watch once
_smashed_ will scarcely be worth repair. To _split_ is to cause wood to
crack or part in the way of the grain, and is applied to any other case
where a natural tendency to separation is enforced by an external cause;
as, to _split_ a convention or a party. To _demolish_ is to beat down,
as a mound, building, fortress, etc.; to _destroy_ is to put by any
process beyond restoration physically, mentally, or morally; to
_destroy_ an army is so to _shatter_ and scatter it that it can not be
rallied or reassembled as a fighting force. Compare REND.
attach, bind, fasten, join, mend, secure, solder, unite, weld.
Break _to_ pieces, or _in_ pieces, _into_ several pieces (when the
object is thought of as divided rather than shattered); break _with_ a
friend; _from_ or _away from_ a suppliant; break _into_ a house; _out
of_ prison; break _across_ one's knee; break _through_ a hedge; break
_in upon_ one's retirement; break _over_ the rules; break _on_ or _upon_
the shore, _against_ the rocks.
* * * * *
animal, brutal, ignorant, sensual, swinish,
base, brute, imbruted, sottish, unintellectual,
beastly, carnal, insensible, stolid, unspiritual,
bestial, coarse, lascivious, stupid, vile.
A _brutish_ man simply follows his _animal_ instincts, without special
inclination to do harm; the _brutal_ have always a spirit of malice and
cruelty. _Brute_ has no special character, except as indicating what a
brute might possess; much the same is true of _animal_, except that
_animal_ leans more to the side of sensuality, _brute_ to that of force,
as appears in the familiar phrase "_brute_ force." Hunger is an _animal_
appetite; a _brute_ impulse suddenly prompts one to strike a blow in
anger. _Bestial_, in modern usage, implies an intensified and degrading
animalism. Any supremacy of the _animal_ or _brute_ instincts over the
intellectual and spiritual in man is _base_ and _vile_. _Beastly_ refers
largely to the outward and visible consequences of excess; as, _beastly_
drunkenness. Compare ANIMAL.
elevated, exalted, great, intellectual, noble,
enlightened, grand, humane, intelligent, refined.
* * * * *
blaze, char, flame, incinerate, set fire to,
brand, consume, flash, kindle, set on fire,
cauterize, cremate, ignite, scorch, singe.
To _burn_ is to subject to the action of fire, or of intense heat so as
to effect either partial change or complete combustion; as, to _burn_
wood in the fire; to _burn_ one's hand on a hot stove; the sun _burns_
the face. One _brands_ with a hot iron, but _cauterizes_ with some
corrosive substance, as silver nitrate. _Cremate_ is now used
specifically for _consuming_ a dead body by intense heat. To
_incinerate_ is to reduce to ashes; the sense differs little from that
of _cremate_, but it is in less popular use. To _kindle_ is to _set on
fire_, as if with a candle; _ignite_ is the more learned and scientific
word for the same thing, extending even to the heating of metals to a
state of incandescence without burning. To _scorch_ and to _singe_ are
superficial, and to _char_ usually so. Both _kindle_ and _burn_ have an
extensive figurative use; as, to _kindle_ strife; to _burn_ with wrath,
love, devotion, curiosity. Compare LIGHT.
cool, extinguish, put out, smother, stifle, subdue.
To burn _in_ the fire, burn _with_ fire; burn _to_ the ground, burn _to_
ashes; burn _through_ the skin, or the roof; burn _into_ the soil, etc.
* * * * *
affair, commerce, handicraft, trading,
art, concern, job, traffic,
avocation, craft, occupation, transaction,
barter, duty, profession, vocation,
calling, employment, trade, work.
A _business_ is what one follows regularly; an _occupation_ is what he
happens at any time to be engaged in; trout-fishing may be one's
_occupation_ for a time, as a relief from _business_; _business_ is
ordinarily for profit, while the _occupation_ may be a matter of
learning, philanthropy, or religion. A _profession_ implies scholarship;
as, the learned _professions_. _Pursuit_ is an _occupation_ which one
follows with ardor. An _avocation_ is what calls one away from other
work; a _vocation_ or _calling_, that to which one is called by some
special fitness or sense of duty; thus, we speak of the gospel ministry
as a _vocation_ or _calling_, rather than a _business_. _Trade_ or
_trading_ is, in general, the exchanging of one thing for another; in
the special sense, a _trade_ is an _occupation_ involving manual
training and skilled labor; as, the ancient Jews held that every boy
should learn a _trade_. A _transaction_ is a single action, whether in
_business_, diplomacy, or otherwise; _affair_ has a similar, but lighter
meaning; as, this little _affair_; an important _transaction_. The
plural _affairs_ has a distinctive meaning, including all activities
where men deal with one another on any considerable scale; as, a man of
_affairs_. A _job_ is a piece of work viewed as a single undertaking,
and ordinarily paid for as such. _Trade_ and _commerce_ may be used as
equivalents, but _trade_ is capable of a more limited application; we
speak of the _trade_ of a village, the _commerce_ of a nation. _Barter_
is the direct exchange of commodities; _business_, _trade_, and
_commerce_ are chiefly transacted by means of money, bills of exchange,
etc. _Business_, _occupation_, etc., may be what one does independently;
_employment_ may be in the service of another. _Work_ is any application
of energy to secure a result, or the result thus secured; thus, we speak
of the _work_ of God. _Art_ in the industrial sense is a system of rules
and accepted methods for the accomplishment of some practical result;
as, the _art_ of printing; collectively, the _arts_. A _craft_ is some
occupation requiring technical skill or manual dexterity, or the
persons, collectively, engaged in its exercise; as, the weaver's
The business _of_ a druggist; in business _with_ his father; doing
business _for_ his father; have you business _with_ me? business _in_
New York; business _about_, _concerning_, or _in regard to_ certain
* * * * *
and, however, notwithstanding, that,
barely, just, only, tho,
besides, merely, provided, unless,
except, moreover, save, yet.
further, nevertheless, still,
_But_ ranges from the faintest contrast to absolute negation; as, I am
willing to go, _but_ (on the other hand) content to stay; he is not an
honest man, _but_ (on the contrary) a villain. The contrast may be with
a silent thought; as, _but_ let us go (it being understood that we might
stay longer). In restrictive use, _except_ and _excepting_ are slightly
more emphatic than _but_; we say, no injury _but_ a scratch; or, no
injury _except_ some painful bruises. Such expressions as "words are
_but_ breath" (nothing _but_) may be referred to the restrictive use by
ellipsis. So may the use of _but_ in the sense of _unless_; as, "it
never rains _but_ it pours." To the same head must be referred the
conditional use; as, "you may go, _but_ with your father's consent" (_i.
e._, "_provided_ you have," "_except_ that you must have," etc.). "Doubt
_but_" is now less used than the more logical "doubt _that_." _But_
never becomes a full synonym for _and_; _and_ adds something like, _but_
adds something different; "brave _and_ tender" implies that tenderness
is natural to the brave; "brave _but_ tender" implies that bravery and
tenderness are rarely combined. For the concessive use, compare
* * * * *
by dint of, by means of, through, with.
_By_ refers to the agent; _through_, to the means, cause, or condition;
_with_, to the instrument. _By_ commonly refers to persons; _with_, to
things; _through_ may refer to either. The road having become impassable
_through_ long disuse, a way was opened _by_ pioneers _with_ axes. _By_
may, however, be applied to any object which is viewed as partaking of
action and agency; as, the metal was corroded _by_ the acid; skill is
gained _by_ practise. We speak of communicating _with_ a person _by_
letter. _Through_ implies a more distant connection than _by_ or _with_,
and more intervening elements. Material objects are perceived _by_ the
mind _through_ the senses.
* * * * *
combination, confederacy, crew, gang,
conclave, conspiracy, faction, junto.
A _conspiracy_ is a _combination_ of persons for an evil purpose, or the
act of so combining. _Conspiracy_ is a distinct crime under common, and
generally under statutory, law. A _faction_ is more extensive than a
_conspiracy_, less formal in organization, less definite in plan.
_Faction_ and its adjective, _factious_, have always an unfavorable
sense. _Cabal_ commonly denotes a _conspiracy_ of leaders. A _gang_ is a
company of workmen all doing the same work under one leader; the word is
used figuratively only of _combinations_ which it is meant to stigmatize
as rude and mercenary; _crew_ is used in a closely similar sense. A
_conclave_ is secret, but of larger numbers, ordinarily, than a _cabal_,
and may have honorable use; as, the _conclave_ of cardinals.
* * * * *
account, consider, enumerate, rate,
cast, count, estimate, reckon,
compute, deem, number, sum up.
_Number_ is the generic term. To _count_ is to _number_ one by one. To
_calculate_ is to use more complicated processes, as multiplication,
division, etc., more rapid but not less exact. _Compute_ allows more of
the element of probability, which is still more strongly expressed by
_estimate_. We _compute_ the slain in a great war from the number known
to have fallen in certain great battles; _compute_ refers to the present
or the past, _estimate_ more frequently to the future; as, to _estimate_
the cost of a proposed building. To _enumerate_ is to mention item by
item; as, to _enumerate_ one's grievances. To _rate_ is to _estimate_ by
comparison, as if the object were one of a series. We _count_ upon a
desired future; we do not _count_ upon the undesired. As applied to the
present, we _reckon_ or _count_ a thing precious or worthless. Compare
It is vain to calculate _on_ or _upon_ an uncertain result.
* * * * *
CALL, _v._
bawl, cry (out), roar, shriek,
bellow, ejaculate, scream, vociferate,
clamor, exclaim, shout, yell.
To _call_ is to send out the voice in order to attract another's
attention, either by word or by inarticulate utterance. Animals _call_
their mates, or their young; a man _calls_ his dog, his horse, etc. The
sense is extended to include summons by bell, or any signal. To _shout_
is to _call_ or _exclaim_ with the fullest volume of sustained voice; to
_scream_ is to utter a shriller cry; to _shriek_ or to _yell_ refers to
that which is louder and wilder still. We _shout_ words; in _screaming_,
_shrieking_, or _yelling_ there is often no attempt at articulation. To
_bawl_ is to utter senseless, noisy cries, as of a child in pain or
anger. _Bellow_ and _roar_ are applied to the utterances of animals, and
only contemptuously to those of persons. To _clamor_ is to utter with
noisy iteration; it applies also to the confused cries of a multitude.
To _vociferate_ is commonly applied to loud and excited speech where
there is little besides the exertion of voice. In _exclaiming_, the
utterance may not be strikingly, tho somewhat, above the ordinary tone
and pitch; we may _exclaim_ by mere interjections, or by connected
words, but always by some articulate utterance. To _ejaculate_ is to
throw out brief, disconnected, but coherent utterances of joy, regret,
and especially of appeal, petition, prayer; the use of such devotional
utterances has received the special name of "ejaculatory prayer." To
_cry out_ is to give forth a louder and more excited utterance than in
_exclaiming_ or _calling_; one often _exclaims_ with sudden joy as well
as sorrow; if he _cries out_, it is oftener in grief or agony. In the
most common colloquial usage, to _cry_ is to express grief or pain by
weeping or sobbing. One may _exclaim_, _cry out_, or _ejaculate_ with no
thought of others' presence; when he _calls_, it is to attract another's
be silent, be still, hark, hearken, hush, list, listen.
* * * * *
collected, imperturbable, sedate, still,
composed, peaceful, self-possessed, tranquil,
cool, placid, serene, undisturbed,
dispassionate, quiet, smooth, unruffled.
That is _calm_ which is free from disturbance or agitation; in the
physical sense, free from violent motion or action; in the mental or
spiritual realm, free from excited or disturbing emotion or passion. We
speak of a _calm_ sea, a _placid_ lake, a _serene_ sky, a _still_ night,
a _quiet_ day, a _quiet_ home. We speak, also, of "_still_ waters,"
"_smooth_ sailing," which are different modes of expressing freedom from
manifest agitation. Of mental conditions, one is _calm_ who triumphs
over a tendency to excitement; _cool_, if he scarcely feels the
tendency. One may be _calm_ by the very reaction from excitement, or by
the oppression of overpowering emotion, as we speak of the calmness of
despair. One is _composed_ who has subdued excited feeling; he is
_collected_ when he has every thought, feeling, or perception awake and
at command. _Tranquil_ refers to a present state, _placid_, to a
prevailing tendency. We speak of a _tranquil_ mind, a _placid_
disposition. The _serene_ spirit dwells as if in the clear upper air,
above all storm and shadow.
The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast,
_Serene_, and resolute, and _still_,
And _calm_, and _self-possessed_.
LONGFELLOW _Light of Stars_ st. 7.
agitated, excited, frenzied, passionate, ruffled, violent,
boisterous, fierce, furious, raging, stormy, wild,
disturbed, frantic, heated, roused, turbulent, wrathful.
* * * * *
abolish, discharge, nullify, rescind,
abrogate, efface, obliterate, revoke,
annul, erase, quash, rub off _or_ out,
blot out, expunge, remove, scratch out,
cross off _or_ out, make void, repeal, vacate.
_Cancel_, _efface_, _erase_, _expunge_, and _obliterate_ have as their
first meaning the removal of written characters or other forms of
record. To _cancel_ is, literally, to make a lattice by cross-lines,
exactly our English _cross out_; to _efface_ is to _rub off_, smooth
away the face, as of an inscription; to _erase_ is to _scratch out_,
commonly for the purpose of writing something else in the same space; to
_expunge_, is to punch out with some sharp instrument, so as to show
that the words are no longer part of the writing; to _obliterate_ is to
cover over or remove, as a letter, as was done by reversing the Roman
stylus, and _rubbing out_ with the rounded end what had been written
with the point on the waxen tablet. What has been _canceled_, _erased_,
_expunged_, may perhaps still be traced; what is _obliterated_ is gone
forever, as if it had never been. In many establishments, when a debt
is _discharged_ by payment, the record is _canceled_. The figurative use
of the words keeps close to the primary sense. Compare ABOLISH.
approve, enact, establish, perpetuate, reenact, uphold,
confirm, enforce, maintain, record, sustain, write.
* * * * *
aboveboard, honest, open, truthful,
artless, impartial, simple, unbiased,
fair, ingenuous, sincere, unprejudiced,
frank, innocent, straightforward, unreserved,
guileless, naive, transparent, unsophisticated.
A _candid_ statement is meant to be true to the real facts and just to
all parties; a _fair_ statement is really so. _Fair_ is applied to the
conduct; _candid_ is not; as, _fair_ treatment, "a _fair_ field, and no
favor." One who is _frank_ has a fearless and unconstrained
truthfulness. _Honest_ and _ingenuous_ unite in expressing contempt for
deceit. On the other hand, _artless_, _guileless_, _naive_, _simple_,
and _unsophisticated_ express the goodness which comes from want of the
knowledge or thought of evil. As truth is not always agreeable or
timely, _candid_ and _frank_ have often an objectionable sense; "to be
_candid_ with you," "to be perfectly _frank_," are regarded as sure
preludes to something disagreeable. _Open_ and _unreserved_ may imply
unstudied truthfulness or defiant recklessness; as, _open_ admiration,
_open_ robbery. There may be _transparent_ integrity or _transparent_
fraud. _Sincere_ applies to the feelings, as being all that one's words
would imply.
adroit, cunning, diplomatic, intriguing, sharp, subtle,
artful, deceitful, foxy, knowing, shrewd, tricky,
crafty, designing, insincere, maneuvering, sly, wily.
Candid _in_ debate; candid _to_ or _toward_ opponents; candid _with_
friend or foe; to be candid _about_ or _in regard to_ the matter.
* * * * *
accouterments, harness, housings, trappings.
_Harness_ was formerly used of the armor of a knight as well as of a
horse; it is now used almost exclusively of the straps and appurtenances
worn by a horse when attached to a vehicle; the animal is said to be
"kind in _harness_." The other words apply to the ornamental outfit of a
horse, especially under saddle. We speak also of the _accouterments_ of
a soldier. _Caparison_ is used rarely and somewhat slightingly, and
_trappings_ quite contemptuously, for showy human apparel. Compare ARMS;
* * * * *
chief city, metropolis, seat of government.
The _metropolis_ is the chief city in the commercial, the _capital_ in
the political sense. The _capital_ of an American State is rarely its
* * * * *
anxiety, concern, oversight, trouble,
attention, direction, perplexity, vigilance,
caution, forethought, precaution, wariness,
charge, heed, prudence, watchfulness,
circumspection, management, solicitude, worry.
_Care_ concerns what we possess; _anxiety_, often, what we do not;
riches bring many _cares_; poverty brings many _anxieties_. _Care_ also
signifies watchful _attention_, in view of possible harm; as, "This side
up with _care_;" "Take _care_ of yourself;" or, as a sharp warning,
"Take _care_!" _Caution_ has a sense of possible harm and risk only to
be escaped, if at all, by careful deliberation and observation. _Care_
inclines to the positive, _caution_ to the negative; _care_ is shown in
doing, _caution_ largely in not doing. _Precaution_ is allied with
_care_, _prudence_ with _caution_; a man rides a dangerous horse with
_care_; _caution_ will keep him from mounting the horse; _precaution_
looks to the saddle-girths, bit and bridle, and all that may make the
rider secure. _Circumspection_ is watchful observation and calculation,
but without the timidity implied in _caution_. _Concern_ denotes a
serious interest, milder than _anxiety_; as, _concern_ for the safety of
a ship at sea. _Heed_ implies _attention_ without disquiet; it is now
largely displaced by _attention_ and _care_. _Solicitude_ involves
especially the element of desire, not expressed in _anxiety_, and of
hopefulness, not implied in _care_. A parent feels constant _solicitude_
for his children's welfare, _anxiety_ as to dangers that threaten it,
with _care_ to guard against them. _Watchfulness_ recognizes the
possibility of danger, _wariness_ the probability. A man who is not
influenced by _caution_ to keep out of danger may display great
_wariness_ in the midst of it. _Care_ has also the sense of
responsibility, with possible control, as expressed in _charge_,
_management_, _oversight_; as, these children are under my _care_; send
the money to me in _care_ of the firm. Compare ALARM; ANXIETY; PRUDENCE.
carelessness, inattention, negligence, oversight, remissness,
disregard, indifference, omission, recklessness, slight.
heedlessness, neglect,
Take care _of_ the house; _for_ the future; _about_ the matter.
* * * * *
charge, flight, passage, race,
course, line of achievement, public life, rush.
A _career_ was originally the ground for a race, or, especially, for a
knight's _charge_ in tournament or battle; whence _career_ was early
applied to the _charge_ itself.
If you will use the lance, take ground for your _career_.... The
four horsemen met in full _career_.
SCOTT _Quentin Durward_ ch. 14, p. 194. [D. F. & CO.]
In its figurative use _career_ signifies some continuous and conspicuous
work, usually a life-work, and most frequently one of honorable
achievement. Compare BUSINESS.
* * * * *
coddle, embrace, fondle, pamper,
court, flatter, kiss, pet.
To _caress_ is less than to _embrace_; more dignified and less familiar
than to _fondle_. A visitor _caresses_ a friend's child; a mother
_fondles_ her babe. _Fondling_ is always by touch; _caressing_ may be
also by words, or other tender and pleasing attentions.
See synonyms for AFFRONT.
Caressed _by_ or _with_ the hand; caressed _by_ admirers, _at_ court.
* * * * *
burlesque, extravaganza, mimicry, take-off,
exaggeration, imitation, parody, travesty.
A _caricature_ is a grotesque _exaggeration_ of striking features or
peculiarities, generally of a person; a _burlesque_ treats any subject
in an absurd or incongruous manner. A _burlesque_ is written or acted; a
_caricature_ is more commonly in sketch or picture. A _parody_ changes
the subject, but keeps the style; a _travesty_ keeps the subject, but
changes the style; a _burlesque_ does not hold itself to either subject
or style; but is content with a general resemblance to what it may
imitate. A _caricature_, _parody_, or _travesty_ must have an original;
a _burlesque_ may be an independent composition. An account of a
schoolboys' quarrel after the general manner of Homer's Iliad would be a
_burlesque_; the real story of the Iliad told in newspaper style would
be a _travesty_. An _extravaganza_ is a fantastic composition, musical,
dramatic, or narrative. _Imitation_ is serious; _mimicry_ is either
intentionally or unintentionally comical.
* * * * *
bear, convey, move, sustain, transmit,
bring, lift, remove, take, transport.
A person may _bear_ a load either when in motion or at rest; he
_carries_ it only when in motion. The stooping Atlas _bears_ the world
on his shoulders; swiftly moving Time _carries_ the hour-glass and
scythe; a person may be said either to _bear_ or to _carry_ a scar,
since it is upon him whether in motion or at rest. If an object is to be
_moved_ from the place we occupy, we say _carry_; if to the place we
occupy, we say _bring_. A messenger _carries_ a letter to a
correspondent, and _brings_ an answer. _Take_ is often used in this
sense in place of _carry_; as, _take_ that letter to the office. _Carry_
often signifies to _transport_ by personal strength, without reference
to the direction; as, that is more than he can _carry_; yet, even so, it
would not be admissible to say _carry_ it to me, or _carry_ it here; in
such case we must say _bring_. To _lift_ is simply to raise from the
ground, tho but for an instant, with no reference to holding or moving;
one may be able to _lift_ what he could not _carry_. The figurative uses
of _carry_ are very numerous; as, to _carry_ an election, _carry_ the
country, _carry_ (in the sense of _capture_) a fort, _carry_ an
audience, _carry_ a stock of goods, etc. Compare CONVEY; KEEP; SUPPORT.
drop, fall under, give up, let go, shake off, throw down, throw off.
To carry coals _to_ Newcastle; carry nothing _from_, or _out of_, this
house; he carried these qualities _into_ all he did; carry _across_ the
street, _over_ the bridge, _through_ the woods, _around_ or _round_ the
corner; _beyond_ the river; the cable was carried _under_ the sea.
* * * * *
calamity, denouement, mischance, mishap,
cataclysm, disaster, misfortune, sequel.
A _cataclysm_ or _catastrophe_ is some great convulsion or momentous
event that may or may not be a cause of misery to man. In _calamity_, or
_disaster_, the thought of human suffering is always present. It has
been held by many geologists that numerous _catastrophes_ or
_cataclysms_ antedated the existence of man. In literature, the final
event of a drama is the _catastrophe_, or _denouement_. _Misfortune_
ordinarily suggests less of suddenness and violence than _calamity_ or
_disaster_, and is especially applied to that which is lingering or
enduring in its effects. In history, the end of every great war or the
fall of a nation is a _catastrophe_, tho it may not be a _calamity_. Yet
such an event, if not a _calamity_ to the race, will always involve much
individual _disaster_ and _misfortune_. Pestilence is a _calamity_; a
defeat in battle, a shipwreck, or a failure in business is a _disaster_;
sickness or loss of property is a _misfortune_; failure to meet a friend
is a _mischance_; the breaking of a teacup is a _mishap_.
benefit, boon, favor, pleasure, prosperity,
blessing, comfort, help, privilege, success.
The catastrophe _of_ a play; _of_ a siege; rarely, _to_ a person, etc.
* * * * *
apprehend, comprehend, grasp, overtake, snatch,
capture, discover, grip, secure, take,
clasp, ensnare, gripe, seize, take hold of.
clutch, entrap, lay hold of (on, upon),
To _catch_ is to come up with or take possession of something departing,
fugitive, or illusive. We _catch_ a runaway horse, a flying ball, a
mouse in a trap. We _clutch_ with a swift, tenacious movement of the
fingers; we _grasp_ with a firm but moderate closure of the whole hand;
we _grip_ or _gripe_ with the strongest muscular closure of the whole
hand possible to exert. We _clasp_ in the arms. We _snatch_ with a
quick, sudden, and usually a surprising motion. In the figurative sense,
_catch_ is used of any act that brings a person or thing into our power
or possession; as, to _catch_ a criminal in the act; to _catch_ an idea,
in the sense of _apprehend_ or _comprehend_. Compare ARREST.
fail of, give up, lose, release, throw aside,
fall short of, let go, miss, restore, throw away.
To catch _at_ a straw; to catch a fugitive _by_ the collar; to catch a
ball _with_ the left hand; he caught the disease _from_ the patient; the
thief was caught _in_ the act; the bird _in_ the snare.
* * * * *
actor, causality, designer, occasion, precedent,
agent, causation, former, origin, reason,
antecedent, condition, fountain, originator, source,
author, creator, motive, power, spring.
The efficient _cause_, that which makes anything to be or be done, is
the common meaning of the word, as in the saying "There is no effect
without a _cause_." Every man instinctively recognizes himself acting
through will as the _cause_ of his own actions. The _Creator_ is the
Great First _Cause_ of all things. A _condition_ is something that
necessarily precedes a result, but does not produce it. An _antecedent_
simply precedes a result, with or without any agency in producing it;
as, Monday is the invariable _antecedent_ of Tuesday, but not the
_cause_ of it. The direct antonym of _cause_ is _effect_, while that of
_antecedent_ is _consequent_. An _occasion_ is some event which brings a
_cause_ into action at a particular moment; gravitation and heat are the
_causes_ of an avalanche; the steep incline of the mountain-side is a
necessary _condition_, and the shout of the traveler may be the
_occasion_ of its fall. _Causality_ is the doctrine or principle of
causes, _causation_ the action or working of causes. Compare DESIGN;
consequence, development, end, fruit, outcome, product,
creation, effect, event, issue, outgrowth, result.
The cause _of_ the disaster; cause _for_ interference.
* * * * *
abstain, desist, give over, quit,
bring to an end, discontinue, intermit, refrain,
come to an end, end, leave off, stop,
conclude, finish, pause, terminate.
Strains of music may gradually or suddenly _cease_. A man _quits_ work
on the instant; he may _discontinue_ a practise gradually; he _quits_
suddenly and completely; he _stops_ short in what he may or may not
resume; he _pauses_ in what he will probably resume. What _intermits_ or
is _intermitted_ returns again, as a fever that _intermits_. Compare
begin, inaugurate, originate, set going, set on foot,
commence, initiate, set about, set in operation, start.
enter upon, institute,
Cease _from_ anger.
* * * * *
commemorate, keep, observe, solemnize.
To _celebrate_ any event or occasion is to make some demonstration of
respect or rejoicing because of or in memory of it, or to perform such
public rites or ceremonies as it properly demands. We _celebrate_ the
birth, _commemorate_ the death of one beloved or honored. We _celebrate_
a national anniversary with music and song, with firing of guns and
ringing of bells; we _commemorate_ by any solemn and thoughtful service,
or by a monument or other enduring memorial. We _keep_ the Sabbath,
_solemnize_ a marriage, _observe_ an anniversary; we _celebrate_ or
_observe_ the Lord's Supper in which believers _commemorate_ the
sufferings and death of Christ.
contemn, dishonor, forget, neglect, profane,
despise, disregard, ignore, overlook, violate.
We celebrate the day _with_ appropriate ceremonies; the victory was
celebrated _by_ the people, _with_ rejoicing.
* * * * *
middle, midst.
We speak of the _center_ of a circle, the _middle_ of a room, the
_middle_ of the street, the _midst_ of a forest. The _center_ is equally
distant from every point of the circumference of a circle, or from the
opposite boundaries on each axis of a parallelogram, etc.; the _middle_
is more general and less definite. The _center_ is a point; the _middle_
may be a line or a space. We say _at_ the _center_; _in_ the _middle_.
_Midst_ commonly implies a group or multitude of surrounding objects.
Compare synonyms for AMID.
bound, boundary, circumference, perimeter, rim.
* * * * *
confusion, discomposure, humiliation, shame,
disappointment, dismay, mortification, vexation.
_Chagrin_ unites _disappointment_ with some degree of _humiliation_. A
rainy day may bring _disappointment_; needless failure in some
enterprise brings _chagrin_. _Shame_ involves the consciousness of
fault, guilt, or impropriety; _chagrin_ of failure of judgment, or harm
to reputation. A consciousness that one has displayed his own ignorance
will cause him _mortification_, however worthy his intent; if there was
a design to deceive, the exposure will cover him with _shame_.
delight, exultation, glory, rejoicing, triumph.
He felt deep chagrin _at_ (_because of_, _on account of_) failure.
* * * * *
CHANGE, _v._
alter, exchange, shift, transmute,
commute, metamorphose, substitute, turn,
convert, modify, transfigure, vary,
diversify, qualify, transform, veer.
To _change_ is distinctively to make a thing other than it has been, in
some respect at least; to _exchange_ to put or take something else in
its place; to _alter_ is ordinarily to _change_ partially, to make
different in one or more particulars. To _exchange_ is often to transfer
ownership; as, to _exchange_ city for country property. _Change_ is
often used in the sense of _exchange_; as, to _change_ horses. To
_transmute_ is to _change_ the qualities while the substance remains the
same; as, to _transmute_ the baser metals into gold. To _transform_ is
to _change_ form or appearance, with or without deeper and more
essential change; it is less absolute than _transmute_, tho sometimes
used for that word, and is often used in a spiritual sense as
_transmute_ could not be; "Be ye _transformed_ by the renewing of your
mind," _Rom._ xii, 2. _Transfigure_ is, as in its Scriptural use, to
change in an exalted and glorious spiritual way; "Jesus ... was
_transfigured_ before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his
raiment was white as the light," _Matt._ xvii, 1, 2. To _metamorphose_
is to make some remarkable change, ordinarily in external qualities, but
often in structure, use, or chemical constitution, as of a caterpillar
into a butterfly, of the stamens of a plant into petals, or of the
crystalline structure of rocks, hence called "metamorphic rocks," as
when a limestone is _metamorphosed_ into a marble. To _vary_ is to
_change_ from time to time, often capriciously. To _commute_ is to put
something easier, lighter, milder, or in some way more favorable in
place of that which is _commuted_; as, to _commute_ capital punishment
to imprisonment for life; to _commute_ daily fares on a railway to a
monthly payment. To _convert_ (L. _con_, with, and _verto_, turn) is to
primarily _turn_ about, and signifies to _change_ in form, character,
use, etc., through a wide range of relations; iron is _converted_ into
steel, joy into grief, a sinner into a saint. To _turn_ is a popular
word for _change_ in any sense short of the meaning of _exchange_, being
often equivalent to _alter_, _convert_, _transform_, _transmute_, etc.
We _modify_ or _qualify_ a statement which might seem too strong; we
_modify_ it by some limitation, _qualify_ it by some addition.
abide, continue, hold, persist, retain,
bide, endure, keep, remain, stay.
To change a home toilet _for_ a street dress; to change _from_ a
caterpillar _to_ or _into_ a butterfly; to change clothes _with_ a
* * * * *
CHANGE, _n._
alteration, mutation, renewing, transmutation,
conversion, novelty, revolution, variation,
diversity, regeneration, transformation, variety,
innovation, renewal, transition, vicissitude.
A _change_ is a passing from one state or form to another, any act or
process by which a thing becomes unlike what it was before, or the
unlikeness so produced; we say a _change_ was taking place, or the
_change_ that had taken place was manifest. _Mutation_ is a more formal
word for _change_, often suggesting repeated or continual _change_; as,
the _mutations_ of fortune. _Novelty_ is a _change_ to what is new, or
the newness of that to which a change is made; as, he was perpetually
desirous of _novelty_. _Revolution_ is specifically and most commonly a
_change_ of government. _Variation_ is a partial _change_ in form,
qualities, etc., but especially in position or action; as, the
_variation_ of the magnetic needle or of the pulse. _Variety_ is a
succession of _changes_ or an intermixture of different things, and is
always thought of as agreeable. _Vicissitude_ is sharp, sudden, or
violent _change_, always thought of as surprising and often as
disturbing or distressing; as, the _vicissitudes_ of politics.
_Transition_ is _change_ by passing from one place or state to another,
especially in a natural, regular, or orderly way; as, the _transition_
from spring to summer, or from youth to manhood. An _innovation_ is a
_change_ that breaks in upon an established order or custom; as, an
_innovation_ in religion or politics. For the distinctions between the
other words compare the synonyms for CHANGE, _v._ In the religious sense
_regeneration_ is the vital _renewing_ of the soul by the power of the
divine Spirit; _conversion_ is the conscious and manifest _change_ from
evil to good, or from a lower to a higher spiritual state; as, in _Luke_
xxii, 32, "when thou art _converted_, strengthen thy brethren." In
popular use _conversion_ is the most common word to express the idea of
constancy, fixedness, invariability, steadiness,
continuance, fixity, permanence, unchangeableness,
firmness, identity, persistence, uniformity.
We have made a change _for_ the better; the change _from_ winter to
spring; the change _of_ a liquid _to_ or _into_ a gas; a change _in_
quality; a change _by_ absorption or oxidation.
* * * * *
constitution, genius, personality, reputation, temper,
disposition, nature, record, spirit, temperament.
_Character_ is what one is; _reputation_, what he is thought to be; his
_record_ is the total of his known action or inaction. As a rule, a
man's _record_ will substantially express his _character_; his
_reputation_ may be higher or lower than his _character_ or _record_
will justify. _Repute_ is a somewhat formal word, with the same general
sense as _reputation_. One's _nature_ includes all his original
endowments or propensities; _character_ includes both natural and
acquired traits. We speak of one's physical _constitution_ as strong or
weak, etc., and figuratively, always with the adjective, of his mental
or moral _constitution_. Compare CHARACTERISTIC.
The witness has a character _for_ veracity; his character is _above_
suspicion; the character _of_ the applicant.
* * * * *
attribute, feature, peculiarity, sign, trace,
character, indication, property, singularity, trait.
distinction, mark, quality,
A _characteristic_ belongs to the nature or _character_ of the person,
thing, or class, and serves to identify an object; as, a copper-colored
skin, high cheek-bones, and straight, black hair are _characteristics_
of the American Indian. A _sign_ is manifest to an observer; a _mark_ or
a _characteristic_ may be more difficult to discover; an insensible
person may show _signs_ of life, while sometimes only close examination
will disclose _marks_ of violence. Pallor is ordinarily a _mark_ of
fear; but in some brave natures it is simply a _characteristic_ of
intense earnestness. _Mark_ is sometimes used in a good, but often in a
bad sense; we speak of the _characteristic_ of a gentleman, the _mark_
of a villain. Compare ATTRIBUTE; CHARACTER.
* * * * *
bewitching, delightful, enrapturing, fascinating,
captivating, enchanting, entrancing, winning.
That is _charming_ or _bewitching_ which is adapted to win others as by
a magic spell. _Enchanting_, _enrapturing_, _entrancing_ represent the
influence as not only supernatural, but irresistible and _delightful_.
That which is _fascinating_ may win without delighting, drawing by some
unseen power, as a serpent its prey; we can speak of horrible
_fascination_. _Charming_ applies only to what is external to oneself;
_delightful_ may apply to personal experiences or emotions as well; we
speak of a _charming_ manner, a _charming_ dress, but of _delightful_
anticipations. Compare AMIABLE; BEAUTIFUL.
* * * * *
afflict, chastise, discipline, punish, refine, subdue,
castigate, correct, humble, purify, soften, try.
_Castigate_ and _chastise_ refer strictly to corporal punishment, tho
both are somewhat archaic; _correct_ and _punish_ are often used as
euphemisms in preference to either. _Punish_ is distinctly retributive
in sense; _chastise_, partly retributive, and partly corrective;
_chasten_, wholly corrective. _Chasten_ is used exclusively in the
spiritual sense, and chiefly of the visitation of God.
"We are chastened _of_ the Lord," _1 Cor._ xi, 32; "they ... chastened
us _after_ their own pleasure, but He _for_ our profit," _Heb._ xii, 10;
"chasten _in_ thy hot displeasure," _Ps._ iv, 7; chasten _with_ pain;
_by_ trials and sorrows.
* * * * *
cheer, encourage, harbor, nurse, shelter,
cling to, entertain, hold dear, nurture, treasure,
comfort, foster, nourish, protect, value.
To _cherish_ is both to _hold dear_ and to treat as dear. Mere
unexpressed esteem would not be _cherishing_. In the marriage vow, "to
love, honor, and _cherish_," the word _cherish_ implies all that each
can do by love and tenderness for the welfare and happiness of the
other, as by support, protection, care in sickness, comfort in sorrow,
sympathy, and help of every kind. To _nurse_ is to tend the helpless or
feeble, as infants, or the sick or wounded. To _nourish_ is strictly to
sustain and build up by food; to _nurture_ includes careful mental and
spiritual training, with something of love and tenderness; to _foster_
is simply to maintain and care for, to bring up; a _foster_-child will
be _nourished_, but may not be as tenderly _nurtured_ or as lovingly
_cherished_ as if one's own. In the figurative sense, the opinion one
_cherishes_ he holds, not with mere cold conviction, but with loving
See synonyms for ABANDON; CHASTEN.
* * * * *
cull, elect, pick, pick out, prefer, select.
_Prefer_ indicates a state of desire and approval; _choose_, an act of
will. Prudence or generosity may lead one to _choose_ what he does not
_prefer_. _Select_ implies a careful consideration of the reasons for
preference and choice. Among objects so nearly alike that we have no
reason to _prefer_ any one to another we may simply _choose_ the
nearest, but we could not be said to _select_ it. Aside from theology,
_elect_ is popularly confined to the political sense; as, a free people
_elect_ their own rulers. _Cull_, from the Latin _colligere_, commonly
means to collect, as well as to _select_. In a garden we _cull_ the
choicest flowers.
cast away, decline, dismiss, refuse, repudiate,
cast out, disclaim, leave, reject, throw aside.
Choose _from_ or _from among_ the number; choose _out of_ the army;
choose _between_ (or _betwixt_) two; _among_ many; choose _for_ the
* * * * *
diffuseness, prolixity, surplusage, verbiage,
periphrasis, redundance, tautology, verbosity,
pleonasm, redundancy, tediousness, wordiness.
_Circumlocution_ and _periphrasis_ are roundabout ways of expressing
thought; _circumlocution_ is the more common, _periphrasis_ the more
technical word. Constant _circumlocution_ produces an affected and heavy
style; occasionally, skilful _periphrasis_ conduces both to beauty and
to simplicity. Etymologically, _diffuseness_ is a scattering, both of
words and thought; _redundancy_ is an overflow. _Prolixity_ goes into
endless petty details, without selection or perspective. _Pleonasm_ is
the expression of an idea already plainly implied; _tautology_ is the
restatement in other words of an idea already stated, or a useless
repetition of a word or words. _Pleonasm_ may add emphasis; _tautology_
is always a fault. "I saw it with my eyes" is a _pleonasm_; "all the
members agreed unanimously" is _tautology_. _Verbiage_ is the use of
mere words without thought. _Verbosity_ and _wordiness_ denote an excess
of words in proportion to the thought. _Tediousness_ is the sure result
of any of these faults of style.
brevity, compression, condensation, plainness, succinctness,
compactness, conciseness, directness, shortness, terseness.
* * * * *
accompaniment, fact, item, point,
concomitant, feature, occurrence, position,
detail, incident, particular, situation.
A _circumstance_ (L. _circum_, around, and _sto_, stand), is something
existing or occurring in connection with or relation to some other fact
or event, modifying or throwing light upon the principal matter without
affecting its essential character; an _accompaniment_ is something that
unites with the principal matter, tho not necessary to it; as, the piano
_accompaniment_ to a song; a _concomitant_ goes with a thing in natural
connection, but in a subordinate capacity, or perhaps in contrast; as,
cheerfulness is a _concomitant_ of virtue. A _circumstance_ is not
strictly, nor usually, an occasion, condition, effect, or result. (See
these words under CAUSE.) Nor is the _circumstance_ properly an
_incident_. (See under ACCIDENT.) We say, "My decision will depend upon
_circumstances_"--not "upon _incidents_." That a man wore a blue necktie
would not probably be the cause, occasion, condition, or _concomitant_
of his committing murder; but it might be a very important
_circumstance_ in identifying him as the murderer. All the
_circumstances_ make up the _situation_. A certain disease is the cause
of a man's death; his suffering is an _incident_; that he is in his own
home, that he has good medical attendance, careful nursing, etc., are
consolatory _circumstances_. With the same idea of subordination, we
often say, "This is not a _circumstance_ to that." So a person is said
to be in easy _circumstances_. Compare EVENT.
"Mere situation is expressed by '_in_ the circumstances'; action
affected is performed '_under_ the circumstances.'" [M.]
* * * * *
association, circle, clique, company, grade, rank,
caste, clan, club, coterie, order, set.
A _class_ is a number or body of persons or objects having common
pursuits, purposes, attributes, or characteristics. A _caste_ is
hereditary; a _class_ may be independent of lineage or descent;
membership in a _caste_ is supposed to be for life; membership in a
_class_ may be very transient; a religious and ceremonial sacredness
attaches to the _caste_, as not to the _class_. The rich and the poor
form separate _classes_; yet individuals are constantly passing from
each to the other; the _classes_ in a college remain the same, but their
membership changes every year. We speak of _rank_ among hereditary
nobility or military officers; of various _orders_ of the priesthood; by
accommodation, we may refer in a general way to the higher _ranks_, the
lower _orders_ of any society. _Grade_ implies some regular scale of
valuation, and some inherent qualities for which a person or thing is
placed higher or lower in the scale; as, the coarser and finer _grades_
of wool; a man of an inferior _grade_. A _coterie_ is a small company of
persons of similar tastes, who meet frequently in an informal way,
rather for social enjoyment than for any serious purpose. _Clique_ has
always an unfavorable meaning. A _clique_ is always fractional, implying
some greater gathering of which it is a part; the association breaks up
into _cliques_. Persons unite in a _coterie_ through simple liking for
one another; they withdraw into a _clique_ largely through aversion to
outsiders. A _set_, while exclusive, is more extensive than a _clique_,
and chiefly of persons who are united by common social station, etc.
_Circle_ is similar in meaning to _set_, but of wider application; we
speak of scientific and religious as well as of social _circles_.
A class _of_ merchants; the senior class _at_ (sometimes _of_) Harvard;
the classes _in_ college.
* * * * *
brush, dust, purify, scour, sponge, wash,
clean, lave, rinse, scrub, sweep, wipe.
disinfect, mop,
To _clean_ is to make clean by removing dirt, impurities, or soil of any
kind. _Cleanse_ implies a worse condition to start from, and more to do,
than _clean_. Hercules _cleansed_ the Augean stables. _Cleanse_ is
especially applied to purifying processes where liquid is used, as in
the flushing of a street, etc. We _brush_ clothing if dusty, _sponge_
it, or _sponge_ it off, if soiled; or _sponge_ off a spot. Furniture,
books, etc., are _dusted_; floors are _mopped_ or _scrubbed_; metallic
utensils are _scoured_; a room is _swept_; soiled garments are _washed_;
foul air or water is _purified_. _Cleanse_ and _purify_ are used
extensively in a moral sense; _wash_ in that sense is archaic. Compare
befoul, bespatter, debase, deprave, soil, stain, taint,
besmear, contaminate, defile, pollute, spoil, sully, vitiate.
besmirch, corrupt,
Cleanse _of_ or _from_ physical or moral defilement; cleanse _with_ an
instrument; _by_ an agent; the room was cleansed _by_ the attendants
_with_ soap and water.
* * * * *
apparent, intelligible, pellucid, transparent,
diaphanous, limpid, perspicuous, unadorned,
distinct, lucid, plain, unambiguous,
evident, manifest, straightforward, unequivocal,
explicit, obvious, translucent, unmistakable.
_Clear_ (L. _clarus_, bright, brilliant) primarily refers to that which
shines, and impresses the mind through the eye with a sense of luster
or splendor. A substance is said to be _clear_ that offers no impediment
to vision--is not dim, dark, or obscure. _Transparent_ refers to the
medium through which a substance is seen, _clear_ to the substance
itself, without reference to anything to be seen through it; we speak of
a stream as _clear_ when we think of the water itself; we speak of it as
_transparent_ with reference to the ease with which we see the pebbles
at the bottom. _Clear_ is also said of that which comes to the senses
without dimness, dulness, obstruction, or obscurity, so that there is no
uncertainty as to its exact form, character, or meaning, with something
of the brightness or brilliancy implied in the primary meaning of the
word _clear_; as, the outlines of the ship were _clear_ against the sky;
a _clear_ view; a _clear_ note; "_clear_ as a bell;" a _clear_, frosty
air; a _clear_ sky; a _clear_ statement; hence, the word is used for
that which is free from any kind of obstruction; as, a _clear_ field.
_Lucid_ and _pellucid_ refer to a shining clearness, as of crystal. A
_transparent_ body allows the forms and colors of objects beyond to be
seen through it; a _translucent_ body allows light to pass through, but
may not permit forms and colors to be distinguished; plate glass is
_transparent_, ground glass is _translucent_. _Limpid_ refers to a
liquid clearness, or that which suggests it; as, _limpid_ streams. That
which is _distinct_ is well defined, especially in outline, each part or
object standing or seeming apart from any other, not confused,
indefinite, or blurred; _distinct_ enunciation enables the hearer to
catch every word or vocal sound without perplexity or confusion; a
_distinct_ statement is free from indefiniteness or ambiguity; a
_distinct_ apprehension of a thought leaves the mind in no doubt or
uncertainty regarding it. That is _plain_, in the sense here considered,
which is, as it were, level to the thought, so that one goes straight on
without difficulty or hindrance; as, _plain_ language; a _plain_
statement; a _clear_ explanation. _Perspicuous_ is often equivalent to
_plain_, but _plain_ never wholly loses the meaning of _unadorned_, so
that we can say the style is _perspicuous_ tho highly ornate, when we
could not call it at once ornate and _plain_. Compare EVIDENT.
ambiguous, dim, foggy, mysterious, opaque, unintelligible,
cloudy, dubious, indistinct, obscure, turbid, vague.
Clear _to_ the mind; clear _in_ argument; clear _of_ or _from_
* * * * *
able, capable, happy, keen, sharp,
adroit, dexterous, ingenious, knowing, skilful,
apt, expert, intellectual, quick, smart,
bright, gifted, intelligent, quick-witted, talented.
_Clever_, as used in England, especially implies an aptitude for study
or learning, and for excellent tho not preeminent mental achievement.
The early New England usage as implying simple and weak good nature has
largely affected the use of the word throughout the United States, where
it has never been much in favor. _Smart_, indicating dashing ability, is
now coming to have a suggestion of unscrupulousness, similar to that of
the word _sharp_, which makes its use a doubtful compliment. The
discriminating use of such words as _able_, _gifted_, _talented_, etc.,
is greatly preferable to an excessive use of the word _clever_. Compare
awkward, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, slow, thick-headed,
bungling, dull, idiotic, senseless, stupid, witless.
* * * * *
clash, concussion, contact, impact, opposition,
clashing, conflict, encounter, meeting, shock.
_Collision_, the act or fact of striking violently together, is the
result of motion or action, and is sudden and momentary; _contact_ may
be a condition of rest, and be continuous and permanent; _collision_ is
sudden and violent _contact_. _Concussion_ is often by transmitted force
rather than by direct _impact_; two railway-trains come into
_collision_; an explosion of dynamite shatters neighboring windows by
_concussion_. _Impact_ is the blow given by the striking body; as, the
_impact_ of the cannon-shot upon the target. An _encounter_ is always
violent, and generally hostile. _Meeting_ is neutral, and may be of the
dearest friends or of the bitterest foes; of objects, of persons, or of
opinions; of two or of a multitude. _Shock_ is the result of
_collision_. In the figurative use, we speak of _clashing_ of views,
_collision_ of persons. _Opposition_ is used chiefly of persons, more
rarely of opinions or interests; _conflict_ is used indifferently of
agreement, coincidence, concord, conformity, unison,
amity, concert, concurrence, harmony, unity.
Collision _of_ one object _with_ another; _of_ or _between_ opposing
* * * * *
agreeable, cheery, genial, snug,
at ease, commodious, pleasant, well-off,
at rest, contented, satisfactory, well-provided,
cheerful, convenient, satisfied, well-to-do.
A person is _comfortable_ in mind when _contented_ and measurably
_satisfied_. A little additional brightness makes him _cheerful_. He is
_comfortable_ in body when free from pain, quiet, _at ease_, _at rest_.
He is _comfortable_ in circumstances, or in _comfortable_ circumstances,
when things about him are generally _agreeable_ and _satisfactory_,
usually with the suggestion of sufficient means to secure that result.
cheerless, discontented, distressed, forlorn, uncomfortable,
disagreeable, dissatisfied, dreary, miserable, wretched.
* * * * *
assign, confide, consign, entrust, relegate, trust.
_Commit_, in the sense here considered, is to give in charge, put into
care or keeping; to _confide_ or _entrust_ is to _commit_ especially to
one's fidelity, _confide_ being used chiefly of mental or spiritual,
_entrust_ also of material things; we _assign_ a duty, _confide_ a
secret, _entrust_ a treasure; we _commit_ thoughts to writing; _commit_
a paper to the flames, a body to the earth; a prisoner is _committed_ to
jail. _Consign_ is a formal word in mercantile use; as, to _consign_
goods to an agent. Religiously, we _consign_ the body to the grave,
_commit_ the soul to God. Compare DO.
Commit _to_ a friend _for_ safe-keeping; in law, commit _to_ prison;
_for_ trial; _without_ bail; in default _of_ bail; _on_ suspicion.
* * * * *
assemblage, concourse, convocation, host,
assembly, conference, crowd, meeting,
collection, congregation, gathering, multitude,
conclave, convention, group, throng.
_Company_, from the Latin _cum_, with, and _panis_, bread, denotes
primarily the association of those who eat at a common table, or the
persons so associated, table-companions, messmates, friends, and hence
is widely extended to include any association of those united
permanently or temporarily, for business, pleasure, festivity, travel,
etc., or by sorrow, misfortune, or wrong; _company_ may denote an
indefinite number (ordinarily more than two), but less than a
_multitude_; in the military sense a _company_ is a limited and definite
number of men; _company_ implies more unity of feeling and purpose than
_crowd_, and is a less formal and more familiar word than _assemblage_
or _assembly_. An _assemblage_ may be of persons or of objects; an
_assembly_ is always of persons. An _assemblage_ is promiscuous and
unorganized; an _assembly_ is organized and united in some common
purpose. A _conclave_ is a secret _assembly_. A _convocation_ is an
_assembly_ called by authority for a special purpose; the term
_convention_ suggests less dependence upon any superior authority or
summons. A _group_ is small in number and distinct in outline, clearly
marked off from all else in space or time. _Collection_, _crowd_,
_gathering_, _group_, and _multitude_ have the unorganized and
promiscuous character of the _assemblage_; the other terms come under
the general idea of _assembly_. _Congregation_ is now almost exclusively
religious; _meeting_ is often so used, but is less restricted, as we may
speak of a _meeting_ of armed men. _Gathering_ refers to a coming
together, commonly of numbers, from far and near; as, the _gathering_ of
the Scottish clans.
dispersion, loneliness, privacy, retirement, seclusion, solitude.
* * * * *
coerce, drive, make, oblige.
constrain, force, necessitate,
To _compel_ one to an act is to secure its performance by the use of
irresistible physical or moral force. _Force_ implies primarily an
actual physical process, absolutely subduing all resistance. _Coerce_
implies the actual or potential use of so much force as may be necessary
to secure the surrender of the will; the American secessionists
contended that the Federal government had no right to _coerce_ a State.
_Constrain_ implies the yielding of judgment and will, and in some cases
of inclination or affection, to an overmastering power; as, "the love of
Christ _constraineth_ us," _2 Cor._ v, 14. Compare DRIVE; INFLUENCE.
See synonyms for HINDER.
The soldiers were compelled _to_ desertion: preferably with the
infinitive, compelled _to_ desert.
* * * * *
croak, growl, grunt, remonstrate,
find fault, grumble, murmur, repine.
To _complain_ is to give utterance to dissatisfaction or objection,
express a sense of wrong or ill treatment. One _complains_ of a real or
assumed grievance; he may _murmur_ through mere peevishness or ill
temper; he _repines_, with vain distress, at the irrevocable or the
inevitable. _Complaining_ is by speech or writing; _murmuring_ is
commonly said of half-repressed utterance; _repining_ of the mental act
alone. One may _complain_ of an offense to the offender or to others; he
_remonstrates_ with the offender only. _Complain_ has a formal and legal
meaning, which the other words have not, signifying to make a formal
accusation, present a specific charge; the same is true of the noun
applaud, approve, commend, eulogize, laud, praise.
Complain _of_ a thing _to_ a person; _of_ one person _to_ another, _of_
or _against_ a person _for_ an act; _to_ an officer; _before_ the court;
_about_ a thing.
* * * * *
abstruse, confused, intricate, mixed,
complicated, conglomerate, involved, multiform,
composite, entangled, manifold, obscure,
compound, heterogeneous, mingled, tangled.
That is _complex_ which is made up of several connected parts. That is
_compound_ in which the parts are not merely connected, but fused, or
otherwise combined into a single substance. In a _composite_ object the
different parts have less of unity than in that which is _complex_ or
_compound_, but maintain their distinct individuality. In a
_heterogeneous_ body unlike parts or particles are intermingled, often
without apparent order or plan. _Conglomerate_ (literally, globed
together) is said of a _confused_ mingling of masses or lumps of various
substances. The New England pudding-stone is a _conglomerate_ rock. In a
_complex_ object the arrangement and relation of parts may be perfectly
clear; in a _complicated_ mechanism the parts are so numerous, or so
combined, that the mind can not readily grasp their mutual relations; in
an _intricate_ arrangement the parts are so intertwined that it is
difficult to follow their windings; things are _involved_ which are
rolled together so as not to be easily separated, either in thought or
in fact; things which are _tangled_ or _entangled_ mutually hold and
draw upon each other. The conception of a material object is usually
_complex_, involving form, color, size, and other elements; a clock is a
_complicated_ mechanism; the Gordian knot was _intricate_; the twining
serpents of the Laocoon are _involved_. We speak of an _abstruse_
statement, a _complex_ conception, a _confused_ heap, a _heterogeneous_
mass, a _tangled_ skein, an _intricate_ problem; of _composite_
architecture, an _involved_ sentence; of the _complicated_ or
_intricate_ accounts of a great business, the _entangled_ accounts of an
incompetent or dishonest bookkeeper.
clear, homogeneous, plain, uncombined, uniform,
direct, obvious, simple, uncompounded, unraveled.
* * * * *
blame, convict, doom, reprove,
censure, denounce, reprobate, sentence.
To _condemn_ is to pass judicial sentence or render judgment or decision
against. We may _censure_ silently; we _condemn_ ordinarily by open and
formal utterance. _Condemn_ is more final than _blame_ or _censure_; a
_condemned_ criminal has had his trial; a _condemned_ building can not
stand; a _condemned_ ship can not sail. A person is _convicted_ when his
guilt is made clearly manifest to others; in somewhat archaic use, a
person is said to be _convicted_ when guilt is brought clearly home to
his own conscience (_convict_ in this sense being allied with
_convince_, which see under PERSUADE); in legal usage one is said to be
_convicted_ only by the verdict of a jury. In stating the penalty of an
offense, the legal word _sentence_ is now more common than _condemn_;
as, he was _sentenced_ to imprisonment; but it is good usage to say, he
was _condemned_ to imprisonment. To _denounce_ is to make public or
official declaration against, especially in a violent and threatening
From the pulpits in the northern States Burr was _denounced_ as an
COFFIN _Building the Nation_ ch. 10, p. 137. [H. '83.]
To _doom_ is to _condemn_ solemnly and consign to evil or destruction or
to predetermine to an evil destiny; an inferior race in presence of a
superior is _doomed_ to subjugation or extinction. Compare ARRAIGN;
absolve, applaud, exonerate, pardon,
acquit, approve, justify, praise.
The bandit was condemned _to_ death _for_ his crime.
* * * * *
accept, allow, concede, grant,
acknowledge, avow, disclose, own,
admit, certify, endorse, recognize.
We _accept_ another's statement; _admit_ any point made against us;
_acknowledge_ what we have said or done, good or bad; _avow_ our
individual beliefs or feelings; _certify_ to facts within our knowledge;
_confess_ our own faults; _endorse_ a friend's note or statement;
_grant_ a request; _own_ our faults or obligations; _recognize_ lawful
authority; _concede_ a claim. _Confess_ has a high and sacred use in the
religious sense; as, to _confess_ Christ before men. It may have also a
playful sense (often with _to_); as, one _confesses to_ a weakness for
confectionery. The chief present use of the word, however, is in the
sense of making known to others one's own wrong-doing; in this sense
_confess_ is stronger than _acknowledge_ or _admit_, and more specific
than _own_; a person _admits_ a mistake; _acknowledges_ a fault;
_confesses_ sin or crime. Compare APOLOGY; AVOW.
cloak, deny, disown, hide, screen,
conceal, disavow, dissemble, mask, secrete,
cover, disguise, dissimulate, repudiate, veil.
* * * * *
assure, fix, sanction, substantiate,
corroborate, prove, settle, sustain,
establish, ratify, strengthen, uphold.
_Confirm_ (L. _con_, together, and _firmus_, firm) is to add firmness or
give stability to. Both _confirm_ and _corroborate_ presuppose something
already existing to which the confirmation or corroboration is added.
Testimony is _corroborated_ by concurrent testimony or by circumstances;
_confirmed_ by _established_ facts. That which is thoroughly _proved_ is
said to be _established_; so is that which is official and has adequate
power behind it; as, the _established_ government; the _established_
church. The continents are _fixed_. A treaty is _ratified_; an
appointment _confirmed_. An act is _sanctioned_ by any person or
authority that passes upon it approvingly. A statement is
_substantiated_; a report _confirmed_; a controversy _settled_; the
decision of a lower court _sustained_ by a higher. Just government
should be _upheld_. The beneficent results of Christianity _confirm_ our
faith in it as a divine revelation.
abrogate, cancel, overthrow, shatter, upset,
annul, destroy, shake, unsettle, weaken.
Confirm a statement _by_ testimony; confirm a person _in_ a belief.
* * * * *
To _felicitate_ is to pronounce one happy or wish one joy; to
_congratulate_ is to express hearty sympathy in his joys or hopes.
_Felicitate_ is cold and formal. We say one _felicitates_ himself; tho
to _congratulate_ oneself, which is less natural, is becoming prevalent.
condole with, console.
Congratulate one _on_ or _upon_ his success.
* * * * *
beat, humble, overthrow, subject,
checkmate, master, prevail over, subjugate,
crush, overcome, put down, surmount,
defeat, overmaster, reduce, vanquish,
discomfit, overmatch, rout, win,
down, overpower, subdue, worst.
To _defeat_ an enemy is to gain an advantage for the time; to _vanquish_
is to win a signal victory; to _conquer_ is to _overcome_ so effectually
that the victory is regarded as final. _Conquer_, in many cases, carries
the idea of possession; as, to _conquer_ respect, affection, peace, etc.
A country is _conquered_ when its armies are defeated and its territory
is occupied by the enemy; it may be _subjected_ to indemnity or to
various disabilities; it is _subjugated_ when it is held helplessly and
continuously under military control; it is _subdued_ when all resistance
has died out. An army is _defeated_ when forcibly driven back; it is
_routed_ when it is converted into a mob of fugitives. Compare BEAT.
capitulate, fail, fly, lose, retire, submit, surrender,
cede, fall, forfeit, resign, retreat, succumb, yield.
* * * * *
advised, assured, certain, cognizant, sensible,
apprised, aware, certified, informed, sure.
One is _aware_ of that which exists without him; he is _conscious_ of
the inner workings of his own mind. _Sensible_ may be used in the exact
sense of _conscious_, or it may partake of both the senses mentioned
above. One may be _sensible_ of his own or another's error; he is
_conscious_ only of his own. A person may feel _assured_ or _sure_ of
something false or non-existent; what he is _aware_ of, still more what
he is _conscious_ of, must be fact. _Sensible_ has often a reference to
the emotions where _conscious_ might apply only to the intellect; to say
a culprit is _sensible_ of his degradation is more forcible than to say
he is _conscious_ of it.
cold, dead, deaf, ignorant, insensible, unaware, unconscious.
On the stormy sea, man is conscious _of_ the limitation of human power.
* * * * *
consequent, end, issue, outgrowth, sequel,
effect, event, outcome, result, upshot.
_Effect_ is the strongest of these words; it is that which is directly
produced by the action of an efficient cause; we say, "Every _effect_
must have an adequate cause" (compare CAUSE). In regard to human
actions, _effect_ commonly relates to intention; as, the shot took
_effect_, _i. e._, the _effect_ intended. A _consequence_ is that which
follows an act naturally, but less directly than the _effect_. The
motion of the piston is the _effect_, and the agitation of the water
under the paddle-wheels a _consequence_ of the expansion of steam in the
cylinder. The _result_ is, literally, the rebound of an act, depending
on many elements; the _issue_ is that which flows forth directly; we say
the _issue_ of a battle, the _result_ of a campaign. A _consequent_
commonly is that which follows simply in order of time, or by logical
inference. The _end_ is the actual _outcome_ without determination of
its relation to what has gone before; it is ordinarily viewed as either
the necessary, natural, or logical _outcome_, any _effect_,
_consequence_, or _result_ being termed an _end_; as, the _end_ of such
a course must be ruin. The _event_ (L. _e_, out, and _venio_, come) is
primarily exactly the same in meaning as _outcome_; but in use it is
more nearly equivalent to _upshot_ signifying the sum and substance of
all _effects_, _consequences_, and _results_ of a course of action.
* * * * *
comfort, condole with, encourage, sympathize with.
One _condoles with_ another by the expression of kindly sympathy in his
trouble; he _consoles_ him by considerations adapted to soothe and
sustain the spirit, as by the assurances and promises of the gospel; he
_encourages_ him by the hope of some relief or deliverance; he
_comforts_ him by whatever act or word tends to bring mind or body to a
state of rest and cheer. We _sympathize with_ others, not only in
sorrow, but in joy. Compare ALLEVIATE; PITY.
annoy, distress, disturb, grieve, hurt, sadden, trouble, wound.
* * * * *
_Infection_ is frequently confused with _contagion_, even by medical
men. The best usage now limits _contagion_ to diseases that are
transmitted by contact with the diseased person, either directly by
touch or indirectly by use of the same articles, by breath, effluvia,
etc. _Infection_ is applied to diseases produced by no known or
definable influence of one person upon another, but where common
climatic, malarious, or other wide-spread conditions are believed to be
chiefly instrumental.
* * * * *
ceaseless, incessant, regular, uninterrupted,
constant, invariable, unbroken, unremitting,
continuous, perpetual, unceasing, unvarying.
_Continuous_ describes that which is absolutely without pause or break;
_continual_, that which often intermits, but as regularly begins again.
A _continuous_ beach is exposed to the _continual_ beating of the waves.
A similar distinction is made between _incessant_ and _ceaseless_. The
_incessant_ discharge of firearms makes the _ceaseless_ roar of battle.
_Constant_ is sometimes used in the sense of _continual_; but its chief
uses are mental and moral.
* * * * *
agreement, cartel, engagement, pledge,
arrangement, compact, obligation, promise,
bargain, covenant, pact, stipulation.
All these words involve at least two parties, tho an _engagement_ or
_promise_ may be the act of but one. A _contract_ is a formal agreement
between two or more parties for the doing or leaving undone some
specified act or acts, and is ordinarily in writing. Mutual _promises_
may have the force of a _contract_. A consideration, or compensation, is
essential to convert an _agreement_ into a _contract_. A _contract_ may
be oral or written. A _covenant_ in law is a written _contract_ under
seal. _Covenant_ is frequent in religious usage, as _contract_ is in law
and business. _Compact_ is essentially the same as _contract_, but is
applied to international _agreements_, treaties, etc. A _bargain_ is a
mutual _agreement_ for an exchange of values, without the formality of a
_contract_. A _stipulation_ is a single item in an _agreement_ or
_contract_. A _cartel_ is a military _agreement_ for the exchange of
prisoners or the like.
* * * * *
compare, differentiate, discriminate, oppose.
To _compare_ (L. _con_, together, and _par_, equal) is to place together
in order to show likeness or unlikeness; to _contrast_ (L. _contra_,
against, and _sto_, stand) is to set in opposition in order to show
unlikeness. We _contrast_ objects that have been already _compared_. We
must _compare_ them, at least momentarily, even to know that they are
different. We _contrast_ them when we observe their unlikeness in a
general way; we _differentiate_ them when we note the difference exactly
and point by point. We distinguish objects when we note a difference
that may fall short of _contrast_; we _discriminate_ them when we
classify or place them according to their differences.
We contrast one object _with_ another.
* * * * *
chat, communion, converse, intercourse,
colloquy, confabulation, dialogue, parley,
communication, conference, discourse, talk.
_Conversation_ (Latin _con_, with) is, etymologically, an interchange of
ideas with some other person or persons. _Talk_ may be wholly
one-sided. Many brilliant talkers have been incapable of _conversation_.
There may be _intercourse_ without _conversation_, as by looks, signs,
etc.; _communion_ is of hearts, with or without words; _communication_
is often by writing, and may be uninvited and unreciprocated. _Talk_ may
denote the mere utterance of words with little thought; thus, we say
idle _talk_, empty _talk_, rather than idle or empty _conversation_.
_Discourse_ is now applied chiefly to public addresses. A _conference_
is more formal than a _conversation_. _Dialog_ denotes ordinarily an
artificial or imaginary _conversation_, generally of two persons, but
sometimes of more. A _colloquy_ is indefinite as to number, and
generally somewhat informal. Compare BEHAVIOR.
Conversation _with_ friends; _between_ or _among_ the guests; _about_ a
* * * * *
disciple, neophyte, proselyte.
The name _disciple_ is given to the follower of a certain faith, without
reference to any previous belief or allegiance; a _convert_ is a person
who has come to one faith from a different belief or from unbelief. A
_proselyte_ is one who has been led to accept a religious system,
whether with or without true faith; a _convert_ is always understood to
be a believer. A _neophyte_ is a new _convert_, not yet fully
indoctrinated, or not admitted to full privileges. The antonyms
_apostate_, _pervert_, and _renegade_ are condemnatory names applied to
the _convert_ by those whose faith he forsakes.
* * * * *
carry, give, remove, shift, transmit,
change, move, sell, transfer, transport.
_Convey_, _transmit_, and _transport_ all imply delivery at a
destination; as, I will _convey_ the information to your friend; air
_conveys_ sound (to a listener); _carry_ does not necessarily imply
delivery, and often does not admit of it. A man _carries_ an appearance,
_conveys_ an impression, the appearance remaining his own, the
impression being given to another; I will _transmit_ the letter;
_transport_ the goods. A horse _carries_ his mane and tail, but does not
_convey_ them. _Transfer_ may or may not imply delivery to another
person; as, items may be _transferred_ from one account to another or a
word _transferred_ to the following line. In law, real estate, which can
not be moved, is _conveyed_ by simply _transferring_ title and
possession. _Transport_ usually refers to material, _transfer_,
_transmit_, and _convey_ may refer to immaterial objects; we _transfer_
possession, _transmit_ intelligence, _convey_ ideas, but do not
_transport_ them. In the case of _convey_ the figurative sense now
predominates. Compare CARRY.
cling to, hold, keep, possess, preserve, retain.
Convey _to_ a friend, a purchaser, etc.; convey _from_ the house _to_
the station; convey _by_ express, _by_ hand, etc.
* * * * *
assemble, call together, convene, muster,
call, collect, gather, summon.
A convention is _called_ by some officer or officers, as by its
president, its executive committee, or some eminent leaders; the
delegates are _assembled_ or _convened_ in a certain place, at a certain
hour. _Convoke_ implies an organized body and a superior authority;
_assemble_ and _convene_ express more independent action; Parliament is
_convoked_; Congress _assembles_. Troops are _mustered_; witnesses and
jurymen are _summoned_.
adjourn, disband, dismiss, dissolve, scatter,
break up, discharge, disperse, prorogue, separate.
* * * * *
abominable, flagitious, immoral, sinful, vile,
culpable, guilty, iniquitous, unlawful, wicked,
felonious, illegal, nefarious, vicious, wrong.
Every _criminal_ act is _illegal_ or _unlawful_, but _illegal_ or
_unlawful_ acts may not be _criminal_. Offenses against public law are
_criminal_; offenses against private rights are merely _illegal_ or
_unlawful_. As a general rule, all acts punishable by fine or
imprisonment or both, are _criminal_ in view of the law. It is _illegal_
for a man to trespass on another's land, but it is not _criminal_; the
trespasser is liable to a civil suit for damages, but not to indictment,
fine, or imprisonment. A _felonious_ act is a _criminal_ act of an
aggravated kind, which is punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary
or by death. A _flagitious_ crime is one that brings public odium.
_Vicious_ refers to the indulgence of evil appetites, habits, or
passions; _vicious_ acts are not necessarily _criminal_, or even
_illegal_; we speak of a _vicious_ horse. That which is _iniquitous_,
_i. e._, contrary to equity, may sometimes be done under the forms of
law. Ingratitude is _sinful_, hypocrisy is _wicked_, but neither is
punishable by human law; hence, neither is _criminal_ or _illegal_.
Compare SIN.
innocent, lawful, meritorious, right,
just, legal, moral, virtuous.
* * * * *
_Daily_ is the Saxon and popular, _diurnal_ the Latin and scientific
term. In strict usage, _daily_ is the antonym of _nightly_ as _diurnal_
is of _nocturnal_. _Daily_ is not, however, held strictly to this use; a
physician makes _daily_ visits if he calls at some time within each
period of twenty-four hours. _Diurnal_ is more exact in all its uses; a
_diurnal_ flower opens or blooms only in daylight; a _diurnal_ bird or
animal flies or ranges only by day: in contradistinction to _nocturnal_
flowers, birds, etc. A _diurnal_ motion exactly fills an astronomical
day or the time of one rotation of a planet on its axis, while a _daily_
motion is much less definite.
nightly, nocturnal.
* * * * *
hazard, insecurity, jeopardy, peril, risk.
_Danger_ is exposure to possible evil, which may be either near and
probable or remote and doubtful; _peril_ is exposure to imminent and
sharply threatening evil, especially to such as results from violence.
An invalid may be in _danger_ of consumption; a disarmed soldier is in
_peril_ of death. _Jeopardy_ is nearly the same as _peril_, but
involves, like _risk_, more of the element of chance or uncertainty; a
man tried upon a capital charge is said to be put in _jeopardy_ of life.
_Insecurity_ is a feeble word, but exceedingly broad, applying to the
placing of a dish, or the possibilities of a life, a fortune, or a
government. Compare HAZARD.
defense, immunity, protection, safeguard, safety, security, shelter.
* * * * *
black, dusky, mysterious, sable, somber,
dim, gloomy, obscure, shadowy, swart,
dismal, murky, opaque, shady, swarthy.
Strictly, that which is _black_ is absolutely destitute of color; that
which is _dark_ is absolutely destitute of light. In common speech,
however, a coat is _black_, tho not optically colorless; the night is
_dark_, tho the stars shine. That is _obscure_, _shadowy_, or _shady_
from which the light is more or less cut off. _Dusky_ is applied to
objects which appear as if viewed in fading light; the word is often
used, as are _swart_ and _swarthy_, of the human skin when quite _dark_,
or even verging toward _black_. _Dim_ refers to imperfection of outline,
from distance, darkness, mist, etc., or from some defect of vision.
_Opaque_ objects, as smoked glass, are impervious to light. _Murky_ is
said of that which is at once _dark_, _obscure_, and _gloomy_; as, a
_murky_ den; a _murky_ sky. Figuratively, _dark_ is emblematic of
sadness, agreeing with _somber_, _dismal_, _gloomy_, also of moral evil;
as, a _dark_ deed. Of intellectual matters, _dark_ is now rarely used in
the old sense of a _dark_ saying, etc. See MYSTERIOUS; OBSCURE.
bright, crystalline, glowing, lucid, shining,
brilliant, dazzling, illumined, luminous, transparent,
clear, gleaming, light, radiant, white.
Compare synonyms for LIGHT.
* * * * *
corrupt, decompose, molder, putrefy, rot, spoil.
_Rot_ is a strong word, ordinarily esteemed coarse, but on occasion
capable of approved emphatic use; as, "the name of the wicked shall
_rot_," _Prov._ x, 7; _decay_ and _decompose_ are now common euphemisms.
A substance is _decomposed_ when resolved into its original elements by
any process; it is _decayed_ when resolved into its original elements by
natural processes; it _decays_ gradually, but may be instantly
_decomposed_, as water into oxygen and hydrogen; to say that a thing is
_decayed_ may denote only a partial result, but to say it is
_decomposed_ ordinarily implies that the change is complete or nearly
so. _Putrefy_ and the adjectives _putrid_ and _putrescent_, and the
nouns _putridity_ and _putrescence_, are used almost exclusively of
animal matter in a state of decomposition, the more general word _decay_
being used of either animal or vegetable substances.
* * * * *
craft, dissimulation, finesse, lie,
cunning, double-dealing, fraud, lying,
deceit, duplicity, guile, prevarication,
deceitfulness, fabrication, hypocrisy, trickery,
delusion, falsehood, imposition, untruth.
_Deceit_ is the habit, _deception_ the act; _guile_ applies to the
disposition out of which _deceit_ and _deception_ grow, and also to
their actual practise. A _lie_, _lying_, or _falsehood_, is the uttering
of what one knows to be false with intent to deceive. The novel or drama
is not a _lie_, because not meant to deceive; the ancient teaching that
the earth was flat was not a _lie_, because not then known to be false.
_Untruth_ is more than lack of accuracy, implying always lack of
veracity; but it is a somewhat milder and more dignified word than
_lie_. _Falsehood_ and _lying_ are in utterance; _deceit_ and
_deception_ may be merely in act or implication. _Deception_ may be
innocent, and even unintentional, as in the case of an optical illusion;
_deceit_ always involves injurious intent. _Craft_ and _cunning_ have
not necessarily any moral quality; they are common traits of animals,
but stand rather low in the human scale. _Duplicity_ is the habitual
speaking or acting with intent to appear to mean what one does not.
_Dissimulation_ is rather a concealing of what is than a pretense of
what is not. _Finesse_ is simply an adroit and delicate management of a
matter for one's own side, not necessarily involving _deceit_. Compare
candor, frankness, honesty, simplicity, truth,
fair dealing, guilelessness, openness, sincerity, veracity.
* * * * *
apology, guard, rampart, shelter,
bulwark, justification, resistance, shield,
fortress, protection, safeguard, vindication.
The weak may speak or act in _defense_ of the strong; none but the
powerful can assure others of _protection_. A _defense_ is ordinarily
against actual attack; _protection_ is against possible as well as
actual dangers. We speak of _defense_ against an assault, _protection_
from the cold. _Vindication_ is a triumphant _defense_ of character and
conduct against charges of error or wrong. Compare APOLOGY.
abandonment, betrayal, capitulation, desertion, flight, surrender.
Defense _against_ assault or assailants; in law, defense _to_ an action,
_from_ the testimony.
* * * * *
befoul, corrupt, pollute, spoil, sully, tarnish,
contaminate, infect, soil, stain, taint, vitiate.
The hand may be _defiled_ by a touch of pitch; swine that have been
wallowing in the mud are _befouled_. _Contaminate_ and _infect_ refer to
something evil that deeply pervades and permeates, as the human body or
mind. _Pollute_ is used chiefly of liquids; as, water _polluted_ with
sewage. _Tainted_ meat is repulsive; _infected_ meat contains germs of
disease. A _soiled_ garment may be cleansed by washing; a _spoiled_
garment is beyond cleansing or repair. Bright metal is _tarnished_ by
exposure; a fair sheet is _sullied_ by a dirty hand. In figurative use,
_defile_ may be used merely in the ceremonial sense; "they themselves
went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be _defiled_," _John_
xviii, 28; _contaminate_ refers to deep spiritual injury. _Pollute_ has
also a reference to sacrilege; as, to _pollute_ a sanctuary, an altar,
or an ordinance. The innocent are often _contaminated_ by association
with the wicked; the vicious are more and more _corrupted_ by their own
excesses. We speak of a _vitiated_ taste or style; fraud _vitiates_ a
title or a contract.
clean, cleanse, disinfect, hallow, purify, sanctify, wash.
The temple was defiled _with_ blood; defiled _by_ sacrilegious deeds.
* * * * *
comment, description, exposition, rendering,
commentary, explanation, interpretation, translation.
A _definition_ is exact, an _explanation_ general; a _definition_ is
formal, a _description_ pictorial. A _definition_ must include all that
belongs to the object defined, and exclude all that does not; a
_description_ may include only some general features; an _explanation_
may simply throw light upon some point of special difficulty. An
_exposition_ undertakes to state more fully what is compactly given or
only implied in the text; as, an _exposition_ of Scripture.
_Interpretation_ is ordinarily from one language into another, or from
the language of one period into that of another; it may also be a
statement giving the doubtful or hidden meaning of that which is
recondite or perplexing; as, the _interpretation_ of a dream, a riddle,
or of some difficult passage. _Definition_, _explanation_, _exposition_,
and _interpretation_ are ordinarily blended in a _commentary_, which may
also include _description_. A _comment_ is upon a single passage; a
_commentary_ may be the same, but is usually understood to be a volume
of _comments_.
* * * * *
deputy, legate, proxy, representative, substitute.
These words agree in designating one who acts in the place of some other
or others. The _legate_ is an ecclesiastical officer representing the
Pope. In strict usage the _deputy_ or _delegate_ is more limited in
functions and more closely bound by instructions than a
_representative_. A single officer may have a _deputy_; many persons
combine to choose a _delegate_ or _representative_. In the United States
informal assemblies send _delegates_ to nominating conventions with no
legislative authority; _representatives_ are legally elected to Congress
and the various legislatures, with lawmaking power.
* * * * *
confer, consult, meditate, reflect,
consider, debate, ponder, weigh.
An individual _considers_, _meditates_, _ponders_, _reflects_, by
himself; he _weighs_ a matter in his own mind, and is sometimes said
even to _debate_ with himself. _Consult_ and _confer_ always imply two
or more persons, as does _debate_, unless expressly limited as above.
_Confer_ suggests the interchange of counsel, advice, or information;
_consult_ indicates almost exclusively the receiving of it. A man
_confers_ with his associates about a new investment; he _consults_ his
physician about his health; he may _confer_ with him on matters of
general interest. He _consults_ a dictionary, but does not _confer_ with
it. _Deliberate_, which can be applied to a single individual, is also
the word for a great number, while _consult_ is ordinarily limited to a
few; a committee _consults_; an assembly _deliberates_. _Deliberating_
always carries the idea of slowness; _consulting_ is compatible with
haste; we can speak of a hasty consultation, not of a hasty
deliberation. _Debate_ implies opposing views; _deliberate_, simply a
gathering and balancing of all facts and reasons. We _consider_ or
_deliberate_ with a view to action, while _meditation_ may be quite
We deliberate _on_ or _upon_, also _about_ or _concerning_ a matter: the
first two are preferable.
* * * * *
dainty, delightful, exquisite, luscious, savory.
That is _delicious_ which affords a gratification at once vivid and
delicate to the senses, especially to those of taste and smell; as,
_delicious_ fruit; a _delicious_ odor; _luscious_ has a kindred but more
fulsome meaning, inclining toward a cloying excess of sweetness or
richness. _Savory_ is applied chiefly to cooked food made palatable by
spices and condiments. _Delightful_ may be applied to the higher
gratifications of sense, as _delightful_ music, but is chiefly used for
that which is mental and spiritual. _Delicious_ has a limited use in
this way; as, a _delicious_ bit of poetry; the word is sometimes used
ironically for some pleasing absurdity; as, this is _delicious_! Compare
acrid, loathsome, nauseous, repulsive, unpalatable, unsavory.
* * * * *
acceptable, delicious, pleasant, refreshing,
agreeable, grateful, pleasing, satisfying,
congenial, gratifying, pleasurable, welcome.
_Agreeable_ refers to whatever gives a mild degree of pleasure; as, an
_agreeable_ perfume. _Acceptable_ indicates a thing to be worthy of
acceptance; as, an _acceptable_ offering. _Grateful_ is stronger than
_agreeable_ or _gratifying_, indicating whatever awakens a feeling akin
to gratitude. A _pleasant_ face and _pleasing_ manners arouse
_pleasurable_ sensations, and make the possessor an _agreeable_
companion; if possessed of intelligence, vivacity, and goodness, such a
person's society will be _delightful_. Criminals may find each other's
company _congenial_, but scarcely _delightful_. _Satisfying_ denotes
anything that is received with calm acquiescence, as substantial food,
or established truth. That is _welcome_ which is received with joyful
heartiness; as, _welcome_ tidings. Compare BEAUTIFUL; CHARMING;
depressing, hateful, miserable, painful, woful,
disappointing, horrible, mournful, saddening, wretched.
distressing, melancholy,
* * * * *
error, fallacy, hallucination, illusion, phantasm.
A _delusion_ is a mistaken conviction, an _illusion_ a mistaken
perception or inference. An _illusion_ may be wholly of the senses; a
_delusion_ always involves some mental error. In an optical _illusion_
the observer sees either what does not exist, or what exists otherwise
than as he sees it, as when in a mirage distant springs and trees appear
close at hand. We speak of the _illusions_ of fancy or of hope, but of
the _delusions_ of the insane. A _hallucination_ is a false image or
belief which has nothing, outside of the disordered mind, to suggest it;
as, the _hallucinations_ of delirium tremens. Compare DECEPTION;
actuality, certainty, fact, reality, truth, verity.
* * * * *
destroy, overthrow, overturn, raze, ruin.
A building, monument, or other structure is _demolished_ when reduced to
a shapeless mass; it is _razed_ when leveled with the ground; it is
_destroyed_ when its structural unity is gone, whether or not its
component parts remain. An edifice is _destroyed_ by fire or earthquake;
it is _demolished_ by bombardment; it is _ruined_ when, by violence or
neglect, it has become unfit for human habitation. Compare ABOLISH;
build, construct, create, make, repair, restore.
* * * * *
certainty, consequence, evidence, inference,
conclusion, deduction, induction, proof.
_Demonstration_, in the strict and proper sense, is the highest form of
_proof_, and gives the most absolute _certainty_, but can not be applied
outside of pure mathematics or other strictly deductive reasoning; there
can be _proof_ and _certainty_, however, in matters that do not admit of
_demonstration_. A _conclusion_ is the absolute and necessary result of
the admission of certain premises; an _inference_ is a probable
_conclusion_ toward which known facts, statements, or admissions point,
but which they do not absolutely establish; sound premises, together
with their necessary _conclusion_, constitute a _demonstration_.
_Evidence_ is that which tends to show a thing to be true; in the
widest sense, as including self-_evidence_ or consciousness, it is the
basis of all knowledge. _Proof_ in the strict sense is complete,
irresistible _evidence_; as, there was much _evidence_ against the
accused, but not amounting to _proof_ of guilt. Moral _certainty_ is a
conviction resting on such _evidence_ as puts a matter beyond reasonable
doubt, while not so irresistible as _demonstration_. Compare HYPOTHESIS;
* * * * *
aim, final cause, object, proposal,
device, intent, plan, purpose,
end, intention, project, scheme.
_Design_ refers to the adaptation of means to an _end_, the
correspondence and coordination of parts, or of separate acts, to
produce a result; _intent_ and _purpose_ overleap all particulars, and
fasten on the _end_ itself. _Intention_ is simply the more familiar form
of the legal and philosophical _intent_. _Plan_ relates to details of
form, structure, and action, in themselves; _design_ considers these
same details all as a means to an _end_. The _plan_ of a campaign may be
for a series of sharp attacks, with the _design_ of thus surprising and
overpowering the enemy. A man comes to a fixed _intention_ to kill his
enemy; he forms a _plan_ to entrap him into his power, with the _design_
of then compassing his death; as the law can not read the heart, it can
only infer the _intent_ from the evidences of _design_. _Intent_ denotes
a straining, stretching forth toward an _object_; _purpose_ simply the
placing it before oneself; hence, we speak of the _purpose_ rather than
the _intent_ or _intention_ of God. We hold that the marks of _design_
in nature prove it the work of a great Designer. _Intention_
contemplates the possibility of failure; _purpose_ looks to assured
success; _intent_ or _intention_ refers especially to the state of mind
of the actor; _purpose_ to the result of the action. Compare AIM; CAUSE;
The design _of_ defrauding; the design _of_ a building; a design _for_ a
* * * * *
appetency, concupiscence, hankering, proclivity,
appetite, coveting, inclination, propensity,
aspiration, craving, longing, wish.
_Inclination_ is the mildest of these terms; it is a quiet, or even a
vague or unconscious, tendency. Even when we speak of a strong or
decided _inclination_ we do not express the intensity of _desire_.
_Desire_ has a wide range, from the highest objects to the lowest;
_desire_ is for an object near at hand, or near in thought, and viewed
as attainable; a _wish_ may be for what is remote or uncertain, or even
for what is recognized as impossible. _Craving_ is stronger than
_hankering_; _hankering_ may be the result of a fitful and capricious
_appetite_; _craving_ may be the imperious and reasonable demand of the
whole nature. _Longing_ is a reaching out with deep and persistent
demand for that which is viewed as now distant but at some time
attainable; as, the captive's _longing_ for release. _Coveting_
ordinarily denotes wrong _desire_ for that which is another's. Compare
See synonyms for ANTIPATHY.
The desire _of_ fame; a desire _for_ excellence.
* * * * *
desperation, despondency, discouragement, hopelessness.
_Discouragement_ is the result of so much repulse or failure as wears
out courage. _Discouragements_ too frequent and long continued may
produce a settled _hopelessness_. _Hopelessness_ is negative, and may
result from simple apathy; _despondency_ and _despair_ are more emphatic
and decided. _Despondency_ is an incapacity for the present exercise of
hope; _despair_ is the utter abandonment of hope. _Despondency_ relaxes
energy and effort and is always attended with sadness or distress;
_despair_ may produce a stony calmness, or it may lead to _desperation_.
_Desperation_ is energized _despair_, vigorous in action, reckless of
anticipation, confidence, encouragement, expectation, hopefulness,
assurance, courage, expectancy, hope, trust.
cheer, elation,
* * * * *
adroitness, aptitude, cleverness, expertness, readiness, skill.
_Adroitness_ (F. _a_, to, and _droit_, right) and _dexterity_ (L.
_dexter_, right, right-hand) might each be rendered "right-handedness;"
but _adroitness_ carries more of the idea of eluding, parrying, or
checking some hostile movement, or taking advantage of another in
controversy; _dexterity_ conveys the idea of doing, accomplishing
something readily and well, without reference to any action of others.
We speak of _adroitness_ in fencing, boxing, or debate; of _dexterity_
in horsemanship, in the use of tools, weapons, etc. _Aptitude_ (L.
_aptus_, fit, fitted) is a natural _readiness_, which by practise may be
developed into _dexterity_. _Skill_ is more exact to line, rule, and
method than _dexterity_. _Dexterity_ can not be communicated, and,
oftentimes can not even be explained by its possessor; _skill_ to a very
great extent can be imparted; "_skilled_ workmen" in various trades are
numbered by thousands. Compare ADDRESS; CLEVER; POWER; SKILFUL.
Dexterity _of_ hand, _of_ movement, _of_ management; _with_ the pen;
_in_ action, _in_ manipulating men; _at_ cards.
* * * * *
expression, phrase, style, vocabulary,
language, phraseology, verbiage, wording.
An author's _diction_ is strictly his choice and use of words, with no
special reference to thought; _expression_ regards the words simply as
the vehicle of the thought. _Phrase_ and _phraseology_ apply to words or
combinations of words which are somewhat technical; as, in legal
_phraseology_; in military _phrase_. _Diction_ is general; _wording_ is
limited; we speak of the _diction_ of an author or of a work, the
_wording_ of a proposition, of a resolution, etc. _Verbiage_ never bears
this sense (see CIRCUMLOCUTION.) The _language_ of a writer or speaker
may be the national speech he employs; as, the English or French
_language_; or the word may denote his use of that _language_; as, the
author's _language_ is well (or ill) chosen. _Style_ includes _diction_,
_expression_, rhetorical figures such as metaphor and simile, the effect
of an author's prevailing tone of thought, of his personal traits--in
short, all that makes up the clothing of thought in words; thus, we
speak of a figurative _style_, a frigid or an argumentative _style_,
etc., or of the _style_ of Macaulay, Prescott, or others. An author's
_vocabulary_ is the range of words which he brings into his use. Compare
* * * * *
cease, decline, expire, perish,
decease, depart, fade, wither.
_Die_, to go out of life, become destitute of vital power and action,
is figuratively applied to anything which has the appearance of life.
Where the _dying_ night-lamp flickers.
TENNYSON _Locksley Hall_ st. 40.
An echo, a strain of music, a tempest, a topic, an issue, _dies_.
_Expire_ (literally, to breathe out) is a softer word for _die_; it is
used figuratively of things that _cease_ to exist by reaching a natural
limit; as, a lease _expires_; the time has _expired_. To _perish_
(literally, in Latin, to go through, as in English we say, "the fire
goes out") is oftenest used of death by privation or exposure; as, "I
_perish_ with hunger," _Luke_ xv, 17; sometimes, of death by violence.
Knowledge and fame, art and empires, may be said to _perish_; the word
denotes utter destruction and decay.
be born, come into being, flourish, rise again,
begin, come to life, grow, rise from the dead,
be immortal, exist, live, survive.
To die _of_ fever; _by_ violence; rarely, _with_ the sword, famine, etc.
(_Ezek._ vii, 15); to die _for_ one's country; to die _at_ sea; _in_
one's bed; _in_ agony; die _to_ the world.
* * * * *
contrariety, discrimination, distinction, inequality,
contrast, disparity, divergence, unlikeness,
disagreement, dissimilarity, diversity, variation,
discrepancy, dissimilitude, inconsistency, variety.
_Difference_ is the state or quality of being unlike or the amount of
such unlikeness. A _difference_ is in the things compared; a
_discrimination_ is in our judgment of them; a _distinction_ is in our
definition or description or mental image of them. Careful
_discrimination_ of real _differences_ results in clear _distinctions_.
_Disparity_ is stronger than _inequality_, implying that one thing falls
far below another; as, the _disparity_ of our achievements when compared
with our ideals. _Dissimilarity_ is between things sharply contrasted;
there may be a _difference_ between those almost alike. There is a
_discrepancy_ in accounts that fail to balance. _Variety_ involves more
than two objects; so, in general, does _diversity_; _variation_ is a
_difference_ in the condition or action of the same object at different
times. _Disagreement_ is not merely the lack, but the opposite, of
agreement; it is a mild word for opposition and conflict; _difference_
is sometimes used in the same sense.
agreement, harmony, likeness, sameness, uniformity,
consonance, identity, resemblance, similarity, unity.
Difference _between_ the old and the new; differences _among_ men; a
difference _in_ character; _of_ action; _of_ style; (less frequently) a
difference (controversy) _with_ a person; a difference _of_ one thing
_from_ (incorrectly _to_) another.
* * * * *
arduous, hard, onerous, toilsome,
exhausting, laborious, severe, trying.
_Arduous_ (L. _arduus_, steep) signifies primarily so steep and lofty as
to be difficult of ascent, and hence applies to that which involves
great and sustained exertion and ordinarily for a lofty aim; great
learning can only be won by _arduous_ toil. _Hard_ applies to anything
that resists our endeavors as a scarcely penetrable mass resists our
physical force. Anything is _hard_ that involves tax and strain whether
of the physical or mental powers. _Difficult_ is not used of that which
merely taxes physical force; a dead lift is called _hard_ rather than
_difficult_; breaking stone on the road would be called _hard_ rather
than _difficult_ work; that is _difficult_ which involves skill,
sagacity, or address, with or without a considerable expenditure of
physical force; a geometrical problem may be _difficult_ to solve, a
tangled skein to unravel; a mountain _difficult_ to ascend. _Hard_ may
be active or passive; a thing may be _hard_ to do or _hard_ to bear.
_Arduous_ is always active. That which is _laborious_ or _toilsome_
simply requires the steady application of labor or toil till
accomplished; _toilsome_ is the stronger word. That which is _onerous_
(L. _onus_, a burden) is mentally burdensome or oppressive.
Responsibility may be _onerous_ even when it involves no special
easy, facile, light, pleasant, slight, trifling, trivial.
* * * * *
aim, bearing, course, inclination, tendency, way.
The _direction_ of an object is the line of motion or of vision toward
it, or the line in which the object is moving, considered from our own
actual or mental standpoint. _Way_, literally the road or path, comes
naturally to mean the _direction_ of the road or path; conversationally,
_way_ is almost a perfect synonym of _direction_; as, which _way_ did he
go? or, in which _direction_? _Bearing_ is the _direction_ in which an
object is seen with reference to another, and especially with reference
to the points of the compass. _Course_ is the _direction_ of a moving
object; _inclination_, that toward which a stationary object leans;
_tendency_, the _direction_ toward which anything stretches or reaches
out; _tendency_ is stronger and more active than _inclination_. Compare
* * * * *
behold, discriminate, observe, recognize,
descry, distinguish, perceive, see.
What we _discern_ we _see_ apart from all other objects; what we
_discriminate_ we judge apart; what we _distinguish_ we mark apart, or
recognize by some special mark or manifest difference. We _discriminate_
by real differences; we _distinguish_ by outward signs; an officer is
readily _distinguished_ from a common soldier by his uniform. Objects
may be dimly _discerned_ at twilight, when yet we can not clearly
_distinguish_ one from another. We _descry_ (originally _espy_) what is
difficult to discover. Compare DISCOVER; LOOK.
* * * * *
ascertain, detect, disclose, ferret out, find out,
descry, discern, expose, find, invent.
Of human actions or character, _detect_ is used, almost without
exception, in a bad sense; _discover_ may be used in either the good or
the bad sense, oftener in the good; he was _detected_ in a fraud; real
merit is sure to be _discovered_. In scientific language, _detect_ is
used of delicate indications that appear in course of careful watching;
as, a slight fluttering of the pulse could be _detected_. We _discover_
what has existed but has not been known to us; we _invent_ combinations
or arrangements not before in use; Columbus _discovered_ America; Morse
_invented_ the electric telegraph. _Find_ is the most general word for
every means of coming to know what was not before certainly known. A man
_finds_ in the road some stranger's purse, or _finds_ his own which he
is searching for. The expert _discovers_ or _detects_ an error in an
account; the auditor _finds_ the account to be correct. Compare DISCERN.
See synonyms for HIDE.
* * * * *
affection, disorder, indisposition, sickness,
ailment, distemper, infirmity, unhealthiness,
complaint, illness, malady, unsoundness.
_Disease_ is the general term for any deviation from health; in a more
limited sense it denotes some definite morbid condition; _disorder_ and
_affection_ are rather partial and limited; as, a nervous _affection_; a
_disorder_ of the digestive system. _Sickness_ was generally used in
English speech and literature, till the close of the eighteenth century
at least, for every form of physical _disorder_, as abundantly appears
in the English Bible: "Jesus went about ... healing all manner of
_sickness_ and all manner of _disease_ among the people," _Matt._ iv,
23; "Elisha was fallen _sick_ of his _sickness_ whereof he died," _2
Kings_ xiii, 14. There is now, in England, a tendency to restrict the
words _sick_ and _sickness_ to nausea, or "_sickness_ at the stomach,"
and to hold _ill_ and _illness_ as the only proper words to use in a
general sense. This distinction has received but a very limited
acceptance in the United States, where _sick_ and _sickness_ have the
earlier and wider usage. We speak of trifling _ailments_, a slight
_indisposition_, a serious or a deadly _disease_; a slight or severe
_illness_; a painful _sickness_. _Complaint_ is a popular term, which
may be applied to any degree of ill health, slight or severe.
_Infirmity_ denotes a chronic or lingering weakness or disability, as
blindness or lameness.
health, robustness, soundness, strength, sturdiness, vigor.
* * * * *
belittle, depreciate, discredit, underestimate,
carp at, derogate from, dishonor, underrate,
decry, detract from, lower, undervalue.
To _decry_ is to cry down, in some noisy, public, or conspicuous manner.
A witness or a statement is _discredited_; the currency is
_depreciated_; a good name is _dishonored_ by unworthy conduct; we
_underestimate_ in our own minds; we may _underrate_ or _undervalue_ in
statement to others. These words are used, with few exceptions, of
things such as qualities, merits, attainments, etc. To _disparage_ is to
_belittle_ by damaging comparison or suggestion; it is used only of
things. A man's achievements are _disparaged_, his motives
_depreciated_, his professions _discredited_; he himself is calumniated,
slandered, etc. Compare SLANDER.
See synonyms for PRAISE.
* * * * *
confuse, derange, disturb, mislay, remove,
crowd out, disarrange, jumble, misplace, unsettle.
Objects are _displaced_ when moved out of the place they have occupied;
they are _misplaced_ when put into a place where they should not be. One
may know where to find what he has _misplaced_; what he has _mislaid_ he
can not locate.
adjust, assort, dispose, order, put in order, set in order,
array, classify, group, place, put in place, sort.
* * * * *
accomplish, carry out, discharge, perform,
achieve, carry through, effect, perpetrate,
actualize, commit, execute, realize,
bring about, complete, finish, transact,
bring to pass, consummate, fulfil, work out.
_Do_ is the one comprehensive word which includes this whole class. We
may say of the least item of daily work, "It is _done_," and of the
grandest human achievement, "Well _done_!" _Finish_ and _complete_
signify to bring to an end what was previously begun; there is
frequently the difference in usage that _finish_ is applied to the fine
details and is superficial, while _complete_ is comprehensive, being
applied to the whole ideal, plan, and execution; as, to _finish_ a
statue; to _complete_ a scheme of philosophy. To _discharge_ is to _do_
what is given in charge, expected, or required; as, to _discharge_ the
duties of the office. To _fulfil_ is to _do_ or to be what has been
promised, expected, hoped, or desired; as, a son _fulfils_ a father's
hopes. _Realize_, _effect_, _execute_, and _consummate_ all signify to
embody in fact what was before in thought. One may _realize_ that which
he has done nothing to _bring about_; he may _realize_ the dreams of
youth by inheriting a fortune; but he can not _effect_ his early designs
except by _doing_ the utmost that is necessary to make them fact.
_Effect_ includes all that is _done_ to _accomplish_ the intent;
_execute_ refers rather to the final steps; _consummate_ is limited
quite sharply to the concluding act. An officer _executes_ the law when
he proceeds against its violators; a purchase is _consummated_ when the
money is paid and the property delivered. _Execute_ refers more commonly
to the commands of another, _effect_ and _consummate_ to one's own
designs; as, the commander _effected_ the capture of the fort, because
his officers and men promptly _executed_ his commands. _Achieve_--to
_do_ something worthy of a chief--signifies always to _perform_ some
great and generally some worthy exploit. _Perform_ and _accomplish_ both
imply working toward the end; but _perform_ always allows a possibility
of not attaining, while _accomplish_ carries the thought of full
completion. In Longfellow's lines, "Patience; _accomplish_ thy labor,"
etc., _perform_ could not be substituted without great loss. As between
_complete_ and _accomplish_, _complete_ considers rather the thing as
_done_; _accomplish_, the whole process of doing it. _Commit_, as
applied to actions, is used only of those that are bad, whether grave or
trivial; _perpetrate_ is used chiefly of aggravated crimes or, somewhat
humorously, of blunders. A man may _commit_ a sin, a trespass, or a
murder; _perpetrate_ an outrage or a felony. We _finish_ a garment or a
letter, _complete_ an edifice or a life-work, _consummate_ a bargain or
a crime, _discharge_ a duty, _effect_ a purpose, _execute_ a command,
_fulfil_ a promise, _perform_ our daily tasks, _realize_ an ideal,
_accomplish_ a design, _achieve_ a victory. Compare TRANSACT;
baffle, defeat, fail, mar, miss, ruin,
come short, destroy, frustrate, miscarry, neglect, spoil.
* * * * *
amenable, manageable, pliant, teachable,
compliant, obedient, submissive, tractable,
gentle, pliable, tame, yielding.
One who is _docile_ is easily taught; one who is _tractable_ is easily
led; one who is _pliant_ is easily bent in any direction; _compliant_
represents one as inclined or persuaded to agreement with another's
will. Compare DUTY.
determined, inflexible, opinionated, self-willed, wilful,
dogged, intractable, resolute, stubborn, unyielding.
firm, obstinate,
* * * * *
article of belief, belief, precept, teaching,
article of faith, dogma, principle, tenet.
_Doctrine_ primarily signifies that which is taught; _principle_, the
fundamental basis on which the _teaching_ rests. A _doctrine_ is
reasoned out, and may be defended by reasoning; a _dogma_ rests on
authority, as of direct revelation, the decision of the church, etc. A
_doctrine_ or _dogma_ is a statement of some one item of _belief_; a
_creed_ is a summary of _doctrines_ or _dogmas_. _Dogma_ has commonly,
at the present day, an offensive signification, as of a _belief_
arrogantly asserted. _Tenet_ is simply that which is held, and is
applied to a single item of _belief_; it is a neutral word, neither
approving nor condemning; we speak of the _doctrines_ of our own church;
of the _tenets_ of others. A _precept_ relates not to _belief_, but to
conduct. Compare FAITH; LAW.
* * * * *
arrogant, doctrinal, magisterial, positive,
authoritative, domineering, opinionated, self-opinionated,
dictatorial, imperious, overbearing, systematic.
_Dogmatic_ is technically applied in a good sense to that which is
formally enunciated by adequate authority; _doctrinal_ to that which is
stated in the form of doctrine to be taught or defended. _Dogmatic_
theology, called also "dogmatics," gives definite propositions, which it
holds to be delivered by authority; _systematic_ theology considers the
same propositions in their logical connection and order as parts of a
system; a _doctrinal_ statement is less absolute in its claims than a
_dogmatic_ treatise, and may be more partial than the term _systematic_
would imply. Outside of theology, _dogmatic_ has generally an offensive
sense; a _dogmatic_ statement is one for which the author does not
trouble himself to give a reason, either because of the strength of his
convictions, or because of his contempt for those whom he addresses;
thus _dogmatic_ is, in common use, allied with _arrogant_ and kindred
* * * * *
DOUBT, _v._
distrust, mistrust, surmise, suspect.
To _doubt_ is to lack conviction. Incompleteness of evidence may compel
one to _doubt_, or some perverse bias of mind may incline him to.
_Distrust_ may express simply a lack of confidence; as, I _distrust_ my
own judgment; or it may be nearly equivalent to _suspect_; as, I
_distrusted_ that man from the start. _Mistrust_ and _suspect_ imply
that one is almost assured of positive evil; one may _distrust_ himself
or others; he _suspects_ others. _Mistrust_ is now rarely, if ever, used
of persons, but only of motives, intentions, etc. _Distrust_ is always
serious; _mistrust_ is often used playfully. Compare SUPPOSE. Compare
synonyms for DOUBT, _n._
believe, depend on, depend upon, rely on, rely upon, trust.
confide in,
* * * * *
DOUBT, _n._
disbelief, incredulity, perplexity, suspense,
distrust, indecision, question, suspicion,
hesitancy, irresolution, scruple, unbelief,
hesitation, misgiving, skepticism, uncertainty.
_Doubt_ is a lack of conviction that may refer either to matters of
belief or to matters of practise. As regards belief, while _doubt_ is
lack of conviction, _disbelief_ is conviction, to the contrary;
_unbelief_ refers to a settled state of mind, generally accompanied with
opposition of heart. _Perplexity_ is active and painful; _doubt_ may be
quiescent. _Perplexity_ presses toward a solution; _doubt_ may be
content to linger unresolved. Any improbable statement awakens
_incredulity_. In theological usage _unbelief_ and _skepticism_ have a
condemnatory force, as implying wilful rejection of manifest truth. As
regards practical matters, _uncertainty_ applies to the unknown or
undecided; _doubt_ implies some negative evidence. _Suspense_ regards
the future, and is eager and anxious; _uncertainty_ may relate to any
period, and be quite indifferent. _Misgiving_ is ordinarily in regard to
the outcome of something already done or decided; _hesitation_,
_indecision_, and _irresolution_ have reference to something that
remains to be decided or done, and are due oftener to infirmity of will
than to lack of knowledge. _Distrust_ and _suspicion_ apply especially
to the motives, character, etc., of others, and are more decidedly
adverse than _doubt_. _Scruple_ relates to matters of conscience and
assurance, certainty, conviction, determination, resolution,
belief, confidence, decision, persuasion, resolve.
* * * * *
allure, drag, haul, induce, lure, tow,
attract, entice, incline, lead, pull, tug.
One object _draws_ another when it moves it toward itself or in the
direction of its own motion by the exertion of adequate force, whether
slight or powerful. To _attract_ is to exert a force that tends to
_draw_, tho it may produce no actual motion; all objects are _attracted_
toward the earth, tho they may be sustained from falling. To _drag_ is
to _draw_ against strong resistance; as, to _drag_ a sled over bare
ground, or a carriage up a steep hill. To _pull_ is to exert a _drawing_
force, whether adequate or inadequate; as, the fish _pulls_ on the
line; a dentist _pulls_ a tooth. To _tug_ is to _draw_, or try to
_draw_, a resisting object with a continuous straining motion; as, to
_tug_ at the oar. To _haul_ is to _draw_ somewhat slowly a heavy object;
as, to _haul_ a seine; to _haul_ logs. One vessel _tows_ another. In the
figurative sense, _attract_ is more nearly akin to _incline_, _draw_ to
_induce_. We are _attracted_ by one's appearance, _drawn_ to his side.
alienate, estrange, rebuff, reject, repel, repulse.
See synonyms for DRIVE.
To draw water _from_ or _out of_ the well; draw the boat _through_ the
water, _to_ the shore; draw air _into_ the lungs; draw _with_ cords of
love; the wagon is drawn _by_ horses, _along_ the road, _across_ the
field, _over_ the stones, _through_ the woods, _to_ the barn.
* * * * *
day-dream, fantasy, reverie, trance,
fancy, hallucination, romance, vision.
A _dream_ is strictly a train of thoughts, fantasies, and images passing
through the mind during sleep; a _vision_ may occur when one is awake,
and in clear exercise of the senses and mental powers; _vision_ is often
applied to something seen by the mind through supernatural agency,
whether in sleep or wakefulness, conceived as more real and
authoritative than a _dream_; a _trance_ is an abnormal state, which is
different from normal sleep or wakefulness. A _reverie_ is a purposeless
drifting of the mind when awake, under the influence of mental images; a
_day-dream_ that which passes before the mind in such condition. A
_fancy_ is some image presented to the mind, often in the fullest
exercise of its powers. _Hallucination_ is the seeming perception of
non-existent objects, as in insanity or delirium. In the figurative
sense, we speak of _dreams_ of fortune, _visions_ of glory, with little
difference of meaning except that the _vision_ is thought of as fuller
and more vivid. We speak of a _trance_ of delight when the emotion
almost sweeps one away from the normal exercise of the faculties.
certainty, fact, reality, realization, substance, verity.
* * * * *
apparel, clothes, garb, habit, uniform,
array, clothing, garments, raiment, vestments,
attire, costume, habiliments, robes, vesture.
_Clothing_ denotes the entire covering of the body, taken as a whole;
_clothes_ and _garments_ view it as composed of separate parts.
_Clothes_, _clothing_, and _garments_ may be used of inner or outer
covering; all the other words in the list (with possible rare exceptions
in the case of _raiment_) refer to the outer _garments_. _Array_,
_raiment_, and _vesture_ are archaic or poetic; so, too, is _habit_,
except in technical use to denote a lady's riding-_dress_. The word
_vestments_ is now rare, except in ecclesiastical use. _Apparel_ and
_attire_ are most frequently used of somewhat complete and elegant outer
_clothing_, tho Shakespeare speaks of "poor and mean _attire_." _Dress_
may be used, specifically, for a woman's gown, and in that sense may be
either rich or shabby; but in the general sense it denotes outer
_clothing_ which is meant to be elegant, complete, and appropriate to
some social or public occasion; as, full _dress_, court _dress_, evening
_dress_, etc. _Dress_ has now largely displaced _apparel_ and _attire_.
_Garb_ denotes the _clothing_ characteristic of some class, profession,
or the like; as, the _garb_ of a priest. _Costume_ is chiefly used for
that which befits an assumed character; as, a theatrical _costume_; we
sometimes speak of a national _costume_, etc.
bareness, dishabille, exposure, nakedness, nudity, undress.
* * * * *
compel, propel, repel, resist, thrust,
impel, push, repulse, ride, urge on.
To _drive_ is to move an object with some force or violence before or
away from oneself; it is the direct reverse of _draw_, _lead_, etc. A
man leads a horse by the halter, _drives_ him with whip and rein. One
may be _driven_ to a thing or from it; hence, _drive_ is a synonym
equally for _compel_ or for _repel_ or _repulse_. _Repulse_ is stronger
and more conclusive than _repel_; one may be _repelled_ by the very
aspect of the person whose favor he seeks, but is not _repulsed_ except
by the direct refusal or ignoring of his suit. A certain conventional
modern usage, especially in England, requires us to say that we _drive_
in a carriage, _ride_ upon a horse; tho in Scripture we read of _riding_
in a chariot (_2 Kings_ ix, 16; _Jer._ xvii, 25, etc.); good examples of
the same usage may be found abundantly in the older English. The
propriety of a person's saying that he is going to _drive_ when he is
simply to be conveyed in a carriage, where some one else, as the
coachman, does all the _driving_, is exceedingly questionable. Many good
authorities prefer to use _ride_ in the older and broader sense as
signifying to be supported and borne along by any means of conveyance.
See synonyms for DRAW.
Drive _to_ market; _to_ despair; drive _into_ exile; _from_ one's
presence; _out of_ the city; drive _by_, _with_, or _under_ the lash;
drive _by_ or _past_ beautiful estates; _along_ the beach; _beside_ the
river; _through_ the park; _across_ the field; _around_ the square; _to_
the door; _into_ the barn; _out of_ the sunshine.
* * * * *
copy, facsimile, likeness, reproduction,
counterpart, imitation, replica, transcript.
A _copy_ is as nearly like the original as the copyist has power to make
it; a _duplicate_ is exactly like the original; a carbon _copy_ of a
typewritten document must be a _duplicate_; we may have an inaccurate
_copy_, but never an inaccurate _duplicate_. A _facsimile_ is like the
original in appearance; a _duplicate_ is the same as the original in
substance and effect; a _facsimile_ of the Declaration of Independence
is not a _duplicate_. A _facsimile_ of a key might be quite useless; a
_duplicate_ will open the lock. A _counterpart_ exactly corresponds to
another object, but perhaps without design, while a _copy_ is
intentional. An _imitation_ is always thought of as inferior to the
original; as, an _imitation_ of Milton. A _replica_ is a _copy_ of a
work of art by the maker of the original. In law, a _copy_ of an
instrument has in itself no authority; the signatures, as well as other
matters, may be copied; a _duplicate_ is really an original, containing
the same provisions and signed by the same persons, so that it may have
in all respects the same force and effect; a _transcript_ is an official
_copy_, authenticated by the signature of the proper officer, and by the
seal of the appropriate court. While strictly there could be but one
_duplicate_, the word is now extended to an indefinite number of exact
_copies_. _Reproduction_ is chiefly applied to living organisms.
archetype, model, original, pattern, prototype.
* * * * *
accountability, function, office, right,
business, obligation, responsibility, righteousness.
Etymologically, _duty_ is that which is owed or due; _obligation_, that
to or by which one is bound; _right_, that which is correct, straight,
or in the direct line of truth and goodness; _responsibility_, that for
which one must answer. _Duty_ and _responsibility_ are thought of as to
some person or persons; _right_ is impersonal. One's _duty_ may be to
others or to himself; his _obligations_ and _responsibilities_ are to
others. _Duty_ arises from the nature of things; _obligation_ and
_responsibility_ may be created by circumstances, as by one's own
promise, or by the acceptance of a trust, etc. We speak of a parent's
_duty_, a debtor's _obligation_; or of a child's _duty_ of obedience,
and a parent's _responsibility_ for the child's welfare. _Right_ is that
which accords with the moral system of the universe. _Righteousness_ is
_right_ incarnated in action. In a more limited sense, _right_ may be
used of what one may rightly claim, and so be the converse of _duty_. It
is the creditor's _right_ to demand payment, and the debtor's _duty_ to
pay. Compare BUSINESS.
* * * * *
animated, desirous, glowing, importunate, longing,
anxious, earnest, hot, intense, vehement,
ardent, enthusiastic, impatient, intent, yearning,
burning, fervent, impetuous, keen, zealous.
One is _eager_ who impatiently desires to accomplish some end; one is
_earnest_ with a desire that is less impatient, but more deep, resolute,
and constant; one is _anxious_ with a desire that foresees rather the
pain of disappointment than the delight of attainment. One is _eager_
for the gratification of any appetite or passion; he is _earnest_ in
conviction, purpose, or character. _Eager_ usually refers to some
specific and immediate satisfaction, _earnest_ to something permanent
and enduring; the patriotic soldier is _earnest_ in his devotion to his
country, _eager_ for a decisive battle.
apathetic, cool, indifferent, regardless, unconcerned,
calm, dispassionate, negligent, stolid, uninterested,
careless, frigid, phlegmatic, stony, unmindful,
cold, heedless, purposeless, stupid, unmoved.
Eager _for_ (more rarely _after_) favor, honor, etc.; eager _in_
* * * * *
easiness, expertness, facility, knack, readiness.
_Ease_ in the sense here considered denotes freedom from conscious or
apparent effort, tax, or strain. _Ease_ may be either of condition or of
action; _facility_ is always of action; _readiness_ is of action or of
expected action. One lives at _ease_ who has no pressing cares; one
stands at _ease_, moves or speaks with _ease_, when wholly without
constraint. _Facility_ is always active; _readiness_ may be active or
passive; the speaker has _facility_ of expression, _readiness_ of wit;
any appliance is in _readiness_ for use. _Ease_ of action may imply
merely the possession of ample power; _facility_ always implies practise
and skill; any one can press down the keys of a typewriter with _ease_;
only the skilled operator works the machine with _facility_. _Readiness_
in the active sense includes much of the meaning of _ease_ with the
added idea of promptness or alertness. _Easiness_ applies to the thing
done, rather than to the doer. _Expertness_ applies to the more
mechanical processes of body and mind; we speak of the _readiness_ of an
orator, but of the _expertness_ of a gymnast. Compare COMFORTABLE;
annoyance, difficulty, irritation, trouble, vexation,
awkwardness, discomfort, perplexity, uneasiness, worry.
constraint, disquiet,
* * * * *
breeding, discipline, learning, study,
cultivation, information, nurture, teaching,
culture, instruction, reading, training,
development, knowledge, schooling, tuition.
_Education_ (L. _educere_, to lead or draw out) is the systematic
development and cultivation of the mind and other natural powers.
"_Education_ is the harmonious development of all our faculties. It
begins in the nursery, and goes on at school, but does not end there. It
continues through life, whether we will or not.... 'Every person,' says
Gibbon, 'has two educations, one which he receives from others, and one
more important, which he gives himself.'" JOHN LUBBOCK _The Use of Life_
ch. vii, p. 111. [MACM. '94.] _Instruction_, the impartation of
_knowledge_ by others (L. _instruere_, to build in or into) is but a
part of education, often the smallest part. _Teaching_ is the more
familiar and less formal word for _instruction_. _Training_ refers not
merely to the impartation of _knowledge_, but to the exercising of one
in actions with the design to form habits. _Discipline_ is systematic
and rigorous _training_, with the idea of subjection to authority and
perhaps of punishment. _Tuition_ is the technical term for _teaching_ as
the business of an instructor or as in the routine of a school;
_tuition_ is narrower than _teaching_, not, like the latter word,
including _training_. _Study_ is emphatically what one does for himself.
We speak of the _teaching_, _training_, or _discipline_, but not of the
_education_ or _tuition_ of a dog or a horse. _Breeding_ and _nurture_
include _teaching_ and _training_, especially as directed by and
dependent upon home life and personal association; _breeding_ having
reference largely to manners with such qualities as are deemed
distinctively characteristic of high birth; _nurture_ (literally
_nourishing_) having more direct reference to moral qualities, not
overlooking the physical and mental. _Knowledge_ and _learning_ tell
nothing of mental development apart from the capacity to acquire and
remember, and nothing whatever of that moral development which is
included in _education_ in its fullest and noblest sense; _learning_,
too, may be acquired by one's unaided industry, but any full _education_
must be the result in great part of _instruction_, _training_, and
personal association. _Study_ is emphatically what one does for himself,
and in which _instruction_ and _tuition_ can only point the way,
encourage the student to advance, and remove obstacles; vigorous,
persevering _study_ is one of the best elements of _training_. _Study_
is also used in the sense of the thing studied, a subject to be mastered
by _study_, a studious pursuit. Compare KNOWLEDGE; REFINEMENT; WISDOM.
ignorance, illiteracy.
Compare synonyms for IGNORANT.
* * * * *
assurance, boldness, hardihood, insolence,
audacity, brass, impudence, shamelessness.
_Audacity_, in the sense here considered, is a reckless defiance of law,
decency, public opinion, or personal rights, claims, or views,
approaching the meaning of _impudence_ or _shamelessness_, but always
carrying the thought of the personal risk that one disregards in such
defiance; the merely _impudent_ or _shameless_ person may take no
thought of consequences; the _audacious_ person recognizes and
recklessly braves them. _Hardihood_ defies and disregards the rational
judgment of men. _Effrontery_ (L. _effrons_, barefaced, shameless) adds
to _audacity_ and _hardihood_ the special element of defiance of
considerations of propriety, duty, and respect for others, yet not to
the extent implied in _impudence_ or _shamelessness_. _Impudence_
disregards what is due to superiors; _shamelessness_ defies decency.
_Boldness_ is forward-stepping courage, spoken of with reference to the
presence and observation of others; _boldness_, in the good sense, is
courage viewed from the outside; but the word is frequently used in an
unfavorable sense to indicate a lack of proper sensitiveness and
modesty. Compare ASSURANCE; BRAVE.
bashfulness, diffidence, sensitiveness, shyness,
coyness, modesty, shrinking, timidity.
* * * * *
conceit, self-assertion, self-confidence, self-esteem,
egoism, self-conceit, self-consciousness, vanity.
_Egoism_ is giving the "I" undue supremacy in thought; _egotism_ is
giving the "I" undue prominence in speech. _Egotism_ is sometimes used
in the sense of _egoism_, or supreme regard for oneself.
_Self-assertion_ is the claim by word, act, or manner of what one
believes to be his due; _self-conceit_ is an overestimate of one's own
powers or deserts. _Conceit_ is a briefer expression for _self-conceit_,
with always an offensive implication; _self-conceit_ is ridiculous or
pitiable; _conceit_ arouses resentment. There is a worthy
_self-confidence_ which springs from consciousness of rectitude and of
power equal to demands. _Self-assertion_ at times becomes a duty; but
_self-conceit_ is always a weakness. _Self-consciousness_ is the keeping
of one's thoughts upon oneself, with the constant anxious question of
what others will think. _Vanity_ is an overweening admiration of self,
craving equal admiration from others; _self-consciousness_ is commonly
painful to its possessor, _vanity_ always a source of satisfaction,
except as it fails to receive its supposed due. _Self-esteem_ is more
solid and better founded than _self-conceit_; but is ordinarily a
weakness, and never has the worthy sense of _self-confidence_. Compare
bashfulness, humility, self-forgetfulness, unobtrusiveness,
deference, modesty, shyness, unostentatiousness.
diffidence, self-distrust,
* * * * *
attribute, figure, image, sign, symbol, token, type.
_Emblem_ is the English form of _emblema_, a Latin word of Greek origin,
signifying a figure beaten out on a metallic vessel by blows from
within; also, a figure inlaid in wood, stone, or other material as a
copy of some natural object. The Greek word _symbolon_ denoted a
victor's wreath, a check, or any object that might be compared with, or
found to correspond with another, whether there was or was not anything
in the objects compared to suggest the comparison. Thus an _emblem_
resembles, a _symbol_ represents. An _emblem_ has some natural fitness
to suggest that for which it stands; a _symbol_ has been chosen or
agreed upon to suggest something else, with or without natural fitness;
a _sign_ does actually suggest the thing with or without reason, and
with or without intention or choice. A _symbol_ may be also an _emblem_;
thus the elements of bread and wine in the Lord's Supper are both
appropriate _emblems_ and his own chosen _symbols_ of suffering and
death. A statement of doctrine is often called a _symbol_ of faith; but
it is not an _emblem_. On the other hand, the same thing may be both a
_sign_ and a _symbol_; a letter of the alphabet is a _sign_ which
indicates a sound; but letters are often used as mathematical, chemical,
or astronomical _symbols_. A _token_ is something given or done as a
pledge or expression of feeling or intent; while the _sign_ may be
unintentional, the _token_ is voluntary; kind looks may be _signs_ of
regard; a gift is a _token_; a ring, which is a natural _emblem_ of
eternity, and also its accepted _symbol_, is frequently given as a
_token_ of friendship or love. A _figure_ in the sense here considered
is something that represents an idea to the mind somewhat as a form is
represented to the eye, as in drawing, painting, or sculpture; as
representing a future reality, a _figure_ may be practically the same as
a _type_. An _image_ is a visible representation, especially in
sculpture, having or supposed to have a close resemblance to that which
it represents. A _type_ is in religion a representation of a greater
reality to come; we speak of one object as the _type_ of the class whose
characteristics it exhibits, as in the case of animal or vegetable
_types_. An _attribute_ in art is some accessory used to characterize a
_figure_ or scene; the _attribute_ is often an _emblem_ or _symbol_;
thus the eagle is the _attribute_ of St. John as an _emblem_ of lofty
spiritual vision. Compare SIGN.
* * * * *
immigrate, migrate.
To _migrate_ is to change one's dwelling-place, usually with the idea of
repeated change, or of periodical return; it applies to wandering tribes
of men, and to many birds and animals. _Emigrate_ and _immigrate_ carry
the idea of a permanent change of residence to some other country or
some distant region; the two words are used distinctively of human
beings, and apply to the same person and the same act, according to the
side from which the action is viewed.
A person emigrates _from_ the land he leaves, and immigrates _to_ the
land where he takes up his abode.
* * * * *
call, engage, engross, hire, make use of, use, use up.
In general terms it may be said that to _employ_ is to devote to one's
purpose, to _use_ is to render subservient to one's purpose; what is
_used_ is viewed as more absolutely an instrument than what is
_employed_; a merchant _employs_ a clerk; he _uses_ pen and paper; as a
rule, _use_ is not said of persons, except in a degrading sense; as, the
conspirators _used_ him as a go-between. Hence the expression common in
some religious circles "that God would _use_ me" is not to be commended;
it has also the fault of representing the human worker as absolutely a
passive and helpless instrument; the phrase is altogether unscriptural;
the Scripture says, "We are laborers together with (co-workers with)
God." That which is _used_ is often consumed in the _using_, or in
familiar phrase _used up_; as, we _used_ twenty tons of coal last
winter; in such cases we could not substitute _employ_. A person may be
_employed_ in his own work or in that of another; in the latter case the
service is always understood to be for pay. In this connection _employ_
is a word of more dignity than _hire_; a general is _employed_ in his
country's service; a mercenary adventurer is _hired_ to fight a tyrant's
battles. It is unsuitable, according to present usage, to speak of
_hiring_ a pastor; the Scripture, indeed, says of the preacher, "The
laborer is worthy of his hire;" but this sense is archaic, and _hire_
now implies that the one _hired_ works directly and primarily for the
pay, as expressed in the noun "hireling;" a Pastor is properly said to
be _called_, or when the business side of the transaction is referred
to, _engaged_, or possibly _employed_, at a certain salary.
Employ _in_, _on_, _upon_, or _about_ a work, business, etc.; _for_ a
purpose; _at_ a stipulated salary.
* * * * *
END, _v._
break off, close, conclude, expire, quit, terminate,
cease, complete, desist, finish, stop, wind up.
That _ends_, or is _ended_, of which there is no more, whether or not
more was intended or needed; that is _closed_, _completed_, _concluded_,
or _finished_ which has come to an expected or appropriate end. A speech
may be _ended_ almost as soon as begun, because of the speaker's
illness, or of tumult in the audience; in such a case, the speech is
neither _closed_, _completed_, nor _finished_, nor, in the strict sense,
_concluded_. An argument may be _closed_ with nothing proved; when an
argument is _concluded_ all that is deemed necessary to prove the point
has been stated. To _finish_ is to do the last thing there is to do; as,
"I have _finished_ my course," _2 Tim._ iv, 7. _Finish_ has come to
mean, not merely to _complete_ in the essentials, but to perfect in all
the minute details, as in the expression "to add the _finishing_
touches." The enumeration is _completed_; the poem, the picture, the
statue is _finished_. To _terminate_ may be either to bring to an
arbitrary or to an appropriate end; as, he _terminated_ his remarks
abruptly; the spire _terminates_ in a cross. A thing _stops_ that comes
to rest from motion; or the motion _stops_ or _ceases_ when the object
comes to rest; _stop_ frequently signifies to bring or come to a sudden
and decided cessation of motion, progress, or action of any kind.
See synonyms for BEGIN.
* * * * *
END, _n._
accomplishment, effect, limit,
achievement, expiration, outcome,
bound, extent, period,
boundary, extremity, point,
cessation, finale, purpose,
close, finis, result,
completion, finish, termination,
conclusion, fulfilment, terminus,
consequence, goal, tip,
consummation, intent, utmost,
design, issue, uttermost.
The _end_ is the terminal part of a material object that has length; the
_extremity_ is distinctively the terminal _point_, and may thus be but
part of the _end_ in the general sense of that word; the _extremity_ is
viewed as that which is most remote from some center, or some mean or
standard position; the southern _end_ of South America includes all
Patagonia, the southern _extremity_ or _point_ is Cape Horn. _Tip_ has
nearly the same meaning as _extremity_, but is said of small or slight
and tapering objects; as, the _tip_ of the finger; _point_ in such
connections is said of that which is drawn out to exceeding fineness or
sharpness, as the _point_ of a needle, a fork, or a sword; _extremity_
is said of something considerable; we do not speak of the _extremity_ of
a needle. _Terminus_ is chiefly used to designate the _end_ of a line of
travel or transportation: specifically, the furthermost station in any
direction on a railway, or by extension the town or village where it is
situated. _Termination_ is the Latin and more formal word for the Saxon
_end_, but is chiefly used of time, words, undertakings, or abstractions
of any kind. _Expiration_ signifies the coming to an _end_ in the
natural course of things; as, the _expiration_ of a year, or of a lease;
it is used of things of some consequence; we do not ordinarily speak of
the _expiration_ of an hour or of a day. _Limit_ implies some check to
or restraint upon further advance, right, or privilege; as, the _limits_
of an estate (compare BOUNDARY). A _goal_ is an _end_ sought or striven
for, as in a race. For the figurative senses of _end_ and its associated
words, compare the synonyms for the verb END; also for AIM; CONSEQUENCE;
See synonyms for BEGINNING.
* * * * *
attempt, essay, strive, try, undertake.
To _attempt_ is to take action somewhat experimentally with the hope and
purpose of accomplishing a certain result; to _endeavor_ is to _attempt_
strenuously and with firm and enduring purpose. To _attempt_ expresses a
single act; to _endeavor_, a continuous exertion; we say I will
_endeavor_ (not I will _attempt_) while I live. To _attempt_ is with the
view of accomplishing; to _essay_, with a view of testing our own
powers. To _undertake_ is to accept or take upon oneself as an
obligation, as some business, labor, or trust; the word often implies
complete assurance of success; as, I will _undertake_ to produce the
witness. To _strive_ suggests little of the result, much of toil,
strain, and contest, in seeking it; I will _strive_ to fulfil your
wishes, _i. e._, I will spare no labor and exertion to do it. _Try_ is
the most comprehensive of these words. The original idea of testing or
experimenting is not thought of when a man says "I will _try_." To
_attempt_ suggests giving up, if the thing is not accomplished at a
stroke; to _try_ implies using other means and studying out other ways
if not at first successful. _Endeavor_ is more mild and formal; the
pilot in the burning pilot-house does not say "I will _endeavor_" or "I
will _attempt_ to hold the ship to her course," but "I'll _try_, sir!"
abandon, give up, omit, throw away,
dismiss, let go, overlook, throw over,
drop, neglect, pass by, throw up.
* * * * *
attempt, effort, essay, exertion, struggle, trial.
_Effort_ denotes the voluntary putting forth of power to attain or
accomplish some specific thing; it reaches toward a definite end;
_exertion_ is a putting forth of power without special reference to an
object. Every _effort_ is an _exertion_, but not every _exertion_ is an
_effort_. _Attempt_ is more experimental than _effort_, _endeavor_ less
strenuous but more continuous. An _effort_ is a single act, an
_endeavor_ a continued series of acts; an _endeavor_ is sustained and
enduring, and may be lifelong; we do not have a society of Christian
_Attempt_, or of Christian _Effort_, but of Christian _Endeavor_. A
_struggle_ is a violent _effort_ or strenuous _exertion_. An _essay_ is
an _attempt_, _effort_, or _endeavor_ made as a test of the powers of
the one who makes it. Compare ENDEAVOR, _v._
* * * * *
abide, bear, brook, submit to, sustain,
afford, bear up under, permit, suffer, tolerate,
allow, bear with, put up with, support, undergo.
_Bear_ is the most general of these words; it is metaphorically to hold
up or keep up a burden of care, pain, grief, annoyance, or the like,
without sinking, lamenting, or repining. _Allow_ and _permit_ involve
large concession of the will; _put up with_ and _tolerate_ imply decided
aversion and reluctant withholding of opposition or interference;
whispering is _allowed_ by the school-teacher who does not forbid nor
censure it; one _puts up with_ the presence of a disagreeable visitor; a
state _tolerates_ a religion which it would be glad to suppress. To
_endure_ is to _bear with_ strain and resistance, but with conscious
power; _endure_ conveys a fuller suggestion of contest and conquest than
_bear_. One may choose to _endure_ the pain of a surgical operation
rather than take anesthetics; he _permits_ the thing to come which he
must brace himself to _endure_ when it comes. To _afford_ is to be equal
to a pecuniary demand, _i. e._, to be able to _bear_ it. To _brook_ is
quietly to _put up with_ provocation or insult. _Abide_ combines the
senses of await and _endure_; as, I will _abide_ the result. Compare
break, despair, fail, fall, give out, sink, surrender,
break down, droop, faint, falter, give up, succumb, yield.
* * * * *
adversary, antagonist, competitor, foe, opponent, rival.
An _enemy_ in private life is one who is moved by hostile feeling with
active disposition to injure; but in military language all who fight on
the opposite side are called _enemies_ or collectively "the _enemy_,"
where no personal animosity may be implied; _foe_, which is rather a
poetical and literary word, implies intensely hostile spirit and
purpose. An _antagonist_ is one who opposes and is opposed actively and
with intensity of effort; an _opponent_, one in whom the attitude of
resistance is the more prominent; a _competitor_, one who seeks the same
object for which another is striving; _antagonists_ in wrestling,
_competitors_ in business, _opponents_ in debate may contend with no
personal ill will; _rivals_ in love, ambition, etc., rarely avoid
inimical feeling. _Adversary_ was formerly much used in the general
sense of _antagonist_ or _opponent_, but is now less common, and largely
restricted to the hostile sense; an _adversary_ is ordinarily one who
not only opposes another in fact, but does so with hostile spirit, or
perhaps out of pure malignity; as, the great _Adversary_. Compare
synonyms for AMBITION.
abettor, accessory, accomplice, ally, friend, helper, supporter.
He was the enemy _of_ my friend _in_ the contest.
* * * * *
acrimony, bitterness, ill will, malignity,
animosity, hatred, malevolence, rancor,
antagonism, hostility, malice, spite.
_Enmity_ is the state of being an enemy or the feeling and disposition
characterizing an enemy (compare ENEMY). _Animosity_ denotes a feeling
more active and vehement, but often less enduring and determined, than
_enmity_. _Enmity_ distinctly recognizes its object as an enemy, to be
met or dealt with accordingly. _Hostility_ is _enmity_ in action; the
term _hostilities_ between nations denotes actual armed collision.
_Bitterness_ is a resentful feeling arising from a belief that one has
been wronged; _acrimony_ is a kindred feeling, but deeper and more
persistent, and may arise from the crossing of one's wishes or plans by
another, where no injustice or wrong is felt. _Antagonism_, as between
two competing authors or merchants, does not necessarily imply _enmity_,
but ordinarily suggests a shade, at least, of hostile feeling. _Malice_
is a disposition or intent to injure others, for the gratification of
some evil passion; _malignity_ is intense and violent _enmity_,
_hatred_, or _malice_. Compare synonyms for ACRIMONY; ANGER; HATRED.
agreement, amity, friendship, kindliness, regard,
alliance, concord, harmony, kindness, sympathy.
* * * * *
amuse, cheer, disport, enliven, interest, please,
beguile, delight, divert, gratify, occupy, recreate.
To _entertain_, in the sense here considered, is to engage and
pleasantly occupy the attention; to _amuse_ is to occupy the attention
in an especially bright and cheerful way, often with that which excites
merriment or laughter; as, he _entertained_ us with an _amusing_ story.
To _divert_ is to turn from serious thoughts or laborious pursuits to
something that lightly and agreeably occupies the mind; one may be
_entertained_ or _amused_ who has nothing serious or laborious from
which to be _diverted_. To _recreate_, literally to re-create, is to
engage mind or body in some pleasing activity that restores strength and
energy for serious work. To _beguile_ is, as it were, to cheat into
cheer and comfort by something that insensibly draws thought or feeling
away from pain or disquiet. We _beguile_ a weary hour, _cheer_ the
despondent, _divert_ the preoccupied, _enliven_ a dull evening or
company, _gratify_ our friends' wishes, _entertain_, _interest_,
_please_ a listening audience, _occupy_ idle time, _disport_ ourselves
when merry, _recreate_ when worn with toil; we _amuse_ ourselves or
others with whatever pleasantly passes the time without special
exertion, each according to his taste.
annoy, bore, busy, disquiet, distract, disturb, tire, weary.
* * * * *
amusement, diversion, fun, pleasure,
cheer, enjoyment, merriment, recreation,
delight, frolic, pastime, sport.
_Entertainment_ and _recreation_ imply thought and mental occupation,
tho in an agreeable, refreshing way; they are therefore words of a high
order. _Entertainment_, apart from its special senses of a public
performance or a social party, and predominantly even there, is used of
somewhat mirthful mental delight; _recreation_ may, and usually does,
combine the mental with the physical. _Amusement_ and _pastime_ are
nearly equivalent, the latter probably the lighter word; many slight
things may be _pastimes_ which we should hardly dignify by the name of
_amusements_. _Sports_ are almost wholly on the physical plane, tho
involving a certain grade of mental action; fox-hunting, horse-racing,
and baseball are _sports_. Certain _sports_ may afford _entertainment_
or _recreation_ to certain persons, according to their individual
tastes; but _entertainment_ and _recreation_ are capable of a meaning so
high as never to be approached by any meaning of _sport_. _Cheer_ may be
very quiet, as the _cheer_ of a bright fire to an aged traveler;
_merriment_ is with liveliness and laughter; _fun_ and _frolic_ are apt
to be boisterous. _Amusement_ is a form of _enjoyment_, but _enjoyment_
may be too keen to be called _amusement_. Compare synonyms for
ennui, fatigue, labor, lassitude, toil, weariness, work.
* * * * *
ardor, excitement, frenzy, transport,
devotion, extravagance, inspiration, vehemence,
eagerness, fanaticism, intensity, warmth,
earnestness, fervency, passion, zeal.
ecstasy, fervor, rapture,
The old meaning of _enthusiasm_ implies a pseudo-_inspiration_, an
almost frantic _extravagance_ in behalf of something supposed to be an
expression of the divine will. This sense remains as the controlling one
in the kindred noun _enthusiast_. _Enthusiasm_ has now chiefly the
meaning of an earnest and commendable _devotion_, an intense and eager
interest. Against the hindrances of the world, nothing great and good
can be carried without a certain _fervor_, _intensity_, and _vehemence_;
these joined with faith, courage, and hopefulness make _enthusiasm_.
_Zeal_ is burning _earnestness_, always tending to vigorous action with
all the _devotion_ of _enthusiasm_, tho often without its hopefulness.
Compare EAGER.
calculation, caution, deadness, indifference, policy, timidity,
calmness, coldness, dulness, lukewarmness, prudence, wariness.
* * * * *
access, approach, gate, introduction,
accession, door, gateway, opening,
adit, doorway, ingress, penetration,
admission, entree, inlet, portal.
admittance, entry,
_Entrance_, the act of entering, refers merely to the fact of passing
from without to within some enclosure; _admission_ and _admittance_
refer to entering by or with some one's consent, or at least to
opportunity afforded by some one's act or neglect. We may effect or
force an _entrance_, but not _admittance_ or _admission_; those we gain,
procure, obtain, secure, win. _Admittance_ refers to place, _admission_
refers also to position, privilege, favor, friendship, etc. An intruder
may gain _admittance_ to the hall of a society who would not be allowed
_admission_ to its membership. _Approach_ is a movement toward another;
_access_ is coming all the way to his presence, recognition, and
consideration. An unworthy favorite may prevent even those who gain
_admittance_ to a king's audience from obtaining any real _access_ to
the king. _Entrance_ is also used figuratively for setting out upon some
career, or becoming a member of some organization; as, we speak of one's
_entrance_ upon college life, or of _entrance_ into the ministry.
departure, ejection, exit, refusal, withdrawal.
egress, exclusion, expulsion, rejection,
Entrance _into_ a place; _on_ or _upon_ a work or course of action;
_into_ or _upon_ office; _into_ battle; _by_ or _through_ the door;
_within_ the gates; _into_ or _among_ the company.
* * * * *
jealous, suspicious.
One is _envious_ who cherishes selfish ill will toward another because
of his superior success, endowments, possessions, or the like. A person
is _envious_ of that which is another's, and to which he himself has no
right or claim; he is _jealous_ of intrusion upon that which is his own,
or to which he maintains a right or claim. An _envious_ spirit is always
bad; a _jealous_ spirit may be good or bad, according to its object and
tendency. A free people must be _jealous_ of their liberties if they
would retain them. One is _suspicious_ of another from unfavorable
indications or from a knowledge of wrong in his previous conduct, or
even without reason. Compare DOUBT.
contented, friendly, kindly, satisfied, trustful, well-disposed.
Envious _of_ (formerly _at_ or _against_) a person; envious _of_ his
wealth or power; envious _of_ him _for_, _because of_, _on account of_
his wealth or power.
* * * * *
ambiguous, enigmatical, indistinct, questionable,
doubtful, indefinite, obscure, suspicious,
dubious, indeterminate, perplexing, uncertain.
_Equivocal_ (L. _equus_, equal, and _vox_, voice, word) denotes that
which may equally well be understood in either of two or more ways.
_Ambiguous_ (L. _ambi_, around, and _ago_, drive, lead) signifies
lacking in distinctness or certainty, obscure or doubtful through
indefiniteness of expression. _Ambiguous_ is applied only to spoken or
written statements; _equivocal_ has other applications. A statement is
_ambiguous_ when it leaves the mind of the reader or hearer to fluctuate
between two meanings, which would fit the language equally well; it is
_equivocal_ when it would naturally be understood in one way, but is
capable of a different interpretation; an _equivocal_ expression is, as
a rule, intentionally deceptive, while an _ambiguous_ utterance may be
simply the result of a want either of clear thought or of adequate
expression. That which is _enigmatical_ must be guessed like a riddle; a
statement may be purposely made _enigmatical_ in order to provoke
thought and study. That is _doubtful_ which is fairly open to doubt;
that is _dubious_ which has become the subject of doubts so grave as
scarcely to fall short of condemnation; as, a _dubious_ reputation.
_Questionable_ may be used nearly in the sense either of _dubious_ or of
_doubtful_; a _questionable_ statement is one that must be proved before
it can be accepted. To say that one's honesty is _questionable_ is a
mild way of saying that in the opinion of the speaker he is likely to
prove dishonest. _Equivocal_ is sometimes, tho more rarely, used in this
sense. A _suspicious_ character gives manifest reason to be suspected; a
_suspicious_ temper is inclined to suspect the motives and intentions of
others, with or without reason. Compare CLEAR.
certain, evident, lucid, perspicuous, unequivocal,
clear, indisputable, manifest, plain, unquestionable,
distinct, indubitable, obvious, unambiguous, unquestioned.
* * * * *
ESTEEM, _v._
appreciate, consider, estimate, prize, think,
calculate, deem, hold, regard, value.
_Esteem_ and _estimate_ alike imply to set a certain mental value upon,
but _esteem_ is less precise and mercantile than _calculate_ or
_estimate_. We _esteem_ a jewel precious; we _estimate_ it to be worth
so much money. This sense of _esteem_ is now chiefly found in literary
or oratorical style, and in certain conventional phrases; as, I _esteem_
it an honor, a favor. In popular usage _esteem_, as said of persons,
denotes a union of respect and kindly feeling and, in the highest sense,
of moral approbation; as, one whom I highly _esteem_; the word may be
used in a similar sense of material things or abstractions; as, one
whose friendship I _esteem_; a shell greatly _esteemed_ for inlaid work.
To _appreciate_ anything is to be deeply or keenly sensible of or
sensitive to its qualities or influence, to see its full import, be
alive to its value, importance, or worth; as, to _appreciate_ beauty or
harmony; to _appreciate_ one's services in a cause; the word is
similarly, tho rarely, used of persons. To _prize_ is to set a high
value on for something more than merely commercial reasons. One may
_value_ some object, as a picture, beyond all price, as a family
heirloom, or may _prize_ it as the gift of an _esteemed_ friend, without
at all _appreciating_ its artistic merit or commercial value. To
_regard_ (F. _regarder_, look at, observe) is to have a certain mental
view favorable or unfavorable; as, I _regard_ him as a friend; or, I
_regard_ him as a villain; _regard_ has a distinctively favorable sense
as applied to institutions, proprieties, duties, etc., but does not
share the use of the noun _regard_ as applied to persons; we _regard_
the Sabbath; we _regard_ a person's feelings; we have a _regard_ for the
person. Compare ESTEEM, _n._
* * * * *
ESTEEM, _n._
estimate, estimation, favor, regard, respect.
_Esteem_ for a person is a favorable opinion on the basis of worth,
especially of moral worth, joined with a feeling of interest in and
attraction toward the person. _Regard_ for a person is the mental view
or feeling that springs from a sense of his value, excellence, or
superiority, with a cordial and hearty friendliness. _Regard_ is more
personal and less distant than _esteem_, and adds a special kindliness;
_respect_ is a more distant word than _esteem_. _Respect_ may be wholly
on one side, while _regard_ is more often mutual; _respect_ in the
fullest sense is given to what is lofty, worthy, and honorable, or to a
person of such qualities; we may pay an external _respect_ to one of
lofty station, regardless of personal qualities, showing _respect_ for
the office. _Estimate_ has more of calculation; as, my _estimate_ of the
man, or of his abilities, is very high. _Estimation_ involves the idea
of calculation or appraisal with that of _esteem_ or _regard_, and is
especially used of the feeling entertained by numbers of people; as, he
stood high in public _estimation_. Compare ESTEEM, _v._; FRIENDSHIP;
abhorrence, aversion, dislike, loathing,
antipathy, contempt, hatred, repugnance.
* * * * *
deathless, fadeless, never-failing, undying,
endless, immortal, perennial, unending,
eonian, imperishable, perpetual, unfading,
everlasting, interminable, timeless, unfailing,
ever-living, never-ending, unceasing, without end.
_Eternal_ strictly signifies without beginning or end, in which sense it
applies to God alone; _everlasting_ applies to that which may or may not
have beginning, but will never cease; _eternal_ is also used in this
more limited sense; _endless_, without end, in its utmost reach, is not
distinguishable from _everlasting_; but _endless_ is constantly used in
inferior senses, especially in mechanics, as in the phrases an _endless_
screw, an _endless_ chain. _Everlasting_ and _endless_ are both used in
a limited sense of protracted, indefinite, but not infinite duration;
as, the _everlasting_ hills; _endless_ debates; so we speak of
_interminable_ quarrels. _Eternal_ holds quite strictly to the vast and
sacred meaning in which it is applied to the Divine Being and the future
state. _Everlasting_, _endless_, and _eternal_ may be applied to that
which has no life; as, _everlasting_ chains, _endless_ night, _eternal_
death; _immortal_ applies to that which now has life, and is forever
exempt from death. _Timeless_ carries, perhaps, the fullest idea of
_eternal_, as above and beyond time, and not to be measured by it.
* * * * *
case, contingency, fortune, outcome,
chance, end, incident, possibility,
circumstance, episode, issue, result,
consequence, fact, occurrence, sequel.
Etymologically, the _incident_ is that which falls in, the _event_ that
which comes out; _event_ is thus greater and more signal than
_incident_; we speak of trifling _incidents_, great _events_;
_incidents_ of daily life, _events_ of history. _Circumstance_ agrees
with _incident_ in denoting a matter of relatively slight importance,
but implies a more direct connection with the principal matter;
"circumstantial evidence" is evidence from seemingly minor matters
directly connected with a case; "incidental evidence" would be some
evidence that happened unexpectedly to touch it. An _occurrence_ is,
etymologically, that which we run against, without thought of its
origin, connection or tendency. An _episode_ is connected with the main
course of _events_, like an _incident_ or _circumstance_, but is of more
independent interest and importance. _Outcome_ is the Saxon, and _event_
the Latin for expressing the same original idea. _Consequence_ or
_result_ would express more of logical connection, and be more
comprehensive. The _end_ may be simple cessation; the _event_ is what
has been accomplished; the _event_ of a war is victory or defeat; the
_end_ of the war is reached when a treaty of peace is signed. Since the
future is contingent, _event_ comes to have the meaning of a
_contingency_; as, in the _event_ of his death, the policy will at once
* * * * *
all, any, both, each, either.
_All_ and _both_ are collective; _any_, _each_, and _every_ are
distributive. _Any_ makes no selection and may not reach to the full
limits of _all_; _each_ and _every_ make no exception or omission, and
must extend to _all_; _all_ sweeps in the units as part of a total,
_each_ and _every_ proceed through the units to the total. A promise
made to _all_ omits none; a promise made to _any_ may not reach _all_; a
promise made to _every_ one is so made that no individual shall fail to
be aware of it; a promise made to _each_ is made to the individuals
personally, one by one. _Each_ is thus more individual and specific than
_every_; _every_ classifies, _each_ individualizes. _Each_ divides,
_both_ unites; if a certain sum is given to _each_ of two persons,
_both_ (together) must receive twice the amount; _both_ must be aware of
what has been separately communicated to _each_; a man may fire _both_
barrels of a gun by a single movement; if he fires _each_ barrel, he
discharges them separately. _Either_ properly denotes one of two,
indefinitely, to the exclusion of the other. The use of _either_ in the
sense of _each_ or _both_, tho sustained by good authority, is
objectionable because ambiguous. His friends sat on _either_ side of the
room would naturally mean on one side or the other; if the meaning is on
_both_ sides, it would be better to say so.
* * * * *
apparent, glaring, overt, tangible,
clear, indubitable, palpable, transparent,
conspicuous, manifest, patent, unmistakable,
discernible, obvious, perceptible, visible.
distinct, open, plain,
That is _apparent_ which clearly appears to the senses or to the mind as
soon as the attention is directed toward it; that is _evident_ of which
the mind is made sure by some inference that supplements the facts of
perception; the marks of a struggle were _apparent_ in broken shrubbery
and trampled ground, and the finding of a mutilated body and a rifled
purse made it _evident_ that robbery and murder had been committed. That
is _manifest_ which we can lay the hand upon; _manifest_ is thus
stronger than _evident_, as touch is more absolute than sight; that the
picture was a modern copy of an ancient work was _evident_, and on
comparison with the original its inferiority was _manifest_. That is
_obvious_ which is directly in the way so that it can not be missed; as,
the application of the remark was _obvious_. _Visible_ applies to all
that can be perceived by the sense of sight, whether the noonday sun, a
ship on the horizon, or a microscopic object. _Discernible_ applies to
that which is dimly or faintly _visible_, requiring strain and effort in
order to be seen; as, the ship was _discernible_ through the mist. That
is _conspicuous_ which stands out so as necessarily or strikingly to
attract the attention. _Palpable_ and _tangible_ express more
emphatically the thought of _manifest_.
concealed, impalpable, latent, secret, unknown,
covert, impenetrable, obscure, undiscovered, unseen,
dark, imperceptible, occult, unimagined, unthought-of.
hidden, invisible,
* * * * *
archetype, ideal, prototype, type,
ensample, model, sample, warning.
exemplar, pattern, specimen,
exemplification, precedent, standard,
From its original sense of _sample_ or _specimen_ (L. _exemplum_)
_example_ derives the seemingly contradictory meanings, on the one hand
of a _pattern_ or _model_, and on the other hand of a _warning_--a
_sample_ or _specimen_ of what is to be followed, or of what is to be
shunned. An _example_, however, may be more than a _sample_ or
_specimen_ of any class; it may be the very _archetype_ or _prototype_
to which the whole class must conform, as when Christ is spoken of as
being an _example_ or leaving an _example_ for his disciples. _Example_
comes nearer to the possible freedom of the _model_ than to the
necessary exactness of the _pattern_; often we can not, in a given case,
exactly imitate the best _example_, but only adapt its teachings to
altered circumstances. In its application to a person or thing,
_exemplar_ can scarcely be distinguished from _example_; but _example_
is most frequently used for an act, or course of action, for which
_exemplar_ is not used; as, one sets a good (or a bad) _example_. An
_exemplification_ is an illustrative working out in action of a
principle or law, without any reference to its being copied or repeated;
an _example_ guides, an _exemplification_ illustrates or explains.
_Ensample_ is the same as _example_, but is practically obsolete outside
of Scriptural or theological language. Compare MODEL; SAMPLE.
* * * * *
dissipation, lavishness, redundance, surplus,
exorbitance, overplus, redundancy, waste,
extravagance, prodigality, superabundance, wastefulness.
intemperance, profusion, superfluity,
_Excess_ is more than enough of anything, and, since this in very many
cases indicates a lack either of judgment or of self-control, the word
is used frequently in an unfavorable sense. Careless expenditure in
_excess_ of income is _extravagance_; we may have also _extravagance_ of
language, professions, etc. As _extravagance_ is _excess_ in outlay,
_exorbitance_ is _excess_ in demands, and especially in pecuniary
demands upon others. _Overplus_ and _superabundance_ denote in the main
a satisfactory, and _superfluity_ an undesirable, _excess_; _lavishness_
and _profusion_, a generous, bountiful, or amiable _excess_; as, a
_profusion_ of fair hair; _lavishness_ of hospitality. _Surplus_ is
neutral, having none of the unfavorable meaning that often attaches to
_excess_; a _surplus_ is that which remains over after all demands are
met. _Redundance_ or _redundancy_ refers chiefly to literary style,
denoting an _excess_ of words or matter. _Excess_ in the moral sense is
expressed by _dissipation_, _prodigality_, _intemperance_, etc.
dearth, destitution, frugality, lack, scantiness,
defect, economy, inadequacy, need, shortcoming,
deficiency, failure, insufficiency, poverty, want.
* * * * *
administer, carry out, do, enforce, perform.
To _execute_ is to follow through to the end, put into absolute and
final effect in action; to _administer_ is to conduct as one holding a
trust, as a minister and not an originator; the sheriff _executes_ a
writ; the trustee _administers_ an estate, a charity, etc.; to _enforce_
is to put into effect by force, actual or potential. To _administer_ the
laws is the province of a court of justice; to _execute_ the laws is the
province of a sheriff, marshal, constable, or other executive officer;
to _administer_ the law is to declare or apply it; to _execute_ the law
is to put it in force; for this _enforce_ is the more general word,
_execute_ the more specific. From signifying to superintend officially
some application or infliction, _administer_ passes by a natural
transition to signify _inflict_, _mete out_, _dispense_, and blows,
medicine, etc., are said to be _administered_: a usage thoroughly
established and reputable in spite of pedantic objections. _Enforce_
signifies also to present and urge home by intellectual and moral force;
as, to _enforce_ a precept or a duty. Compare DO; KILL; MAKE.
* * * * *
act, application, exertion, performance,
action, drill, occupation, practise,
activity, employment, operation, use.
_Exercise_, in the ordinary sense, is the easy natural action of any
power; _exertion_ is the putting of any power to strain and tax. An
_exercise_-drive for a horse is so much as will develop strength and
health and not appreciably weary. But by qualifying adjectives we may
bring _exercise_ up to the full sense of _exertion_; as, violent
_exercise_. _Exercise_ is action taken at any time with a view to
employing, maintaining, or increasing power, or merely for enjoyment;
_practise_ is systematic _exercise_ with a view to the acquirement of
facility and skill in some pursuit; a person takes a walk for
_exercise_, or takes time for _practise_ on the piano. _Practise_ is
also used of putting into action and effect what one has learned or
holds as a theory; as, the _practise_ of law or medicine; a profession
of religion is good, but the _practise_ of it is better. _Drill_ is
systematic, rigorous, and commonly enforced _practise_ under a teacher
or commander. Compare HABIT.
idleness, inaction, inactivity, relaxation, rest.
* * * * *
cost, expenditure, outgo, outlay.
The _cost_ of a thing is whatever one surrenders or gives up for it,
intentionally or unintentionally, or even unconsciously; _expense_ is
what is laid out by calculation or intention. We say, "he won his fame
at the _cost_ of his life;" "I know it to my _cost_;" we speak of a joke
at another's _expense_; at another's _cost_ would seem to make it a more
serious matter. There is a tendency to use _cost_ of what we pay for a
possession, _expense_ of what we pay for a service; we speak of the
_cost_ of goods, the _expense_ of making up. _Outlay_ is used of some
definite _expenditure_, as for the purchase of supplies; _outgo_ of a
steady drain or of incidental _expenses_. See PRICE.
gain, proceeds, profit, receipt, return,
income, product, profits, receipts, returns.
* * * * *
Both _explicit_ and _express_ are opposed to what is merely implicit or
implied. That which is _explicit_ is unfolded, so that it may not be
obscure, doubtful, or ambiguous; that which is _express_ is uttered or
stated so decidedly that it may not be forgotten nor overlooked. An
_explicit_ statement is too clear to be misunderstood; an _express_
command is too emphatic to be disregarded. Compare CLEAR.
ambiguous, implicit, indefinite, uncertain,
doubtful, implied, indeterminate, vague.
* * * * *
extemporary, impromptu, offhand,
extempore, improvised, unpremeditated.
_Extemporaneous_, originally signifying _of_ or _from the time_ or
_occasion_, has come to mean done or made with but little (if any)
preparation, and is now chiefly applied to addresses of which the
thought has been prepared, and only the language and incidental
treatment left to the suggestion of the moment, so that an
_extemporaneous_ speech is understood to be any one that is not read or
recited; _impromptu_ keeps its original sense, denoting something that
springs from the instant; the _impromptu_ utterance is generally brief,
direct, and vigorous; the _extemporaneous_ speech may chance to be
prosy. _Offhand_ is still more emphatic as to the readiness and freedom
of the utterance. _Unpremeditated_ is graver and more formal, denoting
absolute want of preparation, but is rather too heavy a word to be
applied to such apt, ready utterance as is generally designated by
elaborated, premeditated, prepared, read, recited, studied, written.
* * * * *
annihilate, eradicate, overthrow, uproot,
banish, expel, remove, wipe out.
destroy, extirpate, root out,
_Exterminate_ (L. _ex_, out, and _terminus_, a boundary) signified
primarily to drive beyond the bounds or limits of a country; the word is
applied to races of men or animals, and is now almost exclusively used
for removal by death; individuals are now said to be _banished_ or
_expelled_. _Eradicate_ (L. _e_, out, and _radix_, root) is primarily
applied to numbers or groups of plants which it is desired to remove
effectually from the soil; a single tree may be _uprooted_, but is not
said to be _eradicated_; we labor to _eradicate_ or _root out_ noxious
weeds. To _extirpate_ (L. _ex_, out, and _stirps_, stem, stock) is not
only to _destroy_ the individuals of any race of plants or animals, but
the very stock, so that the race can never be restored; we speak of
_eradicating_ a disease, of _extirpating_ a cancer, _exterminating_ wild
beasts or hostile tribes; we seek to _eradicate_ or _extirpate_ all
vices and evils. Compare ABOLISH.
augment, build up, develop, increase, populate, replenish,
beget, cherish, foster, plant, propagate, settle.
breed, colonize,
* * * * *
dim, fatigued, irresolute, weak,
exhausted, feeble, languid, wearied,
faded, half-hearted, listless, worn,
faint-hearted, ill-defined, purposeless, worn down,
faltering, indistinct, timid, worn out.
_Faint_, with the general sense of lacking strength or effectiveness,
covers a wide range of meaning, signifying overcome with physical
weakness or exhaustion, or lacking in purpose, courage, or energy, as
said of persons; or lacking definiteness or distinctness of color or
sound, as said of written characters, voices, or musical notes. A person
may be _faint_ when physically _wearied_, or when overcome with fear; he
may be a _faint_ adherent because naturally _feeble_ or _purposeless_,
or because _half-hearted_ in the cause; he may be a _faltering_
supporter because naturally _irresolute_ or because _faint-hearted_ and
_timid_ in view of perils that threaten, a _listless_ worker, through
want of mental energy and purpose. Written characters may be _faint_ or
_dim_, either because originally written with poor ink, or because they
have become _faded_ by time and exposure.
bright, clear, daring, fresh, resolute, sturdy,
brilliant, conspicuous, energetic, hearty, strong, vigorous.
Faint _with_ hunger; faint _in_ color.
* * * * *
assent, confidence, credit, opinion,
assurance, conviction, creed, reliance,
belief, credence, doctrine, trust.
_Belief_, as an intellectual process, is the acceptance of some thing
as true on other grounds than personal observation and experience. We
give _credence_ to a report, _assent_ to a proposition or to a proposal.
_Belief_ is stronger than _credence_; _credence_ might be described as a
prima facie _belief_; _credence_ is a more formal word than _belief_,
and seems to imply somewhat more of volition; we speak of giving
_credence_ to a report, but not of giving _belief_. Goods are sold on
_credit_; we give one _credit_ for good intentions. _Conviction_ is a
_belief_ established by argument or evidence; _assurance_ is _belief_
beyond the reach of argument; as, the Christian's _assurance_ of
salvation. An _opinion_ is a general conclusion held as probable, tho
without full certainty; a _persuasion_ is a more confident _opinion_,
involving the heart as well as the intellect. In religion, a _doctrine_
is a statement of _belief_ regarding a single point; a _creed_ is a
summary statement of _doctrines_. _Confidence_ is a firm dependence upon
a statement as true, or upon a person as worthy. _Reliance_ is
_confidence_ on which we act or are ready to act unquestioningly; we
have a calm _reliance_ upon the uniformity of nature. _Trust_ is a
practical and tranquil resting of the mind upon the integrity, kindness,
friendship, or promises of a person; we have _trust_ in God. _Faith_ is
a union of _belief_ and _trust_. _Faith_ is chiefly personal; _belief_
may be quite impersonal; we speak of _belief_ of a proposition, _faith_
in a promise, because the promise emanates from a person. But _belief_
in a person is often used with no appreciable difference from _faith_.
In religion it is common to distinguish between intellectual _belief_ of
religious truth, as any other truth might be believed, and _belief_ of
the heart, or saving _faith_.
denial, dissent, doubt, infidelity, rejection, suspicion,
disbelief, distrust, incredulity, misgiving, skepticism, unbelief.
Have faith _in_ God; the faith _of_ the gospel.
* * * * *
devoted, incorruptible, stanch, true, trusty,
firm, loyal, sure, trustworthy, unwavering.
A person is _faithful_ who will keep faith, whether with or without
power to aid or serve; a person or thing is _trusty_ that possesses such
qualities as to justify the fullest confidence and dependence. We may
speak of a _faithful_ but feeble friend; we say a _trusty_ agent, a
_trusty_ steed, a _trusty_ sword.
capricious, false, unfaithful, untrustworthy,
faithless, fickle, untrue, wavering.
Faithful _in_ service; _to_ duty; _to_ comrade or commander; faithful
_among_ the faithless.
* * * * *
celebrity, eminence, honor, notoriety, reputation,
credit, glory, laurels, renown, repute.
_Fame_ is the widely disseminated report of a person's character, deeds,
or abilities, and is oftenest used in the favorable sense. _Reputation_
and _repute_ are more limited than _fame_, and may be either good or
bad. _Notoriety_ is evil _repute_ or a dishonorable counterfeit of
_fame_. _Eminence_ and _distinction_ may result from rank, station, or
character. _Celebrity_ is limited in range; we speak of local
_celebrity_, or world-wide _fame_. _Fame_ in its best sense may be
defined as the applause of numbers; _renown_, as such applause worthily
won; we speak of the conqueror's _fame_, the patriot's _renown_. _Glory_
and _honor_ are of good import; _honor_ may be given for qualities or
acts that should not win it, but it is always given as something good
and worthy; we can speak of an evil _fame_, but not of evil _honor_;
_glory_ has a more exalted and often a sacred sense.
contempt, discredit, dishonor, humiliation, infamy, obscurity,
contumely, disgrace, disrepute, ignominy, oblivion, shame.
* * * * *
bigotry, credulity, intolerance, superstition.
_Fanaticism_ is extravagant or even frenzied zeal; _bigotry_ is
obstinate and unreasoning attachment to a cause or creed; _fanaticism_
and _bigotry_ usually include _intolerance_, which is unwillingness to
tolerate beliefs or opinions contrary to one's own; _superstition_ is
ignorant and irrational religious belief. _Credulity_ is not
distinctively religious, but is a general readiness to believe without
sufficient evidence, with a proneness to accept the marvellous.
_Bigotry_ is narrow, _fanaticism_ is fierce, _superstition_ is ignorant,
_credulity_ is weak, _intolerance_ is severe. _Bigotry_ has not the
capacity to reason fairly, _fanaticism_ has not the patience,
_superstition_ has not the knowledge and mental discipline,
_intolerance_ has not the disposition. _Bigotry_, _fanaticism_, and
_superstition_ are perversions of the religious sentiment; _credulity_
and _intolerance_ often accompany skepticism or atheism.
cynicism, free-thinking, indifference, latitudinarianism.
* * * * *
chimerical, fantastic, grotesque, imaginative, visionary.
That is _fanciful_ which is dictated or suggested by fancy independently
of more serious considerations; the _fantastic_ is the _fanciful_ with
the added elements of whimsicalness and extravagance. The _fanciful_
swings away from the real or the ordinary lightly and pleasantly, the
_fantastic_ extravagantly, the _grotesque_ ridiculously. A _fanciful_
arrangement of objects is commonly pleasing, a _fantastic_ arrangement
is striking, a _grotesque_ arrangement is laughable. A _fanciful_ theory
or suggestion may be clearly recognized as such; a _visionary_ scheme is
erroneously supposed to have a basis in fact. Compare synonyms for
accurate, commonplace, prosaic, regular, sound,
calculable, literal, real, sensible, sure,
calculated, ordinary, reasonable, solid, true.
* * * * *
belief, desire, imagination, predilection,
caprice, humor, inclination, supposition,
conceit, idea, liking, vagary,
conception, image, mood, whim.
An intellectual _fancy_ is a mental _image_ or picture founded upon
slight or whimsical association or resemblance; a _conceit_ has less of
the picturesque and more of the theoretic than a _fancy_; a _conceit_ is
somewhat aside from the common laws of reasoning, as a _fancy_ is
lighter and more airy than the common mode of thought. A _conceit_ or
_fancy_ may be wholly unfounded, while a _conception_ always has, or is
believed to have, some answering reality. (Compare REASON.) An
intellectual _fancy_ or _conceit_ may be pleasing or amusing, but is
never worth serious discussion; we speak of a mere _fancy_, a droll or
odd _conceit_. An emotional or personal _fancy_ is a capricious _liking_
formed with slight reason and no exercise of judgment, and liable to
fade as lightly as it was formed. In a broader sense, the _fancy_
signifies the faculty by which _fancies_ or mental images are formed,
associated, or combined. Compare synonyms for DREAM; IDEA; IMAGINATION.
actuality, certainty, fact, reality, truth, verity.
To have a fancy _for_ or take a fancy _to_ a person or thing.
* * * * *
adieu, good-by, parting salutation, valedictory.
conge, leave-taking, valediction,
_Good-by_ is the homely and hearty, _farewell_ the formal English word
at parting. _Adieu_, from the French, is still more ceremonious than
_farewell_; _conge_, also from the French, is commonly contemptuous or
supercilious, and equivalent to dismissal. _Valediction_ is a learned
word never in popular use. A _valedictory_ is a public farewell to a
company or assembly.
I bade farewell _to_ my comrades, or (without preposition) I bade my
comrades farewell; I took a sad farewell _of_ my friends.
* * * * *
affright, dismay, horror, timidity,
apprehension, disquietude, misgiving, trembling,
awe, dread, panic, tremor,
consternation, fright, terror, trepidation.
_Fear_ is the generic term denoting an emotion excited by threatening
evil with a desire to avoid or escape it; _fear_ may be sudden or
lingering, in view of present, of imminent, or of distant and only
possible danger; in the latter sense _dread_ is oftener used. _Horror_
(etymologically a shivering or shuddering) denotes a shuddering _fear_
accompanied with abhorrence or such a shock to the feelings and
sensibilities as may exist without _fear_, as when one suddenly
encounters some ghastly spectacle; we say of a desperate but fettered
criminal, "I looked upon him with _horror_." Where _horror_ includes
_fear_, it is _fear_ mingled with abhorrence. (See ABHOR.) _Affright_,
_fright_, and _terror_ are always sudden, and in actual presence of that
which is terrible. _Fear_ may overwhelm, or may nerve one to desperate
defense; _fright_ and _terror_ render one incapable of defense; _fear_
may be controlled by force of will; _fright_ and _terror_ overwhelm the
will; _terror_ paralyzes, _fright_ may cause one to fly, to scream, or
to swoon. _Fright_ is largely a matter of the nerves; _fear_ of the
intellect and the imagination; _terror_ of all the faculties, bodily and
mental. _Panic_ is a sudden _fear_ or _fright_, affecting numbers at
once; vast armies or crowded audiences are liable to _panic_ upon slight
occasion. In a like sense we speak of a financial _panic_. _Dismay_ is a
helpless sinking of heart in view of some overwhelming peril or sorrow.
_Dismay_ is more reflective, enduring, and despairing than _fright_; a
horse is subject to _fright_ or _terror_, but not to _dismay_. _Awe_ is
a reverential _fear_. Compare ALARM.
See synonyms for FORTITUDE.
* * * * *
effeminate, female, womanish, womanly.
We apply _female_ to the sex, _feminine_ to the qualities, especially
the finer physical or mental qualities that distinguish the _female_ sex
in the human family, or to the objects appropriate for or especially
employed by them. A _female_ voice is the voice of a woman; a _feminine_
voice may belong to a man. _Womanish_ denotes the undesirable, _womanly_
the admirable or lovely qualities of woman. _Womanly_ tears would
suggest respect and sympathy, _womanish_ tears a touch of contempt. The
word _effeminate_ is always used reproachfully, and only of men as
possessing _womanly_ traits such as are inconsistent with true
See synonyms for MASCULINE.
* * * * *
bondage, custody, gyves, irons,
bonds, durance, handcuffs, manacles,
chains, duress, imprisonment, shackles.
_Bonds_ may be of cord, leather, or any other substance that can bind;
_chains_ are of linked metal. _Manacles_ and _handcuffs_ are for the
hands, _fetters_ are primarily chains or jointed iron fastenings for the
feet; _gyves_ may be for either. A _shackle_ is a metallic ring, clasp,
or bracelet-like fastening for encircling and restraining a limb:
commonly one of a pair, used either for hands or feet. _Bonds_,
_fetters_, and _chains_ are used in a general way for almost any form
of restraint. _Gyves_ is now wholly poetic, and the other words are
mostly restricted to the literary style; _handcuffs_ is the specific and
_irons_ the general term in popular usage; as, the prisoner was put in
_irons_. _Bonds_, _chains_, and _shackles_ are frequently used in the
metaphorical sense.
* * * * *
affray, brawl, contest, dissension, hostility,
animosity, broil, controversy, enmity, quarrel,
bitterness, contention, dispute, fray, strife.
A _feud_ is _enmity_ between families, clans, or parties, with acts of
_hostility_ mutually retaliated and avenged; _feud_ is rarely used of
individuals, never of nations. While all the other words of the group
may refer to that which is transient, a _feud_ is long-enduring, and
often hereditary. _Dissension_ is used of a number of persons, of a
party or other organization. _Bitterness_ is in feeling only; _enmity_
and _hostility_ involve will and purpose to oppose or injure. A
_quarrel_ is in word or act, or both, and is commonly slight and
transient, as we speak of childish _quarrels_; _contention_ and _strife_
may be in word or deed; _contest_ ordinarily involves some form of
action. _Contest_ is often used in a good sense, _contention_ and
_strife_ very rarely so. _Controversy_ is commonly in words; _strife_
extends from verbal _controversy_ to the _contests_ of armies. _Affray_,
_brawl_, and _broil_, like _quarrel_, are words of inferior dignity. An
_affray_ or _broil_ may arise at a street corner; the _affray_ always
involves physical force; the _brawl_ or _broil_ may be confined to
violent language.
* * * * *
allegory, fabrication, invention, myth, romance,
apologue, falsehood, legend, novel, story.
fable, figment,
_Fiction_ is now chiefly used of a prose work in narrative form in which
the characters are partly or wholly imaginary, and which is designed to
portray human life, with or without a practical lesson; a _romance_
portrays what is picturesque or striking, as a mere _fiction_ may not
do; _novel_ is a general name for any continuous fictitious narrative,
especially a love-story; _fiction_ and _novel_ are used with little
difference of meaning, except that _novel_ characterizes a work in which
the emotional element is especially prominent. The moral of the _fable_
is expressed formally; the lesson of the _fiction_, if any, is
inwrought. A _fiction_ is studied; a _myth_ grows up without intent. A
_legend_ may be true, but can not be historically verified; a _myth_ has
been received as true at some time, but is now known to be false. A
_fabrication_ is designed to deceive; it is a less odious word than
_falsehood_, but is really stronger, as a _falsehood_ may be a sudden
unpremeditated statement, while a _fabrication_ is a series of
statements carefully studied and fitted together in order to deceive;
the _falsehood_ is all false; the _fabrication_ may mingle the true with
the false. A _figment_ is something imaginary which the one who utters
it may or may not believe to be true; we say, "That statement is a
_figment_ of his imagination." The _story_ may be either true or false,
and covers the various senses of all the words in the group. _Apologue_,
a word simply transferred from Greek into English, is the same as
_fable_. Compare ALLEGORY.
certainty, fact, history, literalness, reality, truth, verity.
* * * * *
ferocious, furious, raging, uncultivated, violent,
fiery, impetuous, savage, untrained, wild.
_Fierce_ signifies having a _furious_ and cruel nature, or being in a
_furious_ and cruel mood, more commonly the latter. It applies to that
which is now intensely excited, or liable to intense and sudden
excitement. _Ferocious_ refers to a state or disposition; that which is
_fierce_ flashes or blazes; that which is _ferocious_ steadily burns; we
speak of a _ferocious_ animal, a _fierce_ passion. A _fiery_ spirit with
a good disposition is quickly excitable in a good cause, but may not be
_fierce_ or _ferocious_. _Savage_ signifies _untrained_, _uncultivated_.
_Ferocious_ always denotes a tendency to violence; it is more distinctly
bloodthirsty than the other words; a person may be deeply, intensely
cruel, and not at all _ferocious_; a _ferocious_ countenance expresses
habitual ferocity; a _fierce_ countenance may express habitual
fierceness, or only the sudden anger of the moment. That which is _wild_
is simply unrestrained; the word may imply no anger or harshness; as,
_wild_ delight, _wild_ alarm.
affectionate, gentle, kind, patient, submissive, tame,
docile, harmless, mild, peaceful, sweet, tender.
* * * * *
fiscal, monetary, pecuniary.
These words all relate to money, receipts, or expenditures. _Monetary_
relates to actual money, coin, currency; as, the _monetary_ system; a
_monetary_ transaction is one in which money is transferred. _Pecuniary_
refers to that in which money is involved, but less directly; we speak
of one's _pecuniary_ affairs or interests, with no special reference to
the handling of cash. _Financial_ applies especially to governmental
revenues or expenditures, or to private transactions of considerable
moment; we speak of a _pecuniary_ reward, a _financial_ enterprise; we
give a needy person _pecuniary_ (not _financial_) assistance. It is
common to speak of the _fiscal_ rather than the _financial_ year.
* * * * *
beautiful, excellent, polished, small,
clarified, exquisite, pure, smooth,
clear, gauzy, refined, splendid,
comminuted, handsome, sensitive, subtile,
dainty, keen, sharp, subtle,
delicate, minute, slender, tenuous,
elegant, nice, slight, thin.
_Fine_ (L. _finis_, end) denotes that which has been brought to a full
end, finished. From this root-sense many derived meanings branch out,
causing words quite remote from each other to be alike synonyms of
_fine_. That which is truly finished, brought to an ideal end, is
_excellent_ of its kind, and _beautiful_, if a thing that admits of
beauty; as, a _fine_ house, _fine_ trees, a _fine_ woman, a _fine_
morning; if a thing that admits of the removal of impurities, it is not
finished till these are removed, and hence _fine_ signifies _clarified_,
_clear_, _pure_, _refined_; as, _fine_ gold. That which is finished is
apt to be _polished_, smooth to the touch, minutely exact in outline;
hence _fine_ comes to be a synonym for all words like _dainty_,
_delicate_, _exquisite_; as, _fine_ manners, a _fine_ touch, _fine_
perceptions. As that which is _delicate_ is apt to be small, by an easy
extension of meaning _fine_ becomes a synonym for _slender_, _slight_,
_minute_, _comminuted_; as, a _fine_ thread, _fine_ sand; or for
_filmy_, _tenuous_, _thin_; as, a _fine_ lace, _fine_ wire; and as a
_thin_ edge is _keen_, _sharp_, _fine_ becomes also a synonym for these
words; as, a _fine_ point, a _fine_ edge. Compare BEAUTIFUL; MINUTE.
big, clumsy, great, huge, large, stout,
blunt, coarse, heavy, immense, rude, thick.
* * * * *
blaze, burning, combustion, conflagration, flame.
_Combustion_ is the essential fact which is at the basis of that
assemblage of visible phenomenon which we call _fire_; _combustion_
being the continuous chemical combination of a substance with some
element, as oxygen, evolving heat, and extending from slow processes,
such as those by which the heat of the human body is maintained, to the
processes producing the most intense light also, as in a blast-furnace,
or on the surface of the sun. _Fire_ is always attended with light, as
well as heat; _blaze_, _flame_, etc., designate the mingled light and
heat of a _fire_. _Combustion_ is the scientific, _fire_ the popular
term. A _conflagration_ is an extensive _fire_. Compare LIGHT.
* * * * *
bevy, covey, group, herd, lot, set,
brood, drove, hatch, litter, pack, swarm.
_Group_ is the general word for any gathering of a small number of
objects, whether of persons, animals, or inanimate things. The
individuals in a _brood_ or _litter_ are related to each other; those in
the other _groups_ may not be. _Brood_ is used chiefly of fowls and
birds, _litter_ of certain quadrupeds which bring forth many young at a
birth; we speak of a _brood_ of chickens, a _litter_ of puppies; _brood_
is sometimes applied to a family of young children. _Bevy_ is used of
birds, and figuratively of any bright and lively _group_ of women or
children, but rarely of men. _Flock_ is applied to birds and to some of
the smaller animals; _herd_ is confined to the larger animals; we speak
of a _bevy_ of quail, a _covey_ of partridges, a _flock_ of blackbirds,
or a _flock_ of sheep, a _herd_ of cattle, horses, buffaloes, or
elephants, a _pack_ of wolves, a _pack_ of hounds, a _swarm_ of bees. A
collection of animals driven or gathered for driving is called a
* * * * *
hesitate, swerve, vacillate, veer,
oscillate, undulate, vary, waver.
To _fluctuate_ (L. _fluctus_, a wave) is to move like a wave with
alternate rise and fall. A pendulum _oscillates_; waves _fluctuate_ or
_undulate_; a light or a flame _wavers_; a frightened steed _swerves_
from his course; a tool or weapon _swerves_ from the mark or line; the
temperature _varies_; the wind _veers_ when it suddenly changes its
direction. That which _veers_ may steadily hold the new direction; that
which _oscillates_, _fluctuates_, _undulates_, or _wavers_ returns upon
its way. As regards mental states, he who _hesitates_ sticks (L.
_haerere_) on the verge of decision; he who _wavers_ does not stick to a
decision; he who _vacillates_ decides now one way, and now another; one
_vacillates_ between contrasted decisions or actions; he may _waver_
between decision and indecision, or between action and inaction. Persons
_hesitate_, _vacillate_, _waver_; feelings _fluctuate_ or _vary_.
Compare SHAKE.
abide, adhere, hold fast, persist, stand fast, stay, stick.
* * * * *
gas, liquid.
A _fluid_ is a substance that, like air or water, yields to any force
that tends to change its form; a _liquid_ is a body in that state in
which the particles move freely among themselves, but remain in one
mass, keeping the same volume, but taking always the form of the
containing vessel; a _liquid_ is an inelastic _fluid_; a _gas_ is an
elastic _fluid_ that tends to expand to the utmost limits of the
containing space. All _liquids_ are _fluids_, but not all _fluids_ are
_liquids_; air and all the _gases_ are _fluids_, but they are not
_liquids_ under ordinary circumstances, tho capable of being reduced to
a _liquid_ form by special means, as by cold and pressure. Water at the
ordinary temperature is at once a _fluid_ and a _liquid_.
* * * * *
accompany, come after, go after, obey, pursue,
attend, copy, heed, observe, result,
chase, ensue, imitate, practise, succeed.
Anything that _comes after_ or _goes after_ another, either in space or
in time, is said to _follow_ it. A servant _follows_ or _attends_ his
master; a victorious general may _follow_ the retiring enemy merely to
watch and hold him in check; he _chases_ or _pursues_ with intent to
overtake and attack; the chase is closer and hotter than the pursuit.
(Compare synonyms for HUNT.) One event may _follow_ another either with
or without special connection; if it _ensues_, there is some orderly
connection; as, the _ensuing_ year; if it _results_ from another, there
is some relation of effect, consequence, or inference. A clerk
_observes_ his employer's directions. A child _obeys_ his parent's
commands, _follows_ or _copies_ his example, _imitates_ his speech and
manners. The compositor _follows_ copy; the incoming _succeeds_ the
outgoing official.
* * * * *
aliment, feed, nourishment, pabulum, sustenance,
diet, fodder, nutriment, provender, viands,
fare, forage, nutrition, regimen, victuals.
_Food_ is, in the popular sense, whatever one eats in contradistinction
to what one drinks. Thus, we speak of _food_ and drink, of wholesome,
unwholesome, or indigestible _food_; but in a more scientific sense
whatever, when taken into the digestive organs, serves to build up
structure or supply waste may be termed _food_; the word is extended to
plants to signify whatever taken in any way into the organism serves
similar purposes; thus, we speak of liquid _food_, plant _food_, etc.;
in this wider sense _food_ is closely synonymous with _nutriment_,
_nourishment_, and _sustenance_. _Diet_ refers to the quantity and
quality of _food_ habitually taken, with reference to preservation of
health. _Victuals_ is a plain, homely word for whatever may be eaten; we
speak of choice _viands_, cold _victuals_. _Nourishment_ and
_sustenance_ apply to whatever can be introduced into the system as a
means of sustaining life; we say of a convalescent, he is taking
_nourishment_. _Nutriment_ and _nutrition_ have more of scientific
reference to the vitalizing principles of various _foods_; thus, wheat
is said to contain a great amount of _nutriment_. _Regimen_ considers
_food_ as taken by strict rule, but applies more widely to the whole
ordering of life. _Fare_ is a general word for all table supplies, good
or bad; as, sumptuous _fare_; wretched _fare_. _Feed_, _fodder_, and
_provender_ are used only of the food of the lower animals, _feed_
denoting anything consumed, but more commonly grain, _fodder_ denoting
hay, cornstalks, or the like, sometimes called "long _feed_;"
_provender_ is dry _feed_, whether grain or hay, straw, etc. _Forage_
denotes any kind of _food_ suitable for horses and cattle, primarily as
obtained by a military force in scouring the country, especially an
enemy's country.
* * * * *
dangerous, redoubted, terrible, tremendous.
That which is _formidable_ is worthy of fear if encountered or opposed;
as, a _formidable_ array of troops, or of evidence. _Formidable_ is a
word of more dignity than _dangerous_, and suggests more calm and
collected power than _terrible_; _formidable_ is less overwhelming than
_tremendous_. A loaded gun is _dangerous_; a park of artillery is
_formidable_; a charge of cavalry is _terrible_; the full shock of great
armies is _tremendous_. A _dangerous_ man is likely to do mischief, and
needs watching; a _formidable_ man may not be _dangerous_ if not
attacked; an enraged maniac is _terrible_; the force of ocean waves in a
storm, and the silent pressure in the ocean depths, are _tremendous_.
contemptible, feeble, harmless, helpless, powerless, weak.
Formidable _by_ or _in_ numbers; _in_ strength; formidable _to_ the
* * * * *
castle, citadel, fastness, fort, fortress, stronghold.
_Fortification_ is the general word for any artificial defensive work; a
_fortress_ is a _fortification_ of especial size and strength; a
_fortress_ is regarded as permanent, and is ordinarily an independent
work; a _fort_ or _fortification_ may be temporary; a _fortification_
may be but part of a defensive system; we speak of the _fortifications_
of a city. A _citadel_ is a _fortification_ within a city, or the
fortified inner part of a city or _fortress_, within which a garrison
may be placed to overawe the citizens, or to which the defenders may
retire if the outer works are captured; the medieval _castle_ was the
fortified residence of a king or baron. _Fort_ is the common military
term for a detached fortified building or enclosure of moderate size
occupied or designed to be occupied by troops. The _fortifications_ of a
modern city usually consist of a chain of _forts_. Any defensible place,
whether made so by nature or by art, is a _fastness_ or _stronghold_.
* * * * *
courage, endurance, heroism, resolution.
_Fortitude_ (L. _fortis_, strong) is the strength or firmness of mind
or soul to endure pain or adversity patiently and determinedly.
_Fortitude_ has been defined as "passive _courage_," which is a good
definition, but not complete. _Fortitude_ might be termed "still
_courage_," or "enduring _courage_;" it is that quality which is able
not merely to endure pain or trial, but steadily to confront dangers
that can not be actively opposed, or against which one has no adequate
defense; it takes _courage_ to charge a battery, _fortitude_ to stand
still under an enemy's fire. _Resolution_ is of the mind; _endurance_ is
partly physical; it requires _resolution_ to resist temptation,
_endurance_ to resist hunger and cold. Compare BRAVE; PATIENCE.
* * * * *
favored, lucky, prospered, prosperous, successful.
A man is _successful_ in any case if he achieves or gains what he seeks;
he is known as a _successful_ man if he has achieved or gained worthy
objects of endeavor; he is _fortunate_ or _lucky_ if advantages have
come to him without or beyond his direct planning or achieving. _Lucky_
is the more common and colloquial, _fortunate_ the more elegant word;
_fortunate_ is more naturally applied to the graver matters, as we speak
of the _fortunate_, rather than the _lucky_, issue of a great battle;
_lucky_ more strongly emphasizes the element of chance, as when we speak
of a _lucky_ hit, a _lucky_ guess, or of one as "born under a _lucky_
star." _Favored_ is used in a religious sense, implying that one is the
object of divine favor. _Happy_, in this connection, signifies possessed
of the means of happiness. One is said to be _happy_ or _prosperous_
whether his prosperity be the result of fortune or of achievement;
_prospered_ rather denotes the action of a superintending Providence.
broken, fallen, miserable, unhappy, woful,
crushed, ill-starred, unfortunate, unlucky, wretched.
* * * * *
artifice, deceit, duplicity, swindle, treason,
cheat, deception, imposition, swindling, trick.
cheating, dishonesty, imposture, treachery,
A _fraud_ is an act of deliberate _deception_ with the design of
securing something by taking unfair advantage of another. A _deceit_ or
_deception_ may be designed merely to gain some end of one's own, with
no intent of harming another; an _imposition_, to take some small
advantage of another, or simply to make another ridiculous. An
_imposture_ is designed to obtain money, credit, or position to which
one is not entitled, and may be practised by a street beggar or by the
pretender to a throne. All action that is not honest is _dishonesty_,
but the term _dishonesty_ is generally applied in business, politics,
etc., to deceitful practises which are not directly criminal. _Fraud_
includes _deceit_, but _deceit_ may not reach the gravity of _fraud_; a
_cheat_ is of the nature of _fraud_, but of a petty sort; a _swindle_ is
more serious than a _cheat_, involving larger values and more flagrant
_dishonesty_. _Fraud_ is commonly actionable at law; _cheating_ and
_swindling_ are for the most part out of the reach of legal proceedings.
_Treachery_ is chiefly used of _dishonesty_ in matters of friendship,
social relations, government, or war; _treachery_ may be more harmful
than _fraud_, but is not so gross, and is not ordinarily open to legal
redress. _Treason_ is a specific form of _treachery_ of a subject to the
government to which he owes allegiance, and is definable and punishable
at law. Compare ARTIFICE; DECEPTION.
fairness, good faith, honesty, integrity, truth, uprightness.
* * * * *
accessible, companionable, genial, neighborly,
affable, complaisant, hearty, sociable,
affectionate, cordial, kind, social,
amicable, favorable, kindly, tender,
brotherly, fond, loving, well-disposed.
_Friendly_, as said of persons, signifies having the disposition of a
friend; as said of acts, it signifies befitting or worthy of a friend.
The adjective _friendly_ does not reach the full significance of the
nouns "friend" and "friendship;" one may be _friendly_ to those who are
not his friends, and to be in _friendly_ relations often signifies
little more than not to be hostile. In its application to persons,
_accessible_ is used of public and eminent persons, who might, if
disposed, hold themselves at a distance from others. _Companionable_ and
_sociable_ refer to manner and behavior, _cordial_ and _genial_ express
genuine kindliness of heart. We speak of a _cordial_ greeting, a
_favorable_ reception, a _neighborly_ call, a _sociable_ visitor, an
_amicable_ settlement, a _kind_ interest, a _friendly_ regard, a
_hearty_ welcome. The Saxon _friendly_ is stronger than the Latin
_amicable_; the _amicable_ may be merely formal; the _friendly_ is from
the heart. _Fond_ is commonly applied to an affection that becomes, or
at least appears, excessive. _Affectionate_, _devoted_, and _tender_ are
almost always used in a high and good sense; as, an _affectionate_ son;
a _devoted_ friend; "the _tender_ mercy of our God," _Luke_ i, 78.
adverse, belligerent, distant, ill-disposed, unfriendly,
alienated, cold, estranged, indifferent, unkind,
antagonistic, contentious, frigid, inimical, warlike.
bellicose, disaffected, hostile,
* * * * *
affection, comity, esteem, good will,
amity, consideration, favor, love,
attachment, devotion, friendliness, regard.
_Friendship_ is a deep, quiet, enduring _affection_, founded upon mutual
respect and _esteem_. _Friendship_ is always mutual; there may be
unreciprocated _affection_ or _attachment_, unrequited _love_, or even
unrecognized and unappreciated _devotion_, but never unreciprocated or
unrequited _friendship_; one may have friendly feelings toward an enemy,
but while there is hostility or coldness on one side there can not be
_friendship_ between the two. _Friendliness_ is a quality of friendly
feeling, without the deep and settled _attachment_ implied in the state
of _friendship_. _Comity_ is mutual kindly courtesy, with care of each
other's right, and _amity_ a friendly feeling and relation, not
necessarily implying special _friendliness_; as, the _comity_ of
nations, or _amity_ between neighboring countries. _Affection_ may be
purely natural; _friendship_ is a growth. _Friendship_ is more
intellectual and less emotional than _love_; it is easier to give
reasons for _friendship_ than for _love_; _friendship_ is more calm and
quiet, _love_ more fervent; _love_ often rises to intensest passion; we
can not speak of the passion of _friendship_. _Friendship_ implies some
degree of equality, while _love_ does not; we can speak of man's _love_
toward God, not of his _friendship_ for God. (There is more latitude in
the use of the concrete noun _friend_; Abraham was called "the friend of
God;" Christ was called "the friend of sinners.") Compare ACQUAINTANCE;
See synonyms for BATTLE; ENMITY; FEUD; HATRED.
The friendship _of_ one person _for_ or _toward_ another, or the
friendship _between_ them.
* * * * *
affright, appal, cow, dismay, scare,
alarm, browbeat, daunt, intimidate, terrify.
One is _frightened_ by a cause of fear addressed directly and suddenly
to the senses; he is _intimidated_ by an apprehension of contingent
consequences dependent on some act of his own to be done or forborne;
the means of intimidation may act through the senses, or may appeal only
to the intellect or the sensibilities. The sudden rush of an armed
madman may _frighten_; the quiet leveling of a highwayman's pistol
_intimidates_. A savage beast is _intimidated_ by the keeper's whip.
Employers may _intimidate_ their employees from voting contrary to their
will by threat of discharge; a mother may be _intimidated_ through fear
for her child. To _browbeat_ or _cow_ is to bring into a state of
submissive fear; to _daunt_ is to give pause or check to a violent,
threatening, or even a brave spirit. To _scare_ is to cause sudden,
unnerving fear; to _terrify_ is to awaken fear that is overwhelming.
Compare ALARM.
* * * * *
economy, parsimony, saving, sparing,
miserliness, providence, scrimping, thrift.
parsimoniousness, prudence,
_Economy_ is a wise and careful administration of the means at one's
disposal; _frugality_ is a withholding of expenditure, or _sparing_ of
supplies or provision, to a noticeable and often to a painful degree;
_parsimony_ is excessive and unreasonable _saving_ for the sake of
_saving_. _Frugality_ exalted into a virtue to be practised for its own
sake, instead of as a means to an end, becomes the vice of _parsimony_.
_Miserliness_ is the denying oneself and others the ordinary comforts or
even necessaries of life, for the mere sake of hoarding money.
_Prudence_ and _providence_ look far ahead, and sacrifice the present to
the future, saving as much as may be necessary for that end. (See
PRUDENCE.) _Thrift_ seeks not merely to save, but to earn. _Economy_
manages, _frugality_ saves, _providence_ plans, _thrift_ at once earns
and saves, with a view to wholesome and profitable expenditure at a
fitting time. See ABSTINENCE.
abundance, bounty, liberality, opulence, waste,
affluence, extravagance, luxury, riches, wealth.
* * * * *
chattering, loquacious, talkative, verbose.
_Garrulous_ signifies given to constant trivial talking. _Chattering_
signifies uttering rapid, noisy, and unintelligible, or scarcely
intelligible, sounds, whether articulate words or such as resemble them;
_chattering_ is often used of vocal sounds that may be intelligible by
themselves but are ill understood owing to confusion of many voices or
other cause. The _talkative_ person has a strong disposition to talk,
with or without an abundance of words, or many ideas; the _loquacious_
person has an abundant flow of language and much to say on any subject
suggested; either may be lively and for a time entertaining; the
_garrulous_ person is tedious, repetitious, petty, and self-absorbed.
_Verbose_ is applied to utterances more formal than conversation, as to
writings or public addresses. We speak of a _chattering_ monkey or a
_chattering_ idiot, a _talkative_ child, a _talkative_ or _loquacious_
woman, a _garrulous_ old man, a _verbose_ writer. Compare
laconic, reserved, reticent, silent, speechless, taciturn.
* * * * *
_Sex_ is a distinction among living beings; it is also the
characteristic by which most living beings are distinguished from
inanimate things, which are of no _sex_; _gender_ is a distinction in
language partially corresponding to this distinction in nature; while
there are but two _sexes_, there are in some languages, as in English
and German, three _genders_. The French language has but two _genders_
and makes the names of all inanimate objects either masculine or
feminine; some languages are without the distinction of _gender_, and
those that maintain it are often quite arbitrary in its application. We
speak of the masculine or feminine _gender_, the male or female _sex_.
* * * * *
common, familiar, ordinary, universal,
commonplace, frequent, popular, usual.
customary, habitual, prevalent,
everyday, normal, public,
_Common_ signifies frequently occurring, not out of the regular course,
not exceptional; hence, not above the average, not excellent or
distinguished, inferior, or even low; _common_ also signifies pertaining
to or participated in by two or more persons or things; as, sorrow is
_common_ to the race. _General_ may signify pertaining equally to all of
a class, race, etc., but very commonly signifies pertaining to the
greater number, but not necessarily to all. _Universal_ applies to all
without exception; _general_ applies to all with possible or
comparatively slight exceptions; _common_ applies to very many without
deciding whether they are even a majority. A _common_ remark is one we
often hear; a _general_ experience is one that comes to the majority of
people; a _universal_ experience is one from which no human being is
exempt. It is dangerous for a debater to affirm a _universal_
proposition, since that can be negatived by a single exception, while a
_general_ statement is not invalidated even by adducing many exceptions.
We say a _common_ opinion, _common_ experience, a _general_ rule,
_general_ truth, a _universal_ law. Compare synonyms for NORMAL; USUAL.
exceptional, infrequent, rare, singular, uncommon, unknown, unusual.
* * * * *
bountiful, free, liberal, noble,
chivalrous, free-handed, magnanimous, open-handed,
disinterested, free-hearted, munificent, open-hearted.
_Generous_ (L. _genus_, a race) primarily signifies having the qualities
worthy of noble or honorable birth; hence, free and abundant in giving,
giving freely, heartily, and self-sacrificingly. As regards giving,
_generous_ refers rather to the self-sacrificing heartiness of the
giver, _liberal_ to the amount of the gift; a child may show himself
_generous_ in the gift of an apple, a millionaire makes a _liberal_
donation; a _generous_ gift, however, is commonly thought of as both
ample and hearty. A _munificent_ gift is vast in amount, whatever the
motive of its bestowal. One may be _free_ with another's money; he can
be _generous_ only with his own. _Disinterested_ suggests rather the
thought of one's own self-denial; _generous_, of one's hearty interest
in another's welfare or happiness. One is _magnanimous_ by a greatness
of soul (L. _magnus_, great, and _animus_, soul) that rises above all
that is poor, mean, or weak, especially above every petty or ignoble
motive or feeling pertaining to one's self, and thus above resentment
of injury or insult; one is _generous_ by a kindness of heart that would
rejoice in the welfare rather than in the punishment of the offender.
avaricious, greedy, mean, niggardly, penurious, rapacious,
close, ignoble, miserly, parsimonious, petty, stingy.
covetous, illiberal,
* * * * *
talent, talents.
_Genius_ is exalted intellectual power capable of operating
independently of tuition and training, and marked by an extraordinary
faculty for original creation, invention, discovery, expression, etc.
_Talent_ is marked mental ability, and in a special sense, a particular
and uncommon aptitude for some special mental work or attainment.
_Genius_ is higher than _talent_, more spontaneous, less dependent upon
instruction, less amenable to training; _talent_ is largely the capacity
to learn, acquire, appropriate, adapt oneself to demand. Yet the
_genius_ that has won the largest and most enduring success has been
joined with tireless industry and painstaking. Compare synonyms for
dulness, folly, imbecility, obtuseness, senselessness, stupidity.
* * * * *
achieve, attain, gain, procure, secure,
acquire, earn, obtain, receive, win.
_Get_ is a most comprehensive word. A person _gets_ whatever he comes to
possess or experience, whether with or without endeavor, expectation, or
desire; he _gets_ a bargain, a blow, a fall, a fever; he _gains_ what he
comes to by effort or striving; the swimmer _gains_ the shore; a man
_acquires_ by continuous and ordinarily by slow process; as, one
_acquires_ a foreign language. A person is sometimes said to _gain_ and
often to _acquire_ what has not been an object of direct endeavor; in
the pursuits of trade, he incidentally _gains_ some knowledge of foreign
countries; he _acquires_ by association with others a correct or
incorrect accent; he _acquires_ a bronzed complexion by exposure to a
tropical sun; in such use, what he _gains_ is viewed as desirable, what
he _acquires_ as slowly and gradually resulting. A person _earns_ what
he gives an equivalent of labor for, tho he may not _get_ it. On the
other hand, he may _get_ what he has not _earned_; the temptation to
all dishonesty is the desire to _get_ a living or a fortune without
_earning_ it. When one _gets_ the object of his desire, he is said to
_obtain_ it, whether he has _gained_ or _earned_ it or not. _Win_
denotes contest, with a suggestion of chance or hazard; in popular
language, a person is often said to _win_ a lawsuit, or to _win_ in a
suit at law, but in legal phrase he is said to _gain_ his suit, case, or
cause. In _receiving_, one is strictly passive; he may _get_ an estate
by his own exertions or by inheritance; in the latter case he is said to
_receive_ it. One _obtains_ a thing commonly by some direct effort of
his own; he _procures_ it commonly by the intervention of some one else;
he _procures_ a dinner or an interview; he _secures_ what has seemed
uncertain or elusive, when he _gets_ it firmly into his possession or
under his control. Compare synonyms for ATTAIN; MAKE; REACH.
See synonyms for ABANDON.
* * * * *
benefaction, boon, bribe, grant, largess,
bequest, bounty, donation, gratuity, present.
A _gift_ is in the popular, and also in the legal sense that which is
voluntarily bestowed without expectation of return or compensation.
_Gift_ is now almost always used in the good sense, _bribe_ always in
the evil sense to signify payment for a dishonorable service under the
semblance of a _gift_. In Scriptural language _gift_ is often used for
_bribe_. "The king by judgment establisheth the land; but he that
receiveth _gifts_ overthroweth it." _Prov._ xxix, 4. A _benefaction_ is
a charitable _gift_, generally of large amount, and viewed as of
enduring value, as an endowment for a college. A _donation_ is
something, perhaps of great, never of trivial value, given usually on
some public ground, as to a cause or to a person representing a cause,
but not necessarily of value beyond the immediate present; as, a
_donation_ to a pastor. A _gratuity_ is usually something of moderate
value and is always given as to an inferior, and as of favor, not of
right; as, a _gratuity_ to a waiter. _Largess_ is archaic for a
bountiful _gratuity_, usually to be distributed among many, as among the
heralds at ancient tournaments. A _present_ is a _gift_ of friendship,
or conciliation, and given as to an equal or a superior; no one's pride
is hurt by accepting what is viewed as strictly a _present_. A _boon_ is
a _gift_ that has been desired or craved or perhaps asked, or something
freely given that meets some great desire. A _grant_ is commonly
considerable in amount and given by public authority; as, a _grant_ of
public lands for a college.
compensation, earnings, guerdon, penalty, remuneration, wages.
* * * * *
bestow, communicate, deliver, grant, supply.
cede, confer, furnish, impart,
To _give_ is primarily to transfer to another's possession or ownership
without compensation; in its secondary sense in popular use, it is to
put into another's possession by any means and on any terms whatever; a
buyer may say "_Give_ me the goods, and I will _give_ you the money;" we
speak of _giving_ answers, information, etc., and often of _giving_ what
is not agreeable to the recipient, as blows, medicine, reproof; but when
there is nothing in the context to indicate the contrary, _give_ is
always understood in its primary sense; as, this book was _given_ me.
_Give_ thus becomes, like _get_, a term of such general import as to be
a synonym for a wide variety of words. To _grant_ is to put into one's
possession in some formal way, or by authoritative act; as, Congress
_grants_ lands to a railroad corporation. To speak of _granting_ a favor
carries a claim or concession of superiority on the part of the one by
whom the _grant_ may be made; to _confer_ has a similar sense; as, to
_confer_ a degree or an honor; we _grant_ a request or petition, but do
not _confer_ it. To _impart_ is to _give_ of that which one still, to a
greater or less degree, retains; the teacher _imparts_ instruction. To
_bestow_ is to _give_ that of which the receiver stands in especial
need; we _bestow_ alms.
We give money _to_ a person _for_ a thing, _for_ a purpose, etc. (or
without proposition, _give_ a person a sum of money); we give a thing
_to_ or _into_ one's care or keeping; the weary fugitive gave himself up
_to_ his pursuers.
* * * * *
command, curb, influence, mold, reign over, rule,
control, direct, manage, reign, restrain, sway.
_Govern_ carries the idea of authoritative administration or some
exercise of authority that is at once effective and continuous;
_control_ is effective, but may be momentary or occasional. One
_controls_ what he holds or can hold at will absolutely in check; as, a
skilful horseman _controls_ a spirited horse; a person _controls_ his
temper; we say to one who is excited, "_control_ yourself." A person
_commands_ another when he has, or claims, the right to make that other
do his will, with power of inflicting penalty if not obeyed; he
_controls_ another whom he can effectually prevent from doing anything
contrary to his will; he _governs_ one whom he actually does cause,
regularly or constantly, to obey his will; a parent may _command_ a
child whom he can not _govern_ or _control_. The best teachers are not
greatly prone to _command_, but _govern_ or _control_ their pupils
largely by other means. _Command_ is, however, often used in the sense
of securing, as well as requiring, submission or obedience, as when we
speak of a _commanding_ influence; a man _commands_ the situation when
he can shape events as he pleases; a fortress _commands_ the region when
no enemy can pass against its resistance. _Govern_ implies the exercise
of knowledge and judgment as well as power. To _rule_ is more absolute
and autocratic than to _govern_; to _sway_ is to move by quiet but
effectual influence; to _mold_ is not only to influence feeling and
action, but to shape character; to _manage_ is to secure by skilful
contrivance the doing of one's will by those whom one can not directly
_control_; a wise mother, by gentle means, _sways_ the feelings and
_molds_ the lives of her children; to be able to _manage_ servants is an
important element of good housekeeping. The word _reign_, once so
absolute, now simply denotes that one holds the official station of
sovereign in a monarchy, with or without effective power; the Queen of
England _reigns_; the Czar of Russia both _reigns_ and _rules_.
be in subjection, be subject, comply, obey, submit, yield.
* * * * *
That which is _graceful_ is marked by elegance and harmony, with ease of
action, attitude, or posture, or delicacy of form. _Graceful_ commonly
suggests motion or the possibility of motion; _beautiful_ may apply to
absolute fixity; a landscape or a blue sky is _beautiful_, but neither
is _graceful_. _Graceful_ commonly applies to beauty as addressed to
the eye, tho we often speak of a _graceful_ poem or a _graceful_
compliment. _Graceful_ applies to the perfection of motion, especially
of the lighter motions, which convey no suggestion of stress or strain,
and are in harmonious curves. Apart from the thought of motion,
_graceful_ denotes a pleasing harmony of outline, proportion, etc., with
a certain degree of delicacy; a Hercules is massive, an Apollo is
_graceful_. We speak of a _graceful_ attitude, _graceful_ drapery.
See synonyms for AWKWARD.
* * * * *
affliction, melancholy, regret, sorrow, trouble,
distress, mourning, sadness, tribulation, wo.
_Grief_ is acute mental pain resulting from loss, misfortune, or deep
disappointment. _Grief_ is more acute and less enduring than _sorrow_.
_Sorrow_ and _grief_ are for definite cause; _sadness_ and _melancholy_
may arise from a vague sense of want or loss, from a low state of
health, or other ill-defined cause; _sadness_ may be momentary;
_melancholy_ is more enduring, and may become chronic. _Affliction_
expresses a deep heart-sorrow and is applied also to the misfortune
producing such _sorrow_; _mourning_ most frequently denotes sorrow
publicly expressed, or the public expression of such _sorrow_ as may
reasonably be expected; as, it is common to observe thirty days of
_mourning_ on the death of an officer of state.
See synonyms for HAPPINESS.
Grief _at_ a loss; _for_ a friend.
* * * * *
custom, habitude, routine, system, use,
fashion, practise, rule, usage, wont.
_Habit_ is a tendency or inclination toward an action or condition,
which by repetition has become easy, spontaneous, or even unconscious,
or an action or regular series of actions, or a condition so induced.
_Custom_ is the uniform doing of the same act in the same circumstance
for a definite reason; _routine_ is the doing of customary acts in a
regular and uniform sequence and is more mechanical than _custom_. It is
the _custom_ of tradesmen to open at a uniform hour, and to follow a
regular _routine_ of business until closing-time. _Habit_ always
includes an involuntary tendency, natural or acquired, greatly
strengthened by frequent repetition of the act, and may be
uncontrollable, or even unconscious. _Habitude_ is habitual relation or
association. _Custom_ is chiefly used of the action of many; _habit_ of
the action of one; we speak of the _customs_ of society, the _habits_ of
an individual. _Fashion_ is the generally recognized _custom_ in the
smaller matters, especially in dress. A _rule_ is prescribed either by
some external authority or by one's own will; as, it is the _rule_ of
the house; or, I make it my invariable _rule_. _System_ is the
coordination of many acts or things into a unity, and is more and better
than _routine_. _Use_ and _usage_ denote the manner of using something;
we speak of one person's _use_ of language, but of the _usage_ of many;
a _use_ or _usage_ is almost always a _habit_. _Practise_ is the active
doing of something in a systematic way; we do not speak of the
_practise_, but of the _habit_ of going to sleep; we speak of a
tradesman's _custom_, a lawyer's or a physician's _practise_.
Educationally, _practise_ is the voluntary and persistent attempt to
make skill a _habit_; as, _practise_ in penmanship. _Wont_ is blind and
instinctive _habit_ like that which attaches an animal to a locality:
the word is now almost wholly poetic. Compare DRESS.
* * * * *
bechance, chance, fall out, supervene,
befall, come to pass, occur, take place.
betide, fall,
A thing is said to _happen_ when no design is manifest, or none
especially thought of; it is said to _chance_ when it appears to be the
result of accident (compare synonyms for ACCIDENT). An incident
_happens_ or _occurs_; something external or actual _happens_ to one; a
thought or fancy _occurs_ to him. _Befall_ and _betide_ are transitive;
_happen_ is intransitive; something _befalls_ or _betides_ a person or
_happens_ to him. _Betide_ is especially used for anticipated evil,
thought of as waiting and coming at its appointed time; as, wo _betide_
him! One event _supervenes_ upon another event, one disease upon
another, etc. ["Transpire," in the sense of _happen_, is not authorized
by good usage: a thing that has _happened_ is properly said to
_transpire_ when it becomes known.]
An event happens _to_ a person; a person happens _on_ or _upon_ a fact,
discovery, etc.
* * * * *
blessedness, delight, gladness, pleasure,
bliss, ecstasy, gratification, rapture,
cheer, enjoyment, joy, rejoicing,
comfort, felicity, merriment, satisfaction,
contentment, gaiety, mirth, triumph.
_Gratification_ is the giving any mental or physical desire something
that it craves; _satisfaction_ is the giving such a desire all that it
craves. _Happiness_ is the positively agreeable experience that springs
from the possession of good, the _gratification_ or _satisfaction_ of
the desires or the relief from pain and evil. _Comfort_ may be almost
wholly negative, being found in security or relief from that which pains
or annoys; there is _comfort_ by a warm fireside on a wintry night; the
sympathy of a true friend affords _comfort_ in sorrow. _Enjoyment_ is
more positive, always implying something to be definitely and
consciously delighted in; a sick person finds _comfort_ in relief from
pain, while he may be far from a state of _enjoyment_. _Pleasure_ is
still more vivid, being an arousing of the faculties to an intensely
agreeable activity; _satisfaction_ is more tranquil than _pleasure_,
being the agreeable consciousness of having all that our faculties
demand or crave; when a worthy _pleasure_ is past, a worthy
_satisfaction_ remains. As referring to a mental state, _gratification_
is used to denote a mild form of _happiness_ resulting from some
incident not of very great importance; _satisfaction_ should properly
express a _happiness_ deeper, more complete, and more abiding; but as
intellect or sensibilities of a low order may find _satisfaction_ in
that which is very poor or unworthy, the word has come to be feeble and
tame in ordinary use. _Happiness_ is more positive than _comfort_,
_enjoyment_, or _satisfaction_, more serene and rational than
_pleasure_; _pleasure_ is of necessity transient; _happiness_ is
abiding, and may be eternal; thus, we speak of _pleasures_, but the
plural of _happiness_ is scarcely used. _Happiness_, in the full sense,
is mental or spiritual or both, and is viewed as resulting from some
worthy _gratification_ or _satisfaction_; we may speak of a brute as
experiencing _comfort_ or _pleasure_, but scarcely as in possession of
_happiness_; we speak of vicious _pleasure_, _delight_, or _joy_, but
not of vicious _happiness_. _Felicity_ is a philosophical term, colder
and more formal than _happiness_. _Gladness_ is _happiness_ that
overflows, expressing itself in countenance, voice, manner, and action.
_Joy_ is more intense than _happiness_, deeper than _gladness_, to which
it is akin, nobler and more enduring than _pleasure_. _Gaiety_ is more
superficial than _joy_, more demonstrative than _gladness_. _Rejoicing_
is _happiness_ or _joy_ that finds utterance in word, song, festivity,
etc. _Delight_ is vivid, overflowing _happiness_ of a somewhat transient
kind; _ecstasy_ is a state of extreme or extravagant _delight_ so that
the one affected by it seems almost beside himself with _joy_; _rapture_
is closely allied to _ecstasy_, but is more serene, exalted, and
enduring. _Triumph_ is such _joy_ as results from victory, success,
achievement. _Blessedness_ is at once the state and the sense of being
divinely blessed; as, the _blessedness_ of the righteous. _Bliss_ is
ecstatic, perfected _happiness_; as, the _bliss_ of heaven. Compare
See synonyms for GRIEF.
* * * * *
blessed, cheering, gay, lucky, rejoiced,
blissful, cheery, glad, merry, rejoicing,
blithe, delighted, jocund, mirthful, smiling,
blithesome, delightful, jolly, pleased, sprightly,
bright, dexterous, joyful, prosperous, successful,
buoyant, felicitous, joyous, rapturous, sunny.
cheerful, fortunate,
_Happy_ primarily refers to something that comes "by good hap," a chance
that brings prosperity, benefit, or success.
And grasps the skirts of _happy_ chance.
TENNYSON _In Memoriam_ lxiii, st. 2.
In this sense _happy_ is closely allied to _fortunate_ and _lucky_. (See
FORTUNATE.) _Happy_ has, however, so far diverged from this original
sense as to apply to advantages where chance is not recognized, or is
even excluded by direct reference to the divine will, when it becomes
almost equivalent to _blessed_.
Behold, _happy_ is the man whom God correcteth.
_Job_ v, 17.
_Happy_ is also applied to the ready dexterity or skill by which
favorable results (usually in minor matters) are secured, when it
becomes a synonym for _dexterous_, _felicitous_, and the associated
words; as, he has a _happy_ wit; _happy_ at retort (compare CLEVER). In
its most frequent present use, _happy_ is applied to the state of one
enjoying happiness, or to that by which happiness is expressed; as, a
_happy_ heart; a _happy_ face; _happy_ laughter; _happy_ tears (compare
synonyms for HAPPINESS). _Cheerful_ applies to the possession or
expression of a moderate and tranquil happiness. A _cheery_ word
spontaneously gives cheer to others; a _cheering_ word is more
distinctly planned to cheer and encourage. _Gay_ applies to an effusive
and superficial happiness (often not really worthy of that name) perhaps
resulting largely from abundant animal spirits: we speak of _gay_
revelers or a _gay_ horse. A _buoyant_ spirit is, as it were, borne up
by joy and hope. A _sunny_ disposition has a constant tranquil
brightness that irradiates all who come within its influence.
Compare synonyms for GRIEF.
A happy event _for_ him; happy _at_ a reply; happy _in_ his home, _with_
his friends, _among_ his children; happy _at_ the discovery, _over_ his
* * * * *
accord, concurrence, consistency, uniformity,
accordance, conformity, consonance, union,
agreement, congruity, symmetry, unison,
amity, consent, unanimity, unity.
When tones, thoughts, or feelings, individually different, combine to
form a consistent and pleasing whole, there is _harmony_. _Harmony_ is
deeper and more essential than _agreement_; we may have a superficial,
forced, or patched-up _agreement_, but never a superficial, forced, or
patched-up _harmony_. _Concord_ is less full and spiritual than
_harmony_. _Concord_ implies more volition than _accord_; as, their
views were found to be in perfect _accord_; or, by conference _concord_
was secured; we do not secure _accord_, but discover it. We may speak of
being in _accord_ with a person on one point, but _harmony_ is wider in
range. _Conformity_ is correspondence in form, manner, or use; the word
often signifies submission to authority or necessity, and may be as far
as possible from _harmony_; as, the attempt to secure _conformity_ to an
established religion. _Congruity_ involves the element of suitableness;
_consistency_ implies the absence of conflict or contradiction in views,
statements, or acts which are brought into comparison, as in the
different statements of the same person or the different periods of one
man's life; _unanimity_ is the complete hearty _agreement_ of many;
_consent_ and _concurrence_ refer to decision or action, but _consent_
is more passive than _concurrence_; one speaks by general _consent_ when
no one in the assembly cares to make formal objection; a decision of the
Supreme Court depends upon the _concurrence_ of a majority of the
antagonism, contest, discord, hostility, schism,
battle, controversy, disproportion, incongruity, separation,
conflict, difference, dissension, inconsistency, variance,
contention, disagreement, disunion, opposition, warfare.
* * * * *
crop, harvest-home, ingathering, result,
fruit, harvesting, proceeds, return,
growth, harvest-tide, produce, yield.
harvest-feast, harvest-time, product,
harvest-festival, increase, reaping,
_Harvest_, from the Anglo-Saxon, signified originally "autumn," and as
that is the usual season of gathering ripened _crops_ in Northern lands,
the word came to its present meaning of the season of gathering ripened
grain or _fruits_, whether summer or autumn, and hence a _crop_ gathered
or ready for gathering; also, the act or process of gathering a _crop_
or _crops_. "The _harvest_ truly is great, but the laborers are few,"
_Luke_ x, 2. "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are
white already to _harvest_," _John_ iv, 35. _Harvest_ is the elegant and
literary word; _crop_ is the common and commercial expression; we say a
man sells his _crop_, but we should not speak of his selling his
_harvest_; we speak of an ample or abundant _harvest_, a good _crop_.
_Harvest_ is applied almost wholly to grain; _crop_ applies to almost
anything that is gathered in; we speak of the potato-_crop_, not the
potato-_harvest_; we may say either the wheat-_crop_ or the
wheat-_harvest_. _Produce_ is a collective word for all that is produced
in farming or gardening, and is, in modern usage, almost wholly
restricted to this sense; we speak of _produce_ collectively, but of a
_product_ or various _products_; vegetables, _fruits_, eggs, butter,
etc., may be termed farm-_produce_, or the _products_ of the farm.
_Product_ is a word of wider application than _produce_; we speak of the
_products_ of manufacturing, the _products_ of thought, or the _product_
obtained by multiplying one number by another. The word _proceeds_ is
chiefly used of the _return_ from an investment: we speak of the
_produce_ of a farm, but of the _proceeds_ of the money invested in
farming. The _yield_ is what the land gives up to the farmer's demand;
we speak of the _return_ from an expenditure of money or labor, but of
the _yield_ of corn or oats. _Harvest_ has also a figurative use, such
as _crop_ more rarely permits; we term a religious revival a _harvest_
of souls; the _result_ of lax enforcement of law is a _harvest_ of
crime. As regards time, _harvest_, _harvest-tide_, and _harvest-time_
alike denote the period or season when the crops are or should be
gathered (_tide_ being simply the old Saxon word for _time_).
_Harvest-home_ ordinarily denotes the _festival_ of _harvest_, and when
used to denote simply the season always gives a suggestion of festivity
and rejoicing, such as _harvest_ and _harvest-time_ by themselves do not
* * * * *
abhorrence, detestation, hostility, rancor,
anger, dislike, ill will, repugnance,
animosity, enmity, malevolence, resentment,
antipathy, grudge, malice, revenge,
aversion, hate, malignity, spite.
_Repugnance_ applies to that which one feels himself summoned or
impelled to do or to endure, and from which he instinctively draws back.
_Aversion_ is the turning away of the mind or feelings from some person
or thing, or from some course of action, etc. _Hate_, or _hatred_, as
applied to persons, is intense and continued _aversion_, usually with
disposition to injure; _anger_ is sudden and brief, _hatred_ is
lingering and enduring; "Her wrath became a _hate_," TENNYSON _Pelleas
and Ettarre_ st. 16. As applied to things, _hatred_ is intense
_aversion_, with desire to destroy or remove; _hatred_ of evil is a
righteous passion, akin to _abhorrence_, but more vehement. _Malice_
involves the active intent to injure; in the legal sense, _malice_ is
the intent to injure, even tho with no personal _ill will_; as, a
highwayman would be said to entertain _malice_ toward the unknown
traveler whom he attacks. _Malice_ is direct, pressing toward a result;
_malignity_ is deep, lingering, and venomous, tho often impotent to act;
_rancor_ (akin to _rancid_) is cherished _malignity_ that has soured and
festered and is virulent and implacable. _Spite_ is petty _malice_ that
delights to inflict stinging pain; _grudge_ is deeper than _spite_; it
is sinister and bitter; _grudge_, _resentment_, and _revenge_ are all
retaliatory, _grudge_ being the disposition, _revenge_ the determination
to repay real or supposed offense with injury; _revenge_ may denote also
the retaliatory act; _resentment_, the best word of the three, always
holds itself to be justifiable, but looks less certainly to action than
_grudge_ or _revenge_. Simple goodness may arouse the _hatred_ of the
wicked; they will be moved to _revenge_ only by what they deem an injury
See synonyms for FRIENDSHIP; LOVE.
* * * * *
be in possession of, hold, occupy, own, possess.
be possessed of,
_Have_ is the most general word, and is applied to whatever belongs to
or is connected with one; a man _has_ a head or a head-ache, a fortune
or an opinion, a friend or an enemy; he _has_ time, or _has_ need; he
may be said to _have_ what is his own, what he has borrowed, what has
been entrusted to him, or what he has stolen. To _possess_ a thing is to
_have_ the ownership with control and enjoyment of it. To _hold_ is to
_have_ in one's hand, or securely in one's control; a man _holds_ his
friend's coat for a moment, or he _holds_ a struggling horse; he _holds_
a promissory note, or _holds_ an office. To _own_ is to _have_ the right
of property in; to _possess_ is to _have_ that right in actual exercise;
to _occupy_ is to _have_ possession and use, with some degree of
permanency, with or without ownership. A man _occupies_ his own house or
a room in a hotel; a man may _own_ a farm of which he is not in
possession because a tenant _occupies_ it and is determined to _hold_
it; the proprietor _owns_ the property, but the tenant _is in
possession_. To _be in possession_ differs from _possess_ in that to
_possess_ denotes both right and fact, while to _be in possession_
denotes simply the fact with no affirmation as to the right. To _have_
reason is to be endowed with the faculty; to _be in possession of_ one's
reason denotes that the faculty is in actual present exercise.
* * * * *
accident, chance, danger, jeopardy, risk,
casualty, contingency, fortuity, peril, venture.
_Hazard_ is the incurring the possibility of loss or harm for the
possibility of benefit; _danger_ may have no compensating alternative.
In _hazard_ the possibilities of gain or loss are nearly balanced; in
_risk_ the possibility of loss is the chief thought; the foolhardy take
great _risks_ in mere wantonness; in _chance_ and _venture_ the hope of
good predominates; we speak of a merchant's _venture_, but of an
insurance company's _risk_; one may be driven by circumstances to run a
_risk_; he freely seeks a _venture_; we speak of the _chance_ of
winning, the _hazard_ or _risk_ of losing. _Accidents_ are incalculable;
_casualties_ may be to a certain extent anticipated; death and wounds
are _casualties_ of battle, certain to happen to some, but uncertain as
to whom or how many. A _contingency_ is simply an indeterminable future
event, which may or may not be attended with _danger_ or _risk_. See
assurance, necessity, protection, safety, surety.
certainty, plan, safeguard, security,
* * * * *
hale, hygienic, sanitary, vigorous,
healthful, salubrious, sound, well,
hearty, salutary, strong, wholesome.
_Healthy_ is most correctly used to signify possessing or enjoying
health or its results; as, a _healthy_ person; a _healthy_ condition.
_Healthful_ signifies promotive of health, tending or adapted to confer,
preserve, or promote health; as, a _healthful_ climate. _Wholesome_ food
in a _healthful_ climate makes a _healthy_ man. With _healthful_ are
ranged the words _hygienic_, _salubrious_, _salutary_, _sanitary_, and
_wholesome_, while the other words are associated with _healthy_.
_Salubrious_ is always used in the physical sense, and is chiefly
applied to air or climate. _Salutary_ is now chiefly used in the moral
sense; as, a _salutary_ lesson.
delicate, failing, ill, unsound, worn,
diseased, fainting, sick, wasted, worn down,
emaciated, fragile, unhealthy, weak, worn out.
exhausted, frail,
* * * * *
abet, befriend, foster, succor, uphold.
aid, cooperate, second, support,
assist, encourage, stand by, sustain,
_Help_ expresses greater dependence and deeper need than _aid_. In
extremity we say "God _help_ me!" rather than "God _aid_ me!" In time of
danger we cry "_help! help!_" rather than "_aid! aid!_" To _aid_ is to
_second_ another's own exertions. We can speak of _helping_ the
helpless, but not of _aiding_ them. _Help_ includes _aid_, but _aid_ may
fall short of the meaning of _help_. In law to _aid_ or _abet_ makes one
a principal. (Compare synonyms for ACCESSORY.) To _cooperate_ is to
_aid_ as an equal; to _assist_ implies a subordinate and secondary
relation. One _assists_ a fallen friend to rise; he _cooperates_ with
him in helping others. _Encourage_ refers to mental _aid_, as _uphold_
now usually does; _succor_ and _support_, oftenest to material
assistance. We _encourage_ the timid or despondent, _succor_ the
endangered, _support_ the weak, _uphold_ those who else might be shaken
or cast down. Compare ABET; PROMOTE.
counteract, discourage, oppose, resist, thwart, withstand.
Help _in_ an enterprise _with_ money; help _to_ success; _against_ the
* * * * *
dissenter, heresiarch, non-conformist, schismatic.
Etymologically, a _heretic_ is one who takes or chooses his own belief,
instead of the belief of his church; hence, a _heretic_ is one who
denies commonly accepted views, or who holds opinions contrary to the
recognized standard or tenets of any established religious,
philosophical, or other system, school, or party; the religious sense of
the word is the predominant one; a _schismatic_ is primarily one who
produces a split or rent in the church. A _heretic_ differs in doctrine
from the religious body with which he is connected; a _schismatic_
differs in doctrine or practise, or in both. A _heretic_ may be
reticent, or even silent; a _schismatic_ introduces divisions. A
_heresiarch_ is the author of a heresy or the leader of a heretical
party, and is thus at once a _heretic_ and a _schismatic_. With
advancing ideas of religious liberty, the odious sense once attached to
these words is largely modified, and _heretic_ is often used playfully.
_Dissenter_ and _non-conformist_ are terms specifically applied to
English subjects who hold themselves aloof from the Church of England;
the former term is extended to non-adherents of the established church
in some other countries, as Russia.
* * * * *
confused, mingled, unhomogeneous,
conglomerate, miscellaneous, unlike,
discordant, mixed, variant,
dissimilar, non-homogeneous, various.
Substances quite _unlike_ are _heterogeneous_ as regards each other. A
_heterogeneous_ mixture is one whose constituents are not only unlike
in kind, but unevenly distributed; cement is composed of substances such
as lime, sand, and clay, which are _heterogeneous_ as regards each
other, but the cement is said to be homogeneous if the different
constituents are evenly mixed throughout, so that any one portion of the
mixture is exactly like any other. A substance may fail of being
homogeneous and yet not be _heterogeneous_, in which case it is said to
be _non-homogeneous_ or _unhomogeneous_; a bar of iron that contains
flaws, air-bubbles, etc., or for any other reason is not of uniform
structure and density throughout, tho no foreign substance be mixed with
the iron, is said to be _non-homogeneous_. A _miscellaneous_ mixture may
or may not be _heterogeneous_; if the objects are alike in kind, but
different in size, form, quality, use, etc., and without special order
or relation, the collection is _miscellaneous_; if the objects differ in
kind, such a mixture is also, and more strictly, _heterogeneous_; a pile
of unassorted lumber is _miscellaneous_; the contents of a school-boy's
pocket are commonly _miscellaneous_ and might usually be termed
_heterogeneous_ as well. See COMPLEX.
alike, homogeneous, identical, like, pure, same, similar, uniform.
* * * * *
bury, cover, entomb, overwhelm, suppress,
cloak, disguise, inter, screen, veil.
conceal, dissemble, mask, secrete.
_Hide_ is the general term, including all the rest, signifying to put
out of sight or beyond ready observation or approach; a thing may be
_hidden_ by intention, by accident, or by the imperfection of the
faculties of the one from whom it is _hidden_; in their games, children
_hide_ the slipper, or _hide_ themselves from each other; a man
unconsciously _hides_ a picture from another by standing before it, or
_hides_ a thing from himself by laying something else over it. Even an
unconscious object may _hide_ another; as, a cloud _hides_ the sun, or a
building _hides_ some part of the prospect by intervening between it and
the observer's position. As an act of persons, to _conceal_ is always
intentional; one may _hide_ his face in anger, grief, or abstraction; he
_conceals_ his face when he fears recognition. A house is _hidden_ by
foliage; the bird's nest is artfully _concealed_. _Secrete_ is a
stronger word than _conceal_, and is used chiefly of such material
objects as may be separated from the person, or from their ordinary
surroundings, and put in unlooked-for places; a man _conceals_ a scar
on his face, but does not _secrete_ it; a thief _secretes_ stolen goods;
an officer may also be said to _secrete_ himself to watch the thief. A
thing is _covered_ by putting something over or around it, whether by
accident or design; it is _screened_ by putting something before it,
always with some purpose of protection from observation, inconvenience,
attack, censure, etc. In the figurative use, a person may _hide_
honorable feelings; he _conceals_ an evil or hostile intent. Anything
which is effectually _covered_ and _hidden_ under any mass or
accumulation is _buried_. Money is _buried_ in the ground; a body is
_buried_ in the sea; a paper is _buried_ under other documents. Whatever
is _buried_ is _hidden_ or _concealed_; but there are many ways of
_hiding_ or _concealing_ a thing without _burying_ it. So a person may
be _covered_ with wraps, and not _buried_ under them. _Bury_ may be used
of any object, _entomb_ and _inter_ only of a dead body. Figuratively,
one may be said to be _buried_ in business, in study, etc. Compare
admit, disclose, exhume, manifest, show,
advertise, discover, expose, promulgate, tell,
avow, disinter, lay bare, publish, uncover,
betray, divulge, lay open, raise, unmask,
confess, exhibit, make known, reveal, unveil.
* * * * *
elevated, exalted, noble, steep, towering,
eminent, lofty, proud, tall, uplifted.
_Deep_, while an antonym of _high_ in usage, may apply to the very same
distance simply measured in an opposite direction, _high_ applying to
vertical distance measured from below upward, and _deep_ to vertical
distance measured from above downward; as, a _deep_ valley nestling
between _high_ mountains. _High_ is a relative term signifying greatly
raised above any object, base, or surface, in comparison with what is
usual, or with some standard; a table is _high_ if it exceeds thirty
inches; a hill is not _high_ at a hundred feet. That is _tall_ whose
height is greatly in excess of its breadth or diameter, and whose actual
height is great for an object of its kind; as, a _tall_ tree; a _tall_
man; _tall_ grass. That is _lofty_ which is imposing or majestic in
height; we term a spire _tall_ with reference to its altitude, or
_lofty_ with reference to its majestic appearance. That is _elevated_
which is raised somewhat above its surroundings; that is _eminent_ which
is far above them; as, an _elevated_ platform; an _eminent_ promontory.
In the figurative sense, _elevated_ is less than _eminent_, and this
less than _exalted_; we speak of _high_, _lofty_, or _elevated_
thoughts, aims, etc., in the good sense, but sometimes of _high_
feelings, looks, words, etc., in the invidious sense of haughty or
arrogant. A _high_ ambition may be merely selfish; a _lofty_ ambition is
worthy and _noble_. _Towering_, in the literal sense compares with
_lofty_ and majestic; but in the figurative sense, its use is almost
always invidious; as, a _towering_ passion; a _towering_ ambition
disregards and crushes all opposing considerations, however rational,
lovely, or holy. Compare STEEP.
base, degraded, dwarfed, inferior, low, mean, short, stunted.
deep, depressed,
* * * * *
baffle, clog, foil, obstruct, retard,
balk, counteract, frustrate, oppose, stay,
bar, delay, hamper, prevent, stop,
block, embarrass, impede, resist, thwart.
check, encumber, interrupt,
To _hinder_ is to keep from action, progress, motion, or growth, or to
make such action, progress, motion, or growth later in beginning or
completion than it would otherwise have been. An action is _prevented_
by anything that comes in before it to make it impossible; it is
_hindered_ by anything that keeps it from either beginning or ending so
soon as it otherwise would, or as expected or intended. It is more
common, however, to say that the start is _delayed_, the progress
_hindered_. An action that is _hindered_ does not take place at the
appointed or appropriate time; that which is _prevented_ does not take
place at all; to _hinder_ a thing long enough may amount to _preventing_
it. A railroad-train may be _hindered_ by a snow-storm from arriving on
time; it may by special order be _prevented_ from starting. To _retard_
is simply to make slow by any means whatever. To _obstruct_ is to
_hinder_, or possibly to _prevent_ advance or passage by putting
something in the way; to _oppose_ or _resist_ is to _hinder_, or
possibly to _prevent_ by directly contrary or hostile action, _resist_
being the stronger term and having more suggestion of physical force;
_obstructed_ roads _hinder_ the march of an enemy, tho there may be no
force strong enough to _oppose_ it; one _opposes_ a measure, a motion,
an amendment, or the like; it is a criminal offense to _resist_ an
officer in the discharge of his duty; the physical system may _resist_
the attack of disease or the action of a remedy. Compare CONQUER;
See synonyms for QUICKEN.
Hinder one _in_ his progress; _from_ acting promptly; _by_ opposition.
* * * * *
account, biography, muniment, record,
annals, chronicle, narration, register,
archives, memoir, narrative, story.
autobiography, memorial, recital,
_History_ is a systematic record of past events. _Annals_ and
_chronicles_ relate events with little regard to their relative
importance, and with complete subserviency to their succession in time.
_Annals_ are yearly records; _chronicles_ follow the order of time. Both
necessarily lack emphasis, selection, and perspective. _Archives_ are
public _records_, which may be _annals_, or _chronicles_, or deeds of
property, etc. _Memoirs_ generally record the lives of individuals or
facts pertaining to individual lives. A _biography_ is distinctively a
written _account_ of one person's life and actions; an _autobiography_
is a _biography_ written by the person whose life it records. _Annals_,
_archives_, _chronicles_, _biographies_, and _memoirs_ and other
_records_ furnish the materials of _history_. _History_ recounts events
with careful attention to their importance, their mutual relations,
their causes and consequences, selecting and grouping events on the
ground of interest or importance. _History_ is usually applied to such
an _account_ of events affecting communities and nations, tho sometimes
we speak of the _history_ of a single eminent life. Compare RECORD.
See synonyms for FICTION.
* * * * *
blessed, devoted, hallowed, saintly,
consecrated, divine, sacred, set apart.
_Sacred_ is applied to that which is to be regarded as inviolable on any
account, and so is not restricted to divine things; therefore in its
lower applications it is less than _holy_. That which is _sacred_ may
be made so by institution, decree, or association; that which is _holy_
is so by its own nature, possessing intrinsic moral purity, and, in the
highest sense, absolute moral perfection. God is _holy_; his commands
are _sacred_. _Holy_ may be applied also to that which is _hallowed_;
as, "the place whereon thou standest is _holy_ ground," _Ex._ iii, 5. In
such use _holy_ is more than _sacred_, as if the very qualities of a
spiritual or divine presence were imparted to the place or object.
_Divine_ has been used with great looseness, as applying to anything
eminent or admirable, in the line either of goodness or of mere power,
as to eloquence, music, etc., but there is a commendable tendency to
restrict the word to its higher sense, as designating that which belongs
to or is worthy of the Divine Being. Compare PERFECT; PURE.
abominable, cursed, polluted, unconsecrated, unholy, wicked,
common, impure, secular, unhallowed, unsanctified, worldly.
* * * * *
abode, dwelling, habitation, hearthstone, ingleside,
domicil, fireside, hearth, house, residence.
_Abode_, _dwelling_, and _habitation_ are used with little difference of
meaning to denote the place where one habitually lives; _abode_ and
_habitation_ belong to the poetic or elevated style. Even _dwelling_ is
not used in familiar speech; a person says "my _house_," "my _home_," or
more formally "my _residence_." _Home_, from the Anglo-Saxon, denoting
originally a _dwelling_, came to mean an endeared _dwelling_ as the
scene of domestic love and happy and cherished family life, a sense to
which there is an increasing tendency to restrict the word--desirably
so, since we have other words to denote the mere dwelling-place; we say
"The wretched tenement could not be called _home_," or "The humble cabin
was dear to him as the _home_ of his childhood."
_Home_'s not merely four square walls,
Tho with pictures hung and gilded;
_Home_ is where affection calls--
Where its shrine the heart has builded.
Thus the word comes to signify any place of rest and peace, and
especially heaven, as the soul's peaceful and eternal dwelling-place.
* * * * *
candid, frank, ingenuous, true,
equitable, genuine, just, trustworthy,
fair, good, sincere, trusty,
faithful, honorable, straightforward, upright.
One who is _honest_ in the ordinary sense acts or is always disposed to
act with careful regard for the rights of others, especially in matters
of business or property; one who is _honorable_ scrupulously observes
the dictates of a personal honor that is higher than any demands of
mercantile law or public opinion, and will do nothing unworthy of his
own inherent nobility of soul. The _honest_ man does not steal, cheat,
or defraud; the _honorable_ man will not take an unfair advantage that
would be allowed him, or will make a sacrifice which no one could
require of him, when his own sense of right demands it. One who is
_honest_ in the highest and fullest sense is scrupulously careful to
adhere to all known truth and right even in thought. In this sense
_honest_ differs from _honorable_ as having regard rather to absolute
truth and right than to even the highest personal honor. Compare CANDID;
deceitful, faithless, hypocritical, perfidious, unfaithful,
dishonest, false, lying, traitorous, unscrupulous,
disingenuous, fraudulent, mendacious, treacherous, untrue.
* * * * *
even, flat, level, plain, plane.
_Horizontal_ signifies in the direction of or parallel to the horizon.
For practical purposes _level_ and _horizontal_ are identical, tho
_level_, as the more popular word, is more loosely used of that which
has no especially noticeable elevations or inequalities; as, a _level_
road. _Flat_, according to its derivation from the Anglo-Saxon _flet_, a
floor, applies to a surface only, and, in the first and most usual
sense, to a surface that is _horizontal_ or _level_ in all directions; a
line may be _level_, a floor is _flat_; _flat_ is also applied in a
derived sense to any _plane_ surface without irregularities or
elevations, as a picture may be painted on the _flat_ surface of a
perpendicular wall. _Plane_ applies only to a surface, and is used with
more mathematical exactness than _flat_. The adjective _plain_,
originally the same word as _plane_, is now rarely used except in the
figurative senses, but the original sense appears in the noun, as we
speak of "a wide _plain_." We speak of a _horizontal_ line, a _flat_
morass, a _level_ road, a _plain_ country, a _plane_ surface
(especially in the scientific sense). That which is _level_ may not be
_even_, and that which is _even_ may not be _level_; a _level_ road may
be very rough; a slope may be _even_.
broken, inclined, rolling, rugged, sloping,
hilly, irregular, rough, slanting, uneven.
* * * * *
benevolent, compassionate, human, pitying,
benignant, forgiving, kind, sympathetic,
charitable, gentle, kind-hearted, tender,
clement, gracious, merciful, tender-hearted.
_Human_ denotes what pertains to mankind, with no suggestion as to its
being good or evil; as, the _human_ race; _human_ qualities; we speak of
_human_ achievements, virtues, or excellences, _human_ follies, vices,
or crimes. _Humane_ denotes what may rightly be expected of mankind at
its best in the treatment of sentient beings; a _humane_ enterprise or
endeavor is one that is intended to prevent or relieve suffering. The
_humane_ man will not needlessly inflict pain upon the meanest thing
that lives; a _merciful_ man is disposed to withhold or mitigate the
suffering even of the guilty. The _compassionate_ man sympathizes with
and desires to relieve actual suffering, while one who is _humane_ would
forestall and prevent the suffering which he sees to be possible.
See synonyms for BARBAROUS.
* * * * *
chase, hunting, inquisition, pursuit, search.
A _hunt_ may be either the act of pursuing or the act of seeking, or a
combination of the two. A _chase_ or _pursuit_ is after that which is
fleeing or departing; a _search_ is for that which is hidden; a _hunt_
may be for that which is either hidden or fleeing; a _search_ is a
minute and careful seeking, and is especially applied to a locality; we
make a _search_ of or through a house, for an object, in which
connection it would be colloquial to say a _hunt_. _Hunt_ never quite
loses its association with field-sports, where it includes both _search_
and _chase_; the _search_ till the game is hunted out, and the _chase_
till it is hunted down. Figuratively, we speak of literary _pursuits_,
or of the _pursuit_ of knowledge; a _search_ for reasons; the _chase_
of fame or honor; _hunt_, in figurative use, inclines to the unfavorable
sense of _inquisition_, but with more of dash and aggressiveness; as, a
_hunt_ for heresy.
* * * * *
affectation, formalism, pretense, sanctimony,
cant, pharisaism, sanctimoniousness, sham.
dissimulation, pietism,
_Pretense_ (L. _praetendo_) primarily signifies the holding something
forward as having certain rights or claims, whether truly or falsely; in
the good sense, it is now rarely used except with a negative; as, there
can be no _pretense_ that this is due; a false _pretense_ implies the
possibility of a true _pretense_; but, alone and unlimited, _pretense_
commonly signifies the offering of something for what it is not.
_Hypocrisy_ is the false _pretense_ of moral excellence, either as a
cover for actual wrong, or for the sake of the credit and advantage
attaching to virtue. _Cant_ (L. _cantus_, a song), primarily the
singsong iteration of the language of any party, school, or sect,
denotes the mechanical and pretentious use of religious phraseology,
without corresponding feeling or character; _sanctimoniousness_ is the
assumption of a saintly manner without a saintly character. As _cant_ is
_hypocrisy_ in utterance, so _sanctimoniousness_ is _hypocrisy_ in
appearance, as in looks, tones, etc. _Pietism_, originally a word of
good import, is now chiefly used for an unregulated emotionalism;
_formalism_ is an exaggerated devotion to forms, rites, and ceremonies,
without corresponding earnestness of heart; _sham_ (identical in origin
with _shame_) is a trick or device that puts one to shame, or that
shamefully disappoints expectation or falsifies appearance.
_Affectation_ is in matters of intellect, taste, etc., much what
_hypocrisy_ is in morals and religion; _affectation_ might be termed
petty _hypocrisy_. Compare DECEPTION.
candor, genuineness, ingenuousness, sincerity, truth,
frankness, honesty, openness, transparency, truthfulness.
* * * * *
cheat, deceiver, dissembler, impostor, pretender.
A _hypocrite_ (Gr. _hypokrites_, one who answers on the stage, an actor,
especially a mimic actor) is one who acts a false part, or assumes a
character other than the real. _Deceiver_ is the most comprehensive
term, including all the other words of the group. The _deceiver_ seeks
to give false impressions of any matter where he has an end to gain; the
_dissembler_ or _hypocrite_ seeks to give false impressions in regard to
himself. The _dissembler_ is content if he can keep some base conduct or
evil purpose from being discovered; the _hypocrite_ seeks not merely to
cover his vices, but to gain credit for virtue. The _cheat_ and
_impostor_ endeavor to make something out of those they may deceive. The
_cheat_ is the inferior and more mercenary, as the thimble-rig gambler;
the _impostor_ may aspire to a fortune or a throne. Compare HYPOCRISY.
The antonyms of _hypocrite_ are to be found only in phrases embodying
the adjectives candid, honest, ingenuous, sincere, true, etc.
* * * * *
conjecture, scheme, supposition, system,
guess, speculation, surmise, theory.
A _hypothesis_ is a statement of what is deemed possibly true, assumed
and reasoned upon as if certainly true, with a view of reaching truth
not yet surely known; especially, in the sciences, a _hypothesis_ is a
comprehensive tentative explanation of certain phenomena, which is meant
to include all other facts of the same class, and which is assumed as
true till there has been opportunity to bring all related facts into
comparison; if the _hypothesis_ explains all the facts, it is regarded
as verified; till then it is regarded as a working _hypothesis_, that
is, one that may answer for present practical purposes. A _hypothesis_
may be termed a comprehensive _guess_. A _guess_ is a swift conclusion
from data directly at hand, and held as probable or tentative, while one
confessedly lacks material for absolute certainty. A _conjecture_ is
more methodical than a _guess_, while a _supposition_ is still slower
and more settled; a _conjecture_, like a _guess_, is preliminary and
tentative; a _supposition_ is more nearly final; a _surmise_ is more
floating and visionary, and often sinister; as, a _surmise_ that a
stranger may be a pickpocket. _Theory_ is used of the mental
coordination of facts and principles, that may or may not prove correct;
a machine may be perfect in _theory_, but useless in fact. _Scheme_ may
be used as nearly equivalent to _theory_, but is more frequently applied
to proposed action, and in the sense of a somewhat visionary plan. A
_speculation_ may be wholly of the brain, resting upon no facts worthy
of consideration; _system_ is the highest of these terms, having most of
assurance and fixity; a _system_ unites many facts, phenomena, or
doctrines into an orderly and consistent whole; we speak of a _system_
of theology, of the Copernican _system_ of the universe. Compare SYSTEM.
certainty, demonstration, discovery, evidence, fact, proof.
* * * * *
apprehension, design, impression, plan,
archetype, fancy, judgment, purpose,
belief, fantasy, model, sentiment,
conceit, ideal, notion, supposition,
concept, image, opinion, theory,
conception, imagination, pattern, thought.
_Idea_ is in Greek a _form_ or an _image_. The word signified in early
philosophical use the _archetype_ or primal _image_ which the Platonic
philosophy supposed to be the _model_ or _pattern_ that existing objects
imperfectly embody. This high sense has nearly disappeared from the word
_idea_, and has been largely appropriated by _ideal_, tho something of
the original meaning still appears when in theological or philosophical
language we speak of the _ideas_ of God. The present popular use of
_idea_ makes it to signify any product of mental _apprehension_ or
activity, considered as an object of knowledge or thought; this
coincides with the primitive sense at but a single point--that an _idea_
is mental as opposed to anything substantial or physical; thus, almost
any mental product, as a _belief_, _conception_, _design_, _opinion_,
etc., may now be called an _idea_. Compare FANCY; IDEAL.
actuality, fact, reality, substance.
* * * * *
archetype, model, pattern, prototype, standard.
idea, original,
An _ideal_ is that which is conceived or taken as the highest type of
excellence or ultimate object of attainment. The _archetype_ is the
primal form, actual or imaginary, according to which any existing thing
is constructed; the _prototype_ has or has had actual existence; in the
derived sense, as in metrology, a _prototype_ may not be the original
form, but one having equal authority with that as a _standard_. An
_ideal_ may be primal, or may be slowly developed even from failures and
by negations; an _ideal_ is meant to be perfect, not merely the thing
that has been attained or is to be attained, but the best conceivable
thing that could by possibility be attained. The artist's _ideal_ is his
own mental image, of which his finished work is but an imperfect
expression. The _original_ is the first specimen, good or bad; the
_original_ of a master is superior to all copies. The _standard_ may be
below the _ideal_. The _ideal_ is imaginary, and ordinarily
unattainable; the _standard_ is concrete, and ordinarily attainable,
being a measure to which all else of its kind must conform; as, the
_standard_ of weights and measures, of corn, or of cotton. The _idea_ of
virtue is the mental concept or image of virtue in general; the _ideal_
of virtue is the mental concept or image of virtue in its highest
conceivable perfection. Compare EXAMPLE; IDEA.
accomplishment, action, doing, fact, practise,
achievement, attainment, embodiment, incarnation, reality,
act, development, execution, performance, realization.
* * * * *
fatuity, foolishness, incapacity, stupidity.
folly, imbecility, senselessness,
_Idiocy_ is a state of mental unsoundness amounting almost or quite to
total absence of understanding. _Imbecility_ is a condition of mental
weakness, which may or may not be as complete as that of _idiocy_, but
is at least such as to incapacitate for the serious duties of life.
_Incapacity_, or lack of legal qualification for certain acts,
necessarily results from _imbecility_, but may also result from other
causes, as from insanity or from age, sex, etc.; as, the _incapacity_ of
a minor to make a contract. _Idiocy_ or _imbecility_ is weakness of
mind, while insanity is disorder or abnormal action of mind. _Folly_ and
_foolishness_ denote a want of mental and often of moral balance.
_Fatuity_ is sometimes used as equivalent to _idiocy_, but more
frequently signifies conceited and excessive _foolishness_ or _folly_.
_Stupidity_ is dulness and slowness of mental action which may range all
the way from lack of normal readiness to absolute _imbecility_. Compare
acuteness, brilliancy, common sense, sagacity, soundness,
astuteness, capacity, intelligence, sense, wisdom.
* * * * *
inactive, inert, slothful, trifling, unoccupied,
indolent, lazy, sluggish, unemployed, vacant.
_Idle_ in all uses rests upon its root meaning, as derived from the
Anglo-Saxon _idel_, which signifies vain, empty, useless. _Idle_ thus
denotes not primarily the absence of action, but vain action--the
absence of useful, effective action; the _idle_ schoolboy may be very
actively whittling his desk or tormenting his neighbors. Doing nothing
whatever is the secondary meaning of _idle_. One may be temporarily
_idle_ of necessity; if he is habitually _idle_, it is his own fault.
_Lazy_ signifies indisposed to exertion, averse to labor; idleness is in
fact; laziness is in disposition or inclination. A _lazy_ person may
chance to be employed in useful work, but he acts without energy or
impetus. We speak figuratively of a _lazy_ stream. The _inert_ person
seems like dead matter (characterized by inertia), powerless to move;
the _sluggish_ moves heavily and toilsomely; the most active person may
sometimes find the bodily or mental powers _sluggish_. _Slothful_
belongs in the moral realm, denoting a self-indulgent aversion to
exertion. "The _slothful_ hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him
to bring it again to his mouth," _Prov._ xxvi, 15. _Indolent_ is a
milder term for the same quality; the _slothful_ man hates action; the
_indolent_ man loves inaction. Compare VAIN.
active, busy, diligent, employed, industrious, occupied, working.
* * * * *
ill-informed, unenlightened, unlearned, untaught,
illiterate, uninformed, unlettered, untutored.
uneducated, uninstructed, unskilled,
_Ignorant_ signifies destitute of education or knowledge, or lacking
knowledge or information; it is thus a relative term. The most learned
man is still _ignorant_ of many things; persons are spoken of as
_ignorant_ who have not the knowledge that has become generally diffused
in the world; the _ignorant_ savage may be well instructed in matters of
the field and the chase, and is thus more properly _untutored_ than
_ignorant_. _Illiterate_ is without letters and the knowledge that comes
through reading. _Unlettered_ is similar in meaning to _illiterate_, but
less absolute; the _unlettered_ man may have acquired the art of reading
and writing and some elementary knowledge; the _uneducated_ man has
never taken any systematic course of mental training. _Ignorance_ is
relative; _illiteracy_ is absolute; we have statistics of _illiteracy_;
no statistics of _ignorance_ are possible.
educated, learned, sage, skilled, trained, well-informed, wise.
* * * * *
fancy, fantasy, phantasy.
The old psychology treated of the _Reproductive Imagination_, which
simply reproduces the images that the mind has in any way acquired, and
the _Productive Imagination_ which modifies and combines mental images
so as to produce what is virtually new. To this _Reproductive
Imagination_ President Noah Porter and others have given the name of
_phantasy_ or _fantasy_ (many psychologists preferring the former
spelling). _Phantasy_ or _fantasy_, so understood, presents numerous and
varied images, often combining them into new forms with exceeding
vividness, yet without any true constructive power, but with the mind
adrift, blindly and passively following the laws of association, and
with reason and will in torpor; the mental images being perhaps as
varied and as vivid, but also as purposeless and unsystematized as the
visual images in a kaleidoscope; such _fantasy_ (often loosely called
_imagination_) appears in dreaming, reverie, somnambulism, and
intoxication. _Fantasy_ in ordinary usage simply denotes capricious or
erratic _fancy_, as appears in the adjective _fantastic_. _Imagination_
and _fancy_ differ from _fantasy_ in bringing the images and their
combinations under the control of the will; _imagination_ is the broader
and higher term, including _fancy_; _imagination_ is the act or power of
imaging or of reimaging objects of perception or thought, of combining
the products of knowledge in modified, new, or ideal forms--the creative
or constructive power of the mind; while _fancy_ is the act or power of
forming pleasing, graceful, whimsical, or odd mental images, or of
combining them with little regard to rational processes of construction;
_imagination_ in its lower form. Both _fancy_ and _imagination_
recombine and modify mental images; either may work with the other's
materials; _imagination_ may glorify the tiniest flower; _fancy_ may
play around a mountain or a star; the one great distinction between them
is that _fancy_ is superficial, while _imagination_ is deep, essential,
spiritual. Wordsworth, who was the first clearly to draw the
distinction between the _fancy_ and the _imagination_, states it as
To aggregate and to associate, to evoke and to combine, belong as
well to the _imagination_ as to the _fancy_; but either the
materials evoked and combined are different; or they are brought
together under a different law, and for a different purpose. _Fancy_
does not require that the materials which she makes use of should be
susceptible of changes in their constitution from her touch; and
where they admit of modification, it is enough for her purpose if it
be slight, limited, and evanescent. Directly the reverse of these
are the desires and demands of the _imagination_. She recoils from
everything but the plastic, the pliant, and the indefinite. She
leaves it to _fancy_ to describe Queen Mab as coming:
'In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman.'
Having to speak of stature, she does not tell you that her gigantic
angel was as tall as Pompey's Pillar; much less that he was twelve
cubits or twelve hundred cubits high; or that his dimensions
equalled those of Teneriffe or Atlas; because these, and if they
were a million times as high, it would be the same, are bounded. The
expression is, 'His stature reached the sky!' the illimitable
firmament!--When the _imagination_ frames a comparison, ... a sense
of the truth of the likeness from the moment that it is perceived
grows--and continues to grow--upon the mind; the resemblance
depending less upon outline of form and feature than upon expression
and effect, less upon casual and outstanding than upon inherent and
internal properties.[B]
_Poetical Works, Pref. to Ed. of 1815_, p. 646, app. [T. & H. '51.]
So far as actual images are concerned, both _fancy_ and _imagination_
are limited to the materials furnished by the external world; it is
remarkable that among all the representations of gods or demigods,
fiends and demons, griffins and chimaeras, the human mind has never
invented one organ or attribute that is not presented in human or animal
life; the lion may have a human head and an eagle's wings and claws, but
in the various features, individually, there is absolutely nothing new.
But _imagination_ can transcend the work of _fancy_, and compare an
image drawn from the external world with some spiritual truth born in
the mind itself, or infuse a series of images with such a spiritual
truth, molding them as needed for its more vivid expression.
The _imagination_ modifies images, and gives unity to variety; it
sees all things in one.... There is the epic _imagination_, the
perfection of which is in Milton; and the dramatic, of which
Shakspeare is the absolute master.
COLERIDGE _Table Talk_ June 23, '34.
_Fancy_ keeps the material image prominent and clear, and works not only
with it, but for it; _imagination_ always uses the material object as
the minister of something greater than itself, and often almost loses
the object in the spiritual idea with which she has associated it, and
for which alone she values it. _Fancy_ flits about the surface, and is
airy and playful, sometimes petty and sometimes false; _imagination_
goes to the heart of things, and is deep, earnest, serious, and seeks
always and everywhere for essential truth. _Fancy_ sets off, variegates,
and decorates; _imagination_ transforms and exalts. _Fancy_ delights and
entertains; _imagination_ moves and thrills. _Imagination_ is not only
poetic or literary, but scientific, philosophical, and practical. By
_imagination_ the architect sees the unity of a building not yet begun,
and the inventor sees the unity and varied interactions of a machine
never yet constructed, even a unity that no human eye ever can see,
since when the machine is in actual motion, one part may hide the
connecting parts, and yet all keep the unity of the inventor's thought.
By _imagination_ a Newton sweeps sun, planets, and stars into unity with
the earth and the apple that is drawn irresistibly to its surface, and
sees them all within the circle of one grand law. Science, philosophy,
and mechanical invention have little use for _fancy_, but the creative,
penetrative power of _imagination_ is to them the breath of life, and
the condition of all advance and success. See also FANCY; IDEA.
[B] The whole discussion from which the quotation is taken is worthy of,
and will well repay, careful study.
* * * * *
at once, instanter, presently, straightway,
directly, instantly, right away, this instant,
forthwith, now, right off, without delay.
The strong and general human tendency to procrastination is shown in the
progressive weakening of the various words in this group. _Immediately_
primarily signifies without the intervention of anything as a medium,
hence without the intervention of any, even the briefest, interval or
lapse of time. _By and by_, which was once a synonym, has become an
antonym of _immediately_, meaning at some (perhaps remote) future time.
_Directly_, which once meant with no intervening time, now means after
some little while; _presently_ no longer means in this very present, but
before very long. Even _immediately_ is sliding from its
instantaneousness, so that we are fain to substitute _at once_,
_instantly_, etc., when we would make promptness emphatic. _Right away_
and _right off_ are vigorous conversational expressions in the United
after a while, by and by, hereafter, in the future, some time.
* * * * *
bury, dip, douse, duck, immerge, plunge, sink, submerge.
_Dip_ is Saxon, while _immerse_ is Latin for the same initial act; _dip_
is accordingly the more popular and commonplace, _immerse_ the more
elegant and dignified expression in many cases. To speak of baptism by
immersion as _dipping_ now seems rude; tho entirely proper and usual in
early English. Baptists now universally use the word _immerse_. To _dip_
and to _immerse_ alike signify to _bury_ or _submerge_ some object in a
liquid; but _dip_ implies that the object _dipped_ is at once removed
from the liquid, while _immerse_ is wholly silent as to the removal.
_Immerse_ also suggests more absolute completeness of the action; one
may _dip_ his sleeve or _dip_ a sponge in a liquid, if he but touches
the edge; if he _immerses_ it, he completely _sinks_ it under, and
covers it with the liquid. _Submerge_ implies that the object can not
readily be removed, if at all; as, a _submerged_ wreck. To _plunge_ is
to _immerse_ suddenly and violently, for which _douse_ and _duck_ are
colloquial terms. _Dip_ is used, also, unlike the other words, to denote
the putting of a hollow vessel into a liquid in order to remove a
portion of it; in this sense we say _dip up_, _dip out_. Compare
synonyms for BURY.
The object is immersed _in_ water.
* * * * *
impending, threatening.
_Imminent_, from the Latin, with the sense of projecting over, signifies
liable to happen at once, as some calamity, dangerous and close at hand.
_Impending_, also from the Latin, with the sense of hanging over, is
closely akin to _imminent_, but somewhat less emphatic. _Imminent_ is
more immediate, _impending_ more remote, _threatening_ more contingent.
An _impending_ evil is almost sure to happen at some uncertain time,
perhaps very near; an _imminent_ peril is one liable to befall very
speedily; a _threatening_ peril may be near or remote, but always with
hope that it may be averted.
chimerical, doubtful, problematical, unexpected, unlikely.
contingent, improbable,
* * * * *
bar, clog, encumbrance, obstacle,
barrier, difficulty, hindrance, obstruction.
_Difficulty_ makes an undertaking otherwise than easy. That which rests
upon one as a burden is an _encumbrance_. An _impediment_ is primarily
something that checks the foot or in any way makes advance slow or
difficult; an _obstacle_ is something that stands across the way, an
_obstruction_ something that is built or placed across the way. An
_obstruction_ is always an _obstacle_, but an _obstacle_ may not always
be properly termed an _obstruction_; boxes and bales placed on the
sidewalk are _obstructions_ to travel; an ice-floe is an _obstacle_ to
navigation, and may become an _obstruction_ if it closes an inlet or
channel. A _hindrance_ (kindred with _hind_, _behind_) is anything that
makes one come behind or short of his purpose. An _impediment_ may be
either what one finds in his way or what he carries with him;
_impedimenta_ was the Latin name for the baggage of a soldier or of an
army. The tendency is to view an _impediment_ as something constant or,
at least for a time, continuous; as, an _impediment_ in one's speech. A
_difficulty_ or a _hindrance_ may be either within one or without; a
speaker may find _difficulty_ in expressing himself, or _difficulty_ in
holding the attention of restless children. An _encumbrance_ is always
what one carries with him; an _obstacle_ or an _obstruction_ is always
without. To a marching soldier the steepness of a mountain path is a
_difficulty_, loose stones are _impediments_, a fence is an
_obstruction_, a cliff or a boulder across the way is an _obstacle_; a
knapsack is an _encumbrance_.
advantage, aid, assistance, benefit, help, relief, succor.
* * * * *
assurance, impertinence, intrusiveness, presumption,
boldness, incivility, officiousness, rudeness,
effrontery, insolence, pertness, sauciness.
_Impertinence_ primarily denotes what does not pertain or belong to the
occasion or the person, and hence comes to signify interference by word
or act not consistent with the age, position, or relation of the person
interfered with or of the one who interferes; especially, forward,
presumptuous, or meddlesome speech. _Impudence_ is shameless
_impertinence_. What would be arrogance in a superior becomes
_impertinence_ or _impudence_ in an inferior. _Impertinence_ has less of
intent and determination than _impudence_. We speak of thoughtless
_impertinence_, shameless _impudence_. _Insolence_ is literally that
which is against custom, _i. e._, the violation of customary respect and
courtesy. _Officiousness_ is thrusting upon others unasked and undesired
service, and is often as well-meant as it is annoying. _Rudeness_ is the
behavior that might be expected from a thoroughly uncultured person, and
may be either deliberate and insulting or unintentional and even
bashfulness, diffidence, lowliness, modesty,
coyness, humility, meekness, submissiveness.
The impudence _of_, or impudence _from_, a subordinate _to_ a superior.
* * * * *
absurd, ill-matched, inharmonious,
conflicting, inapposite, irreconcilable,
contradictory, inappropriate, mismatched,
contrary, incommensurable, mismated,
discordant, incompatible, repugnant,
discrepant, inconsistent, unsuitable.
Two or more things that do not fit well together, or are not adapted to
each other, are said to be _incongruous_; a thing is said to be
_incongruous_ that is not adapted to the time, place, or occasion; the
term is also applied to a thing made up of ill-assorted parts or
_inharmonious_ elements. _Discordant_ is applied to all things that jar
in association like musical notes that are not in accord; _inharmonious_
has the same original sense, but is a milder term. _Incompatible_
primarily signifies unable to sympathize or feel alike; _inconsistent_
means unable to stand together. Things are _incompatible_ which can not
exist together in harmonious relations, and whose action when associated
tends to ultimate extinction of one by the other. _Inconsistent_ applies
to things that can not be made to agree in thought with each other, or
with some standard of truth or right; slavery and freedom are
_inconsistent_ with each other in theory, and _incompatible_ in fact.
_Incongruous_ applies to relations, _unsuitable_ to purpose or use; two
colors are _incongruous_ which can not be agreeably associated; either
may be _unsuitable_ for a person, a room, or an occasion.
_Incommensurable_ is a mathematical term, applying to two or more
quantities that have no common measure or aliquot part.
accordant, agreeing, compatible, consistent, harmonious, suitable.
The illustrations were incongruous _with_ the theme.
* * * * *
deduction, inference.
_Deduction_ is reasoning from the general to the particular; _induction_
is reasoning from the particular to the general. _Deduction_ proceeds
from a general principle through an admitted instance to a conclusion.
_Induction_, on the other hand, proceeds from a number of collated
instances, through some attribute common to them all, to a general
principle. The proof of an _induction_ is by using its conclusion as the
premise of a new _deduction_. Thus what is ordinarily known as
scientific _induction_ is a constant interchange of _induction_ and
_deduction_. In _deduction_, if the general rule is true, and the
special case falls under the rule, the conclusion is certain;
_induction_ can ordinarily give no more than a probable conclusion,
because we can never be sure that we have collated all instances. An
_induction_ is of the nature of an _inference_, but while an _inference_
may be partial and hasty, an _induction_ is careful, and aims to be
* * * * *
active, busy, employed, occupied,
assiduous, diligent, engaged, sedulous.
_Industrious_ signifies zealously or habitually applying oneself to any
work or business. _Busy_ applies to an activity which may be temporary,
_industrious_ to a habit of life. We say a man is _busy_ just now; that
is, _occupied_ at the moment with something that takes his full
attention. It would be ridiculous or satirical to say, he is
_industrious_ just now. But _busy_ can be used in the sense of
_industrious_, as when we say he is a _busy_ man. _Diligent_ indicates
also a disposition, which is ordinarily habitual, and suggests more of
heartiness and volition than _industrious_. We say one is a _diligent_,
rather than an _industrious_, reader of the Bible. In the use of the
nouns, we speak of plodding _industry_, but not of plodding _diligence_.
See synonyms for IDLE.
* * * * *
application, diligence, labor, persistence,
assiduity, effort, pains, sedulousness.
attention, exertion, patience,
constancy, intentness, perseverance,
_Industry_ is the quality, action, or habit of earnest, steady, and
continued attention or devotion to any useful or productive work or
task, manual or mental. _Assiduity_ (L. _ad_, to, and _sedeo_, sit), as
the etymology suggests, sits down to a task until it is done.
_Diligence_ (L. _diligo_, love, choose) invests more effort and
exertion, with love of the work or deep interest in its accomplishment;
_application_ (L. _ad_, to, and _plico_, fold) bends to its work and
concentrates all one's powers upon it with utmost intensity; hence,
_application_ can hardly be as unremitting as _assiduity_. _Constancy_
is a steady devotion of heart and principle. _Patience_ works on in
spite of annoyances; _perseverance_ overcomes hindrances and
difficulties; _persistence_ strives relentlessly against opposition;
_persistence_ has very frequently an unfavorable meaning, implying that
one persists in spite of considerations that should induce him to
desist. _Industry_ is _diligence_ applied to some avocation, business,
or profession. _Labor_ and _pains_ refer to the _exertions_ of the
worker and the tax upon him, while _assiduity_, _perseverance_, etc.,
refer to his continuance in the work.
changeableness, idleness, inconstancy, neglect, remissness,
fickleness, inattention, indolence, negligence, sloth.
* * * * *
absolute, illimitable, limitless, unconditioned,
boundless, immeasurable, measureless, unfathomable,
countless, innumerable, numberless, unlimited,
eternal, interminable, unbounded, unmeasured.
_Infinite_ (L. _in_, not, and _finis_, limit) signifies without bounds
or limits in any way, and may be applied to space, time, quantity, or
number. _Countless_, _innumerable_, and _numberless_, which should be
the same as _infinite_, are in common usage vaguely employed to denote
what it is difficult or practically impossible to count or number, tho
perhaps falling far short of _infinite_; as, _countless_ leaves, the
_countless_ sands on the seashore, _numberless_ battles, _innumerable_
delays. So, too, _boundless_, _illimitable_, _limitless_, _measureless_,
and _unlimited_ are loosely used in reference to what has no apparent or
readily determinable limits in space or time; as, we speak of the
_boundless_ ocean. _Infinite_ space is without bounds, not only in fact,
but in thought; _infinite_ time is truly _eternal_. Compare synonyms for
bounded, finite, measurable, restricted, small,
brief, limited, moderate, shallow, transient,
circumscribed, little, narrow, short, transitory.
* * * * *
actuate, draw, impel, induce, move, stir,
compel, drive, incite, instigate, persuade, sway,
dispose, excite, incline, lead, prompt, urge.
To _influence_ (L. _in_, in or into, and _fluo_, flow) is to affect,
modify, or act upon by physical, mental, or moral power, especially in
some gentle, subtle, and gradual way; as, vegetation is _influenced_ by
light; every one is _influenced_ to some extent by public opinion;
_influence_ is chiefly used of power acting from without, tho it may be
used of motives regarded as forces acting upon the will. _Actuate_
refers solely to mental or moral power _impelling_ one from within. One
may _influence_, but can not directly _actuate_ another; but one may be
_actuated_ to cruelty by hatred which another's misrepresentation has
aroused. _Prompt_ and _stir_ are words of mere suggestion toward some
course of action; _dispose_, _draw_, _incline_, _influence_, and _lead_
refer to the use of mild means to awaken in another a purpose or
disposition to act. To _excite_ is to arouse one from lethargy or
indifference to action. _Incite_ and _instigate_, to spur or goad one to
action, differ in the fact that _incite_ may be to good, while
_instigate_ is always to evil (compare ABET). To _urge_ and _impel_
signify to produce strong excitation toward some act. We are _urged_
from without, _impelled_ from within. _Drive_ and _compel_ imply
irresistible influence accomplishing its object. One may be _driven_
either by his own passions or by external force or urgency; one is
_compelled_ only by some external power; as, the owner was _compelled_
by his misfortunes to sell his estate. Compare COMPEL; DRIVE.
deter, dissuade, impede, prevent, restrain, retard.
discourage, hinder, inhibit,
Actuated _to_ crime _by_ revenge.
* * * * *
congenital, indispensable, innate, native,
essential, indwelling, inseparable, natural,
immanent, infixed, internal, subjective.
inborn, ingrained, intrinsic,
inbred, inhering, inwrought,
_Inherent_ signifies permanently united as an element or original
quality, naturally existent or incorporated in something so as to have
become an integral part. _Immanent_ is a philosophic word, to denote
that which dwells in or pervades any substance or spirit without
necessarily being a part of it, and without reference to any working out
(compare SUBJECTIVE). That which is _inherent_ is an _inseparable_ part
of that in which it inheres, and is usually thought of with reference to
some outworking or effect; as, an _inherent_ difficulty. God is said to
be _immanent_ (not _inherent_) in the universe. Frequently _intrinsic_
and _inherent_ can be interchanged, but _inherent_ applies to qualities,
while _intrinsic_ applies to essence, so that to speak of _intrinsic_
excellence conveys higher praise than if we say _inherent_ excellence.
_Inherent_ and _intrinsic_ may be said of persons or things;
_congenital_, _inborn_, _inbred_, _innate_, apply to living beings.
_Congenital_ is frequent in medical and legal use with special
application to defects; as, _congenital_ idiocy. _Innate_ and _inborn_
are almost identical, but _innate_ is preferred in philosophic use, as
when we speak of _innate_ ideas; that which is _inborn_, _congenital_,
or _innate_ may be original with the individual, but that which is
_inbred_ is inherited. _Ingrained_ signifies dyed in the grain, and
denotes that which is deeply wrought into substance or character.
accidental, extrinsic, outward, superficial, supplemental,
casual, fortuitous, subsidiary, superfluous, transient,
external, incidental, superadded, superimposed, unconnected.
* * * * *
blemish, disadvantage, hurt, loss, prejudice,
damage, evil, impairment, mischief, wrong.
detriment, harm, injustice, outrage,
_Injury_ (L. _in_, not, and _jus, juris_, right, law) signifies
primarily something done contrary to law or right; hence, something
contrary to some standard of right or good; whatever reduces the value,
utility, beauty, or desirableness of anything is an _injury_ to that
thing; of persons, whatever is so done as to operate adversely to one in
his person, rights, property, or reputation is an _injury_; the word is
especially used of whatever mars the integrity of the body or causes
pain; as, when rescued from the wreck his _injuries_ were found to be
very slight. _Injury_ is the general term including all the rest.
_Damage_ (L. _damnum_, loss) is that which occasions _loss_ to the
possessor; hence, any impairment of value, often with the suggestion of
fault on the part of the one causing it; _damage_ reduces value,
utility, or beauty; _detriment_ (L. _deterere_, to rub or wear away) is
similar in meaning, but far milder. _Detriment_ may affect value only;
_damage_ always affects real worth or utility; as a rule, the slightest
use of an article by a purchaser operates to its _detriment_ if again
offered for sale, tho the article may have received not the slightest
_damage_. _Damage_ is partial; _loss_ is properly absolute as far as it
is predicated at all; the _loss_ of a ship implies that it is gone
beyond recovery; the _loss_ of the rudder is a _damage_ to the ship; but
since the _loss_ of a part still leaves a part, we may speak of a
partial or a total _loss_. _Evil_ commonly suggests suffering or sin, or
both; as, the _evils_ of poverty, the social _evil_. _Harm_ is closely
synonymous with _injury_; it may apply to body, mind, or estate, but
always affects real worth, while _injury_ may concern only estimated
value. A _hurt_ is an _injury_ that causes pain, physical or mental; a
slight _hurt_ may be no real _harm_. _Mischief_ is disarrangement,
trouble, or _harm_ usually caused by some voluntary agent, with or
without injurious intent; a child's thoughtless sport may do great
_mischief_; _wrong_ is _harm_ done with _evil_ intent. An _outrage_
combines insult and _injury_. Compare synonyms for BLEMISH; CRIMINAL;
advantage, benefit, boon, improvement, service,
amelioration, blessing, help, remedy, utility.
The injury _of_ the cause; an injury _to_ the structure; injury _by_
fire; _by_ or _from_ collision, interference, etc.
* * * * *
grievance, injury, unfairness, unrighteousness, wrong.
_Injustice_ is a violation or denial of justice, an act or omission that
is contrary to equity or justice; as, the _injustice_ of unequal taxes.
In legal usage a _wrong_ involves _injury_ to person, property, or
reputation, as the result of evil intent; _injustice_ applies to civil
damage or loss, not necessarily involving _injury_ to person or
property, as by misrepresentation of goods which does not amount to a
legal warranty. In popular usage, _injustice_ may involve no direct
_injury_ to person, property, interest, or character, and no harmful
intent, while _wrong_ always involves both; one who attributes another's
truly generous act to a selfish motive does him an _injustice_.
_Iniquity_, in the original sense, is a want of or a deviation from
equity; but it is now applied in the widest sense to any form of
ill-doing. Compare synonyms for CRIMINAL; SIN.
equity, faithfulness, impartiality, lawfulness, righteousness,
fairness, honesty, integrity, rectitude, uprightness.
fair play, honor, justice, right,
* * * * *
blameless, guiltless, inoffensive, spotless,
clean, harmless, pure, stainless,
clear, immaculate, right, upright,
faultless, innocuous, righteous, virtuous.
guileless, innoxious, sinless,
_Innocent_, in the full sense, signifies not tainted with sin; not
having done wrong or violated legal or moral precept or duty; as, an
_innocent_ babe. _Innocent_ is a negative word, expressing less than
_righteous_, _upright_, or _virtuous_, which imply knowledge of good and
evil, with free choice of the good. A little child or a lamb is
_innocent_; a tried and faithful man is _righteous_, _upright_,
_virtuous_. _Immaculate_, _pure_, and _sinless_ may be used either of
one who has never known the possibility of evil or of one who has
perfectly and triumphantly resisted it. _Innocent_ is used of inanimate
substances in the sense of _harmless_; as, an _innocent_ remedy, that
is, one not dangerous, even if not helpful. _Innocent_, in a specific
case, signifies free from the guilt of a particular act, even tho the
total character may be very evil; as, the thief was found to be
_innocent_ of the murder. See CANDID; PURE.
Compare synonyms for CRIMINAL.
* * * * *
curious, meddlesome, peeping, scrutinizing,
inquiring, meddling, prying, searching.
An _inquisitive_ person is one who is bent on finding out all that can
be found out by inquiry, especially of little and personal matters, and
hence is generally _meddlesome_ and _prying_. _Inquisitive_ may be used
in a good sense, tho in such connection _inquiring_ is to be preferred;
as, an _inquiring_ mind. As applied to a state of mind, _curious_
denotes a keen and rather pleasurable desire to know fully something to
which one's attention has been called, but without the active tendency
that _inquisitive_ implies; a well-bred person may be _curious_ to know,
but will not be _inquisitive_ in trying to ascertain, what is of
interest in the affairs of another.
apathetic, heedless, indifferent, unconcerned, uninterested.
careless, inattentive,
Inquisitive _about_, _concerning_, _in regard to_, _regarding_ trifles.
* * * * *
aberration, delirium, frenzy, madness,
alienation, dementia, hallucination, mania,
craziness, derangement, lunacy, monomania.
Of these terms _insanity_ is the most exact and comprehensive, including
in its widest sense all morbid conditions of mind due to diseased action
of the brain or nervous system, but in its more frequent restricted use
applied to those forms in which the mental disorder is persistent, as
distinguished from those in which it is temporary or transient.
_Craziness_ is a vague popular term for any sort of disordered mental
action, or for conduct suggesting it. _Lunacy_ originally denoted
intermittent _insanity_, supposed to be dependent on the changes of the
moon (L. _luna_): the term is now applied in general and legal use to
any form of mental unsoundness except idiocy. _Madness_ is the old
popular term, now less common, for _insanity_ in its widest sense, but
with suggestion of excitement, akin to _mania_. In the derived sense,
_lunacy_ denotes what is insanely foolish, _madness_ what is insanely
desperate. _Derangement_ is a common euphemism for _insanity_.
_Delirium_ is always temporary, and is specifically the _insanity_ of
disease, as in acute fevers. _Dementia_ is a general weakening of the
mental powers: the word is specifically applied to senile _insanity_,
dotage. _Aberration_ is eccentricity of mental action due to an abnormal
state of the perceptive faculties, and is manifested by error in
perceptions and rambling thought. _Hallucination_ is the apparent
perception of that which does not exist or is not present to the senses,
as the seeing of specters or of reptiles in delirium tremens.
_Monomania_ is mental _derangement_ as to one subject or object.
_Frenzy_ and _mania_ are forms of raving and furious _insanity_. Compare
synonyms for DELUSION; IDIOCY.
clearness, good sense, lucidity, rationality, sanity.
* * * * *
arbitrate, intercept, intermeddle, meddle,
intercede, interfere, interrupt, mediate.
To _interpose_ is to place or come between other things or persons,
usually as a means of obstruction or prevention of some effect or result
that would otherwise occur, or be expected to take place. _Intercede_
and _interpose_ are used in a good sense; _intermeddle_ always in a bad
sense, and _interfere_ frequently so. To _intercede_ is to come between
persons who are at variance, and plead with the stronger in behalf of
the weaker. One may _interpose_ with authority; he _intercedes_ by
petition. To _intermeddle_ is to thrust oneself into the concerns of
others with a petty officiousness; _meddling_ commonly arises from idle
curiosity; "every fool will be _meddling_," _Prov._ xx, 3; to
_interfere_ is to intrude into others' affairs with more serious
purpose, with or without acknowledged right or propriety. _Intercept_ is
applied to an object that may be seized or stopped while in transit; as,
to _intercept_ a letter or a messenger; _interrupt_ is applied to an
action which might or should be continuous, but is broken in upon (L.
_rumpere_, to break) by some disturbing power; as, the conversation was
_interrupted_. One who _arbitrates_ or _mediates_ must do so by the
request or at least with the consent of the contending parties; the
other words of the group imply that he steps in of his own accord.
avoid, keep aloof, keep out, retire, stand back,
hold aloof, keep away, let alone, stand aside, stand off,
hold off, keep clear, let be, stand away, withdraw.
Interpose _between_ the combatants; _in_ the matter.
* * * * *
complicate, embroil, implicate, include,
embarrass, entangle, imply, overwhelm.
To _involve_ (L. _in_, in, and _volvo_, roll) is to roll or wind up with
or in so as to combine inextricably or inseparably, or nearly so; as,
the nation is _involved_ in war; the bookkeeper's accounts, or the
writer's sentences are _involved_. _Involve_ is a stronger word than
_implicate_, denoting more complete entanglement. As applied to persons,
_implicate_ is always used in an unfavorable sense, and _involve_
ordinarily so; but _implicate_ applies only to that which is wrong,
while _involve_ is more commonly used of that which is unfortunate; one
is _implicated_ in a crime, _involved_ in embarrassments, misfortunes,
or perplexities. As regards logical connection that which is _included_
is usually expressly stated; that which is _implied_ is not stated, but
is naturally to be inferred; that which is _involved_ is necessarily to
be inferred; as, a slate roof is _included_ in the contract; that the
roof shall be water-tight is _implied_; the contrary supposition
_involves_ an absurdity. See COMPLEX.
disconnect, distinguish, explicate, extricate, remove, separate.
* * * * *
excursion, pilgrimage, transit, trip,
expedition, tour, travel, voyage.
A _journey_ (F. _journee_, from L. _diurnus_, daily) was primarily a
day's work; hence, a movement from place to place within one day, which
we now describe as "a day's _journey_;" in its extended modern use a
_journey_ is a direct going from a starting-point to a destination,
ordinarily over a considerable distance; we speak of a day's _journey_,
or the _journey_ of life. _Travel_ is a passing from place to place, not
necessarily in a direct line or with fixed destination; a _journey_
through Europe would be a passage to some destination beyond or at the
farther boundary; _travel_ in Europe may be in no direct course, but may
include many _journeys_ in different directions. A _voyage_, which was
formerly a _journey_ of any kind, is now a going to a considerable
distance by water, especially by sea; as, a _voyage_ to India. A _trip_
is a short and direct _journey_. A _tour_ is a _journey_ that returns to
the starting-point, generally over a considerable distance; as, a
bridal _tour_, or business _tour_. An _excursion_ is a brief _tour_ or
_journey_, taken for pleasure, often by many persons at once; as, an
_excursion_ to Chautauqua. _Passage_ is a general word for a _journey_
by any conveyance, especially by water; as, a rough _passage_ across the
Atlantic; _transit_, literally the act of passing over or through, is
used specifically of the conveyance of passengers or merchandise; rapid
_transit_ is demanded for suburban residents or perishable goods.
_Pilgrimage_, once always of a sacred character, retains in derived uses
something of that sense; as, a _pilgrimage_ to Stratford-on-Avon.
A journey _from_ Naples _to_ Rome; _through_ Mexico; _across_ the
continent; _over_ the sea; a journey _into_ Asia; _among_ savages; _by_
land, _by_ rail, _for_ health, _on_ foot, _on_ the cars, etc.
* * * * *
arbiter, arbitrator, justice, referee, umpire.
A _judge_, in the legal sense, is a judicial officer appointed or
elected to preside in courts of law, and to decide legal questions duly
brought before him; the name is sometimes given to other legally
constituted officers; as, the _judges_ of election; in other relations,
any person duly appointed to pass upon the merits of contestants or of
competing articles may be called a _judge_; as, the _judges_ at an
agricultural fair, or at a race-track; in the widest sense, any person
who has good capacity for judging is called a _judge_; as, a person is
said to be a _judge_ of pictures, or a good _judge_ of a horse, etc. In
most games the _judge_ is called an _umpire_; as, the _umpire_ of a game
of ball or cricket. A _referee_ is appointed by a court to decide
disputed matters between litigants; an _arbitrator_ is chosen by the
contending parties to decide matters in dispute without action by a
court. In certain cases an _umpire_ is appointed by a court to decide
where _arbitrators_ disagree. _Arbiter_, with its suggestion of final
and absolute decision, has come to be used only in a high or sacred
sense; as, war must now be the _arbiter_; the Supreme _Arbiter_ of our
destinies. The _judges_ of certain courts, as the United States Supreme
Court, are technically known as _justices_.
* * * * *
equity, impartiality, legality, rightfulness,
fairness, integrity, rectitude, truth,
fair play, justness, right, uprightness,
faithfulness, law, righteousness, virtue.
honor, lawfulness,
In its governmental relations, human or divine, _justice_ is the giving
to every person exactly what he deserves, not necessarily involving any
consideration of what any other may deserve; _equity_ (the quality of
being equal) is giving every one as much advantage, privilege, or
consideration as is given to any other; it is that which is equally
right or just to all concerned; _equity_ is equal _justice_ and is thus
a close synonym for _fairness_ and _impartiality_, but it has a
philosophical and legal precision that those words have not. In legal
proceedings cases arise for which the _law_ has not adequately provided,
or in which general provisions, just in the main, would work individual
hardship. The system of _equity_, devised to supply the insufficiencies
of _law_, deals with cases "to which the _law_ by reason of its
universality can not apply." "_Equity_, then, ... is the soul and spirit
of all _law_; positive _law_ is construed and rational _law_ is made by
it." BLACKSTONE bk. iii, ch. 27, p. 429. In personal and social
relations _justice_ is the rendering to every one what is due or
merited, whether in act, word, or thought; in matters of reasoning, or
literary work of any kind, _justice_ is close, faithful, unprejudiced,
and unbiased adherence to essential truth or fact; we speak of the
_justice_ of a statement, or of doing _justice_ to a subject.
_Integrity_, _rectitude_, _right_, _righteousness_ and _virtue_ denote
conformity of personal conduct to the moral law, and thus necessarily
include _justice_, which is giving others that which is their due.
_Lawfulness_ is an ambiguous word, meaning in its narrower sense mere
_legality_, which may be very far from _justice_, but in its higher
sense signifying accordance with the supreme _law_ of _right_, and thus
including perfect _justice_. _Justness_ refers rather to logical
relations than to practical matters; as, we speak of the _justness_ of a
statement or of a criticism. See JUDGE, _n._
dishonesty, inequity, partiality, unlawfulness, untruth,
favoritism, injustice, unfairness, unreasonableness, wrong.
The justice _of_ the king; _to_ or _for_ the oppressed.
* * * * *
carry, defend, hold, preserve, retain,
carry on, detain, maintain, protect, support,
celebrate, fulfil, obey, refrain, sustain,
conduct, guard, observe, restrain, withhold.
_Keep_, signifying generally to have and retain in possession, is the
terse, strong Saxon term for many acts which are more exactly
discriminated by other words. We _keep_, _observe_, or _celebrate_ a
festival; we _keep_ or _hold_ a prisoner in custody; we _keep_ or
_preserve_ silence, _keep_ the peace, _preserve_ order--_preserve_ being
the more formal word; we _keep_ or _maintain_ a horse, a servant, etc.;
a man _supports_ his family; we _keep_ or _obey_ a commandment; _keep_
or _fulfil_ a promise. In the expressions to _keep_ a secret, _keep_
one's own counsel, _keep_ faith, or _keep_ the faith, such words as
_preserve_ or _maintain_ could not be substituted without loss. A person
_keeps_ a shop or store, _conducts_ or _carries on_ a business; he
_keeps_ or _carries_ a certain line of goods; we may _keep_ or
_restrain_ one from folly, crime, or violence; we _keep_ from or
_refrain_ from evil, ourselves. _Keep_ in the sense of _guard_ or
_defend_ implies that the defense is effectual. Compare CELEBRATE;
Keep _in_ hand, _in_ mind, _in_ or _within_ the house; _from_ evil; _out
of_ mischief; keep _to_ the subject; keep _for_ a person, an occasion,
* * * * *
assassinate, despatch, massacre, put to death, slay.
butcher, execute, murder, slaughter,
To _kill_ is simply to deprive of life, human, animal, or vegetable,
with no suggestion of how or why. _Assassinate_, _execute_, _murder_,
apply only to the taking of human life; to _murder_ is to _kill_ with
premeditation and malicious intent; to _execute_ is to _kill_ in
fulfilment of a legal sentence; to _assassinate_ is to _kill_ by
assault; this word is chiefly applied to the _killing_ of public or
eminent persons through alleged political motives, whether secretly or
openly. To _slay_ is to _kill_ by a blow, or by a weapon. _Butcher_ and
_slaughter_ apply primarily to the _killing_ of cattle; _massacre_ is
applied primarily and almost exclusively to human beings, signifying to
_kill_ them indiscriminately in large numbers; to _massacre_ is said
when there is no chance of successful resistance; to _butcher_ when the
_killing_ is especially brutal; soldiers mown down in a hopeless charge
are said to be _slaughtered_ when no brutality on the enemy's part is
implied. To _despatch_ is to _kill_ swiftly and in general quietly,
always with intention, with or without right.
To kill _with_ or _by_ sword, famine, pestilence, care, grief, etc.;
killed _for_ his money, _by_ a robber, _with_ a dagger.
* * * * *
affinity, blood, descent, kind, race,
alliance, consanguinity, family, kindred, relationship.
_Kind_ is broader than _kin_, denoting the most general _relationship_,
as of the whole human species in man_kind_, human_kind_, etc.; _kin_ and
_kindred_ denote direct _relationship_ that can be traced through either
blood or marriage, preferably the former; either of these words may
signify collectively all persons of the same blood or members of the
same family, relatives or relations. _Affinity_ is _relationship_ by
marriage, _consanguinity_ is _relationship_ by blood. There are no true
antonyms of _kin_ or _kindred_, except those made by negatives, since
strangers, aliens, foreigners, and foes may still be _kin_ or _kindred_.
* * * * *
acquaintance, erudition, learning, recognition,
apprehension, experience, light, scholarship,
cognition, information, lore, science,
cognizance, intelligence, perception, wisdom.
comprehension, intuition,
_Knowledge_ is all that the mind knows, from whatever source derived or
obtained, or by whatever process; the aggregate of facts, truths, or
principles acquired or retained by the mind, including alike the
_intuitions_ native to the mind and all that has been learned respecting
phenomena, causes, laws, principles, literature, etc. There is a
tendency to regard _knowledge_ as accurate and systematic, and to a
certain degree complete. _Information_ is _knowledge_ of fact, real or
supposed, derived from persons, books, or observation, and is regarded
as casual and haphazard. We say of a studious man that he has a great
store of _knowledge_, or of an intelligent man of the world, that he has
a fund of varied _information_. _Lore_ is used only in poetic or
elevated style, for accumulated _knowledge_, as of a people or age, or
in a more limited sense for _learning_ or _erudition_. We speak of
_perception_ of external objects, _apprehension_ of intellectual truth.
Simple _perception_ gives a limited _knowledge_ of external objects,
merely as such; the _cognition_ of the same objects is a _knowledge_ of
them in some relation; _cognizance_ is the formal or official
_recognition_ of something as an object of _knowledge_; we take
_cognizance_ of it. _Intuition_ is primary _knowledge_ antecedent to all
teaching or reasoning, _experience_ is _knowledge_ that has entered
directly into one's own life; as, a child's _experience_ that fire will
burn. _Learning_ is much higher than _information_, being preeminently
wide and systematic _knowledge_, the result of long, assiduous study;
_erudition_ is recondite _learning_ secured only by extraordinary
industry, opportunity, and ability. Compare ACQUAINTANCE; EDUCATION;
ignorance, inexperience, misconception, rudeness,
illiteracy, misapprehension, misunderstanding, unfamiliarity.
* * * * *
barbarism, expression, patois, vernacular,
dialect, idiom, speech, vocabulary.
diction, mother tongue, tongue,
_Language_ (F. _langage_ < L. _lingua_, the tongue) signified originally
_expression_ of thought by spoken words, but now in its widest sense it
signifies _expression_ of thought by any means; as, the _language_ of
the eyes, the _language_ of flowers. As regards the use of words,
_language_ in its broadest sense denotes all the uttered sounds and
their combinations into words and sentences that human beings employ for
the communication of thought, and, in a more limited sense, the words or
combinations forming a means of communication among the members of a
single nation, people, or race. _Speech_ involves always the power of
articulate utterance; we can speak of the _language_ of animals, but not
of their _speech_. A _tongue_ is the _speech_ or _language_ of some one
people, country, or race. A _dialect_ is a special mode of speaking a
_language_ peculiar to some locality or class, not recognized as in
accordance with the best usage; a _barbarism_ is a perversion of a
_language_ by ignorant foreigners, or some usage akin to that. _Idiom_
refers to the construction of phrases and sentences, and the way of
forming or using words; it is the peculiar mold in which each _language_
casts its thought. The great difficulty of translation is to give the
thought expressed in one _language_ in the _idiom_ of another. A
_dialect_ may be used by the highest as well as the lowest within its
range; a _patois_ is distinctly illiterate, belonging to the lower
classes; those who speak a _patois_ understand the cultured form of
their own language, but speak only the degraded form, as in the case of
the Italian lazzaroni or the former negro slaves in the United States.
_Vernacular_, from the Latin, has the same general sense as the Saxon
_mother tongue_, of one's native _language_, or that of a people; as,
the Scriptures were translated into the _vernacular_. Compare DICTION.
* * * * *
abundant, coarse, gigantic, long,
ample, colossal, grand, massive,
big, commodious, great, spacious,
broad, considerable, huge, vast,
bulky, enormous, immense, wide.
capacious, extensive,
_Large_ denotes extension in more than one direction, and beyond the
average of the class to which the object belongs; we speak of a _large_
surface or a _large_ solid, but of a _long_ line; a _large_ field, a
_large_ room, a _large_ apple, etc. A _large_ man is a man of more than
ordinary size; a _great_ man is a man of remarkable mental power. _Big_
is a more emphatic word than _large_, but of less dignity. We do not say
that George Washington was a _big_ man.
brief, limited, minute, scanty, small,
diminutive, little, narrow, short, tiny,
inconsiderable, mean, paltry, slender, trifling,
infinitesimal, microscopic, petty, slight, trivial.
* * * * *
canon, economy, legislation, principle,
code, edict, mandate, regulation,
command, enactment, order, rule,
commandment, formula, ordinance, statute.
decree, jurisprudence, polity,
_Law_, in its ideal, is the statement of a _principle_ of right in
mandatory form, by competent authority, with adequate penalty for
disobedience; in common use, the term is applied to any legislative act,
however imperfect or unjust. _Command_ and _commandment_ are personal
and particular; as, the _commands_ of a parent; the ten _commandments_.
An _edict_ is the act of an absolute sovereign or other authority; we
speak of the _edict_ of an emperor, the _decree_ of a court. A _mandate_
is specific, for an occasion or a purpose; a superior court issues its
_mandate_ to an inferior court to send up its records. _Statute_ is the
recognized legal term for a specific _law_; _enactment_ is the more
vague and general expression. We speak of algebraic or chemical
_formulas_, municipal _ordinances_, military _orders_, army
_regulations_, ecclesiastical _canons_, the _rules_ of a business house.
_Law_ is often used, also, for a recognized _principle_, whose violation
is attended with injury or loss that acts like a penalty; as, the _laws_
of business; the _laws_ of nature. In more strictly scientific use, a
natural _law_ is simply a recognized system of sequences or relations;
as, Kepler's _laws_ of planetary distances. A _code_ is a system of
_laws_; _jurisprudence_ is the science of _law_, or a system of _laws_
scientifically considered, classed, and interpreted; _legislation_,
primarily the act of legislating, denotes also the body of _statutes_
enacted by a legislative body. An _economy_ (Gr. _oikonomia_, primarily
the management of a house) is any comprehensive system of
administration; as, domestic _economy_; but the word is extended to the
administration or government of a state or people, signifying a body of
_laws_ and _regulations_, with the entire system, political or
religious, especially the latter, of which they form a part; as, the
_code_ of Draco, Roman _jurisprudence_, British _legislation_, the
Mosaic _economy_. _Law_ is also used as a collective noun for a system
of _laws_ or recognized _rules_ or _regulations_, including not only all
special _laws_, but the _principles_ on which they are based. The Mosaic
_economy_ is known also as the Mosaic _law_, and we speak of the English
common _law_, or the _law_ of nations. _Polity_ (Gr. _politeia_, from
_polis_, a city) signifies the form, constitution, or method of
government of a nation, state, church, or other institution; in usage it
differs from _economy_ as applying rather to the system, while _economy_
applies especially to method, or to the system as administered; an
_economy_ might be termed a _polity_ considered with especial reference
to its practical administration, hence commonly with special reference
to details or particulars, while _polity_ has more reference to broad
* * * * *
emancipation, freedom, independence, license.
In general terms, it may be said that _freedom_ is absolute, _liberty_
relative; _freedom_ is the absence of restraint, _liberty_ is primarily
the removal or avoidance of restraint; in its broadest sense, it is the
state of being exempt from the domination of others or from restricting
circumstances. _Freedom_ and _liberty_ are constantly interchanged; the
slave is set at _liberty_, or gains his _freedom_; but _freedom_ is the
nobler word. _Independence_ is said of states or nations, _freedom_ and
_liberty_ of individuals; the _independence_ of the United States did
not secure _liberty_ or _freedom_ to its slaves. _Liberty_ keeps quite
strictly to the thought of being clear of restraint or compulsion;
_freedom_ takes a wider range, applying to other oppressive influences;
thus, we speak of _freedom_ from annoyance or intrusion. _License_ is,
in its limited sense, a permission or privilege granted by adequate
authority, a bounded _liberty_; in the wider sense, _license_ is an
ignoring and defiance of all that should restrain, and a reckless doing
of all that individual caprice or passion may choose to do--a base and
dangerous counterfeit of _freedom_. Compare ALLOW; PERMISSION.
captivity, imprisonment, oppression, slavery,
compulsion, necessity, serfdom, superstition,
constraint, obligation, servitude, thraldom.
* * * * *
blaze, gleam, glow, shimmer,
flame, gleaming, illumination, shine,
flare, glimmer, incandescence, shining,
flash, glistening, luster, sparkle,
flicker, glistering, scintillation, twinkle,
glare, glitter, sheen, twinkling.
_Light_, strictly denoting a form of radiant energy, is used as a
general term for any luminous effect discernible by the eye, from the
faintest phosphorescence to the _blaze_ of the noonday sun. A _flame_ is
both hot and luminous; if it contains few solid particles it will yield
little _light_, tho it may afford intense heat, as in the case of a
hydrogen-_flame_. A _blaze_ is an extensive, brilliant _flame_. A
_flare_ is a wavering _flame_ or _blaze_; a _flash_ is a _light_ that
appears and disappears in an instant; as, a _flash_ of lightning; the
_flash_ of gunpowder. The _glare_ and _glow_ are steady, the _glare_
painfully bright, the _glow_ subdued; as, the _glare_ of torches; the
_glow_ of dying embers. _Shine_ and _shining_ refer to a steady or
continuous emission of _light_; _sheen_ is a faint _shining_, usually by
reflection. _Glimmer_, _glitter_, and _shimmer_ denote wavering _light_.
We speak of the _glimmer_ of distant lamps through the mist; of the
_shimmer_ of waves in sun_light_ or moon_light_. A _gleam_ is not
wavering, but transient or intermittent; a sudden _gleam_ of _light_
came through the half-open door; a _glitter_ is a hard _light_; as, the
_glitter_ of burnished arms. A _sparkle_ is a sudden _light_, as of
sparks thrown out; _scintillation_ is the more exact and scientific term
for the actual emission of sparks, also the figurative term for what
suggests such emission; as, _scintillations_ of wit or of genius.
_Twinkle_ and _twinkling_ are used of the intermittent _light_ of the
fixed stars. _Glistening_ is a _shining_ as from a wet surface.
_Illumination_ is a wide-spread, brilliant _light_, as when all the
windows of a house or of a street are lighted. The _light_ of
_incandescence_ is intense and white like that from metal at a white
blackness, darkness, dusk, gloominess, shade,
dark, dimness, gloom, obscurity, shadow.
* * * * *
apt, conceivable, liable, probable,
credible, conjectural, presumable, reasonable.
_Apt_ implies a natural fitness or tendency; an impetuous person is
_apt_ to speak hastily. _Liable_ refers to a contingency regarded as
unfavorable; as, the ship was _liable_ to founder at any moment.
_Likely_ refers to a contingent event regarded as very probable, and
usually, tho not always, favorable; as, an industrious worker is
_likely_ to succeed. _Credible_ signifies readily to be believed; as, a
_credible_ narrative; _likely_ in such connection is used ironically to
signify the reverse; as, a _likely_ story! A thing is _conceivable_ of
which the mind can entertain the possibility; a thing is _conjectural_
which is conjectured as possible or probable without other support than
a conjecture, or tentative judgment; a thing is _presumable_ which, from
what is antecedently known, may betaken for granted in advance of proof.
_Reasonable_ in this connection signifies such as the reason can be
satisfied with, independently of external grounds for belief or
disbelief; as, that seems a _reasonable_ supposition. Compare APPARENT.
doubtful, improbable, questionable, unreasonable.
dubious, incredible, unlikely,
* * * * *
attend, hark, harken, hear, heed, list.
Between _listen_ and _hear_ is a difference like that between the words
look and see. (Compare synonyms for LOOK.) To _hear_ is simply to
become conscious of sound, to _listen_ is to make a conscious effort or
endeavor to _hear_. We may _hear_ without _listening_, as words suddenly
uttered in an adjoining room; or we may _listen_ without _hearing_, as
to a distant speaker. In _listening_ the ear is intent upon the sound;
in _attending_ the mind is intent upon the thought, tho _listening_
implies some attention to the meaning or import of the sound. To _heed_
is not only to _attend_, but to remember and observe. _Harken_ is nearly
be deaf to, ignore, neglect, scorn, slight.
We listen _for_ what we expect or desire to hear; we listen _to_ what we
actually do hear; listen _for_ a step, a signal, a train; listen _to_
the debate.
* * * * *
belles-lettres, literary productions, publications,
books, literary works, writings.
_Literature_ is collective, including in the most general sense all the
written or printed productions of the human mind in all lands and ages,
or in a more limited sense, referring to all that has been published in
some land or age, or in some department of human knowledge; as, the
_literature_ of Greece; the _literature_ of the Augustan age; the
_literature_ of politics or of art. _Literature_, used absolutely,
denotes what has been called "polite _literature_" or _belles-lettres_,
_i. e._, the works collectively that embody taste, feeling, loftiness of
thought, and purity and beauty of style, as poetry, history, fiction,
and dramatic compositions, including also much of philosophical writing,
as the "Republic" of Plato, and oratorical productions, as the orations
of Demosthenes. In the broad sense, we can speak of the _literature_ of
science; in the narrower sense, we speak of _literature_ and science as
distinct departments of knowledge. _Literature_ is also used to signify
literary pursuits or occupations; as, to devote one's life to
_literature_. Compare KNOWLEDGE; SCIENCE.
* * * * *
LOAD, _n._
burden, charge, encumbrance, incubus, pack,
cargo, clog, freight, lading, weight.
A _burden_ (from the Anglo-Saxon _byrthen_, from the verb _beran_, bear)
is what one has to bear, and the word is used always of that which is
borne by a living agent. A _load_ (from the Anglo-Saxon _l[=a]d_, a
way, course, carrying, or carriage) is what is laid upon a person,
animal, or vehicle for conveyance, or what is customarily so imposed;
as, a two-horse _load_. _Weight_ measures the pressure due to gravity;
the same _weight_ that one finds a moderate _load_ when in his full
strength becomes a heavy _burden_ in weariness or weakness. A ship's
_load_ is called distinctively a _cargo_, or it may be known as
_freight_ or _lading_. _Freight_ denotes merchandise in or for
transportation and is used largely of transportation or of merchandise
transported by rail, which is, in commercial language, said to be
"shipped." A _load_ to be fastened upon a horse or mule is called a
_pack_, and the animal is known as a pack-horse or pack-mule.
* * * * *
bar, catch, fastening, hook,
bolt, clasp, hasp, latch.
A _bar_ is a piece of wood or metal, usually of considerable size, by
which an opening is obstructed, a door held fast, etc. A _bar_ may be
movable or permanent; a _bolt_ is a movable rod or pin of metal, sliding
in a socket and adapted for securing a door or window. A _lock_ is an
arrangement by which an enclosed _bolt_ is shot forward or backward by a
key, or other device; the _bolt_ is the essential part of the _lock_. A
_latch_ or _catch_ is an accessible _fastening_ designed to be easily
movable, and simply to secure against accidental opening of the door,
cover, etc. A _hasp_ is a metallic strap that fits over a staple,
calculated to be secured by a padlock; a simple _hook_ that fits into a
staple is also called a _hasp_. A _clasp_ is a fastening that can be
sprung into place, to draw and hold the parts of some enclosing object
firmly together, as the _clasp_ of a book.
* * * * *
behold, discern, inspect, see, view,
contemplate, gaze, regard, stare, watch.
descry, glance, scan, survey,
To _see_ is simply to become conscious of an object of vision; to _look_
is to make a conscious and direct endeavor to _see_. To _behold_ is to
fix the sight and the mind with distinctness and consideration upon
something that has come to be clearly before the eyes. We may _look_
without _seeing_, as in pitch-darkness, and we may _see_ without
_looking_, as in case of a flash of lightning. To _gaze_ is to _look_
intently, long, and steadily upon an object. To _glance_ is to _look_
casually or momentarily. To _stare_ is to _look_ with a fixed intensity
such as is the effect of surprise, alarm, or rudeness. To _scan_ is to
_look_ at minutely, to note every visible feature. To _inspect_ is to go
below the surface, uncover, study item by item. _View_ and _survey_ are
comprehensive, _survey_ expressing the greater exactness of measurement
or estimate. _Watch_ brings in the element of time and often of
wariness; we _watch_ for a movement or change, a signal, the approach of
an enemy, etc. Compare APPEAR.
* * * * *
affection, charity, friendship, regard,
attachment, devotion, liking, tenderness.
attraction, fondness,
_Affection_ is kindly feeling, deep, tender, and constant, going out to
some person or object, being less fervent and ardent than _love_,
whether applied to persons or things. _Love_ is an intense and absorbing
emotion, drawing one toward a person or object and causing one to
appreciate, delight in, and crave the presence or possession of the
person or object loved, and to desire to please and benefit the person,
or to advance the cause, truth, or other object of _affection_; it is
the yearning or outgoing of soul toward something that is regarded as
excellent, beautiful, or desirable; _love_ may be briefly defined as
strong and absorbing _affection_ for and _attraction_ toward a person or
object. _Love_ may denote the sublimest and holiest spiritual
_affection_ as when we are taught that "God is _love_." _Charity_ has so
far swung aside from this original meaning that probably it never can be
recalled (compare BENEVOLENCE). The Revised Version uses _love_ in place
of _charity_ in _1 Cor._ xiii, and elsewhere. _Love_ is more intense,
absorbing, and tender than _friendship_, more intense, impulsive, and
perhaps passionate than _affection_; we speak of fervent _love_, but of
deep or tender _affection_, or of close, firm, strong _friendship_.
_Love_ is used specifically for personal _affection_ between the sexes
in the highest sense, the _love_ that normally leads to marriage, and
subsists throughout all happy wedded life. _Love_ can never properly
denote mere animal passion, which is expressed by such words as
appetite, desire, lust. One may properly be said to have _love_ for
animals, for inanimate objects, or for abstract qualities that enlist
the affections, as we speak of _love_ for a horse or a dog, for
mountains, woods, ocean, or of _love_ of nature, and _love_ of virtue.
_Love_ of articles of food is better expressed by _liking_, as _love_,
in its full sense, expresses something spiritual and reciprocal, such as
can have no place in connection with objects that minister merely to the
Love _of_ country; _for_ humanity; love _to_ God and man.
* * * * *
become, constrain, fabricate, manufacture,
bring about, construct, fashion, occasion,
bring into being, create, force, perform,
bring to pass, do, frame, reach,
cause, effect, get, render,
compel, establish, make out, require,
compose, execute, make up, shape.
_Make_ is essentially causative; to the idea of _cause_ all its various
senses may be traced (compare synonyms for CAUSE). To _make_ is to
_cause_ to exist, or to _cause_ to exist in a certain form or in certain
relations; the word thus includes the idea of _create_, as in _Gen._ i,
31, "And God saw everything that he had _made_, and, behold, it was very
good." _Make_ includes also the idea of _compose_, _constitute_; as, the
parts _make up_ the whole. Similarly, to _cause_ a voluntary agent to do
a certain act is to _make_ him do it, or _compel_ him to do it, _compel_
fixing the attention more on the process, _make_ on the accomplished
fact. Compare COMPEL; DO; INFLUENCE; (make better) AMEND; (make haste)
QUICKEN; (make known) ANNOUNCE; AVOW; CONFESS; (make prisoner) ARREST;
(make up) ADD; (make void) CANCEL.
See synonyms for ABOLISH; BREAK; DEMOLISH.
Make _of_, _out of_, or _from_ certain materials, _into_ a certain form,
_for_ a certain purpose or person; made _with_ hands, _by_ hand; made
_by_ a prisoner, _with_ a jack-knife.
* * * * *
conjugal union, espousals, nuptials, spousals, wedding,
espousal, matrimony, spousal, union, wedlock.
_Matrimony_ denotes the state of those who are united in the relation
of husband and wife; _marriage_ denotes primarily the act of so uniting,
but is extensively used for the state as well. _Wedlock_, a word of
specific legal use, is the Saxon term for the state or relation denoted
by _matrimony_. _Wedding_ denotes the ceremony, with any attendant
festivities, by which two persons are united as husband and wife,
_nuptials_ being the more formal and stately term to express the same
bachelorhood, celibacy, divorce, maidenhood, virginity, widowhood.
Marriage _of_ or _between_ two persons; _of_ one person _to_ or _with_
another; _among_ the Greeks.
* * * * *
male, manful, manlike, manly, mannish, virile.
We apply _male_ to the sex, _masculine_ to the qualities, especially to
the stronger, hardier, and more imperious qualities that distinguish the
_male_ sex; as applied to women, _masculine_ has often the depreciatory
sense of unwomanly, rude, or harsh; as, a _masculine_ face or voice, or
the like; tho one may say in a commendatory way, she acted with
_masculine_ courage or decision. _Manlike_ may mean only having the
outward appearance or semblance of a man, or may be closely equivalent
to _manly_. _Manly_ refers to all the qualities and traits worthy of a
man; _manful_, especially to the valor and prowess that become a man; we
speak of a _manful_ struggle, _manly_ decision; we say _manly_
gentleness or tenderness; we could not say _manful_ tenderness.
_Mannish_ is a depreciatory word referring to the mimicry or parade of
some superficial qualities of manhood; as, a _mannish_ boy or woman.
_Masculine_ may apply to the distinctive qualities of the _male_ sex at
any age; _virile_ applies to the distinctive qualities of mature manhood
only, as opposed not only to _feminine_ or _womanly_ but to _childish_,
and is thus an emphatic word for _sturdy_, _intrepid_, etc.
See synonyms for FEMININE.
* * * * *
butchery, carnage, havoc, slaughter.
A _massacre_ is the indiscriminate killing in numbers of the
unresisting or defenseless; _butchery_ is the killing of men rudely and
ruthlessly as cattle are killed in the shambles. _Havoc_ may not be so
complete as _massacre_, nor so coldly brutal as _butchery_, but is more
widely spread and furious; it is destruction let loose, and may be
applied to organizations, interests, etc., as well as to human life; "as
for Saul, he made _havoc_ of the church," _Acts_ viii, 3. _Carnage_
(Latin _caro, carnis_, flesh) refers to widely scattered or heaped up
corpses of the slain; _slaughter_ is similar in meaning, but refers more
to the process, as _carnage_ does to the result; these two words only of
the group may be used of great destruction of life in open and honorable
battle, as when we say the enemy was repulsed with great _slaughter_, or
the _carnage_ was terrible.
* * * * *
impertinent, intrusive, meddling, obtrusive, officious.
The _meddlesome_ person interferes unasked in the affairs of others; the
_intrusive_ person thrusts himself uninvited into their company or
conversation; the _obtrusive_ person thrusts himself or his opinions
conceitedly and undesirably upon their notice; the _officious_ person
thrusts his services, unasked and undesired, upon others. _Obtrusive_ is
oftener applied to words, qualities, actions, etc., than to persons;
_intrusive_ is used chiefly of persons, as is _officious_, tho we speak
of _officious_ attentions, _intrusive_ remarks; _meddlesome_ is used
indifferently of persons, or of words, qualities, actions, etc. Compare
modest, reserved, retiring, shy, unassuming, unobtrusive.
* * * * *
harmony, music, symphony, unison.
_Harmony_ is simultaneous; _melody_ is successive; _harmony_ is the
pleasing correspondence of two or more notes sounded at once, _melody_
the pleasing succession of a number of notes continuously following one
another. A _melody_ may be wholly in one part; _harmony_ must be of two
or more parts. Accordant notes of different pitch sounded simultaneously
produce _harmony_; _unison_ is the simultaneous sounding of two or more
notes of the same pitch. When the pitch is the same, there may be
_unison_ between sounds of very different volume and quality, as a voice
and a bell may sound in _unison_. Tones sounded at the interval of an
octave are also said to be in _unison_, altho this is not literally
exact; this usage arises from the fact that bass and tenor voices in
attempting to sound the same note as the soprano and alto will in fact
sound a note an octave below. _Music_ may denote the simplest _melody_
or the most complex and perfect _harmony_. A _symphony_ (apart from its
technical orchestral sense) is any pleasing consonance of musical
sounds, vocal or instrumental, as of many accordant voices or
* * * * *
recollection, reminiscence, retrospect, retrospection.
_Memory_ is the faculty by which knowledge is retained or recalled; in a
more general sense, _memory_ is a retention of knowledge within the
grasp of the mind, while _remembrance_ is the having what is known
consciously before the mind. _Remembrance_ may be voluntary or
involuntary; a thing is brought to _remembrance_ or we call it to
_remembrance_; the same is true of _memory_. _Recollection_ involves
volition, the mind making a distinct effort to recall something, or
fixing the attention actively upon it when recalled. _Reminiscence_ is a
half-dreamy _memory_ of scenes or events long past; _retrospection_ is a
distinct turning of the mind back upon the past, bringing long periods
under survey. _Retrospection_ is to _reminiscence_ much what
_recollection_ is to _remembrance_.
forgetfulness, oblivion, obliviousness, oversight, unconsciousness.
* * * * *
benevolence, favor, kindness, mildness,
benignity, forbearance, lenience, pardon,
blessing, forgiveness, leniency, pity,
clemency, gentleness, lenity, tenderness.
compassion, grace,
_Mercy_ is the exercise of less severity than one deserves, or in a more
extended sense, the granting of _kindness_ or _favor_ beyond what one
may rightly claim. _Grace_ is _favor_, _kindness_, or _blessing_ shown
to the undeserving; _forgiveness_, _mercy_, and _pardon_ are exercised
toward the ill-deserving. _Pardon_ remits the outward penalty which the
offender deserves; _forgiveness_ dismisses resentment or displeasure
from the heart of the one offended; _mercy_ seeks the highest possible
good of the offender. There may be _mercy_ without _pardon_, as in the
mitigation of sentence, or in all possible alleviation of necessary
severity; there may be cases where _pardon_ would not be _mercy_, since
it would encourage to repetition of the offense, from which timely
punishment might have saved. _Mercy_ is also used in the wider sense of
refraining from harshness or cruelty toward those who are in one's power
without fault of their own; as, they besought the robber to have
_mercy_. _Clemency_ is a colder word than _mercy_, and without its
religious associations, signifying _mildness_ and moderation in the use
of power where severity would have legal or military, rather than moral
sanction; it often denotes a habitual _mildness_ of disposition on the
part of the powerful, and is matter rather of good nature or policy than
of principle. _Leniency_ or _lenity_ denotes an easy-going avoidance of
severity; these words are more general and less magisterial than
_clemency_; we should speak of the _leniency_ of a parent, the
_clemency_ of a conqueror. Compare PITY.
cruelty, implacability, punishment, rigor, sternness,
hardness, justice, revenge, severity, vengeance.
harshness, penalty,
The mercy _of_ God _to_ or _toward_ sinners; have mercy _on_ or _upon_
* * * * *
euphony, measure, rhythm, verse.
_Euphony_ is agreeable linguistic sound, however produced; _meter_,
_measure_, and _rhythm_ denote agreeable succession of sounds in the
utterance of connected words; _euphony_ may apply to a single word or
even a single syllable; the other words apply to lines, sentences,
paragraphs, etc.; _rhythm_ and _meter_ may be produced by accent only,
as in English, or by accent and quantity combined, as in Greek or
Italian; _rhythm_ or _measure_ may apply either to prose or to poetry,
or to music, dancing, etc.; _meter_ is more precise than _rhythm_,
applies only to poetry, and denotes a measured _rhythm_ with regular
divisions into _verses_, stanzas, strophes, etc. A _verse_ is strictly a
metrical line, but the word is often used as synonymous with stanza.
_Verse_, in the general sense, denotes metrical writing without
reference to the thought involved; as, prose and _verse_. Compare
* * * * *
brain, instinct, reason, spirit,
consciousness, intellect, sense, thought,
disposition, intelligence, soul, understanding.
_Mind_, in a general sense, includes all the powers of sentient being
apart from the physical factors in bodily faculties and activities; in a
limited sense, _mind_ is nearly synonymous with _intellect_, but
includes _disposition_, or the tendency toward action, as appears in the
phrase "to have a _mind_ to work." As the seat of mental activity,
_brain_ (colloquially _brains_) is often used as a synonym for _mind_,
_intellect_, _intelligence_. _Thought_, the act, process, or power of
thinking, is often used to denote the thinking faculty, and especially
the _reason_. The _instinct_ of animals is now held by many philosophers
to be of the same nature as the _intellect_ of man, but inferior and
limited; yet the apparent difference is very great.
An _instinct_ is a propensity prior to experience and independent of
PALEY _Natural Philosophy_ ch. 18.
In this sense we speak of human _instincts_, thus denoting tendencies
independent of reasoning or instruction. The _soul_ includes the
_intellect_, sensibilities, and will; beyond what is expressed by the
word _mind_, the _soul_ denotes especially the moral, the immortal
nature; we say of a dead body, the _soul_ (not the _mind_) has fled.
_Spirit_ is used especially in contradistinction from matter; it may in
many cases be substituted for _soul_, but _soul_ has commonly a fuller
and more determinate meaning; we can conceive of _spirits_ as having no
moral nature; the fairies, elves, and brownies of mythology might be
termed _spirits_, but not _souls_. In the figurative sense, _spirit_
denotes animation, excitability, perhaps impatience; as, a lad of
_spirit_; he sang with _spirit_; he replied with _spirit_. _Soul_
denotes energy and depth of feeling, as when we speak of soulful eyes;
or it may denote the very life of anything; as, "the hidden _soul_ of
harmony," MILTON _L'Allegro_ l. 144. _Sense_ may be an antonym of
_intellect_, as when we speak of the _sense_ of hearing; but _sense_ is
used also as denoting clear mental action, good judgment, acumen; as, he
is a man of _sense_, or, he showed good _sense_; _sense_, even in its
material signification, must be reckoned among the activities of _mind_,
tho dependent on bodily functions; the _mind_, not the eye, really sees;
the _mind_, not the ear, really hears. _Consciousness_ includes all that
a sentient being perceives, knows, thinks, or feels, from whatever
source arising and of whatever character, kind, or degree, whether with
or without distinct thinking, feeling, or willing; we speak of the
_consciousness_ of the brute, of the savage, or of the sage. The
_intellect_ is that assemblage of faculties which is concerned with
knowledge, as distinguished from emotion and volition. _Understanding_
is the Saxon word of the same general import, but is chiefly used of the
reasoning powers; the _understanding_, which Sir Wm. Hamilton has called
"the faculty of relations and comparisons," is distinguished by many
philosophers from _reason_ in that "_reason_ is the faculty of the
higher cognitions or a priori truth."
body, brawn, brute force, material substance, matter.
* * * * *
circumstantial, diminutive, little, slender,
comminuted, exact, particular, small,
critical, fine, precise, tiny.
That is _minute_ which is of exceedingly limited dimensions, as a grain
of dust, or which attends to matters of exceedingly slight amount or
apparent importance; as, a _minute_ account; _minute_ observation. That
which is broken up into _minute_ particles is said to be _comminuted_;
things may be termed _fine_ which would not be termed _comminuted_; as,
_fine_ sand; _fine_ gravel; but, in using the adverb, we say a substance
is finely _comminuted_, _comminuted_ referring more to the process,
_fine_ to the result. An account extended to very _minute_ particulars
is _circumstantial_, _detailed_, _particular_; an examination so
extended is _critical_, _exact_, _precise_. Compare FINE.
See synonyms for LARGE.
* * * * *
adversity, disappointment, ill fortune, ruin,
affliction, disaster, ill luck, sorrow,
bereavement, distress, misadventure, stroke,
blow, failure, mischance, trial,
calamity, hardship, misery, tribulation,
chastening, harm, mishap, trouble,
chastisement, ill, reverse, visitation.
_Misfortune_ is adverse fortune or any instance thereof, any untoward
event, usually of lingering character or consequences, and such as the
sufferer is not deemed directly responsible for; as, he had the
_misfortune_ to be born blind. Any considerable _disappointment_,
_failure_, or _misfortune_, as regards outward circumstances, as loss of
fortune, position, and the like, when long continued or attended with
enduring consequences, constitutes _adversity_. For the loss of friends
by death we commonly use _affliction_ or _bereavement_. _Calamity_ and
_disaster_ are used of sudden and severe _misfortunes_, often
overwhelming; _ill fortune_ and _ill luck_, of lighter troubles and
failures. We speak of the _misery_ of the poor, the _hardships_ of the
soldier. _Affliction_, _chastening_, _trial_, and _tribulation_ have all
an especially religious bearing, suggesting some disciplinary purpose of
God with beneficent design. _Affliction_ may be keen and bitter, but
brief; _tribulation_ is long and wearing. We speak of an _affliction_,
but rarely of a _tribulation_, since _tribulation_ is viewed as a
continuous process, which may endure for years or for a lifetime; but we
speak of our daily _trials_. Compare CATASTROPHE.
blessing, consolation, gratification, pleasure, success,
boon, good fortune, happiness, prosperity, triumph.
comfort, good luck, joy, relief,
* * * * *
canaille, dregs of the people, masses, rabble,
crowd, lower classes, populace, the vulgar.
The _populace_ are poor and ignorant, but may be law-abiding; a _mob_ is
disorderly and lawless, but may be rich and influential. The _rabble_ is
despicable, worthless, purposeless; a _mob_ may have effective desperate
purpose. A _crowd_ may be drawn by mere curiosity; some strong,
pervading excitement is needed to make it a _mob_. Compare PEOPLE.
* * * * *
archetype, facsimile, original, representation,
copy, image, pattern, standard,
design, imitation, prototype, type.
example, mold,
A _pattern_ is always, in modern use, that which is to be copied; a
_model_ may be either the thing to be copied or the _copy_ that has been
made from it; as, the _models_ in the Patent Office. A _pattern_ is
commonly superficial; a _model_ is usually in relief. A _pattern_ must
be closely followed in its minutest particulars by a faithful copyist;
a _model_ may allow a great degree of freedom. A sculptor may idealize
his living _model_; his workmen must exactly _copy_ in marble or metal
the _model_ he has made in clay. Compare EXAMPLE; IDEA; IDEAL.
* * * * *
backwardness, constraint, reserve, timidity,
bashfulness, coyness, shyness, unobtrusiveness.
coldness, diffidence,
_Bashfulness_ is a shrinking from notice without assignable reason.
_Coyness_ is a half encouragement, half avoidance of offered attention,
and may be real or affected. _Diffidence_ is self-distrust; _modesty_, a
humble estimate of oneself in comparison with others, or with the
demands of some undertaking. _Modesty_ has also the specific meaning of
a sensitive shrinking from anything indelicate. _Shyness_ is a tendency
to shrink from observation; _timidity_, a distinct fear of criticism,
error, or failure. _Reserve_ is the holding oneself aloof from others,
or holding back one's feelings from expression, or one's affairs from
communication to others. _Reserve_ may be the retreat of _shyness_, or,
on the other hand, the contemptuous withdrawal of pride and haughtiness.
abandon, confidence, haughtiness, pertness,
arrogance, egotism, impudence, sauciness,
assumption, forwardness, indiscretion, self-conceit,
assurance, frankness, loquaciousness, self-sufficiency,
boldness, freedom, loquacity, sociability.
* * * * *
bills, cash, funds, property,
bullion, coin, gold, silver,
capital, currency, notes, specie.
_Money_ is the authorized medium of exchange; coined _money_ is called
_coin_ or _specie_. What are termed in England bank-_notes_ are in the
United States commonly called _bills_; as, a five-dollar _bill_. The
_notes_ of responsible men are readily transferable in commercial
circles, but they are not _money_; as, the stock was sold for $500 in
_money_ and the balance in merchantable paper. _Cash_ is _specie_ or
_money_ in hand, or paid in hand; as, the _cash_ account; the _cash_
price. In the legal sense, _property_ is not _money_, and _money_ is not
_property_; for _property_ is that which has inherent value, while
_money_, as such, has but representative value, and may or may not have
intrinsic value. _Bullion_ is either _gold_ or _silver_ uncoined, or the
coined metal considered without reference to its coinage, but simply as
merchandise, when its value as _bullion_ may be very different from its
value as _money_. The word _capital_ is used chiefly of accumulated
_property_ or _money_ invested in productive enterprises or available
for such investment.
* * * * *
acrimonious, dogged, ill-natured, splenetic,
churlish, gloomy, severe, sulky,
crabbed, gruff, snappish, sullen,
crusty, ill-humored, sour, surly.
The _sullen_ and _sulky_ are discontented and resentful in regard to
that against which they are too proud to protest, or consider all
protest vain; _sullen_ denotes more of pride, _sulky_ more of resentful
obstinacy. The _morose_ are bitterly dissatisfied with the world in
general, and disposed to vent their ill nature upon others. The _sullen_
and _sulky_ are for the most part silent; the _morose_ growl out bitter
speeches. A _surly_ person is in a state of latent anger, resenting
approach as intrusion, and ready to take offense at anything; thus we
speak of a _surly_ dog. _Sullen_ and _sulky_ moods may be transitory;
one who is _morose_ or _surly_ is commonly so by disposition or habit.
amiable, complaisant, gentle, kind, pleasant,
benignant, friendly, good-natured, loving, sympathetic,
bland, genial, indulgent, mild, tender.
* * * * *
act, change, movement, process, transition.
action, move, passage, transit,
_Motion_ is _change_ of place or position in space; _transition_ is a
passing from one point or position in space to another. _Motion_ may be
either abstract or concrete, more frequently the former; _movement_ is
always concrete, that is, considered in connection with the thing that
moves or is moved; thus, we speak of the _movements_ of the planets, but
of the laws of planetary _motion_; of military _movements_, but of
perpetual _motion_. _Move_ is used chiefly of contests or competition,
as in chess or politics; as, it is your _move_; a shrewd _move_ of the
opposition. _Action_ is a more comprehensive word than _motion_. We now
rarely speak of mental or spiritual _motions_, but rather of mental or
spiritual _acts_ or _processes_, or of the laws of mental _action_, but
a formal proposal of _action_ in a deliberative assembly is termed a
_motion_. Compare ACT.
immobility, quiescence, quiet, repose, rest, stillness.
* * * * *
bemoan, deplore, lament, regret, rue, sorrow.
bewail, grieve,
To _mourn_ is to feel or express sadness or distress because of some
loss, affliction, or misfortune; _mourning_ is thought of as prolonged,
_grief_ or _regret_ may be transient. One may _grieve_ or _mourn_,
_regret_, _rue_, or _sorrow_ without a sound; he _bemoans_ with
suppressed and often inarticulate sounds of grief; he _bewails_ with
passionate utterance, whether of inarticulate cries or of spoken words.
He _laments_ in plaintive or pathetic words, as the prophet Jeremiah in
his "Lamentations." One _deplores_ with settled sorrow which may or may
not find relief in words. One is made to _rue_ an act by some misfortune
resulting, or by some penalty or vengeance inflicted because of it. One
_regrets_ a slight misfortune or a hasty word; he _sorrows_ over the
death of a friend.
be joyful, exult, joy, make merry, rejoice, triumph.
* * * * *
common, correlative, interchangeable, joint, reciprocal.
That is _common_ to which two or more persons have the same or equal
claims, or in which they have equal interest or participation; in the
strictest sense, that is _mutual_ (Latin _mutare_, to change) which is
freely interchanged; that is _reciprocal_ in respect to which one act or
movement is met by a corresponding act or movement in return; we speak
of our _common_ country, _mutual_ affection, _reciprocal_ obligations,
the _reciprocal_ action of cause and effect, where the effect becomes in
turn a cause. Many good writers hold it incorrect to say "a _mutual_
friend," and insist that "a _common_ friend" would be more accurate; but
"_common_ friend" is practically never used, because of the disagreeable
suggestion that attaches to _common_, of ordinary or inferior. "_Mutual_
friend" has high literary authority (of Burke, Scott, Dickens, and
others), and a considerable usage of good society in its favor, the
expression being quite naturally derived from the thoroughly correct
phrase _mutual_ friendship.
detached, distinct, separated, unconnected, unrequited,
disconnected, disunited, severed, unreciprocated, unshared.
dissociated, separate, sundered,
* * * * *
abstruse, inexplicable, recondite,
cabalistic, inscrutable, secret,
dark, mystic, transcendental,
enigmatical, mystical, unfathomable,
hidden, obscure, unfathomed,
incomprehensible, occult, unknown.
That is _mysterious_ in the true sense which is beyond human
comprehension, as the decrees of God or the origin of life. That is
_mystic_ or _mystical_ which has associated with it some _hidden_ or
_recondite_ meaning, especially of a religious kind; as, the _mystic_
Babylon of the Apocalypse. That is _dark_ which we can not personally
see through, especially if sadly perplexing; as, a _dark_ providence.
That is _secret_ which is intentionally _hidden_. Compare DARK.
See synonyms for CLEAR.
* * * * *
agnomen, denomination, prenomen, surname,
appellation, designation, style, title.
cognomen, epithet,
_Name_ in the most general sense, signifying the word by which a person
or thing is called or known, includes all other words of this group; in
this sense every noun is a _name_; in the more limited sense a _name_ is
personal, an _appellation_ is descriptive, a _title_ is official. In the
phrase William the Conqueror, King of England, William is the man's
_name_, which belongs to him personally, independently of any rank or
achievement; Conqueror is the _appellation_ which he won by his
acquisition of England; King is the _title_ denoting his royal rank. An
_epithet_ (Gr. _epitheton_, something added, from _epi_, on, and
_tithemi_, put) is something placed upon a person or thing; the
_epithet_ does not strictly belong to an object like a _name_, but is
given to mark some assumed characteristic, good or bad; an _epithet_ is
always an adjective, or a word or phrase used as an adjective, and is
properly used to emphasize a characteristic but not to add information,
as in the phrase "the _sounding_ sea;" the idea that an _epithet_ is
always opprobrious, and that any word used opprobriously is an _epithet_
is a popular error. _Designation_ may be used much in the sense of
_appellation_, but is more distinctive or specific in meaning; a
_designation_ properly so called rests upon some inherent quality, while
an _appellation_ may be fanciful. Among the Romans the _prenomen_ was
the individual part of a man's _name_, the "nomen" designated the gens
to which he belonged, the _cognomen_ showed his family and was borne by
all patricians, and the _agnomen_ was added to refer to his achievements
or character. When scientists _name_ an animal or a plant, they give it
a binary or binomial technical _name_ comprising a generic and a
specific _appellation_. In modern use, a personal _name_, as John or
Mary, is given in infancy, and is often called the given _name_ or
Christian _name_, or simply the first _name_ (rarely the _prenomen_);
the _cognomen_ or _surname_ is the family _name_ which belongs to one by
right of birth or marriage. _Style_ is the legal _designation_ by which
a person or house is known in official or business relations; as, the
_name_ and _style_ of Baring Brothers. The term _denomination_ is
applied to a separate religious organization, without the opprobrious
meaning attaching to the word "sect;" also, to designate any class of
like objects collectively, especially money or notes of a certain value;
as, the sum was in notes of the _denomination_ of one thousand dollars.
Compare TERM.
* * * * *
indigenous, innate, natal, natural, original.
_Native_ denotes that which belongs to one by birth; _natal_ that which
pertains to the event of birth; _natural_ denotes that which rests upon
inherent qualities of character or being. We speak of one's _native_
country, or of his _natal_ day; of _natural_ ability, _native_ genius.
acquired, alien, artificial, assumed, foreign, unnatural.
* * * * *
marine, maritime, naval, ocean, oceanic.
_Marine_ (L. _mare_, sea) signifies belonging to the ocean, _maritime_,
a secondary derivative from the same root, bordering on or connected
with the _ocean_; as, _marine_ products; _marine_ animals; _maritime_
nations; _maritime_ laws. _Nautical_ (Gr. _nautes_, a sailor) denotes
primarily anything connected with sailors, and hence with ships or
navigation; _naval_ (L. _navis_, Gr. _naus_, a ship) refers to the armed
force of a nation on the sea, and, by extension, to similar forces on
lakes and rivers; as, a _naval_ force; a _nautical_ almanac. _Ocean_,
used adjectively, is applied to that which belongs to or is part of the
_ocean_; _oceanic_ may be used in the same sense, but is especially
applied to that which borders on (or upon) or is connected with, or
which is similar to or suggestive of an _ocean_; we speak of _ocean_
currents, _oceanic_ islands, or, perhaps, of an _oceanic_ intellect.
* * * * *
clean, dapper, nice, prim, tidy,
cleanly, natty, orderly, spruce, trim.
That which is _clean_ is simply free from soil or defilement of any
kind. Things are _orderly_ when in due relation to other things; a room
or desk is _orderly_ when every article is in place; a person is
_orderly_ who habitually keeps things so. _Tidy_ denotes that which
conforms to propriety in general; an unlaced shoe may be perfectly
_clean_, but is not _tidy_. _Neat_ refers to that which is _clean_ and
_tidy_ with nothing superfluous, conspicuous, or showy, as when we speak
of plain but _neat_ attire; the same idea of freedom from the
superfluous appears in the phrases "a _neat_ speech," "a _neat_ turn,"
"a _neat_ reply," etc. A _clean_ cut has no ragged edges; a _neat_
stroke just does what is intended. _Nice_ is stronger than _neat_,
implying value and beauty; a _cheap_, coarse dress may be perfectly
_neat_, but would not be termed _nice_. _Spruce_ is applied to the show
and affectation of neatness with a touch of smartness, and is always a
term of mild contempt; as, a _spruce_ serving man. _Trim_ denotes a
certain shapely and elegant firmness, often with suppleness and grace;
as, a _trim_ suit; a _trim_ figure. _Prim_ applies to a precise, formal,
affected nicety. _Dapper_ is _spruce_ with the suggestion of smallness
and slightness; _natty_, a diminutive of _neat_, suggests minute
elegance, with a tendency toward the exquisite; as, a _dapper_ little
fellow in a _natty_ business suit.
dirty, negligent, slouchy, uncared for,
disorderly, rough, slovenly, unkempt,
dowdy, rude, soiled, untidy.
* * * * *
essential, infallible, required, unavoidable,
indispensable, needed, requisite, undeniable.
inevitable, needful,
That is _necessary_ which must exist, occur, or be true; which in the
nature of things can not be otherwise. That which is _essential_ belongs
to the essence of a thing, so that the thing can not exist in its
completeness without it; that which is _indispensable_ may be only an
adjunct, but it is one that can not be spared; vigorous health is
_essential_ to an arctic explorer; warm clothing is _indispensable_.
That which is _requisite_ (or _required_) is so in the judgment of the
person requiring it, but may not be so absolutely; thus, the _requisite_
is more a matter of personal feeling than the _indispensable_.
_Inevitable_ (L. _in_, not, and _evito_, shun) is primarily the exact
equivalent of the Saxon _unavoidable_; both words are applied to things
which some at least would escape or prevent, while that which is
_necessary_ may meet with no objection; food is _necessary_, death is
_inevitable_; a _necessary_ conclusion satisfies a thinker; an
_inevitable_ conclusion silences opposition. An _infallible_ proof is
one that necessarily leads the mind to a sound conclusion. _Needed_ and
_needful_ are more concrete than _necessary_, and respect an end to be
attained; we speak of a _necessary_ inference; _necessary_ food is what
one can not live without, while _needful_ food is that without which he
can not enjoy comfort, health, and strength.
casual, needless, optional, useless,
contingent, non-essential, unnecessary, worthless.
Necessary _to_ a sequence or a total; _for_ or _to_ a result or a
person; unity is necessary _to_ (to constitute) completeness; decision
is necessary _for_ command, or _for_ a commander.
* * * * *
compulsion, fatality, requisite,
destiny, fate, sine qua non,
emergency, indispensability, unavoidableness,
essential, indispensableness, urgency,
exigency, need, want.
extremity, requirement,
_Necessity_ is the quality of being necessary, or the quality of that
which can not but be, become, or be true, or be accepted as true. _Need_
and _want_ always imply a lack; _necessity_ may be used in this sense,
but in the higher philosophical sense _necessity_ simply denotes the
exclusion of any alternative either in thought or fact; righteousness is
a _necessity_ (not a _need_) of the divine nature. _Need_ suggests the
possibility of supplying the deficiency which _want_ expresses; to speak
of a person's _want_ of decision merely points out a weakness in his
character; to say that he has _need_ of decision implies that he can
exercise or attain it. As applied to a deficiency, _necessity_ is more
imperative than _need_; a weary person is in _need_ of rest; when rest
becomes a _necessity_ he has no choice but to stop work. An _essential_
is something, as a quality, or element, that belongs to the essence of
something else so as to be inseparable from it in its normal condition,
or in any complete idea or statement of it. Compare NECESSARY;
choice, doubt, dubiousness, freedom, possibility,
contingency, doubtfulness, fortuity, option, uncertainty.
The necessity _of_ surrender; a necessity _for_ action; this is a
necessity _to_ me.
* * * * *
carelessness, heedlessness, negligence, scorn,
default, inadvertence, omission, slackness,
disregard, inattention, oversight, slight,
disrespect, indifference, remissness, thoughtlessness.
failure, neglectfulness,
_Neglect_ (L. _nec_, not, and _lego_, gather) is the failing to take
such care, show such attention, pay such courtesy, etc., as may be
rightfully or reasonably expected. _Negligence_, which is the same in
origin, may be used in almost the same sense, but with a slighter force,
as when Whittier speaks of "the _negligence_ which friendship loves;"
but _negligence_ is often used to denote the quality or trait of
character of which the act is a manifestation, or to denote the habit of
neglecting that which ought to be done. _Neglect_ is transitive,
_negligence_ is intransitive; we speak of _neglect_ of his books,
friends, or duties, in which cases we could not use _negligence_;
_negligence_ in dress implies want of care as to its arrangement,
tidiness, etc.; _neglect_ of one's garments would imply leaving them
exposed to defacement or injury, as by dust, moths, etc. _Neglect_ has a
passive sense which _negligence_ has not; the child was suffering from
_neglect_, _i. e._, from being neglected by others; the child was
suffering from _negligence_ would imply that he himself was neglectful.
The distinction sometimes made that _neglect_ denotes the act, and
_negligence_ the habit, is but partially true; one may be guilty of
habitual _neglect_ of duty; the wife may suffer from her husband's
constant _neglect_, while the _negligence_ which causes a railroad
accident may be that of a moment, and on the part of one ordinarily
careful and attentive; in such cases the law provides punishment for
criminal _negligence_.
See synonyms for CARE.
Neglect _of_ duty, _of_ the child _by_ the parent; there was neglect _on
the part of_ the teacher.
* * * * *
fresh, modern, new-made, upstart,
juvenile, new-fangled, novel, young,
late, new-fashioned, recent, youthful.
That which is _new_ has lately come into existence, possession, or use;
a _new_ house is just built, or in a more general sense is one that has
just come into the possession of the present owner or occupant. _Modern_
denotes that which has begun to exist in the present age, and is still
existing; _recent_ denotes that which has come into existence within a
comparatively brief period, and may or may not be existing still.
_Modern_ history pertains to any period since the middle ages; _modern_
literature, _modern_ architecture, etc., are not strikingly remote from
the styles and types prevalent to-day. That which is _late_ is somewhat
removed from the present, but not far enough to be called _old_. That
which is _recent_ is not quite so sharply distinguished from the past as
that which is _new_; _recent_ publications range over a longer time than
_new_ books. That which is _novel_ is either absolutely or relatively
unprecedented in kind; a _novel_ contrivance is one that has never
before been known; a _novel_ experience is one that has never before
occurred to the same person; that which is _new_ may be of a familiar or
even of an ancient sort, as a _new_ copy of an old book. _Young_ and
_youthful_ are applied to that which has life; that which is _young_ is
possessed of a comparatively _new_ existence as a living thing,
possessing actual youth; that which is _youthful_ manifests the
attributes of youth. (Compare YOUTHFUL.) _Fresh_ applies to that which
has the characteristics of newness or youth, while capable of
deterioration by lapse of time; that which is unworn, unspoiled, or
unfaded; as, a _fresh_ countenance, _fresh_ eggs, _fresh_ flowers. _New_
is opposed to _old_, _modern_ to _ancient_, _recent_ to _remote_,
_young_ to _old_, _aged_, etc.
See synonyms for OLD.
* * * * *
active, alert, bustling, prompt, speedy, spry,
agile, brisk, lively, quick, sprightly, swift.
_Nimble_ refers to lightness, freedom, and quickness of motion within a
somewhat narrow range, with readiness to turn suddenly to any point;
_swift_ applies commonly to more sustained motion over greater
distances; a pickpocket is _nimble_-fingered, a dancer _nimble_-footed;
an arrow, a race-horse, or an ocean steamer is _swift_; Shakespeare's
"_nimble_ lightnings" is said of the visual appearance in sudden zigzag
flash across the sky. Figuratively, we speak of _nimble_ wit, _swift_
intelligence, _swift_ destruction. _Alert_, which is strictly a synonym
for _ready_, comes sometimes near the meaning of _nimble_ or _quick_,
from the fact that the ready, wide-awake person is likely to be
_lively_, _quick_, _speedy_. Compare ACTIVE; ALERT.
clumsy, dull, heavy, inactive, inert, slow, sluggish, unready.
* * * * *
common, natural, ordinary, regular, typical, usual.
That which is _natural_ is according to nature; that which is _normal_
is according to the standard or rule which is observed or claimed to
prevail in nature; a deformity may be _natural_, symmetry is _normal_;
the _normal_ color of the crow is black, while the _normal_ color of the
sparrow is gray, but one is as _natural_ as the other. _Typical_ refers
to such an assemblage of qualities as makes the specimen, genus, etc., a
type of some more comprehensive group, while _normal_ is more commonly
applied to the parts of a single object; the specimen was _typical_;
color, size, and other characteristics, _normal_. The _regular_ is
etymologically that which is according to rule, hence that which is
steady and constant, as opposed to that which is fitful and changeable;
the _normal_ action of the heart is _regular_. That which is _common_ is
shared by a great number of persons or things; disease is _common_, a
_normal_ state of health is rare. Compare GENERAL; USUAL.
abnormal, irregular, peculiar, singular, unprecedented,
exceptional, monstrous, rare, uncommon, unusual.
* * * * *
altho(ugh), howbeit, nevertheless, tho(ugh),
but, however, still, yet.
_However_ simply waives discussion, and (like the archaic _howbeit_)
says "be that as it may, this is true;" _nevertheless_ concedes the
truth of what precedes, but claims that what follows is none the less
true; _notwithstanding_ marshals the two statements face to face, admits
the one and its seeming contradiction to the other, while insisting that
it can not, after all, withstand the other; as, _notwithstanding_ the
force of the enemy is superior, we shall conquer. _Yet_ and _still_ are
weaker than _notwithstanding_, while stronger than _but_. _Tho_ and
_altho_ make as little as possible of the concession, dropping it, as it
were, incidentally; as, "_tho_ we are guilty, thou art good;" to say "we
are guilty, _but_ thou art good," would make the concession of guilt
more emphatic. Compare BUT; YET.
* * * * *
despite, in spite of.
_Notwithstanding_ simply states that circumstances shall not be or have
not been allowed to withstand; _despite_ and _in spite of_ refer
primarily to personal and perhaps spiteful opposition; as, he failed
_notwithstanding_ his good intentions; or, he persevered _in spite of_
the most bitter hostility. When _despite_ and _in spite of_ are applied
to inanimate things, it is with something of personification; "_in spite
of_ the storm" is said as if the storm had a hostile purpose to oppose
the undertaking.
* * * * *
adjuration, curse, profane swearing,
affidavit, cursing, profanity,
anathema, denunciation, reprobation,
ban, execration, swearing,
blaspheming, imprecation, sworn statement.
blasphemy, malediction, vow.
In the highest sense, as in a court of justice, "an _oath_ is a
reverent appeal to God in corroboration of what one says," ABBOTT _Law
Dict._; an _affidavit_ is a _sworn statement_ made in writing in the
presence of a competent officer; an _adjuration_ is a solemn appeal to a
person in the name of God to speak the truth. An _oath_ is made to man
in the name of God; a _vow_, to God without the intervention, often
without the knowledge, of man. In the lower sense, an _oath_ may be mere
_blasphemy_ or _profane swearing_. _Anathema_, _curse_, _execration_,
and _imprecation_ are modes of invoking vengeance or retribution from a
superhuman power upon the person against whom they are uttered.
_Anathema_ is a solemn ecclesiastical condemnation of a person or of a
proposition. _Curse_ may be just and authoritative; as, the _curse_ of
God; or, it may be wanton and powerless: "so the _curse_ causeless shall
not come," _Prov._ xxvi, 2. _Execration_ expresses most of personal
bitterness and hatred; _imprecation_ refers especially to the coming of
the desired evil upon the person against whom it is uttered.
_Malediction_ is a general wish of evil, a less usual but very
expressive word. Compare TESTIMONY.
benediction, benison, blessing.
* * * * *
abstruse, darksome, dusky, involved,
ambiguous, deep, enigmatical, muddy,
cloudy, dense, hidden, mysterious,
complex, difficult, incomprehensible, profound,
complicated, dim, indistinct, turbid,
dark, doubtful, intricate, unintelligible.
That is _obscure_ which the eye or the mind can not clearly discern or
see through, whether because of its own want of transparency, its depth
or intricacy, or because of mere defect of light. That which is
_complicated_ is likely to be _obscure_, but that may be _obscure_ which
is not at all _complicated_ and scarcely _complex_, as a _muddy_ pool.
In that which is _abstruse_ (L. _abs_, from, and _trudo_, push) as if
removed from the usual course of thought or out of the way of
apprehension or discovery, the thought is remote, _hidden_; in that
which is _obscure_ there may be nothing to hide; it is hard to see to
the bottom of the _profound_, because of its depth, but the most shallow
turbidness is _obscure_. Compare COMPLEX; DARK; DIFFICULT; MYSTERIOUS.
See synonyms for CLEAR.
* * * * *
ancient, archaic, obsolescent, out of date,
antiquated, disused, old, rare.
Some of the _oldest_ or most _ancient_ words are not _obsolete_, as
father, mother, etc. A word is _obsolete_ which has quite gone out of
reputable use; a word is _archaic_ which is falling out of reputable
use, or, on the other hand, having been _obsolete_, is taken up
tentatively by writers or speakers of influence, so that it may perhaps
regain its position as a living word; a word is _rare_ if there are few
present instances of its reputable use. Compare OLD.
See synonyms for NEW.
* * * * *
contumacious, headstrong, mulish, resolute,
decided, heady, obdurate, resolved,
determined, immovable, opinionated, stubborn,
dogged, indomitable, persistent, unconquerable,
firm, inflexible, pertinacious, unflinching,
fixed, intractable, refractory, unyielding.
The _headstrong_ person is not to be stopped in his own course of
action, while the _obstinate_ and _stubborn_ is not to be driven to
another's way. The _headstrong_ act; the _obstinate_ and _stubborn_ may
simply refuse to stir. The most amiable person may be _obstinate_ on
some one point; the _stubborn_ person is for the most part habitually
so; we speak of _obstinate_ determination, _stubborn_ resistance.
_Stubborn_ is the term most frequently applied to the lower animals and
inanimate things. _Refractory_ implies more activity of resistance; the
_stubborn_ horse balks; the _refractory_ animal plunges, rears, and
kicks; metals that resist ordinary processes of reduction are termed
_refractory_. One is _obdurate_ who adheres to his purpose in spite of
appeals that would move any tender-hearted or right-minded person.
_Contumacious_ refers to a proud and insolent defiance of authority, as
of the summons of a court. _Pertinacious_ demand is contrasted with
_obstinate_ refusal. The _unyielding_ conduct which we approve we call
_decided_, _firm_, _inflexible_, _resolute_; that which we condemn we
are apt to term _headstrong_, _obstinate_, _stubborn_. Compare PERVERSE.
amenable, dutiful, pliable, tractable,
complaisant, gentle, pliant, undecided,
compliant, irresolute, submissive, wavering,
docile, obedient, teachable, yielding.
* * * * *
arrest, check, embarrass, interrupt, stay,
bar, choke, hinder, oppose, stop.
barricade, clog, impede, retard,
To _obstruct_ is literally to build up against; the road is _obstructed_
by fallen trees; the passage of liquid through a tube is _obstructed_ by
solid deposits. We may _hinder_ one's advance by following and clinging
to him; we _obstruct_ his course by standing in his way or putting a
barrier across his path. Anything that makes one's progress slower,
whether from within or from without, _impedes_; an obstruction is always
from without. To _arrest_ is to cause to stop suddenly; _obstructing_
the way may have the effect of _arresting_ progress. Compare HINDER;
accelerate, aid, facilitate, free, open, promote.
advance, clear, forward, further, pave the way for,
* * * * *
aged, decrepit, immemorial, senile,
ancient, elderly, olden, time-honored,
antiquated, gray, patriarchal, time-worn,
antique, hoary, remote, venerable.
That is termed _old_ which has existed long, or which existed long ago.
_Ancient_, from the Latin, through the French, is the more stately,
_old_, from the Saxon, the more familiar word. Familiarity, on one side,
is near to contempt; thus we say, an _old_ coat, an _old_ hat. On the
other hand, familiarity is akin to tenderness, and thus _old_ is a word
of endearment; as, "the _old_ homestead," the "_old_ oaken bucket."
"Tell me the _old, old_ story!" has been sung feelingly by millions;
"tell me that _ancient_ story" would remove it out of all touch of human
sympathy. _Olden_ is a statelier form of _old_, and is applied almost
exclusively to time, not to places, buildings, persons, etc. As regards
periods of time, the familiar are also the near; thus, the _old_ times
are not too far away for familiar thought and reference; the _olden_
times are more remote, _ancient_ times still further removed. _Gray_,
_hoary_, and _moldering_ refer to outward and visible tokens of age.
_Aged_ applies chiefly to long-extended human life. _Decrepit_, _gray_,
and _hoary_ refer to the effects of age on the body exclusively;
_senile_ upon the mind also; as, a _decrepit_ frame, _senile_
garrulousness. One may be _aged_ and neither _decrepit_ nor _senile_.
_Elderly_ is applied to those who have passed middle life, but scarcely
reached _old_ age. _Remote_ (L. _re_, back or away, and _moveo_, move),
primarily refers to space, but is extended to that which is far off in
time; as, at some _remote_ period. _Venerable_ expresses the involuntary
reverence that we yield to the majestic and long-enduring, whether in
the material world or in human life and character. Compare ANTIQUE;
Compare synonyms for NEW; YOUTHFUL.
* * * * *
action, effect, force, performance, result.
agency, execution, influence, procedure,
_Operation_ is _action_ considered with reference to the thing acted
upon, and may apply to the _action_ of an intelligent agent or of a
material substance or _force_; as, the _operation_ of a medicine.
_Performance_ and _execution_ denote intelligent _action_, considered
with reference to the actor or to that which he accomplishes;
_performance_ accomplishing the will of the actor, _execution_ often the
will of another; we speak of the _performance_ of a duty, the
_execution_ of a sentence. Compare ACT.
failure, ineffectiveness, inutility, powerlessness, uselessness.
inaction, inefficiency,
* * * * *
command, injunction, mandate, requirement.
direction, instruction, prohibition,
_Instruction_ implies superiority of knowledge, _direction_ of authority
on the part of the giver; a teacher gives _instructions_ to his pupils,
an employer gives _directions_ to his workmen. _Order_ is still more
authoritative than _direction_; soldiers, sailors, and railroad
employees have simply to obey the _orders_ of their superiors, without
explanation or question; an _order_ in the commercial sense has the
authority of the money which the one _ordering_ the goods pays or is to
pay. _Command_ is a loftier word, as well as highly authoritative, less
frequent in common life; we speak of the _commands_ of God, or
sometimes, by polite hyperbole, ask of a friend, "Have you any
_commands_ for me?" A _requirement_ is imperative, but not always
formal, nor made by a personal agent; it may be in the nature of things;
as, the _requirements_ of the position. _Prohibition_ is wholly
negative; it is a _command_ not to do; _injunction_ is now oftenest so
used, especially as the _requirement_ by legal authority that certain
action be suspended or refrained from, pending final legal decision.
allowance, consent, leave, liberty, license, permission, permit.
* * * * *
boast, flourish, parade, pompousness, vaunt,
boasting, pageant, pomp, show, vaunting.
display, pageantry, pomposity,
_Ostentation_ is an ambitious showing forth of whatever is thought
adapted to win admiration or praise; _ostentation_ may be without words;
as, the _ostentation_ of wealth in fine residences, rich clothing,
costly equipage, or the like; when in words, _ostentation_ is rather in
manner than in direct statement; as, the _ostentation_ of learning.
_Boasting_ is in direct statement, and is louder and more vulgar than
_ostentation_. There may be great _display_ or _show_ with little
substance; _ostentation_ suggests something substantial to be shown.
_Pageant_, _pageantry_, _parade_, and _pomp_ refer principally to
affairs of arms or state; as, a royal _pageant_; a military _parade_.
_Pomp_ is some material demonstration of wealth and power, as in grand
and stately ceremonial, rich furnishings, processions, etc., considered
as worthy of the person or occasion in whose behalf it is manifested;
_pomp_ is the noble side of that which as _ostentation_ is considered as
arrogant and vain. _Pageant_ and _pageantry_ are inferior to _pomp_,
denoting spectacular _display_ designed to impress the public mind, and
since the multitude is largely ignorant and thoughtless, the words
_pageant_ and _pageantry_ have a suggestion of the transient and
unsubstantial. _Parade_ (L. _paro_, prepare) is an exhibition as of
troops in camp going through the evolutions that are to be used in
battle, and suggests a lack of earnestness and direct or immediate
occasion or demand; hence, in the more general sense, a _parade_ is an
uncalled for exhibition, and so used is a more disparaging word than
_ostentation_; _ostentation_ may spring merely from undue
self-gratulation, _parade_ implies a desire to impress others with a
sense of one's abilities or resources, and is always offensive and
somewhat contemptible; as, a _parade_ of wealth or learning. _Pomposity_
and _pompousness_ are the affectation of _pomp_.
diffidence, quietness, retirement, timidity,
modesty, reserve, shrinking, unobtrusiveness.
* * * * *
One _ought_ to do that which he is under moral obligation or in duty
bound to do. _Ought_ is the stronger word, holding most closely to the
sense of moral obligation, or sometimes of imperative logical necessity;
_should_ may have the sense of moral obligation or may apply merely to
propriety or expediency, as in the proverb, "The liar _should_ have a
good memory," _i. e._, he will need it. _Ought_ is sometimes used of
abstractions or inanimate things as indicating what the mind deems to be
imperative or logically necessary in view of all the conditions; as,
these goods _ought_ to go into that space; these arguments _ought_ to
convince him; _should_ in such connections would be correct, but less
emphatic. Compare DUTY.
* * * * *
care, control, management, surveillance,
charge, direction, superintendence, watch,
command, inspection, supervision, watchfulness.
A person may look over a matter in order to survey it carefully in its
entirety, or he may look over it with no attention to the thing itself
because his gaze and thought are concentrated on something beyond;
_oversight_ has thus two contrasted senses, in the latter sense denoting
inadvertent error or omission, and in the former denoting watchful
_supervision_, commonly implying constant personal presence;
_superintendence_ requires only so much of presence or communication as
to know that the superintendent's wishes are carried out; the
superintendent of a railroad will personally oversee very few of its
operations; the railroad company has supreme _direction_ of all its
affairs without _superintendence_ or _oversight_. _Control_ is used
chiefly with reference to restraint or the power of restraint; a good
horseman has a restless horse under perfect _control_; there is no high
character without self-_control_. _Surveillance_ is an invidious term
signifying watching with something of suspicion. Compare CARE; NEGLECT.
* * * * *
ache, distress, suffering, torture,
agony, pang, throe, twinge,
anguish, paroxysm, torment, wo(e).
_Pain_ is the most general term of this group, including all the others;
_pain_ is a disturbing sensation from which nature revolts, resulting
from some injurious external interference (as from a wound, a bruise, a
harsh word, etc.), or from some lack of what one needs, craves, or
cherishes (as, the _pain_ of hunger or bereavement), or from some
abnormal action of bodily or mental functions (as, the _pains_ of
disease, envy, or discontent). _Suffering_ is one of the severer forms
of _pain_. The prick of a needle causes _pain_, but we should scarcely
speak of it as _suffering_. _Distress_ is too strong a word for little
hurts, too feeble for the intensest _suffering_, but commonly applied to
some continuous or prolonged trouble or need; as, the _distress_ of a
shipwrecked crew, or of a destitute family. _Ache_ is lingering _pain_,
more or less severe; _pang_, a _pain_ short, sharp, intense, and perhaps
repeated. We speak of the _pangs_ of hunger or of remorse. _Throe_ is a
violent and thrilling _pain_. _Paroxysm_ applies to an alternately
recurring and receding _pain_, which comes as it were in waves; the
_paroxysm_ is the rising of the wave. _Torment_ and _torture_ are
intense and terrible _sufferings_. _Agony_ and _anguish_ express the
utmost _pain_ or _suffering_ of body or mind. _Agony_ of body is that
with which the system struggles; _anguish_ that by which it is crushed.
comfort, delight, ease, enjoyment, peace, rapture, relief, solace.
* * * * *
apologize for, conceal, extenuate, hide, screen,
cloak, cover, gloss over, mitigate, veil.
_Cloak_, from the French, and _palliate_, from the Latin, are the same
in original signification, but have diverged in meaning; a _cloak_ may
be used to _hide_ completely the person or some object carried about the
person, or it may but partly _veil_ the figure, making the outlines less
distinct; _cloak_ is used in the former, _palliate_, in the latter
sense; to _cloak_ a sin is to attempt to _hide_ it from discovery; to
_palliate_ it is to attempt to _hide_ some part of its blameworthiness.
"When we _palliate_ our own or others' faults we do not seek to _cloke_
them altogether, but only to _extenuate_ the guilt of them in part."
TRENCH _Study of Words_ lect. vi, p. 266. Either to _palliate_ or to
_extenuate_ is to admit the fault; but to _extenuate_ is rather to
_apologize_ for the offender, while to _palliate_ is to disguise the
fault; hence, we speak of _extenuating_ but not of _palliating_
circumstances, since circumstances can not change the inherent wrong of
an act, tho they may lessen the blameworthiness of him who does it;
_palliating_ a bad thing by giving it a mild name does not make it less
evil. In reference to diseases, to _palliate_ is really to diminish
their violence, or partly to relieve the sufferer. Compare ALLEVIATE;
* * * * *
PARDON, _v._
absolve, condone, forgive, pass by, remit.
acquit, excuse, overlook, pass over,
To _pardon_ is to let pass, as a fault or sin, without resentment,
blame, or punishment. _Forgive_ has reference to feelings, _pardon_ to
consequences; hence, the executive may _pardon_, but has nothing to do
officially with _forgiving_. Personal injury may be _forgiven_ by the
person wronged; thus, God at once _forgives_ and _pardons_; the
_pardoned_ sinner is exempt from punishment; the _forgiven_ sinner is
restored to the divine favor. To _pardon_ is the act of a superior,
implying the right to punish; to _forgive_ is the privilege of the
humblest person who has been wronged or offended. In law, to _remit_ the
whole penalty is equivalent to _pardoning_ the offender; but a part of a
penalty may be _remitted_ and the remainder inflicted, as where the
penalty includes both fine and imprisonment. To _condone_ is to put
aside a recognized offense by some act which restores the offender to
forfeited right or privilege, and is the act of a private individual,
without legal formalities. To _excuse_ is to _overlook_ some slight
offense, error, or breach of etiquette; _pardon_ is often used by
courtesy in nearly the same sense. A person may speak of _excusing_ or
_forgiving_ himself, but not of _pardoning_ himself. Compare ABSOLVE;
PARDON, _n._
castigate, chastise, convict, doom, recompense, sentence,
chasten, condemn, correct, punish, scourge, visit.
* * * * *
PARDON, _n._
absolution, amnesty, forgiveness, oblivion,
acquittal, forbearance, mercy, remission.
_Acquittal_ is a release from a charge, after trial, as not guilty.
_Pardon_ is a removal of penalty from one who has been adjudged guilty.
_Acquittal_ is by the decision of a court, commonly of a jury; _pardon_
is the act of the executive. An innocent man may demand _acquittal_, and
need not plead for _pardon_. _Pardon_ supposes an offense; yet, as our
laws stand, to grant a _pardon_ is sometimes the only way to release one
who has been wrongly convicted. _Oblivion_, from the Latin, signifies
overlooking and virtually forgetting an offense, so that the offender
stands before the law in all respects as if it had never been committed.
_Amnesty_ brings the same idea through the Greek. _Pardon_ affects
individuals; _amnesty_ and _oblivion_ are said of great numbers.
_Pardon_ is oftenest applied to the ordinary administration of law;
_amnesty_, to national and military affairs. An _amnesty_ is issued
after war, insurrection, or rebellion; it is often granted by "an act of
_oblivion_," and includes a full _pardon_ of all offenders who come
within its provisions. _Absolution_ is a religious word (compare
synonyms for ABSOLVE). _Remission_ is a discharge from penalty; as, the
_remission_ of a fine.
penalty, punishment, retaliation, retribution, vengeance.
A pardon _to_ or _for_ the offenders; _for_ all offenses; the pardon
_of_ offenders or offenses.
* * * * *
PART, _v._
Compare synonyms for PART, _n._
Part _into_ shares; part _in_ the middle; part one _from_ another; part
_among_ the claimants; part _between_ contestants (archaic); in general,
to part _from_ is to relinquish companionship; to part _with_ is to
relinquish possession; we part _from_ a person or _from_ something
thought of with some sense of companionship; a traveler parts _from_ his
friends; he maybe said also to part _from_ his native shore; a man parts
_with_ an estate, a horse, a copyright; part _with_ may be applied to a
person thought of in any sense as a possession; an employer parts _with_
a clerk or servant; but _part with_ is sometimes used by good writers as
meaning simply to separate from.
* * * * *
PART, _n._
atom, fraction, member, section,
component, fragment, particle, segment,
constituent, ingredient, piece, share,
division, instalment, portion, subdivision.
_Part_, a substance, quantity, or amount that is the result of the
division of something greater, is the general word, including all the
others of this group. A _fragment_ is the result of breaking, rending,
or disruption of some kind, while a _piece_ may be smoothly or evenly
separated and have a certain completeness in itself. A _piece_ is often
taken for a sample; a _fragment_ scarcely would be. _Division_ and
_fraction_ are always regarded as in connection with the total;
_divisions_ may be equal or unequal; a _fraction_ is one of several
equal _parts_ into which the whole is supposed to be divided. A
_portion_ is a _part_ viewed with reference to some one who is to
receive it or some special purpose to which it is to be applied; in a
restaurant one _portion_ (_i. e._, the amount designed for one person)
is sometimes, by special order, served to two; a _share_ is a _part_ to
which one has or may acquire a right in connection with others; an
_instalment_ is one of a series of proportionate payments that are to be
continued till the entire claim is discharged; a _particle_ is an
exceedingly small _part_. A _component_, _constituent_, _ingredient_, or
_element_ is a _part_ of some compound or mixture; an _element_ is
necessary to the existence, as a _component_ or _constituent_ is
necessary to the completeness of that which it helps to compose; an
_ingredient_ may be foreign or accidental. A _subdivision_ is a
_division_ of a _division_. We speak of a _segment_ of a circle. Compare
* * * * *
atom, grain, mite, scrap, whit.
corpuscle, iota, molecule, shred,
element, jot, scintilla, tittle,
A _particle_ is a very small part of any material substance; as, a
_particle_ of sand or of dust; it is a general term, not accurately
determinate in meaning. _Atom_ (Gr. _a-_ privative, not, and _temno_,
cut) etymologically signifies that which can not be cut or divided, and
is the smallest conceivable _particle_ of matter, regarded as absolutely
homogeneous and as having but one set of properties; _atoms_ are the
ultimate _particles_ of matter. A _molecule_ is made up of _atoms_, and
is regarded as separable into its constituent parts; as used by
physicists, a _molecule_ is the smallest conceivable part which retains
all the characteristics of the substance; thus, a _molecule_ of water is
made up of two _atoms_ of hydrogen and one _atom_ of oxygen. _Element_
in chemistry denotes, without reference to quantity, a substance
regarded as simple, _i. e._, one incapable of being resolved by any
known process into simpler substances; the _element_ gold may be
represented by an ingot or by a _particle_ of gold-dust. In popular
language, an _element_ is any essential constituent; the ancients
believed that the universe was made up of the four _elements_, earth,
air, fire, and water; a storm is spoken of as a manifestation of the
fury of the _elements_. We speak of _corpuscles_ of blood. Compare PART.
aggregate, entirety, mass, quantity, sum, sum total, total, whole.
* * * * *
calmness, forbearance, long-suffering, sufferance.
composure, fortitude, resignation,
endurance, leniency, submission,
_Patience_ is the quality or habit of mind shown in bearing passively
and uncomplainingly any pain, evil, or hardship that may fall to one's
lot. _Endurance_ hardens itself against suffering, and may be merely
stubborn; _fortitude_ is _endurance_ animated by courage; _endurance_
may by modifiers be made to have a passive force, as when we speak of
"passive endurance;" _patience_ is not so hard as _endurance_ nor so
self-effacing as _submission_. _Submission_ is ordinarily and
_resignation_ always applied to matters of great moment, while
_patience_ may apply to slight worries and annoyances. As regards our
relations to our fellow men, _forbearance_ is abstaining from
retaliation or revenge; _patience_ is keeping kindliness of heart under
vexatious conduct; _long-suffering_ is continued _patience_. _Patience_
may also have an active force denoting uncomplaining steadiness in
doing, as in tilling the soil. Compare INDUSTRY.
See synonyms for ANGER.
Patience _in_ or _amid_ sufferings; patience _with_ (rarely _toward_)
opposers or offenders; patience _under_ afflictions; (rarely) patience
_of_ heat or cold, etc.
* * * * *
PAY, _n._
allowance, hire, recompense, salary,
compensation, honorarium, remuneration, stipend,
earnings, payment, requital, wages.
An _allowance_ is a stipulated amount furnished at regular intervals as
a matter of discretion or gratuity, as of food to besieged soldiers, or
of money to a child or ward. _Compensation_ is a comprehensive word
signifying a return for a service done. _Remuneration_ is applied to
matters of great amount or importance. _Recompense_ is a still wider and
loftier word, with less suggestion of calculation and market value;
there are services for which affection and gratitude are the sole and
sufficient _recompense_; _earnings_, _fees_, _hire_, _pay_, _salary_,
and _wages_ are forms of _compensation_ and may be included in
_compensation_, _remuneration_, or _recompense_. _Pay_ is commercial and
strictly signifies an exact pecuniary equivalent for a thing or service,
except when the contrary is expressly stated, as when we speak of "high
_pay_" or "poor _pay_." _Wages_ denotes what a worker receives.
_Earnings_ is often used as exactly equivalent to _wages_, but may be
used with reference to the real value of work done or service rendered,
and even applied to inanimate things; as, the _earnings_ of capital.
_Hire_ is distinctly mercenary or menial, but as a noun has gone out of
popular use, tho the verb _to hire_ is common. _Salary_ is for literary
or professional work, _wages_ for handicraft or other comparatively
inferior service; a _salary_ is regarded as more permanent than _wages_;
an editor receives a _salary_, a compositor receives _wages_. _Stipend_
has become exclusively a literary word. A _fee_ is given for a single
service or privilege, and is sometimes in the nature of a gratuity.
Compare REQUITE.
* * * * *
commonwealth, nation, race, state, tribe.
community, population,
A _community_ is in general terms the aggregate of persons inhabiting
any territory in common and viewed as having common interests; a
_commonwealth_ is such a body of persons having a common government,
especially a republican government; as, the _commonwealth_ of
Massachusetts. A _community_ may be very small; a _commonwealth_ is
ordinarily of considerable extent. A _people_ is the aggregate of any
public _community_, either in distinction from their rulers or as
including them; a _race_ is a division of mankind in the line of origin
and ancestry; the _people_ of the United States includes members of
almost every _race_. The use of _people_ as signifying persons
collectively, as in the statement "The hall was full of _people_," has
been severely criticized, but is old and accepted English, and may fitly
be classed as idiomatic, and often better than _persons_, by reason of
its collectivism. As Dean Alford suggests, it would make a strange
transformation of the old hymn "All _people_ that on earth do dwell" to
sing "All _persons_ that on earth do dwell." A _state_ is an organized
political _community_ considered in its corporate capacity as "a body
politic and corporate;" as, a legislative act is the act of the _state_;
every citizen is entitled to the protection of the _state_. A _nation_
is an organized political _community_ considered with reference to the
persons composing it as having certain definite boundaries, a definite
number of citizens, etc. The members of a _people_ are referred to as
persons or individuals; the individual members of a _state_ or _nation_
are called citizens or subjects. The _population_ of a country is simply
the aggregate of persons residing within its borders, without reference
to _race_, organization, or allegiance; unnaturalized residents form
part of the _population_, but not of the _nation_, possessing none of
the rights and being subject to none of the duties of citizens. In
American usage _State_ signifies one _commonwealth_ of the federal union
known as the United _States_. _Tribe_ is now almost wholly applied to
rude _peoples_ with very imperfect political organization; as, the
Indian _tribes_; nomadic _tribes_. Compare MOB.
* * * * *
apprehend, comprehend, conceive, understand.
We _perceive_ what is presented through the senses. We _apprehend_ what
is presented to the mind, whether through the senses or by any other
means. Yet _perceive_ is used in the figurative sense of seeing through
to a conclusion, in a way for which usage would not allow us to
substitute _apprehend_; as, "Sir, I _perceive_ that thou art a prophet,"
_John_ iv, 19. That which we _apprehend_ we catch, as with the hand;
that which we _conceive_ we are able to analyze and recompose in our
mind; that which we _comprehend_, we, as it were, grasp around, take
together, seize, embrace wholly within the mind. Many things may be
_apprehended_ which can not be _comprehended_; a child can _apprehend_
the distinction between right and wrong, yet the philosopher can not
_comprehend_ it in its fulness. We can _apprehend_ the will of God as
revealed in conscience or the Scriptures; we can _conceive_ of certain
attributes of Deity, as his truth and justice; but no finite
intelligence can _comprehend_ the Divine Nature, in its majesty, power,
fail of, ignore, lose, misapprehend, misconceive, miss, overlook.
* * * * *
absolute, consummate, holy, spotless,
accurate, correct, ideal, stainless,
blameless, entire, immaculate, unblemished,
complete, faultless, sinless, undefiled.
completed, finished,
That is _perfect_ to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing
can be taken without impairing its excellence, marring its symmetry, or
detracting from its worth; in this fullest sense God alone is _perfect_,
but in a limited sense anything may be _perfect_ in its kind; as a
_perfect_ flower; a copy of a document is _perfect_ when it is
_accurate_ in every particular; a vase may be called _perfect_ when
_entire_ and _unblemished_, even tho not artistically _faultless_; the
best judges never pronounce a work of art _perfect_, because they see
always _ideal_ possibilities not yet attained; even the _ideal_ is not
_perfect_, by reason of the imperfection of the human mind; a human
character faultlessly _holy_ would be morally _perfect_ tho finite. That
which is _absolute_ is free from admixture (as _absolute_ alcohol) and
in the highest and fullest sense free from imperfection or limitation;
as, _absolute_ holiness and love are attributes of God alone. In
philosophical language, _absolute_ signifies free from all necessary, or
even from all possible relations, not dependent or limited, unrelated
and unconditioned; truth immediately known, as intuitive truth, is
_absolute_; God, as self-existent and free from all limitation or
dependence, is called the _absolute_ Being, or simply the _Absolute_.
bad, defective, imperfect, meager, scant,
blemished, deficient, incomplete, perverted, short,
corrupt, deformed, inferior, poor, spoiled,
corrupted, fallible, insufficient, ruined, worthless.
defaced, faulty, marred,
* * * * *
abiding, enduring, lasting, steadfast,
changeless, fixed, perpetual, unchangeable,
constant, immutable, persistent, unchanging.
durable, invariable, stable,
_Durable_ (L. _durus_, hard) is said almost wholly of material
substances that resist wear; _lasting_ is said of either material or
immaterial things. _Permanent_ is a word of wider meaning; a thing is
_permanent_ which is not liable to change; as, a _permanent_ color;
buildings upon a farm are called _permanent_ improvements. _Enduring_ is
a higher word, applied to that which resists both time and change; as,
_enduring_ fame.
See synonyms for TRANSIENT.
* * * * *
allowance, authorization, leave, license,
authority, consent, liberty, permit.
_Authority_ unites the right and power of control; age, wisdom, and
character give _authority_ to their possessor; a book of learned
research has _authority_, and is even called an _authority_.
_Permission_ justifies another in acting without interference or
censure, and usually implies some degree of approval. _Authority_ gives
a certain right of control over all that may be affected by the action.
There may be a failure to object, which constitutes an implied
_permission_, tho this is more properly expressed by _allowance_; we
_allow_ what we do not oppose, _permit_ what we expressly authorize. The
noun _permit_ implies a formal written _permission_. _License_ is a
formal _permission_ granted by competent _authority_ to an individual to
do some act or pursue some business which would be or is made to be
unlawful without such _permission_; as, a _license_ to preach, to
solemnize marriages, or to sell intoxicating liquors. A _license_ is
_permission_ granted rather than _authority_ conferred; the sheriff has
_authority_ (not _permission_ nor _license_) to make an arrest.
_Consent_ is _permission_ by the concurrence of wills in two or more
persons, a mutual approval or acceptance of something proposed. Compare
denial, objection, prevention, refusal, resistance.
hindrance, opposition, prohibition,
* * * * *
bad, evil, mischievous, pestilential,
baneful, foul, noisome, poisonous,
deadly, harmful, noxious, ruinous,
deleterious, hurtful, perverting, unhealthful,
destructive, injurious, pestiferous, unwholesome.
detrimental, insalubrious,
_Pernicious_ (L. _per_, through, and _neco_, kill) signifies having the
power of destroying or injuring, tending to hurt or kill. _Pernicious_
is stronger than _injurious_; that which is _injurious_ is capable of
doing harm; that which is _pernicious_ is likely to be _destructive_.
_Noxious_ (L. _noceo_, hurt) is a stronger word than _noisome_, as
referring to that which is _injurious_ or _destructive_. _Noisome_ now
always denotes that which is extremely disagreeable or disgusting,
especially to the sense of smell; as, the _noisome_ stench proclaimed
the presence of _noxious_ gases.
advantageous, favorable, helpful, profitable, serviceable,
beneficent, good, invigorating, rejuvenating, useful,
beneficial, healthful, life-giving, salutary, wholesome.
* * * * *
amazement, bewilderment, distraction, doubt,
astonishment, confusion, disturbance, embarrassment.
_Perplexity_ (L. _per_, through, and _plecto_, plait) is the drawing or
turning of the thoughts or faculties by turns in different directions or
toward contrasted or contradictory conclusions; _confusion_ (L.
_confusus_, from _confundo_, pour together) is a state in which the
mental faculties are, as it were, thrown into chaos, so that the clear
and distinct action of the different powers, as of perception, memory,
reason, and will is lost; _bewilderment_ is akin to _confusion_, but is
less overwhelming, and more readily recovered from; _perplexity_,
accordingly, has not the unsettling of the faculties implied in
_confusion_, nor the overwhelming of the faculties implied in
_amazement_ or _astonishment_; it is not the magnitude of the things to
be known, but the want of full and definite knowledge, that causes
_perplexity_. The dividing of a woodland path may cause the traveler the
greatest _perplexity_, which may become _bewilderment_ when he has tried
one path after another and lost his bearings completely. With an
excitable person _bewilderment_ may deepen into _confusion_ that will
make him unable to think clearly or even to see or hear distinctly.
_Amazement_ results from the sudden and unimagined occurrence of great
good or evil or the sudden awakening of the mind to unthought-of truth.
_Astonishment_ often produces _bewilderment_, which the word was
formerly understood to imply. Compare AMAZEMENT; ANXIETY; DOUBT.
* * * * *
allure, dispose, incline, move,
bring over, entice, induce, prevail on _or_ upon,
coax, impel, influence, urge,
convince, incite, lead, win over.
Of these words _convince_ alone has no direct reference to moving the
will, denoting an effect upon the understanding only; one may be
_convinced_ of his duty without doing it, or he may be _convinced_ of
truth that has no manifest connection with duty or action, as of a
mathematical proposition. To _persuade_ is to bring the will of another
to a desired decision by some influence exerted upon it short of
compulsion; one may be _convinced_ that the earth is round; he may be
_persuaded_ to travel round it; but persuasion is so largely dependent
upon conviction that it is commonly held to be the orator's work first
to _convince_ in order that he may _persuade_. _Coax_ is a slighter word
than _persuade_, seeking the same end by shallower methods, largely by
appeal to personal feeling, with or without success; as, a child
_coaxes_ a parent to buy him a toy. One may be _brought over_,
_induced_, or _prevailed upon_ by means not properly included in
persuasion, as by bribery or intimidation; he is _won over_ chiefly by
personal influence. Compare INFLUENCE.
deter, discourage, dissuade, hinder, hold back, repel, restrain.
* * * * *
boldness, forwardness, liveliness, sprightliness.
briskness, impertinence, sauciness,
flippancy, impudence, smartness,
_Liveliness_ and _sprightliness_ are pleasant and commendable;
_smartness_ is a limited and showy acuteness or shrewdness, usually with
unfavorable suggestion; _pertness_ and _sauciness_ are these qualities
overdone, and regardless of the respect due to superiors. _Impertinence_
and _impudence_ may be gross and stupid; _pertness_ and _sauciness_ are
always vivid and keen. Compare IMPUDENCE.
bashfulness, demureness, diffidence, humility, modesty, shyness.
* * * * *
contrary, froward, petulant, untoward,
factious, intractable, stubborn, wayward,
fractious, obstinate, ungovernable, wilful.
_Perverse_ (L. _perversus_, turned the wrong way) signifies wilfully
wrong or erring, unreasonably set against right, reason, or authority.
The _stubborn_ or _obstinate_ person will not do what another desires or
requires; the _perverse_ person will do anything contrary to what is
desired or required of him. The _petulant_ person frets, but may comply;
the _perverse_ individual may be smooth or silent, but is wilfully
_intractable_. _Wayward_ refers to a _perverse_ disregard of morality
and duty; _froward_ is practically obsolete; _untoward_ is rarely heard
except in certain phrases; as, _untoward_ circumstances. Compare
accommodating, complaisant, genial, kind,
amenable, compliant, governable, obliging.
* * * * *
bodily, corporeal, natural, tangible,
corporal, material, sensible, visible.
Whatever is composed of or pertains to matter may be termed _material_;
_physical_ (Gr. _physis_, nature) applies to _material_ things
considered as parts of a system or organic whole; hence, we speak of
_material_ substances, _physical_ forces, _physical_ laws. _Bodily_,
_corporal_, and _corporeal_ apply primarily to the human body; _bodily_
and _corporal_ both denote pertaining or relating to the body;
_corporeal_ signifies of the nature of or like the body; _corporal_ is
now almost wholly restricted to signify applied to or inflicted upon the
body; we speak of _bodily_ sufferings, _bodily_ presence, _corporal_
punishment, the _corporeal_ frame.
hyperphysical, intangible, invisible, moral, unreal,
immaterial, intellectual, mental, spiritual, unsubstantial.
* * * * *
displeasure, irritation, offense, resentment, umbrage.
_Pique_, from the French, signifies primarily a prick or a sting, as of
a nettle; the word denotes a sudden feeling of mingled pain and anger,
but slight and usually transient, arising from some neglect or
_offense_, real or imaginary. _Umbrage_ is a deeper and more persistent
_displeasure_ at being overshadowed (L. _umbra_, a shadow) or subjected
to any treatment that one deems unworthy of him. It may be said, as a
general statement, that _pique_ arises from wounded vanity or
sensitiveness, _umbrage_ from wounded pride or sometimes from suspicion.
_Resentment_ rests on more solid grounds, and is deep and persistent.
Compare ANGER.
approval, contentment, gratification, pleasure, satisfaction.
complacency, delight,
* * * * *
abject, lamentable, paltry, sorrowful,
base, miserable, pathetic, touching,
contemptible, mournful, piteous, woful,
despicable, moving, pitiable, wretched.
_Pitiful_ originally signified full of pity; as, "the Lord is very
_pitiful_ and of tender mercy," _James_ v, 11; but this usage is now
archaic, and the meaning in question is appropriated by such words as
merciful and compassionate. _Pitiful_ and _pitiable_ now refer to what
may be deserving of pity, _pitiful_ being used chiefly for that which is
merely an object of thought, _pitiable_ for that which is brought
directly before the senses; as, a _pitiful_ story; a _pitiable_ object;
a _pitiable_ condition. Since pity, however, always implies weakness or
inferiority in that which is pitied, _pitiful_ and _pitiable_ are often
used, by an easy transition, for what might awaken pity, but does awaken
contempt; as, a _pitiful_ excuse; he presented a _pitiable_ appearance.
_Piteous_ is now rarely used in its earlier sense of feeling pity, but
in its derived sense applies to what really excites the emotion; as, a
_piteous_ cry. Compare HUMANE; MERCY; PITY.
august, dignified, grand, lofty, sublime,
beneficent, exalted, great, mighty, superb,
commanding, glorious, helpful, noble, superior.
* * * * *
commiseration, condolence, sympathy, tenderness.
compassion, mercy,
_Pity_ is a feeling of grief or pain aroused by the weakness,
misfortunes, or distresses of others, joined with a desire to help or
relieve. _Sympathy_ (feeling or suffering with) implies some degree of
equality, kindred, or union; _pity_ is for what is weak or unfortunate,
and so far, at least, inferior to ourselves; hence, _pity_ is often
resented where _sympathy_ would be welcome. We have _sympathy_ with one
in joy or grief, in pleasure or pain, _pity_ only for those in suffering
or need; we may have _sympathy_ with the struggles of a giant or the
triumphs of a conqueror; we are moved with _pity_ for the captive or the
slave. _Pity_ may be only in the mind, but _mercy_ does something for
those who are its objects. _Compassion_, like _pity_, is exercised only
with respect to the suffering or unfortunate, but combines with the
tenderness of _pity_ the dignity of _sympathy_ and the active quality of
_mercy_. _Commiseration_ is as tender as _compassion_, but more remote
and hopeless; we have _commiseration_ for sufferers whom we can not
reach or can not relieve. _Condolence_ is the expression of _sympathy_.
Compare MERCY.
barbarity, ferocity, harshness, pitilessness, severity,
brutality, hard-heartedness, inhumanity, rigor, sternness,
cruelty, hardness, mercilessness, ruthlessness, truculence.
Pity _on_ or _upon_ that which we help or spare; pity _for_ that which
we merely contemplate; "have pity _upon_ me, O ye my friends," _Job_
xix, 21; "pity _for_ a horse o'erdriven," TENNYSON _In Memoriam_ lxii,
st. 1.
* * * * *
seed, seed down, set, set out, sow.
We _set_ or _set out_ slips, cuttings, young trees, etc., tho we may
also be said to _plant_ them; we _plant_ corn, potatoes, etc., which we
put in definite places, as in hills, with some care; we _sow_ wheat or
other small grains and seeds which are scattered in the process. Tho by
modern agricultural machinery the smaller grains are almost as precisely
_planted_ as corn, the old word for broadcast scattering is retained.
Land is _seeded_ or _seeded down_ to grass.
eradicate, extirpate, root up, uproot, weed out.
* * * * *
advocate, ask, beseech, implore, solicit,
argue, beg, entreat, press, urge.
To _plead_ for one is to employ argument or persuasion, or both in his
behalf, usually with earnestness or importunity; similarly one may be
said to _plead_ for himself or for a cause, etc., or with direct object,
to _plead_ a case; in legal usage, _pleading_ is argumentative, but in
popular usage, _pleading_ always implies some appeal to the feelings.
One _argues_ a case solely on rational grounds and supposably with fair
consideration of both sides; he _advocates_ one side for the purpose of
carrying it, and under the influence of motives that may range all the
way from cold self-interest to the highest and noblest impulses; he
_pleads_ a cause, or _pleads_ for a person with still more intense
feeling. _Beseech_, _entreat_, and _implore_ imply impassioned
earnestness, with direct and tender appeal to personal considerations.
_Press_ and _urge_ imply more determined or perhaps authoritative
insistence. _Solicit_ is a weak word denoting merely an attempt to
secure one's consent or cooperation, sometimes by sordid or corrupt
Plead _with_ the tyrant _for_ the captive; plead _against_ the
oppression or the oppressor; plead _to_ the indictment; _at_ the bar;
_before_ the court; _in_ open court.
* * * * *
agreeable, good-natured, kindly, pleasing,
attractive, kind, obliging, pleasurable.
That is _pleasing_ from which pleasure is received, or may readily be
received, without reference to any action or intent in that which
confers it; as, a _pleasing_ picture; a _pleasing_ landscape. Whatever
has active qualities adapted to give pleasure is _pleasant_; as, a
_pleasant_ breeze; a _pleasant_ (not a _pleasing_) day. As applied to
persons, _pleasant_ always refers to a disposition ready and desirous to
please; one is _pleasant_, or in a _pleasant_ mood, when inclined to
make happy those with whom he is dealing, to show kindness and do any
reasonable favor. In this sense _pleasant_ is nearly akin to _kind_, but
_kind_ refers to act or intent, while _pleasant_ stops with the
disposition; many persons are no longer in a _pleasant_ mood if asked to
do a troublesome kindness. _Pleasant_ keeps always something of the
sense of actually giving pleasure, and thus surpasses the meaning of
_good-natured_; there are _good-natured_ people who by reason of
rudeness and ill-breeding are not _pleasant_ companions. A _pleasing_
face has good features, complexion, expression, etc.; a _pleasant_ face
indicates a _kind_ heart and an _obliging_ disposition, as well as
_kindly_ feelings in actual exercise; we can say of one usually
_good-natured_, "on that occasion he did not meet me with a _pleasant_
face." _Pleasant_, in the sense of gay, merry, jocose (the sense still
retained in _pleasantry_), is now rare, and would not be understood
outside of literary circles. Compare AMIABLE; COMFORTABLE; DELIGHTFUL.
arrogant, displeasing, glum, ill-humored, repelling,
austere, dreary, grim, ill-natured, repulsive,
crabbed, forbidding, harsh, offensive, unkind,
disagreeable, gloomy, hateful, repellent, unpleasant.
Pleasant _to_, _with_, or _toward_ persons, _about_ a matter.
* * * * *
abounding, bountiful, generous, plenteous,
abundant, complete, large, profuse,
adequate, copious, lavish, replete,
affluent, enough, liberal, rich,
ample, exuberant, luxuriant, sufficient,
bounteous, full, overflowing, teeming.
_Enough_ is relative, denoting a supply equal to a given demand. A
temperature of 70 deg. Fahrenheit is _enough_ for a living-room; of 212 deg.
_enough_ to boil water; neither is _enough_ to melt iron. _Sufficient_,
from the Latin, is an equivalent of the Saxon _enough_, with no
perceptible difference of meaning, but only of usage, _enough_ being the
more blunt, homely, and forcible word, while _sufficient_ is in many
cases the more elegant or polite. _Sufficient_ usually precedes its
noun; _enough_ usually and preferably follows. That is _ample_ which
gives a safe, but not a large, margin beyond a given demand; that is
_abundant_, _affluent_, _bountiful_, _liberal_, _plentiful_, which is
largely in excess of manifest need. _Plentiful_ is used of supplies, as
of food, water, etc.; as, "a _plentiful_ rain," _Ps._ lxviii, 9. We may
also say a _copious_ rain; but _copious_ can be applied to thought,
language, etc., where _plentiful_ can not well be used. _Affluent_ and
_liberal_ both apply to riches, resources; _liberal_, with especial
reference to giving or expending. (Compare synonyms for ADEQUATE.)
_Affluent_, referring especially to riches, may be used of thought,
feeling, etc. Neither _affluent_, _copious_, nor _plentiful_ can be used
of time or space; a field is sometimes called _plentiful_, not with
reference to its extent, but to its productiveness. _Complete_ expresses
not excess or overplus, and yet not mere sufficiency, but harmony,
proportion, fitness to a design, or ideal. _Ample_ and _abundant_ may be
applied to any subject. We have time _enough_, means that we can reach
our destination without haste, but also without delay; if we have
_ample_ time, we may move leisurely, and note what is by the way; if we
have _abundant_ time, we may pause to converse with a friend, to view
the scenery, or to rest when weary. _Lavish_ and _profuse_ imply a
decided excess, oftenest in the ill sense. We rejoice in _abundant_
resources, and honor _generous_ hospitality; _lavish_ or _profuse_
expenditure suggests extravagance and wastefulness. _Luxuriant_ is used
especially of that which is _abundant_ in growth; as, a _luxuriant_
deficient, inadequate, narrow, scanty, small,
drained, insufficient, niggardly, scarce, sparing,
exhausted, mean, poor, scrimped, stingy,
impoverished, miserly, scant, short, straitened.
Plentiful _in_ resources.
* * * * *
meter, numbers, poesy, song,
metrical composition, poem, rime, verse.
_Poetry_ is that form of literature that embodies beautiful thought,
feeling, or action in melodious, rhythmical, and (usually) metrical
language, in imaginative and artistic constructions. _Poetry_ in a very
wide sense may be anything that pleasingly addresses the imagination;
as, the _poetry_ of motion. In ordinary usage, _poetry_ is both
imaginative and metrical. There may be _poetry_ without _rime_, but
hardly without _meter_, or what in some languages takes its place, as
the Hebrew parallelism; but _poetry_ involves, besides the artistic
form, the exercise of the fancy or imagination in a way always
beautiful, often lofty or even sublime. Failing this, there may be
_verse_, _rime_, and _meter_, but not _poetry_. There is much in
literature that is beautiful and sublime in thought and artistic in
construction, which is yet not _poetry_, because quite devoid of the
element of _song_, whereby _poetry_ differs from the most lofty,
beautiful, or impassioned prose. Compare METER.
prosaic speech, prosaic writing, prose.
* * * * *
accomplished, courtly, genteel, urbane,
civil, cultivated, gracious, well-behaved,
complaisant, cultured, obliging, well-bred,
courteous, elegant, polished, well-mannered.
A _civil_ person observes such propriety of speech and manner as to
avoid being rude; one who is _polite_ (literally _polished_) observes
more than the necessary proprieties, conforming to all that is graceful,
becoming, and thoughtful in the intercourse of refined society. A man
may be _civil_ with no consideration for others, simply because
self-respect forbids him to be rude; but one who is _polite_ has at
least some care for the opinions of others, and if _polite_ in the
highest and truest sense, which is coming to be the prevailing one, he
cares for the comfort and happiness of others in the smallest matters.
_Civil_ is a colder and more distant word than _polite_; _courteous_ is
fuller and richer, dealing often with greater matters, and is used only
in the good sense. _Courtly_ suggests that which befits a royal court,
and is used of external grace and stateliness without reference to the
prompting feeling; as, the _courtly_ manners of the ambassador.
_Genteel_ refers to an external elegance, which may be showy and
superficial, and the word is thus inferior to _polite_ or _courteous_.
_Urbane_ refers to a politeness that is genial and successful in giving
others a sense of ease and cheer. _Polished_ refers to external
elegancies of speech and manner without reference to spirit or purpose;
as, a _polished_ gentleman or a _polished_ scoundrel; _cultured_ refers
to a real and high development of mind and soul, of which the external
manifestation is the smallest part. _Complaisant_ denotes a disposition
to please or favor beyond what _politeness_ would necessarily require.
awkward, clownish, ill-mannered, insulting, uncouth,
bluff, coarse, impertinent, raw, unmannerly,
blunt, discourteous, impolite, rude, unpolished,
boorish, ill-behaved, impudent, rustic, untaught,
brusk, ill-bred, insolent, uncivil, untutored.
* * * * *
constitution, policy, form _or_ system of government.
_Polity_ is the permanent system of government of a state, a church, or
a society; _policy_ is the method of management with reference to the
attainment of certain ends; the national _polity_ of the United States
is republican; each administration has a _policy_ of its own. _Policy_
is often used as equivalent to expediency; as, many think honesty to be
good _policy_. _Polity_ used in ecclesiastical use serves a valuable
purpose in distinguishing that which relates to administration and
government from that which relates to faith and doctrine; two churches
identical in faith may differ in _polity_, or those agreeing in _polity_
may differ in faith. Compare LAW.
* * * * *
lot, parcel, part, proportion, share.
When any whole is divided into _parts_, any _part_ that is allotted to
some person, thing, subject or purpose is called a _portion_, tho the
division may be by no fixed rule or relation; a father may divide his
estate by will among his children so as to make their several _portions_
great or small, according to his arbitrary and unreasonable caprice.
When we speak of a _part_ as a _proportion_, we think of the whole as
divided according to some rule or scale, so that the different _parts_
bear a contemplated and intended relation or ratio to one another; thus,
the _portion_ allotted to a child by will may not be a fair _proportion_
of the estate. _Proportion_ is often used where _part_ or _portion_
would be more appropriate. Compare PART.
* * * * *
beggary, distress, mendicancy, pauperism, privation,
destitution, indigence, need, penury, want.
_Poverty_ denotes strictly lack of property or adequate means of
support, but in common use is a relative term denoting any condition
below that of easy, comfortable living; _privation_ denotes a condition
of painful lack of what is useful or desirable, tho not to the extent of
absolute _distress_; _indigence_ is lack of ordinary means of
subsistence; _destitution_ is lack of the comforts, and in part even of
the necessaries of life; _penury_ is especially cramping _poverty_,
possibly not so sharp as _destitution_, but continuous, while that may
be temporary; _pauperism_ is such _destitution_ as throws one upon
organized public charity for support; _beggary_ and _mendicancy_ denote
_poverty_ that appeals for indiscriminate private charity.
* * * * *
ability, competency, expertness, readiness,
aptitude, dexterity, faculty, skill,
capability, efficacy, force, strength,
capacity, efficiency, might, susceptibility,
cleverness, energy, qualification, talent.
_Power_ is the most general term of this group, including every quality,
property, or _faculty_ by which any change, effect, or result is, or may
be, produced; as, the _power_ of the legislature to enact laws, or of
the executive to enforce them; the _power_ of an acid to corrode a
metal; the _power_ of a polished surface to reflect light. _Ability_ is
nearly coextensive with _power_, but does not reach the positiveness and
vigor that may be included in the meaning of _power_, _ability_ often
implying latent, as distinguished from active _power_; we speak of an
exertion of _power_, but not of an exertion of _ability_. _Power_ and
_ability_ include _capacity_, which is _power_ to receive; but _ability_
is often distinguished from _capacity_, as power that may be manifested
in doing, as _capacity_ is in receiving; one may have great _capacity_
for acquiring knowledge, and yet not possess _ability_ to teach.
_Efficiency_ is active _power_ to effect a definite result, the _power_
that actually does, as distinguished from that which may do.
_Competency_ is equal to the occasion, _readiness_ prompt for the
occasion. _Faculty_ is an inherent quality of mind or body; _talent_,
some special mental _ability_. _Dexterity_ and _skill_ are readiness and
facility in action, having a special end; _talent_ is innate,
_dexterity_ and _skill_ are largely acquired. Our _abilities_ include
our natural _capacity_, _faculties_, and _talents_, with all the
_dexterity_, _skill_, and _readiness_ that can be acquired. _Efficacy_
is the power to produce an intended effect as shown in the production of
it; as, the _efficacy_ of a drug. _Efficiency_ is effectual agency,
competent _power_; _efficiency_ is applied in mechanics as denoting the
ratio of the effect produced to the _power_ expended in producing it;
but this word is chiefly used of intelligent agents as denoting the
quality that brings all one's _power_ to bear promptly and to the best
purpose on the thing to be done. Compare ADDRESS; DEXTERITY; SKILFUL.
awkwardness, helplessness, inability, incompetence, stupidity,
dulness, imbecility, inaptitude, inefficiency, unskilfulness,
feebleness, impotence, incapacity, maladroitness, weakness.
* * * * *
acclaim, approbation, compliment, laudation,
acclamation, approval, encomium, panegyric,
adulation, cheering, eulogy, plaudit,
applause, cheers, flattery, sycophancy.
_Praise_ is the hearty approval of an individual, or of a number or
multitude considered individually, and is expressed by spoken or written
words; _applause_, the spontaneous outburst of many at once. _Applause_
is expressed in any way, by stamping of feet, clapping of hands, waving
of handkerchiefs, etc., as well as by the voice; _acclamation_ is the
spontaneous and hearty approval of many at once, and strictly by the
voice alone. Thus one is chosen moderator by _acclamation_ when he
receives a unanimous _viva voce_ vote; we could not say he was nominated
by _applause_. _Acclaim_ is the more poetic term for _acclamation_,
commonly understood in a loftier sense; as, a nation's _acclaim_.
_Plaudit_ is a shout of _applause_, and is commonly used in the plural;
as, the _plaudits_ of a throng. _Applause_ is also used in the general
sense of _praise_. _Approbation_ is a milder and more qualified word
than _praise_; while _praise_ is always uttered, _approbation_ may be
silent. "_Approbation_ speaks of the thing or action.... _Praise_ is
always personal." A. W. AND J. C. HARE _Guesses at Truth_ first series,
p. 549. [MACM. '66.] _Acceptance_ refers to an object or action;
_approbation_ may refer to character or natural traits. _Approval_
always supposes a testing or careful examination, and frequently implies
official sanction; _approbation_ may be upon a general view. The
industry and intelligence of a clerk win his employer's _approbation_;
his decision in a special instance receives his _approval_. _Praise_ is
always understood as genuine and sincere, unless the contrary is
expressly stated; _compliment_ is a light form of _praise_ that may or
may not be sincere; _flattery_ is insincere and ordinarily fulsome
abuse, contempt, hissing, repudiation,
animadversion, denunciation, ignominy, scorn,
blame, disapprobation, obloquy, slander,
censure, disapproval, reproach, vilification,
condemnation, disparagement, reproof, vituperation.
* * * * *
ask, bid, entreat, invoke, request,
beg, call upon, implore, petition, supplicate.
beseech, conjure, importune, plead,
To _pray_, in the religious sense, is devoutly to address the Supreme
Being with reverent petition for divine grace or any favor or blessing,
and in the fullest sense with thanksgiving and praise for the divine
goodness and mercy; the once common use of the word to express any
earnest _request_, as "I _pray_ you to come in," is now rare, unless in
writings molded on older literature, or in certain phrases, as "_Pray_
sit down;" even in these "please" is more common; "I _beg_ you" is also
frequently used, as expressing a polite humility of _request_. _Beseech_
and _entreat_ express great earnestness of _petition_; _implore_ and
_supplicate_ denote the utmost fervency and intensity, _supplicate_
implying also humility. Compare ASK; PLEAD.
* * * * *
doubtful, hazardous, risky, unsettled,
dubious, insecure, unassured, unstable,
equivocal, perilous, uncertain, unsteady.
_Uncertain_ is applied to things that human knowledge can not certainly
determine or that human power can not certainly control; _precarious_
originally meant dependent on the will of another, and now, by extension
of meaning, dependent on chance or hazard, with manifest unfavorable
possibility verging toward probability; as, one holds office by a
_precarious_ tenure, or land by a _precarious_ title; the strong man's
hold on life is _uncertain_, the invalid's is _precarious_.
actual, immutable, real, steady, undeniable,
assured, incontestable, settled, strong, undoubted,
certain, infallible, stable, sure, unquestionable.
* * * * *
antecedent, case, instance, pattern,
authority, example, obiter dictum, warrant.
A _precedent_ is an authoritative _case_, _example_, or _instance_. The
communism of the early Christians in Jerusalem is a wonderful _example_
or _instance_ of Christian liberality, but not a _precedent_ for the
universal church through all time. _Cases_ decided by irregular or
unauthorized tribunals are not _precedents_ for the regular
administration of law. An _obiter dictum_ is an opinion outside of the
_case_ in hand, which can not be quoted as an authoritative _precedent_.
* * * * *
fate, foreknowledge, foreordination, necessity.
_Predestination_ is a previous determination or decision, which, in the
divine action, reaches on from eternity. _Fate_ is heathen, an
irresistible, irrational power determining all events with no manifest
connection with reason or righteousness; _necessity_ is philosophical, a
blind something in the nature of things binding the slightest action or
motion in the chain of inevitable, eternal sequence; _foreordination_
and _predestination_ are Christian, denoting the rational and righteous
order or decree of the supreme and all-wise God. _Foreknowledge_ is
simply God's antecedent knowledge of all events, which some hold to be
entirely separable from his _foreordination_, while others hold
_foreordination_ to be inseparably involved in _foreknowledge_.
accident, choice, freedom, independence,
chance, free agency, free will, uncertainty.
Predestination _of_ believers _to_ eternal life.
* * * * *
bias, preconception, presumption,
partiality, prepossession, unfairness.
A _presumption_ (literally, a taking beforehand) is a partial decision
formed in advance of argument or evidence, usually grounded on some
general principle, and always held subject to revision upon fuller
information. A _prejudice_ or _prepossession_ is grounded often on
feeling, fancy, associations, etc. A _prejudice_ against foreigners is
very common in retired communities. There is always a _presumption_ in
favor of what exists, so that the burden of proof is upon one who
advocates a change. A _prepossession_ is always favorable, a _prejudice_
always unfavorable, unless the contrary is expressly stated. Compare
certainty, conviction, evidence, reason,
conclusion, demonstration, proof, reasoning.
_Against_; rarely, _in favor of_, _in one's favor_.
* * * * *
affectation, disguise, pretext, simulation,
air, dissimulation, ruse, subterfuge,
assumption, excuse, seeming, trick,
cloak, mask, semblance, wile.
color, pretension, show,
A _pretense_, in the unfavorable, which is also the usual sense, is
something advanced or displayed for the purpose of concealing the
reality. A person makes a _pretense_ of something for the credit or
advantage to be gained by it; he makes what is allowed or approved a
_pretext_ for doing what would be opposed or condemned; a tricky
schoolboy makes a _pretense_ of doing an errand which he does not do, or
he makes the actual doing of an errand a _pretext_ for playing truant. A
_ruse_ is something (especially something slight or petty) employed to
blind or deceive so as to mask an ulterior design, and enable a person
to gain some end that he would not be allowed to approach directly. A
_pretension_ is a claim that is or may be contested; the word is now
commonly used in an unfavorable sense. Compare ARTIFICE; HYPOCRISY.
actuality, frankness, ingenuousness, reality, sincerity,
candor, guilelessness, openness, simplicity, truth.
fact, honesty,
* * * * *
anticipate, forestall, obviate, preclude.
The original sense of _prevent_, to come before, act in advance of,
which is now practically obsolete, was still in good use when the
authorized version of the Bible was made, as appears in such passages
as, "When Peter was come into the house, Jesus _prevented_ him" (_i.
e._, addressed him first), _Matt._ xvii, 25; "Thou _preventest_ him with
the blessings of goodness" (_i. e._, by sending the blessings before the
desire is formulated or expressed), _Ps._ xxi, 3. _Anticipate_ is now
the only single word usable in this sense; to _forestall_ is to take or
act in advance in one's own behalf and to the prejudice of another or
others, as in the phrase "to _forestall_ the market." But to
_anticipate_ is very frequently used in the favorable sense; as, his
thoughtful kindness _anticipated_ my wish (_i. e._, met the wish before
it was expressed): or we say, "I was about to accost him when he
_anticipated_ me" (by speaking first); or one _anticipates_ a payment
(by making it before the time); in neither of these cases could we use
_forestall_ or _prevent_. To _obviate_ (literally, to stop the way of or
remove from the way), is to _prevent_ by interception, so that something
that would naturally withstand or disturb may be kept from doing so; to
_preclude_, (literally, to close or shut in advance) is to _prevent_ by
anticipation or by logical necessity; walls and bars _precluded_ the
possibility of escape; a supposition is _precluded_; a necessity or
difficulty is _obviated_. _Prevent_, which at first had only the
anticipatory meaning, has come to apply to the stopping of an action at
any stage, the completion or conclusion only being thought of as
negatived by anticipation; the enemy passed the outworks and were barely
_prevented_ from capturing the fortress. Compare HINDER; PROHIBIT.
He was prevented by illness _from_ joining the expedition.
* * * * *
antecedent, foregoing, front, preceding,
anterior, former, introductory, preliminary,
earlier, forward, precedent, prior.
_Antecedent_ may denote simple priority in time, implying no direct
connection between that which goes before and that which follows; as,
the striking of one clock may be always _antecedent_ to the striking of
another with no causal connection between them. _Antecedent_ and
_previous_ may refer to that which goes or happens at any distance in
advance, _preceding_ is limited to that which is immediately or next
before; an _antecedent_ event may have happened at any time before; the
_preceding_ transaction is the one completed just before the one with
which it is compared; a _previous_ statement or chapter may be in any
part of the book that has gone before; the _preceding_ statement or
chapter comes next before without an interval. _Previous_ often
signifies first by right; as, a _previous_ engagement. _Foregoing_ is
used only of that which is spoken or written; as, the _foregoing_
statements. _Anterior_, while it can be used of time, is coming to be
employed chiefly with reference to place; as the _anterior_ lobes of the
brain. _Prior_ bears exclusive reference to time, and commonly where
that which is first in time is first also in right; as, a _prior_
demand. _Former_ is used of time, or of position in written or printed
matter, not of space in general. We can say _former_ times, a _former_
chapter, etc., but not the _former_ part of a garden; we should say the
_front_ part of the garden, the _forward_ car of a train. _Former_ has a
close relation, or sharp contrast, with something following; the
_former_ always implies the latter, even when not fully expressed, as in
_Acts_ i, 1, and _Eccles._ vii, 10.
after, consequent, hind, hindmost, latter, subsequent,
concluding, following, hinder, later, posterior, succeeding.
Such was the state of things previous _to_ the revolution. [_Previous
to_ is often used adverbially, in constructions where _previously to_
would be more strictly correct; as, these arrangements were made
_previous to_ my departure.]
* * * * *
charge, cost, expenditure, expense, outlay, value, worth.
The _cost_ of a thing is all that has been expended upon it, whether in
discovery, production, refinement, decoration, transportation, or
otherwise, to bring it to its present condition in the hands of its
present possessor; the _price_ of a thing is what the seller asks for
it. In regular business, as a rule, the seller's _price_ on his wares
must be more than their _cost_ to him; when goods are sold, the _price_
the buyer has paid becomes their _cost_ to himself. In exceptional
cases, when goods are sold at _cost_, the seller's _price_ is made the
same as the _cost_ of the goods to him, the _cost_ to the seller and the
_cost_ to the buyer becoming then identical. _Price_ always implies that
an article is for sale; what a man will not sell he declines to put a
_price_ on; hence the significance of the taunting proverb that "every
man has his _price_." _Value_ is the estimated equivalent for an
article, whether the article is for sale or not; the market _value_ is
what it would bring if exposed for sale in the open market; the
intrinsic _value_ is the inherent utility of the article considered by
itself alone; the market _value_ of an old and rare volume may be very
great, while its intrinsic _value_ may be practically nothing. _Value_
has always more reference to others' estimation (literally, what the
thing will avail with others) than _worth_, which regards the thing in
and by itself; thus, intrinsic _value_ is a weaker expression than
intrinsic _worth_. _Charge_ has especial reference to services,
_expense_ to minor outlays; as, the _charges_ of a lawyer or physician;
traveling _expenses_; household _expenses_.
* * * * *
arrogance, ostentation, self-exaltation,
assumption, presumption, self-respect,
conceit, reserve, superciliousness,
disdain, self-complacency, vainglory,
haughtiness, self-conceit, vanity.
insolence, self-esteem,
_Haughtiness_ thinks highly of itself and poorly of others. _Arrogance_
claims much for itself and concedes little to others. _Pride_ is an
absorbing sense of one's own greatness; _haughtiness_ feels one's own
superiority to others; _disdain_ sees contemptuously the inferiority of
others to oneself. _Presumption_ claims place or privilege above one's
right; _pride_ deems nothing too high. _Insolence_ is open and rude
expression of contempt and hostility, generally from an inferior to a
superior, as from a servant to a master or mistress. In the presence of
superiors overweening _pride_ manifests itself in _presumption_ or
_insolence_; in the presence of inferiors, or those supposed to be
inferior, _pride_ manifests itself by _arrogance_, _disdain_,
_haughtiness_, _superciliousness_, or in either case often by cold
_reserve_. (See RESERVE under MODESTY.) _Pride_ is too self-satisfied to
care for praise; _vanity_ intensely craves admiration and applause.
_Superciliousness_, as if by the uplifted eyebrow, as its etymology
suggests (L. _supercilium_, eyebrow, from _super_, over and _cilium_,
eyelid), silently manifests mingled _haughtiness_ and _disdain_.
_Assumption_ quietly takes for granted superiority and privilege which
others would be slow to concede. _Conceit_ and _vanity_ are associated
with weakness, _pride_ with strength. _Conceit_ may be founded upon
nothing; _pride_ is founded upon something that one is, or has, or has
done; _vanity_, too, is commonly founded on something real, tho far
slighter than would afford foundation for _pride_. _Vanity_ is eager for
admiration and praise, is elated if they are rendered, and pained if
they are withheld, and seeks them; _pride_ could never solicit
admiration or praise. _Conceit_ is somewhat stronger than
_self-conceit_. _Self-conceit_ is ridiculous; _conceit_ is offensive.
_Self-respect_ is a thoroughly worthy feeling; _self-esteem_ is a more
generous estimate of one's own character and abilities than the rest of
the world are ready to allow. _Vainglory_ is more pompous and boastful
than _vanity_. Compare EGOTISM; OSTENTATION.
humility, meekness, modesty, self-abasement, self-distrust.
* * * * *
aboriginal, indigenous, patriarchal, primitive,
ancient, native, primal, primordial,
autochthonic, old, primary, pristine,
immemorial, original, prime, uncreated.
_Aboriginal_ (L. _ab_, from, _origo_, origin) signifies pertaining to
the _aborigines_ or earliest known inhabitants of a country in the
widest sense, including not merely human beings but inferior animals and
plants as well. _Autochthonic_ (Gr. _autos_, self, and _chth[=o]n_,
earth) signifies sprung from the earth, especially from the soil of
one's native land. _Primeval_ (L. _primum_, first, and _aevum_, age),
signifies strictly belonging to the first ages, earliest in time, but
often only the earliest of which man knows or conceives, _immemorial_.
_Aboriginal_, _autochthonic_, and _primeval_ combine the meanings of
_ancient_ and _original_; _aboriginal_ inhabitants, _autochthonic_
races, _primeval_ forests. _Prime_ and _primary_ may signify either
first in time, or more frequently first in importance; _primary_ has
also the sense of elementary or preparatory; we speak of a _prime_
minister, a _primary_ school. _Primal_ is chiefly poetic, in the sense
of _prime_; as, the _primal_ curse. _Primordial_ is first in an order of
succession or development; as, a _primordial_ leaf. _Primitive_
frequently signifies having the original characteristics of that which
it represents, as well as standing first in time; as, the _primitive_
church. _Primitive_ also very frequently signifies having the original
or early characteristics without remoteness in time. _Primeval_
simplicity is the simplicity of the earliest ages; _primitive_
simplicity may be found in retired villages now. _Pristine_ is an
elegant word, used almost exclusively in a good sense of that which is
_original_ and perhaps _ancient_; as, _pristine_ purity, innocence,
vigor. That which is both an _original_ and natural product of a soil or
country is said to be _indigenous_; that which is actually produced
there is said to be _native_, though it may be of foreign extraction;
humming-birds are _indigenous_ to America; canaries may be _native_, but
are not _indigenous_. _Immemorial_ refers solely to time, independently
of quality, denoting, in legal phrase, "that whereof the memory of man
runneth not to the contrary;" as, an _immemorial_ custom; an
_immemorial_ abuse. Compare OLD.
adventitious, foreign, late, new, recent.
exotic, fresh, modern, novel,
Compare synonyms for NEW.
* * * * *
advantage, expediency, proceeds, service,
avail, gain, receipts, usefulness,
benefit, good, return, utility,
emolument, improvement, returns, value.
The _returns_ or _receipts_ include all that is received from an outlay
or investment; the _profit_ is the excess (if any) of the _receipts_
over the outlay; hence, in government, morals, etc., the _profit_ is
what is really good, helpful, useful, valuable. _Utility_ is chiefly
used in the sense of some immediate or personal and generally some
material _good_. _Advantage_ is that which gives one a vantage-ground,
either for coping with competitors or with difficulties, needs, or
demands; as to have the _advantage_ of a good education; it is
frequently used of what one has beyond another or secures at the
expense of another; as, to have the _advantage_ of another in an
argument, or to take _advantage_ of another in a bargain. _Gain_ is what
one secures beyond what he previously possessed. _Benefit_ is anything
that does one good. _Emolument_ is _profit_, _return_, or _value_
accruing through official position. _Expediency_ has respect to _profit_
or _advantage_, real or supposed, considered apart from or perhaps in
opposition to right, in actions having a moral character. Compare
damage, detriment, harm, injury, ruin,
destruction, disadvantage, hurt, loss, waste.
The profit _of_ labor; _on_ capital; _in_ business.
* * * * *
advance, development, improvement, proficiency,
advancement, growth, increase, progression.
_Progress_ (L. _pro_, forward, _gradior_, go) is a moving onward or
forward, whether in space or in the mental or moral realm, and may be
either mechanical, individual, or social. _Attainment_, _development_,
and _proficiency_ are more absolute than the other words of the group,
denoting some point of advantage or of comparative perfection reached by
forward or onward movement; we speak of _attainments_ in virtue or
scholarship, _proficiency_ in music or languages, the _development_ of
new powers or organs; _proficiency_ includes the idea of skill.
_Advance_ may denote either a forward movement or the point gained by
forward movement, but always relatively with reference to the point from
which the movement started; as, this is a great _advance_. _Advance_
admits the possibility of retreat; _progress_ (L. _progredi_, to walk
forward) is steady and constant forward movement, admitting of pause,
but not of retreat; _advance_ suggests more clearly a point to be
reached, while _progress_ lays the emphasis upon the forward movement;
we may speak of slow or rapid _progress_, but more naturally of swift
_advance_. _Progress_ is more frequently used of abstractions; as, the
_progress_ of ideas; _progression_ fixes the attention chiefly upon the
act of moving forward. In a thing good in itself all _advance_ or
_progress_ is _improvement_; there is a growing tendency to restrict the
words to this favorable sense, using _increase_ indifferently of good or
evil; one may say without limitation, "I am an advocate of _progress_."
check, delay, falling off, retrogression, stop,
decline, falling back, relapse, stay, stoppage.
The progress _of_ truth; progress _in_ virtue; _toward_ perfection;
_from_ a lower _to_ a higher state.
* * * * *
debar, forbid, inhibit, preclude,
disallow, hinder, interdict, prevent.
To _prohibit_ is to give some formal command against, and especially to
make some authoritative legal enactment against. _Debar_ is said of
persons, _disallow_ of acts; one is _debarred_ from anything when shut
off, as by some irresistible authority or necessity; one is _prohibited_
from an act in express terms; he may be _debarred_ by silent necessity.
An act is _disallowed_ by the authority that might have allowed it; the
word is especially applied to acts which are done before they are
pronounced upon; thus, a government may _disallow_ the act of its
commander in the field or its admiral on the high seas. _Inhibit_ and
_interdict_ are chiefly known by their ecclesiastical use. As between
_forbid_ and _prohibit_, _forbid_ is less formal and more personal,
_prohibit_ more official and judicial, with the implication of readiness
to use such force as may be needed to give effect to the enactment; a
parent _forbids_ a child to take part in some game or to associate with
certain companions; the slave-trade is now _prohibited_ by the leading
nations of the world. Many things are _prohibited_ by law which can not
be wholly _prevented_, as gambling and prostitution; on the other hand,
things may be _prevented_ which are not _prohibited_, as the services of
religion, the payment of debts, or military conquest. That which is
_precluded_ need not be _prohibited_. Compare ABOLISH; HINDER; PREVENT.
allow, empower, let, require,
authorize, enjoin, license, sanction,
command, give consent, order, suffer,
consent to, give leave, permit, tolerate,
direct, give permission, put up with, warrant.
An act is prohibited _by_ law; a person is prohibited _by_ law _from_
doing a certain act. _Prohibit_ was formerly construed, as _forbid_
still is, with the infinitive, but the construction with _from_ and the
verbal noun has now entirely superseded the older usage.
* * * * *
advance, encourage, forward, prefer, raise,
aid, exalt, foster, push, urge forward,
assist, excite, further, push on, urge on.
elevate, foment, help,
To _promote_ (L. _pro_, forward, and _moveo_, move) is to cause to move
forward toward some desired end or to raise to some higher position,
rank, or dignity. We _promote_ a person by _advancing_, _elevating_, or
_exalting_ him to a higher position or dignity. A person _promotes_ a
scheme or an enterprise which others have projected or begun, and which
he _encourages_, _forwards_, _furthers_, _pushes_, or _urges on_,
especially when he acts as the agent of the prime movers and supporters
of the enterprise. One who _excites_ a quarrel originates it; to
_promote_ a quarrel is strictly to _foment_ and _urge_ it _on_, the one
who _promotes_ keeping himself in the background. Compare ABET; QUICKEN.
See synonyms for ABASE; ALLAY.
* * * * *
atonement, expiation, reconciliation, satisfaction.
_Atonement_ (at-one-ment), originally denoting _reconciliation_, or the
bringing into agreement of those who have been estranged, is now chiefly
used, as in theology, in the sense of some offering, sacrifice, or
suffering sufficient to win forgiveness or make up for an offense;
especially and distinctively of the sacrificial work of Christ in his
humiliation, suffering and death. _Expiation_ is the enduring of the
full penalty of a wrong or crime. _Propitiation_ is an offering, action,
or sacrifice that makes the governing power propitious toward the
offender. _Satisfaction_ in this connection denotes the rendering a full
legal equivalent for the wrong done. _Propitiation_ appeases the
lawgiver; _satisfaction_ meets the requirements of the law.
alienation, curse, penalty, reprobation, vengeance,
chastisement, estrangement, punishment, retribution, wrath.
condemnation, offense,
* * * * *
auspicious, benignant, favorable, gracious, kindly,
benign, clement, friendly, kind, merciful.
That which is _auspicious_ is of _favorable_ omen; that which is
_propitious_ is of favoring influence or tendency; as, an _auspicious_
morning; a _propitious_ breeze. _Propitious_ applies to persons,
implying _kind_ disposition and _favorable_ inclinations, especially
toward the suppliant; _auspicious_ is not used of persons.
adverse, forbidding, ill-disposed, repellent, unfriendly,
antagonistic, hostile, inauspicious, unfavorable, unpropitious.
May heaven be propitious _to_ the enterprise.
* * * * *
bid, offer, overture, proposition.
An _offer_ or _proposal_ puts something before one for acceptance or
rejection, _proposal_ being the more formal word; a _proposition_ sets
forth truth (or what is claimed to be truth) in formal statement. The
_proposition_ is for consideration, the _proposal_ for action; as, a
_proposition_ in geometry, a _proposal_ of marriage; but _proposition_
is often used nearly in the sense of _proposal_ when it concerns a
matter for deliberation; as, a _proposition_ for the surrender of a
fort. A _bid_ is commercial and often verbal; as, a _bid_ at an auction;
_proposal_ is used in nearly the same sense, but is more formal. An
_overture_ opens negotiation or conference, and the word is especially
used of some movement toward reconciliation; as, _overtures_ of peace.
acceptance, denial, disapproval, refusal, rejection, repulse.
* * * * *
In its most frequent use, _propose_ differs from _purpose_ in that what
we _purpose_ lies in our own mind, as a decisive act of will, a
determination; what we _propose_ is offered or stated to others. In this
use of the word, what we _propose_ is open to deliberation, as what we
_purpose_ is not. In another use of the word, one _proposes_ something
to or by himself which may or may not be stated to others. In this
latter sense _propose_ is nearly identical with _purpose_, and the two
words have often been used interchangeably. But in the majority of cases
what we _purpose_ is more general, what we _propose_ more formal and
definite; I _purpose_ to do right; I _propose_ to do this specific thing
because it is right. In the historic sentence, "I _propose_ to move
immediately on your works," _purpose_ would not have the same sharp
* * * * *
continue, delay, elongate, lengthen, procrastinate,
defer, draw out, extend, postpone, prolong.
To _protract_ is to cause to occupy a longer time than is usual,
expected, or desirable. We _defer_ a negotiation which we are slow to
enter upon; we _protract_ a negotiation which we are slow to conclude;
_delay_ may be used of any stage in the proceedings; we may _delay_ a
person as well as an action, but _defer_ and _protract_ are not used of
persons. _Elongate_ is not used of actions or abstractions, but only of
material objects or extension in space; _protract_ is very rarely used
of concrete objects or extension in space; we _elongate_ a line,
_protract_ a discussion. _Protract_ has usually an unfavorable sense,
implying that the matter referred to is already unduly long, or would be
so if longer _continued_; _continue_ is neutral, applying equally to the
desirable or the undesirable. _Postpone_ implies a definite intention to
resume, as _defer_ also does, though less decidedly; both are often used
with some definite limitation of time; as, to _postpone_ till, until, or
to a certain day or hour. One may _defer_, _delay_, or _postpone_ a
matter intelligently and for good reason; he _procrastinates_ through
indolence and irresolution. Compare HINDER.
abbreviate, conclude, curtail, hurry, reduce,
abridge, contract, hasten, limit, shorten.
To protract a speech _by_ verbosity, _through_ an unreasonable time,
_to_, _till_, or _until_ a late hour.
* * * * *
adage, axiom, maxim, saw,
aphorism, byword, motto, saying,
apothegm, dictum, precept, truism.
The _proverb_ or _adage_ gives homely truth in condensed, practical
form, the _adage_ often pictorial. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick"
is a _proverb_; "The cat loves fish, but dares not wet her feet," is an
_adage_. Both the _proverb_ and the _adage_, but especially the latter,
are thought of as ancient and widely known. An _aphorism_ partakes of
the character of a definition; it is a summary statement of what the
author sees and believes to be true. An _apothegm_ is a terse statement
of what is plain or easily proved. The _aphorism_ is philosophical, the
_apothegm_ practical. A _dictum_ is a statement of some person or
school, on whom it depends for authority; as, a _dictum_ of Aristotle. A
_saying_ is impersonal, current among the common people, deriving its
authority from its manifest truth or good sense; as, it is an old
_saying_, "the more haste, the worse speed." A _saw_ is a _saying_ that
is old, but somewhat worn and tiresome. _Precept_ is a command to duty;
_motto_ or _maxim_ is a brief statement of cherished truth, the _maxim_
being more uniformly and directly practical; "God is love" may be a
_motto_, "Fear God and fear naught," a _maxim_. The _precepts_ of the
Sermon on the Mount will furnish the Christian with invaluable _maxims_
or _mottoes_. A _byword_ is a phrase or _saying_ used reproachfully or
* * * * *
bravery, gallantry, intrepidity,
courage, heroism, valor.
_Bravery_, _courage_, _heroism_, and _intrepidity_ may be silent,
spiritual, or passive; they may be exhibited by a martyr at the stake.
_Prowess_ and _valor_ imply both daring and doing; we do not speak of
the _prowess_ of a martyr, a child, or a passive sufferer. _Valor_ meets
odds or perils with courageous action, doing its utmost to conquer at
any risk or cost; _prowess_ has power adapted to the need; dauntless
_valor_ is often vain against superior _prowess_. _Courage_ is a nobler
word than _bravery_, involving more of the deep, spiritual, and enduring
elements of character; such an appreciation of peril as would extinguish
_bravery_ may only intensify _courage_, which is resistant and
self-conquering; _courage_ applies to matters in regard to which _valor_
and _prowess_ can have no place, as submission to a surgical operation,
or the facing of censure or detraction for conscience' sake. Compare
cowardice, cowardliness, effeminacy, fear, pusillanimity, timidity.
* * * * *
care, discretion, judgment,
carefulness, forecast, judiciousness,
caution, foresight, providence,
circumspection, forethought, wisdom.
consideration, frugality,
_Prudence_ may be briefly defined as good _judgment_ and _foresight_,
inclining to _caution_ and _frugality_ in practical affairs. _Care_ may
respect only the present; _prudence_ and _providence_ look far ahead and
sacrifice the present to the future, _prudence_ watching, saving,
guarding, _providence_ planning, doing, preparing, and perhaps expending
largely to meet the future demand. _Frugality_ is in many cases one form
of _prudence_. In a besieged city _prudence_ will reduce the rations,
_providence_ will strain every nerve to introduce supplies and to raise
the siege. _Foresight_ merely sees the future, and may even lead to the
recklessness and desperation to which _prudence_ and _providence_ are so
strongly opposed. _Forethought_ is thinking in accordance with wise
views of the future, and is nearly equivalent to _providence_, but it is
a more popular and less comprehensive term; we speak of man's
_forethought_, God's _providence_. Compare CARE; FRUGALITY; WISDOM.
folly, imprudence, rashness, thoughtlessness,
heedlessness, indiscretion, recklessness, wastefulness.
improvidence, prodigality,
* * * * *
acquire, barter for, get, procure, secure.
bargain for, buy, obtain,
_Buy_ and _purchase_ are close synonyms, signifying to _obtain_ or
_secure_ as one's own by paying or promising to pay a price; in numerous
cases the two words are freely interchangeable, but with the difference
usually found between words of Saxon and those of French or Latin
origin. The Saxon _buy_ is used for all the homely and petty concerns of
common life, the French _purchase_ is often restricted to transactions
of more dignity; yet the Saxon word _buy_ is commonly more emphatic, and
in the higher ranges of thought appeals more strongly to the feelings.
One may either _buy_ or _purchase_ fame, favor, honor, pleasure, etc.,
but when our feelings are stirred we speak of victory or freedom as
dearly _bought_. "_Buy_ the truth, and sell it not" (_Prov._ xxiii, 23)
would be greatly weakened by the rendering "_Purchase_ the truth, and do
not dispose of it." Compare BUSINESS; GET; PRICE; SALE.
barter, dispose of, exchange, put to sale, sell.
Purchase _at_ a price; _at_ a public sale; _of_ or _from_ a person;
_for_ cash; _with_ money; _on_ time.
* * * * *
absolute, guiltless, simple, unmixed,
chaste, holy, spotless, unpolluted,
classic, immaculate, stainless, unspotted,
classical, incorrupt, true, unstained,
clean, innocent, unadulterated, unsullied,
clear, mere, unblemished, untainted,
continent, perfect, uncorrupted, untarnished,
genuine, real, undefiled, upright,
guileless, sheer, unmingled, virtuous.
That is _pure_ which is free from mixture or contact with anything that
weakens, impairs, or pollutes. Material substances are called _pure_ in
the strict sense when free from foreign admixture of any kind; as,
_pure_ oxygen; the word is often used to signify free from any defiling
or objectionable admixture (the original sense); we speak of water as
_pure_ when it is bright, clear, and refreshing, tho it may contain
mineral salts in solution; in the medical and chemical sense, only
distilled water (_aqua pura_) is _pure_. In moral and religious use
_pure_ is a strong word, denoting positive excellence of a high order;
one is _innocent_ who knows nothing of evil, and has experienced no
touch of temptation; one is _pure_ who, with knowledge of evil and
exposure to temptation, keeps heart and soul _unstained_. _Virtuous_
refers primarily to right action; _pure_ to right feeling and motives;
as, "Blessed are the _pure_ in heart: for they shall see God," _Matt._
v, 8. Compare FINE; INNOCENT.
adulterated, foul, indecent, obscene, tainted,
defiled, gross, indelicate, polluted, tarnished,
dirty, immodest, lewd, stained, unchaste,
filthy, impure, mixed, sullied, unclean.
* * * * *
deposit, lay, place, set.
_Put_ is the most general term for bringing an object to some point or
within some space, however exactly or loosely; we may _put_ a horse in a
pasture, or _put_ a bullet in a rifle or into an enemy. _Place_ denotes
more careful movement and more exact location; as, to _place_ a crown on
one's head, or a garrison in a city. To _lay_ is to _place_ in a
horizontal position; to _set_ is to _place_ in an upright position; we
_lay_ a cloth, and _set_ a dish upon a table. To _deposit_ is to _put_
in a place of security for future use; as, to _deposit_ money in a bank;
the original sense, to _lay_ down or let down (quietly), is also common;
as, the stream _deposits_ sediment.
* * * * *
anomalous, erratic, odd, strange,
bizarre, extraordinary, peculiar, uncommon,
comical, fantastic, preposterous, unique,
crotchety, funny, quaint, unmatched,
curious, grotesque, ridiculous, unusual,
droll, laughable, singular, whimsical.
eccentric, ludicrous,
_Odd_ is unmated, as an _odd_ shoe, and so uneven, as an _odd_ number.
_Singular_ is alone of its kind; as, the _singular_ number. What is
_singular_ is _odd_, but what is _odd_ may not be _singular_; as, a
drawerful of _odd_ gloves. A _strange_ thing is something hitherto
unknown in fact or in cause. A _singular_ coincidence is one the
happening of which is unusual; a _strange_ coincidence is one the cause
of which is hard to explain. That which is _peculiar_ belongs especially
to a person as his own; as, Israel was called Jehovah's "_peculiar_
people," _i. e._, especially chosen and cherished by him; in its
ordinary use there is the implication that the thing _peculiar_ to one
is not common to the majority nor quite approved by them, though it may
be shared by many; as, the Shakers are _peculiar_. _Eccentric_ is off or
aside from the center, and so off or aside from the ordinary and what is
considered the normal course; as, genius is commonly _eccentric_.
_Eccentric_ is a higher and more respectful word than _odd_ or _queer_.
_Erratic_ signifies wandering, a stronger and more censorious term than
_eccentric_. _Queer_ is transverse or oblique, aside from the common in
a way that is _comical_ or perhaps slightly _ridiculous_. _Quaint_
denotes that which is pleasingly _odd_ and fanciful, often with
something of the antique; as, the _quaint_ architecture of medieval
towns. That which is _funny_ is calculated to provoke laughter; that
which is _droll_ is more quietly amusing. That which is _grotesque_ in
the material sense is irregular or misshapen in form or outline or
ill-proportioned so as to be somewhat _ridiculous_; the French _bizarre_
is practically equivalent to _grotesque_.
common, familiar, normal, regular,
customary, natural, ordinary, usual.
* * * * *
accelerate, drive on, hasten, promote,
advance, expedite, hurry, speed,
despatch, facilitate, make haste, urge,
drive, further, press forward, urge on.
To _quicken_, in the sense here considered, is to increase speed, move
or cause to move more rapidly, as through more space or with, a greater
number of motions in the same time. To _accelerate_ is to increase the
speed of action or of motion. A motion whose speed increases upon itself
is said to be _accelerated_, as the motion of a falling body, which
becomes swifter with every second of time. To _accelerate_ any work is
to _hasten_ it toward a finish, commonly by _quickening_ all its
operations in orderly unity toward the result. To _despatch_ is to do
and be done with, to get a thing off one's hands. To _despatch_ an enemy
is to kill him outright and quickly; to _despatch_ a messenger is to
send him in haste; to _despatch_ a business is to bring it quickly to an
end. _Despatch_ is commonly used of single items. To _promote_ a cause
is in any way to bring it forward, _advance_ it in power, prominence,
etc. To _speed_ is really to secure swiftness; to _hasten_ is to attempt
it, whether successfully or unsuccessfully. _Hurry_ always indicates
something of confusion. The _hurried_ man forgets dignity, appearance,
comfort, courtesy, everything but speed; he may forget something vital
to the matter in hand; yet, because reckless haste may attain the great
object of speed, _hurry_ has come to be the colloquial and popular word
for acting quickly. To _facilitate_ is to _quicken_ by making easy; to
_expedite_ is to _quicken_ by removing hindrances. A good general will
improve roads to _facilitate_ the movements of troops, _hasten_ supplies
and perfect discipline to _promote_ the general efficiency of the force,
_despatch_ details of business, _expedite_ all preparations, in order to
_accelerate_ the advance and victory of his army.
check, clog, delay, drag, hinder, impede, obstruct, retard.
* * * * *
cite, extract, plagiarize, repeat.
excerpt, paraphrase, recite,
To _quote_ is to give an author's words, either exactly, as in direct
quotation, or in substance, as in indirect quotation; to _cite_ is,
etymologically, to call up a passage, as a witness is summoned. In
_citing_ a passage its exact location by chapter, page, or otherwise,
must be given, so that it can be promptly called into evidence; in
_quoting_, the location may or may not be given, but the words or
substance of the passage must be given. In _citing_, neither the
author's words nor his thought may be given, but simply the reference to
the location where they may be found. To _quote_, in the proper sense,
is to give credit to the author whose words are employed. To
_paraphrase_ is to state an author's thought more freely than in
indirect quotation, keeping the substance of thought and the order of
statement, but changing the language, and commonly interweaving more or
less explanatory matter as if part of the original writing. One may
_paraphrase_ a work with worthy motive for homiletic, devotional, or
other purposes (as in the metrical versions of the Psalms), or he may
_plagiarize_ atrociously in the form of _paraphrase_, appropriating all
that is valuable in another's thought, with the hope of escaping
detection by change of phrase. To _plagiarize_ is to _quote_ without
credit, appropriating another's words or thought as one's own. To
_recite_ or _repeat_ is usually to _quote_ orally, tho _recite_ is
applied in legal phrase to a particular statement of facts which is not
a quotation; a kindred use obtains in ordinary speech; as, to _recite_
one's misfortunes.
* * * * *
flavorous, lively, pungent, spicy,
forcible, piquant, rich, spirited.
_Racy_ applies in the first instance to the pleasing flavor
characteristic of certain wines, often attributed to the soil from which
they come. _Pungent_ denotes something sharply irritating to the organs
of taste or smell, as pepper, vinegar, ammonia; _piquant_ denotes a
quality similar in kind to _pungent_ but less in degree, stimulating and
agreeable; _pungent_ spices may be deftly compounded into a _piquant_
sauce. As applied to literary products, _racy_ refers to that which has
a striking, vigorous, pleasing originality; _spicy_ to that which is
stimulating to the mental taste, as spice is to the physical; _piquant_
and _pungent_ in their figurative use keep very close to their literal
cold, flat, insipid, stale, tasteless,
dull, flavorless, prosy, stupid, vapid.
* * * * *
complete, ingrained, perfect,
constitutional, innate, positive,
entire, native, primitive,
essential, natural, thorough,
extreme, organic, thoroughgoing,
fundamental, original, total.
The widely divergent senses in which the word _radical_ is used, by
which it can be at some time interchanged with any word in the above
list, are all formed upon the one primary sense of having to do with or
proceeding from the root (L. _radix_); a _radical_ difference is one
that springs from the root, and is thus _constitutional_, _essential_,
_fundamental_, _organic_, _original_; a _radical_ change is one that
does not stop at the surface, but reaches down to the very root, and is
_entire_, _thorough_, _total_; since the majority find superficial
treatment of any matter the easiest and most comfortable, _radical_
measures, which strike at the root of evil or need, are apt to be looked
upon as _extreme_.
conservative, incomplete, palliative, slight, tentative,
inadequate, moderate, partial, superficial, trial.
* * * * *
curious, odd, scarce, unique,
extraordinary, peculiar, singular, unparalleled,
incomparable, precious, strange, unprecedented,
infrequent, remarkable, uncommon, unusual.
_Unique_ is alone of its kind; _rare_ is _infrequent_ of its kind; great
poems are _rare_; "Paradise Lost" is _unique_. To say of a thing that it
is _rare_ is simply to affirm that it is now seldom found, whether
previously common or not; as, a _rare_ old book; a _rare_ word; to call
a thing _scarce_ implies that it was at some time more plenty, as when
we say food or money is _scarce_. A particular fruit or coin may be
_rare_; _scarce_ applies to demand and use, and almost always to
concrete things; to speak of virtue, genius, or heroism as _scarce_
would be somewhat ludicrous. _Rare_ has the added sense of _precious_,
which is sometimes, but not necessarily, blended with that above given;
as, a _rare_ gem. _Extraordinary_, signifying greatly beyond the
ordinary, is a neutral word, capable of a high and good sense or of an
invidious, opprobrious, or contemptuous signification; as,
_extraordinary_ genius; _extraordinary_ wickedness; an _extraordinary_
assumption of power; _extraordinary_ antics; an _extraordinary_
statement is incredible without overwhelming proof.
See synonyms for GENERAL; NORMAL; USUAL.
* * * * *
arrive, attain, come to, enter, gain, get to, land.
To _reach_, in the sense here considered, is to _come to_ by motion or
progress. _Attain_ is now oftenest used of abstract relations; as, to
_attain_ success. When applied to concrete matters, it commonly
signifies the overcoming of hindrance and difficulty; as, the
storm-beaten ship at length _attained_ the harbor. _Come_ is the general
word for moving to or toward the place where the speaker or writer is or
supposes himself to be. To _reach_ is to _come to_ from a distance that
is actually or relatively considerable; to stretch the journey, so to
speak, across the distance, as, in its original meaning, one _reaches_
an object by stretching out the hand. To _gain_ is to _reach_ or
_attain_ something eagerly sought; the wearied swimmer _reaches_ or
_gains_ the shore. One _comes_ in from his garden; he _reaches_ home
from a journey. To _arrive_ is to _come to_ a destination, to _reach_ a
point intended or proposed. The European steamer _arrives_ in port, or
_reaches_ the harbor; the dismantled wreck drifts ashore, or _comes to_
land. Compare ATTAIN.
depart, go, go away, leave, set out, set sail, start, weigh anchor.
* * * * *
actual, demonstrable, genuine, true,
authentic, developed, positive, unquestionable,
certain, essential, substantial, veritable.
_Real_ (L. _res_, a thing) signifies having existence, not merely in
thought, but in fact, or being in fact according to appearance or claim;
denoting the thing as distinguished from the name, or the existent as
opposed to the non-existent. _Actual_ has respect to a thing
accomplished by doing, _real_ to a thing as existing by whatever means
or from whatever cause, _positive_ to that which is fixed or
established, _developed_ to that which has reached completion by a
natural process of unfolding. _Actual_ is in opposition to the supposed,
conceived, or reported, and furnishes the proof of its existence in
itself; _real_ is opposed to feigned or imaginary, and is capable of
demonstration; _positive_, to the uncertain or doubtful; _developed_, to
that which is undeveloped or incomplete. The _developed_ is susceptible
of proof; the _positive_ precludes the necessity for proof. The present
condition of a thing is its _actual_ condition; ills are _real_ that
have a substantial reason; proofs are _positive_ when they give the mind
certainty; a plant is _developed_ when it has reached its completed
stage. _Real_ estate is land, together with trees, water, minerals, or
other natural accompaniments, and any permanent structures that man has
built upon it. Compare AUTHENTIC.
conceived, feigned, illusory, supposed, unreal,
fabulous, fictitious, imaginary, supposititious, untrue,
fanciful, hypothetical, reported, theoretical, visionary.
* * * * *
REASON, _v._
argue, debate, discuss, establish, question,
contend, demonstrate, dispute, prove, wrangle.
To _reason_ is to examine by means of the reason, to prove by reasoning,
or to influence or seek to influence others by reasoning or reasons.
Persons may _contend_ either from mere ill will or self-interest, or
from the highest motives; "That ye should earnestly _contend_ for the
faith which was once delivered to the saints," _Jude_ 3. To _argue_ (L.
_arguo_, show) is to make a matter clear by reasoning; to _discuss_ (L.
_dis_, apart, and _quatio_, shake) is, etymologically, to shake it apart
for examination and analysis. _Demonstrate_ strictly applies to
mathematical or exact reasoning; _prove_ may be used in the same sense,
but is often applied to reasoning upon matters of fact by what is called
probable evidence, which can give only moral and not absolute or
mathematical certainty. To _demonstrate_ is to force the mind to a
conclusion by irresistible reasoning; to _prove_ is rather to
_establish_ a fact by evidence; as, to _prove_ one innocent or guilty.
That which has been either _demonstrated_ or _proved_ so as to secure
general acceptance is said to be _established_. _Reason_ is a neutral
word, not, like _argue_, _debate_, _discuss_, etc., naturally or
necessarily implying contest. We _reason_ about a matter by bringing up
all that reason can give us on any side. A _dispute_ may be personal,
fractious, and petty; a _debate_ is formal and orderly; if otherwise, it
becomes a mere _wrangle_.
We reason _with_ a person _about_ a subject, _for_ or _against_ an
opinion; we reason a person _into_ or _out of_ a course of action; or we
may reason _down_ an opponent or opposition; one reasons _from_ a cause
_to_ an effect.
* * * * *
REASON, _n._
account, cause, end, motive, principle,
aim, consideration, ground, object, purpose.
argument, design,
While the _cause_ of any event, act, or fact, as commonly understood,
is the power that makes it to be, the _reason_ of or for it is the
explanation given by the human mind; but _reason_ is, in popular
language, often used as equivalent to _cause_, especially in the sense
of _final cause_. In the statement of any reasoning, the _argument_ may
be an entire syllogism, or the premises considered together apart from
the conclusion, or in logical strictness the middle term only by which
the particular conclusion is connected with the general statement. But
when the _reasoning_ is not in strict logical form, the middle term
following the conclusion is called the _reason_; thus in the statement
"All tyrants deserve death; Caesar was a tyrant; Therefore Caesar deserved
death," "Caesar was a tyrant" would in the strictest sense be called the
_argument_; but if we say "Caesar deserved death because he was a
tyrant," the latter clause would be termed the _reason_. Compare CAUSE;
The reason _of_ a thing that is to be explained; the reason _for_ a
thing that is to be done.
* * * * *
argument, argumentation, debate, ratiocination.
_Argumentation_ and _debate_, in the ordinary use of the words, suppose
two parties alleging reasons for and against a proposition; the same
idea appears figuratively when we speak of a _debate_ or an _argument_
with oneself, or of a _debate_ between reason and conscience.
_Reasoning_ may be the act of one alone, as it is simply the orderly
setting forth of reasons, whether for the instruction of inquirers, the
confuting of opponents, or the clear establishment of truth for oneself.
_Reasoning_ may be either deductive or inductive. _Argument_ or
_argumentation_ was formerly used of deductive _reasoning_ only. With
the rise of the inductive philosophy these words have come to be applied
to inductive processes also; but while _reasoning_ may be informal or
even (as far as tracing its processes is concerned) unconscious,
_argument_ and _argumentation_ strictly imply logical form. _Reasoning_,
as denoting a process, is a broader term than _reason_ or _argument_;
many _arguments_ or _reasons_ may be included in a single chain of
* * * * *
contumacious, mutinous, uncontrollable,
disobedient, refractory, ungovernable,
insubordinate, seditious, unmanageable.
_Rebellious_ signifies being in a state of rebellion (see REBELLION
under REVOLUTION), and is even extended to inanimate things that resist
control or adaptation to human use. _Ungovernable_ applies to that which
successfully defies authority and power; _unmanageable_ to that which
resists the utmost exercise of skill or of skill and power combined;
_rebellious_, to that which is defiant of authority, whether
successfully or unsuccessfully; _seditious_, to that which partakes of
or tends to excite a _rebellious_ spirit, _seditious_ suggesting more of
covert plan, scheming, or conspiracy, _rebellious_ more of overt act or
open violence. While the _unmanageable_ or _ungovernable_ defies
control, the _rebellious_ or _seditious_ may be forced to submission;
as, the man has an _ungovernable_ temper; the horses became
_unmanageable_; he tamed his _rebellious_ spirit. _Insubordinate_
applies to the disposition to resist and resent control as such;
_mutinous_, to open defiance of authority, especially in the army, navy,
or merchant marine. A _contumacious_ act or spirit is contemptuous as
well as defiant. Compare OBSTINATE; REVOLUTION.
compliant, docile, manageable, subservient,
controllable, dutiful, obedient, tractable,
deferential, gentle, submissive, yielding.
Rebellious _to_ or _against_ lawful authority.
* * * * *
account, enrolment, instrument, register,
archive, entry, inventory, roll,
catalogue, enumeration, memorandum, schedule,
chronicle, history, memorial, scroll.
document, inscription, muniment,
A _memorial_ is any object, whether a writing, a monument, or other
permanent thing that is designed or adapted to keep something in
remembrance. _Record_ is a word of wide signification, applying to any
writing, mark, or trace that serves as a _memorial_ giving enduring
attestation of an event or fact; an extended _account_, _chronicle_, or
_history_ is a _record_; so, too, may be a brief _inventory_ or
_memorandum_; the _inscription_ on a tombstone is a _record_ of the
dead; the striae on a rock-surface are the _record_ of a glacier's
passage. A _register_ is a formal or official written _record_,
especially a series of entries made for preservation or reference; as, a
_register_ of births and deaths. _Archives_, in the sense here
considered, are _documents_ or _records_, often legal _records_,
preserved in a public or official depository; the word _archives_ is
also applied to the place where such _documents_ are regularly deposited
and preserved. _Muniments_ (L. _munio_, fortify) are _records_ that
enable one to defend his title. Compare HISTORY; STORY.
* * * * *
be cured _or_ healed, heal, recuperate, restore,
be restored, reanimate, regain, resume,
cure, recruit, repossess, retrieve.
The transitive use of _recover_ in the sense of _cure_, _heal_, etc., as
in _2 Kings_ v, 6, "That thou mayest _recover_ him of his leprosy," is
now practically obsolete. The chief transitive use of _recover_ is in
the sense to obtain again after losing, _regain_, _repossess_, etc.; as,
to _recover_ stolen goods; to _recover_ health. The intransitive sense,
_be cured_, _be restored_, etc., is very common; as, to _recover_ from
sickness, terror, or misfortune.
die, fail, grow worse, relapse, sink.
_From_; rarely _of_; (_Law_) to recover judgment _against_, to recover
damages _of_ or _from_ a person.
* * * * *
civilization, cultivation, culture, elegance, politeness.
_Civilization_ applies to nations, denoting the sum of those civil,
social, economic, and political attainments by which a community is
removed from barbarism; a people may be civilized while still far from
_refinement_ or _culture_, but _civilization_ is susceptible of various
degrees and of continued progress. _Refinement_ applies either to
nations or individuals, denoting the removal of what is coarse and rude,
and a corresponding attainment of what is delicate, elegant, and
beautiful. _Cultivation_, denoting primarily the process of cultivating
the soil or growing crops, then the improved condition of either which
is the result, is applied in similar sense to the human mind and
character, but in this usage is now largely superseded by the term
_culture_, which denotes a high development of the best qualities of
man's mental and spiritual nature, with especial reference to the
esthetic faculties and to graces of speech and manner, regarded as the
expression of a refined nature. _Culture_ in the fullest sense denotes
that degree of _refinement_ and development which results from continued
_cultivation_ through successive generations; a man's faculties may be
brought to a high degree of _cultivation_ in some specialty, while he
himself remains uncultured even to the extent of coarseness and
rudeness. Compare HUMANE; POLITE.
barbarism, brutality, coarseness, rudeness, savagery,
boorishness, clownishness, grossness, rusticity, vulgarity.
* * * * *
confound, confute, disprove, overthrow, repel.
To _refute_ and to _confute_ are to answer so as to admit of no reply.
To _refute_ a statement is to demonstrate its falsity by argument or
countervailing proof; _confute_ is substantially the same in meaning,
tho differing in usage. _Refute_ applies either to arguments and
opinions or to accusations; _confute_ is not applied to accusations and
charges, but to arguments or opinions. _Refute_ is not now applied to
persons, but _confute_ is in good use in this application; a person is
_confuted_ when his arguments are _refuted_.
* * * * *
trustworthy, trusty.
The word _reliable_ has been sharply challenged, but seems to have
established its place in the language. The objection to its use on the
ground that the suffix _-able_ can not properly be added to an
intransitive verb is answered by the citation of such words as
"available," "conversable," "laughable," and the like, while, in the
matter of usage, _reliable_ has the authority of Coleridge, Martineau,
Mill, Irving, Newman, Gladstone, and others of the foremost of recent
English writers. The objection to the application of _reliable_ to
persons is not sustained by the use of the verb "rely," which is applied
to persons in the authorized version of the Scriptures, in the writings
of Shakespeare and Bacon, and in the usage of good speakers and writers.
_Trusty_ and _trustworthy_ refer to inherent qualities of a high order,
_trustworthy_ being especially applied to persons, and denoting moral
integrity and truthfulness; we speak of a _trusty_ sword, a _trusty_
servant; we say the man is thoroughly _trustworthy_. _Reliable_ is
inferior in meaning, denoting merely the possession of such qualities as
are needed for safe reliance; as, a _reliable_ pledge; _reliable_
information. A man is said to be _reliable_ with reference not only to
moral qualities, but to judgment, knowledge, skill, habit, or perhaps
pecuniary ability; a thoroughly _trustworthy_ person might not be
_reliable_ as a witness on account of unconscious sympathy, or as a
security by reason of insufficient means. A _reliable_ messenger is one
who may be depended on to do his errand correctly and promptly; a
_trusty_ or _trustworthy_ messenger is one who may be admitted to
knowledge of the views and purposes of those who employ him, and who
will be faithful beyond the mere letter of his commission. We can speak
of a railroad-train as _reliable_ when it can be depended on to arrive
on time; but to speak of a _reliable_ friend would be cold, and to speak
of a warrior girding on his _reliable_ sword would be ludicrous.
* * * * *
devotion, godliness, morality, piety, theology,
faith, holiness, pietism, righteousness, worship.
_Piety_ is primarily filial duty, as of children to parents, and hence,
in its highest sense, a loving obedience and service to God as the
Heavenly Father; _pietism_ often denotes a mystical, sometimes an
affected _piety_; _religion_ is the reverent acknowledgment both in
heart and in act of a divine being. _Religion_, in the fullest and
highest sense, includes all the other words of this group. _Worship_ may
be external and formal, or it may be the adoring reverence of the human
spirit for the divine, seeking outward expression. _Devotion_, which in
its fullest sense is self-consecration, is often used to denote an act
of _worship_, especially prayer or adoration; as, he is engaged in his
_devotions_. _Morality_ is the system and practise of duty as required
by the moral law, consisting chiefly in outward acts, and thus may be
observed without spiritual rectitude of heart; _morality_ is of
necessity included in all true _religion_, which involves both outward
act and spiritual service. _Godliness_ (primarily godlikeness) is a
character and spirit like that of God. _Holiness_ is the highest,
sinless perfection of any spirit, whether divine or human, tho often
used for purity or for consecration. _Theology_ is the science of
_religion_, or the study and scientific statement of all that the human
mind can know of God. _Faith_, strictly the belief and trust which the
soul exercises toward God, is often used as a comprehensive word for a
whole system of _religion_ considered as the object of _faith_; as, the
Christian _faith_; the Mohammedan _faith_.
atheism, godlessness, irreligion, sacrilege, ungodliness,
blasphemy, impiety, profanity, unbelief, wickedness.
* * * * *
averse, disinclined, loath, slow,
backward, indisposed, opposed, unwilling.
_Reluctant_ (L. _re_, back, and _lucto_, strive, struggle) signifies
struggling against what one is urged or impelled to do, or is actually
doing; _averse_ (L. _a_, from, and _verto_, turn) signifies turned away
as with dislike or repugnance; _loath_ (AS. _lath_, evil, hateful)
signifies having a repugnance, disgust, or loathing for, tho the
adjective _loath_ is not so strong as the verb _loathe_. A dunce is
always _averse_ to study; a good student is _disinclined_ to it when a
fine morning tempts him out; he is _indisposed_ to it in some hour of
weariness. A man may be _slow_ or _backward_ in entering upon that to
which he is by no means _averse_. A man is _loath_ to believe evil of
his friend, _reluctant_ to speak of it, absolutely _unwilling_ to use it
to his injury. A legislator may be _opposed_ to a certain measure, while
not _averse_ to what it aims to accomplish. Compare ANTIPATHY.
desirous, disposed, eager, favorable, inclined, willing.
* * * * *
annotation, comment, note, observation, utterance.
A _remark_ is a saying or brief statement, oral or written, commonly
made without much premeditation; a _comment_ is an explanatory or
critical _remark_, as upon some passage in a literary work or some act
or speech in common life. A _note_ is something to call attention, hence
a brief written statement; in correspondence, a _note_ is briefer than a
letter. A _note_ upon some passage in a book is briefer and less
elaborate than a _comment_. _Annotations_ are especially brief _notes_,
commonly marginal, and closely following the text. _Comments_,
_observations_, or _remarks_ may be oral or written, _comments_ being
oftenest written, and _remarks_ oftenest oral. An _observation_ is
properly the result of fixed attention and reflection; a _remark_ may
be the suggestion of the instant. _Remarks_ are more informal than a
* * * * *
break, cleave, mangle, rive, sever, sunder,
burst, lacerate, rip, rupture, slit, tear.
_Rend_ and _tear_ are applied to the separating of textile substances
into parts by force violently applied (_rend_ also to frangible
substances), _tear_ being the milder, _rend_ the stronger word. _Rive_
is a wood-workers' word for parting wood in the way of the grain without
a clean cut. To _lacerate_ is to _tear_ roughly the flesh or animal
tissue, as by the teeth of a wild beast; a _lacerated_ wound is
distinguished from a wound made by a clean cut or incision. _Mangle_ is
a stronger word than _lacerate_; _lacerate_ is more superficial,
_mangle_ more complete. To _burst_ or _rupture_ is to _tear_ or _rend_
by force from within, _burst_ denoting the greater violence; as, to
_burst_ a gun; to _rupture_ a blood-vessel; a steam-boiler may be
_ruptured_ when its substance is made to divide by internal pressure
without explosion. To _rip_, as usually applied to garments or other
articles made by sewing or stitching, is to divide along the line of a
seam by cutting or breaking the stitches; the other senses bear some
resemblance or analogy to this; as, to _rip_ open a wound. Compare
heal, mend, reunite, secure, sew, solder, stitch, unite, weld.
* * * * *
abandon, disavow, disown, recant, repudiate,
abjure, discard, forswear, refuse, retract,
deny, disclaim, recall, reject, revoke.
_Abjure_, _discard_, _forswear_, _recall_, _recant_, _renounce_,
_retract_, and _revoke_, like _abandon_, imply some previous connection.
_Renounce_ (L. _re_, back, and _nuntio_, bear a message) is to declare
against and give up formally and definitively; as, to _renounce_ the
pomps and vanities of the world. _Recant_ (L. _re_, back, and _canto_,
sing) is to take back or _deny_ formally and publicly, as a belief that
one has held or professed. _Retract_ (L. _re_, back, and _traho_, draw)
is to take back something that one has said as not true or as what one
is not ready to maintain; as, to _retract_ a charge or accusation; one
_recants_ what was especially his own, he _retracts_ what was directed
against another. _Repudiate_ (L. _re_, back, or away, and _pudeo_, feel
shame) is primarily to _renounce_ as shameful, hence to divorce, as a
wife; thus in general to put away with emphatic and determined
repulsion; as, to _repudiate_ a debt. To _deny_ is to affirm to be not
true or not binding; as, to _deny_ a statement or a relationship; or to
refuse to grant as something requested; as, his mother could not _deny_
him what he desired. To _discard_ is to cast away as useless or
worthless; thus, one _discards_ a worn garment; a coquette _discards_ a
lover. _Revoke_ (L. _re_, back, and _voco_, call), etymologically the
exact equivalent of the English _recall_, is to take back something
given or granted; as, to _revoke_ a command, a will, or a grant;
_recall_ may be used in the exact sense of _revoke_, but is often
applied to persons, as _revoke_ is not; we _recall_ a messenger and
_revoke_ the order with which he was charged. _Abjure_ (L. _ab_, away,
and _juro_, swear) is etymologically the exact equivalent of the Saxon
_forswear_, signifying to put away formally and under oath, as an error,
heresy, or evil practise, or a condemned and detested person. A man
_abjures_ his religion, _recants_ his belief, _abjures_ or _renounces_
his allegiance, _repudiates_ another's claim, _renounces_ his own,
_retracts_ a false statement. A person may _deny_, _disavow_,
_disclaim_, _disown_ what has been truly or falsely imputed to him or
supposed to be his. He may _deny_ his signature, _disavow_ the act of
his agent, _disown_ his child; he may _repudiate_ a just claim or a base
suggestion. A native of the United States can not _abjure_ or _renounce_
allegiance to the Queen of England, but will promptly _deny_ or
_repudiate_ it. Compare ABANDON.
acknowledge, assert, cherish, defend, maintain, proclaim, uphold,
advocate, avow, claim, hold, own, retain, vindicate.
* * * * *
compunction, contriteness, regret, self-condemnation,
contrition, penitence, remorse, sorrow.
_Regret_ is _sorrow_ for any painful or annoying matter. One is moved
with _penitence_ for wrong-doing. To speak of _regret_ for a fault of
our own marks it as slighter than one regarding which we should express
_penitence_. _Repentance_ is _sorrow_ for sin with _self-condemnation_,
and complete turning from the sin. _Penitence_ is transient, and may
involve no change of character or conduct. There may be _sorrow_ without
_repentance_, as for consequences only, but not _repentance_ without
_sorrow_. _Compunction_ is a momentary sting of conscience, in view
either of a past or of a contemplated act. _Contrition_ is a subduing
_sorrow_ for sin, as against the divine holiness and love. _Remorse_ is,
as its derivation indicates, a biting or gnawing back of guilt upon the
heart, with no turning of heart from the sin, and no suggestion of
divine forgiveness.
approval, content, obduracy, self-complacency,
comfort, hardness, obstinacy, self-congratulation,
complacency, impenitence, self-approval, stubbornness.
Repentance _of_ or _in_ heart, or _from_ the heart; repentance _for_
sins; _before_ or _toward_ God; _unto_ life.
* * * * *
account, narrative, rehearsal, rumor, story,
description, recital, relation, statement, tale.
narration, record,
_Account_ carries the idea of a commercial summary. A _statement_ is
definite, confined to essentials and properly to matters within the
personal knowledge of the one who states them; as, an ante-mortem
_statement_. A _narrative_ is a somewhat extended and embellished
_account_ of events in order of time, ordinarily with a view to please
or entertain. A _description_ gives especial scope to the pictorial
element. A _report_ (L. _re_, back, and _porto_, bring), as its
etymology implies, is something brought back, as by one sent to obtain
information, and may be concise and formal or highly descriptive and
dramatic. Compare ALLEGORY; HISTORY; RECORD.
* * * * *
admonition, chiding, disapproval, reprimand,
animadversion, comment, objurgation, reproach,
blame, condemnation, rebuke, reproval,
censure, criticism, reflection, upbraiding.
check, denunciation, reprehension,
_Blame_, _censure_, and _disapproval_ may either be felt or uttered;
_comment_, _criticism_, _rebuke_, _reflection_, _reprehension_, and
_reproof_ are always expressed. The same is true of _admonition_ and
_animadversion_. _Comment_ and _criticism_ may be favorable as well as
censorious; they imply no superiority or authority on the part of him
who utters them; nor do _reflection_ or _reprehension_, which are
simply turning the mind back upon what is disapproved. _Reprehension_ is
supposed to be calm and just, and with good intent; it is therefore a
serious matter, however mild, and is capable of great force, as
expressed in the phrase severe _reprehension_. _Reflection_ is often
from mere ill feeling, and is likely to be more personal and less
impartial than _reprehension_; we often speak of unkind or unjust
_reflections_. _Rebuke_, literally a stopping of the mouth, is
administered to a forward or hasty person; _reproof_ is administered to
one intentionally or deliberately wrong; both words imply authority in
the reprover, and direct expression of _disapproval_ to the face of the
person _rebuked_ or _reproved_. _Reprimand_ is official _censure_
formally administered by a superior to one under his command.
_Animadversion_ is _censure_ of a high, authoritative, and somewhat
formal kind. _Rebuke_ may be given at the outset, or in the midst of an
action; _animadversion_, _reflection_, _reprehension_, _reproof_, always
follow the act; _admonition_ is anticipatory, and meant to be
preventive. _Check_ is allied to _rebuke_, and given before or during
action; _chiding_ is nearer to _reproof_, but with more of personal
bitterness and less of authority. Compare CONDEMN; REPROVE.
applause, approval, encomium, eulogy, panegyric, praise.
approbation, commendation,
* * * * *
admonish, condemn, reprimand,
blame, expostulate with, reproach,
censure, find fault with, take to task,
chasten, rebuke, upbraid,
check, remonstrate with, warn.
chide, reprehend,
To _censure_ is to pronounce an adverse judgment that may or may not be
expressed to the person _censured_; to _reprove_ is to _censure_
authoritatively, openly, and directly to the face of the person
_reproved_; to _rebuke_ is to _reprove_ with sharpness, and often with
abruptness, usually in the midst of some action or course of action
deemed censurable; to _reprimand_ is to _reprove_ officially; to _blame_
is a familiar word signifying to pass _censure_ upon, make answerable,
as for a fault; _blame_ and _censure_ apply either to persons or acts;
_reprove_ and _rebuke_ are applied chiefly, and _reprimand_ exclusively
to persons. To _reproach_ is to _censure_ openly and vehemently, and
with intense personal feeling as of grief or anger; as, to _reproach_
one for ingratitude; _reproach_ knows no distinction of rank or
character; a subject may _reproach_ a king or a criminal judge. To
_expostulate_ or _remonstrate with_ is to mingle reasoning and appeal
with _censure_ in the hope of winning one from his evil way,
_expostulate_ being the gentler, _remonstrate_ the severer word.
_Admonish_ is the mildest of _reproving_ words, and may even be used of
giving a caution or warning where no wrong is implied, or of simply
reminding of duty which might be forgotten. _Censure_, _rebuke_, and
_reprove_ apply to wrong that has been done; _warn_ and _admonish_ refer
to anticipated error or fault. When one is _admonished_ because of wrong
already done, the view is still future, that he may not repeat or
continue in the wrong. Compare CONDEMN; REPROOF.
abet, approve, countenance, impel, instigate,
applaud, cheer, encourage, incite, urge on.
* * * * *
avenge, punish, remunerate, revenge,
compensate, quit, repay, reward,
pay, reciprocate, retaliate, satisfy,
pay off, recompense, return, settle with.
To _repay_ or to _retaliate_, to _punish_ or to _reward_, may be to make
some return very inadequate to the benefit or injury received, or the
right or wrong done; but to _requite_ (according to its etymology) is to
make so full and adequate a _return_ as to _quit_ oneself of all
obligation of favor or hostility, of punishment or _reward_. _Requite_
is often used in the more general sense of _recompense_ or _repay_, but
always with the suggestion, at least, of the original idea of full
equivalent; when one speaks of _requiting_ kindness with ingratitude,
the expression gains force from the comparison of the actual with the
proper and appropriate _return_. Compare PAY.
absolve, excuse, forgive, overlook, pass over,
acquit, forget, neglect, pardon, slight.
To requite injury _with_ injury is human, but not Christian.
* * * * *
calm, pause, quietness, slumber,
calmness, peace, quietude, stay,
cessation, peacefulness, recreation, stillness,
ease, quiescence, repose, stop,
intermission, quiet, sleep, tranquillity.
_Ease_ denotes freedom from cause of disturbance, whether external or
internal. _Quiet_ denotes freedom from agitation, or especially from
annoying sounds. _Rest_ is a _cessation_ of activity especially of
wearying or painful activity. _Recreation_ is some pleasing activity of
certain organs or faculties that affords _rest_ to other parts of our
nature that have become weary. _Repose_ is a laying down, primarily of
the body, and figuratively a similar freedom from toil or strain of
mind. _Repose_ is more complete than _rest_; a _pause_ is a momentary
_cessation_ of activity; a black-smith finds a temporary _rest_ while
the iron is heating, but he does not yield to _repose_; in a _pause_ of
battle a soldier _rests_ on his arms; after the battle the victor
_reposes_ on his laurels. _Sleep_ is the perfection of _repose_, the
most complete _rest_; _slumber_ is a light and ordinarily pleasant form
of _sleep_. In the figurative sense, _rest_ of mind, soul, conscience,
is not mere _cessation_ of activity, but a pleasing, tranquil relief
from all painful and wearying activity; _repose_ is even more deep,
tranquil, and complete.
agitation, disturbance, movement, stir, tumult,
commotion, excitement, restlessness, strain, unrest,
disquiet, motion, rush, toil, work.
* * * * *
balky, impatient, rebellious, restless,
fidgety, intractable, recalcitrant, skittish,
fractious, mulish, refractory, stubborn,
fretful, mutinous, resentful, unruly,
frisky, obstinate, restiff, vicious.
_Balky_, _mulish_, _obstinate_, and _stubborn_ are synonyms of _restive_
only in an infrequent if not obsolete use; the supposed sense of
"tending to rest," "standing stubbornly still," is scarcely supported by
any examples, and those cited to support that meaning often fail to do
so. The disposition to offer active resistance to control by any means
whatever is what is commonly indicated by _restive_ in the best English
speech and literature. Dryden speaks of "the pampered colt" as
"_restiff_ to the rein;" but the rein is not used to propel a horse
forward, but to hold him in, and it is against this that he is
"_restiff_." A horse may be made _restless_ by flies or by martial
music, but with no refractoriness; the _restive_ animal impatiently
resists or struggles to break from control, as by bolting, flinging his
rider, or otherwise. With this the metaphorical use of the word agrees,
which is always in the sense of such terms as _impatient_,
_intractable_, _rebellious_, and the like; a people _restive_ under
despotism are not disposed to "rest" under it, but to resist it and
fling it off.
docile, manageable, passive, quiet, tractable,
gentle, obedient, peaceable, submissive, yielding.
* * * * *
abridge, constrain, hold in, keep under,
bridle, curb, keep, repress,
check, hinder, keep back, restrict,
circumscribe, hold, keep down, suppress,
confine, hold back, keep in, withhold.
To _restrain_ is to _hold back_ from acting, proceeding, or advancing,
either by physical or moral force. _Constrain_ is positive; _restrain_
is negative; one is _constrained_ to an action; he is _restrained_ from
an action. _Constrain_ refers almost exclusively to moral force,
_restrain_ frequently to physical force, as when we speak of putting one
under restraint. To _restrain_ an action is to hold it partially or
wholly in check, so that it is under pressure even while it acts; to
_restrict_ an action is to fix a limit or boundary which it may not
pass, but within which it is free. To _repress_, literally to press
back, is to hold in check, and perhaps only temporarily, that which is
still very active; it is a feebler word than _restrain_; to _suppress_
is finally and effectually to put down; _suppress_ is a much stronger
word than _restrain_; as, to _suppress_ a rebellion. Compare ARREST;
aid, arouse, encourage, free, incite, release,
animate, emancipate, excite, impel, let loose, set free.
* * * * *
loneliness, privacy, seclusion, solitude.
In _retirement_ one withdraws from association he has had with others;
we speak of the _retirement_ of a public man to private life, tho he may
still be much in company. In _seclusion_ one shuts himself away from the
society of all except intimate friends or attendants; in _solitude_ no
other person is present. While _seclusion_ is ordinarily voluntary,
_solitude_ may be enforced; we speak of the _solitude_ rather than the
_seclusion_ of a prisoner. As "private" denotes what concerns ourselves
individually, _privacy_ denotes freedom from the presence or observation
of those not concerned or whom we desire not to have concerned in our
affairs; _privacy_ is more commonly temporary than _seclusion_; we
speak of a moment's _privacy_. There may be _loneliness_ without
_solitude_, as amid an unsympathizing crowd, and _solitude_ without
_loneliness_, as when one is glad to be alone.
association, companionship, company, converse, fellowship, society.
* * * * *
apocalypse, disclosure, manifestation.
_Revelation_ (L. _re_, back, and _velum_, veil), literally an unveiling,
is the act or process of making known what was before secret or hidden,
or what may still be future. _Apocalypse_ (Gr. _apo_, from, and
_kalypto_, cover), literally an uncovering, comes into English as the
name of the closing book of the Bible. The _Apocalypse_ unveils the
future, as if to the very gaze of the seer; the whole gospel is a
_disclosure_ of the mercy of God; the character of Christ is a
_manifestation_ of the divine holiness and love; all Scripture is a
_revelation_ of the divine will. Or we might say that nature is a
_manifestation_ of the divine character and will, of which Scripture is
the fuller and more express _revelation_.
cloud, concealment, mystery, shrouding,
cloudiness, hiding, obscuration, veiling.
* * * * *
avenging, retaliation, retribution, vengeance.
_Revenge_ is the act of making return for an injury done to oneself by
doing injury to another person. _Retaliation_ and _revenge_ are personal
and often bitter. _Retaliation_ may be partial; _revenge_ is meant to be
complete, and may be excessive. _Vengeance_, which once meant an
indignant vindication of justice, now signifies the most furious and
unsparing _revenge_. _Revenge_ emphasizes more the personal injury in
return for which it is inflicted, _vengeance_ the ill desert of those
upon whom it is inflicted. A _requital_ is strictly an even return, such
as to quit one of obligation for what has been received, and even if
poor or unworthy is given as complete and adequate. _Avenging_ and
_retribution_ give a solemn sense of exact justice, _avenging_ being
more personal in its infliction, whether by God or man, and
_retribution_ the impersonal visitation of the doom of righteous law.
compassion, forgiveness, mercy, pardon, pity, reconciliation.
excuse, grace,
To take revenge _upon_ the enemy, _for_ the injury.
* * * * *
anarchy, insurrection, revolt,
confusion, lawlessness, riot,
disintegration, mutiny, sedition,
disorder, rebellion, tumult.
The essential idea of _revolution_ is a change in the form of government
or constitution, or a change of rulers, otherwise than as provided by
the laws of succession, election, etc.; while such change is apt to
involve armed hostilities, these make no necessary part of the
_revolution_. The _revolution_ by which Dom Pedro was dethroned, and
Brazil changed from an empire to a republic, was accomplished without a
battle, and almost without a shot. _Anarchy_ refers to the condition of
a state when human government is superseded or destroyed by factions or
other causes. _Lawlessness_ is a temper of mind or condition of the
community which may result in _anarchy_. _Confusion_, _disorder_,
_riot_, and _tumult_ are incidental and temporary outbreaks of
_lawlessness_, but may not be _anarchy_. _Insubordination_ is individual
disobedience. _Sedition_ is the plotting, _rebellion_ the fighting,
against the existing government, but always with the purpose of
establishing some other government in its place. When _rebellion_ is
successful it is called _revolution_; but there may be _revolution_
without _rebellion_; as, the English _Revolution_ of 1688. A _revolt_ is
an uprising against existing authority without the comprehensive views
of change in the form or administration of government that are involved
in _revolution_. _Anarchy_, when more than temporary _disorder_, is a
proposed _disintegration_ of society, in which it is imagined that
social order might exist without government. Slaves make _insurrection_;
soldiers or sailors break out in _mutiny_; subject provinces rise in
_revolt_. Compare SOCIALISM.
authority, domination, government, obedience, sovereignty,
command, dominion, law, order, submission,
control, empire, loyalty, rule, supremacy.
* * * * *
roll, rotate, turn.
Any round body _rolls_ which continuously touches with successive
portions of its surface successive portions of another surface; a
wagon-wheel _rolls_ along the ground. To _rotate_ is said of a body that
has a circular motion about its own center or axis; to _revolve_ is said
of a body that moves in a curving path, as a circle or an ellipse, about
a center outside of itself, so as to return periodically to the same
relative position that it held at some previous time. A _revolving_ body
may also either _rotate_ or _roll_ at the same time; the earth
_revolves_ around the sun, and _rotates_ on its own axis; in popular
usage, the earth is often said to _revolve_ about its own axis, or to
have a daily "revolution," but _rotate_ and "rotation" are the more
accurate terms. A cylinder over which an endless belt is drawn is said
to _roll_ as regards the belt, tho it _rotates_ as regards its own axis.
Any object that is in contact with or connected with a _rolling_ body is
often said to _roll_; as, the car _rolls_ smoothly along the track.
Objects whose motion approximates or suggests a rotary motion along a
supporting surface are also said to _roll_; as, ocean waves _roll_ in
upon the shore, or the ship _rolls_ in the trough of the sea. _Turn_ is
a conversational and popular word often used vaguely for _rotate_ or
_revolve_, or for any motion about a fixed point, especially for a
motion less than a complete "rotation" or "revolution;" a man _turns_
his head or _turns_ on his heel; the gate _turns_ on its hinges.
bind, chafe, grind, slide, slip, stand, stick.
* * * * *
RIDDLE, _n._
conundrum, enigma, paradox, problem, puzzle.
_Conundrum_, a word of unknown origin, signifies some question or
statement in which some hidden and fanciful resemblance is involved, the
answer often depending upon a pun; an _enigma_ is a dark saying; a
_paradox_ is a true statement that at first appears absurd or
contradictory; a _problem_ is something thrown out for solution;
_puzzle_ (from _oppose_) referred originally to the intricate arguments
by which disputants opposed each other in the old philosophic schools.
The _riddle_ is an ambiguous or paradoxical statement with a hidden
meaning to be guessed by the mental acuteness of the one to whom it is
proposed; the _riddle_ is not so petty as the _conundrum_, and may
require much acuteness for its answer; a _problem_ may require simply
study and scholarship, as a _problem_ in mathematics; a _puzzle_ may be
in something other than verbal statement, as a dissected map or any
perplexing mechanical contrivance. Both _enigma_ and _puzzle_ may be
applied to any matter difficult of answer or solution, _enigma_
conveying an idea of greater dignity, _puzzle_ applying to something
more commonplace and mechanical; there are many dark _enigmas_ in human
life and in the course of providence; the location of a missing object
is often a _puzzle_.
answer, axiom, explanation, proposition, solution.
* * * * *
RIGHT, _n._
claim, franchise, liberty, prerogative,
exemption, immunity, license, privilege.
A _right_ is that which one may properly demand upon considerations of
justice, morality, equity, or of natural or positive law. A _right_ may
be either general or special, natural or artificial. "Life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness" are the natural and inalienable _rights_ of
all men; _rights_ of property, inheritance, etc., are individual and
special, and often artificial, as the _right_ of inheritance by
primogeniture. A _privilege_ is always special, exceptional, and
artificial; it is something not enjoyed by all, or only to be enjoyed on
certain special conditions, a peculiar benefit, favor, advantage, etc. A
_privilege_ may be of doing or avoiding; in the latter case it is an
_exemption_ or _immunity_; as, a _privilege_ of hunting or fishing;
_exemption_ from military service; _immunity_ from arrest. A _franchise_
is a specific _right_ or _privilege_ granted by the government or
established as such by governmental authority; as, the elective
_franchise_; a railroad _franchise_. A _prerogative_ is an official
_right_ or _privilege_, especially one inherent in the royal or
sovereign power; in a wider sense it is an exclusive and peculiar
_privilege_ which one possesses by reason of being what he is; as,
reason is the _prerogative_ of man; kings and nobles have often claimed
_prerogatives_ and _privileges_ opposed to the inherent _rights_ of the
people. Compare DUTY; JUSTICE.
* * * * *
arise, ascend, emanate, flow, issue, proceed, spring.
To _rise_ is to move up or upward whether slowly or quickly, whether
through the least or greatest distance; the waves _rise_; the mists
_rise_; the river _rises_ after heavy rains; as said of persons, to
_rise_ is to come to an erect position after kneeling, sitting,
reclining, or lying down; as, to _rise_ from a sick-bed; my friend
_rose_ as I entered; the guests _rose_ to depart; so a deliberative
assembly or a committee is said to _rise_ when it breaks up a session; a
sun or star _rises_ when to our apprehension it comes above the horizon
and begins to go up the sky. To _ascend_ is to go far upward, and is
often used in a stately sense; as, Christ _ascended_ to heaven. The
shorter form _rise_ is now generally preferred to the longer form
_arise_, except in poetic or elevated style. The sun _rises_ or
_arises_; the river _springs_ at a bound from the foot of the glacier
and _flows_ through the lands to the ocean. Smoke _issues_ from a
chimney and _ascends_ toward the sky. Light and heat _emanate_ from the
decline, descend, drop, fall, go down, set, settle, sink.
Rise _from_ slumber; rise _to_ duty; rise _at_ the summons; we rose
_with_ the lark.
* * * * *
bandit, depredator, freebooter, pirate,
brigand, despoiler, highwayman, plunderer,
buccaneer, footpad, marauder, raider,
burglar, forager, pillager, thief.
A _robber_ seeks to obtain the property of others by force or
intimidation; a _thief_ by stealth and secrecy. In early English _thief_
was freely used in both senses, as in Shakespeare and the Authorized
Version of the English Bible, which has "two _thieves_" (_Matt._ xxvii,
38), where the Revised Version more correctly substitutes "two
* * * * *
august, kingly, majestic, princely,
kinglike, magnificent, munificent, regal.
_Royal_ denotes that which actually belongs or pertains to a monarch;
the _royal_ residence is that which the king occupies, _royal_ raiment
that which the king wears. _Regal_ denotes that which in outward state
is appropriate for a king; a subject may assume _regal_ magnificence in
residence, dress, and equipage. _Kingly_ denotes that which is worthy of
a king in personal qualities, especially of character and conduct; as,
a _kingly_ bearing; a _kingly_ resolve. _Princely_ is especially used of
treasure, expenditure, gifts, etc., as _princely_ munificence, a
_princely_ fortune, where _regal_ could not so well be used and _royal_
would change the sense. The distinctions between these words are not
absolute, but the tendency of the best usage is as here suggested.
beggarly, contemptible, mean, poor, servile, slavish, vile.
* * * * *
agricultural, coarse, pastoral, uncouth,
artless, countrified, plain, unpolished,
awkward, country, rude, unsophisticated,
boorish, hoidenish, rural, untaught,
bucolic, inelegant, sylvan, verdant.
clownish, outlandish,
_Rural_ and _rustic_ are alike derived from the Latin _rus_, country,
and may be alike defined as pertaining to, characteristic of, or
dwelling in the country; but in usage _rural_ refers especially to
scenes or objects in the country, considered as the work of nature;
_rustic_ refers to their effect upon man or to their condition as
affected by human agency; as, a _rural_ scene; a _rustic_ party; a
_rustic_ lass. We speak, however, of the _rural_ population, _rural_
simplicity, etc. _Rural_ has always a favorable sense; _rustic_
frequently an unfavorable one, as denoting a lack of culture and
refinement; thus, _rustic_ politeness expresses that which is
well-meant, but awkward; similar ideas are suggested by a _rustic_
feast, _rustic_ garb, etc. _Rustic_ is, however, often used of a studied
simplicity, an artistic rudeness, which is pleasing and perhaps
beautiful; as, a _rustic_ cottage; a _rustic_ chair. _Pastoral_ refers
to the care of flocks, and to the shepherd's life with the pleasing
associations suggested by the old poetic ideal of that life; as,
_pastoral_ poetry. _Bucolic_ is kindred to _pastoral_, but is a less
elevated term, and sometimes slightly contemptuous.
accomplished, cultured, polished, refined, urbane,
city-like, elegant, polite, urban, well-bred.
* * * * *
ceremony, eucharist, observance, rite, solemnity.
communion, Lord's Supper, ordinance, service,
Any religious act, especially a public act, viewed as a means of
serving God is called a _service_; the word commonly includes the entire
series of exercises of a single occasion of public worship. A religious
_service_ ordained as an outward and visible sign of an inward and
spiritual grace is called a _sacrament_. _Ceremony_ is a form expressing
reverence, or at least respect; we may speak of religious _ceremonies_,
the _ceremonies_ of polite society, the _ceremonies_ of a coronation, an
inauguration, etc. An _observance_ has more than a formal obligation,
reaching or approaching a religious sacredness; a stated religious
_observance_, viewed as established by authority, is called an
_ordinance_; viewed as an established custom, it is a _rite_. The terms
_sacrament_ and _ordinance_, in the religious sense, are often used
interchangeably; the _ordinance_ derives its sacredness from the
authority that ordained it, while the _sacrament_ possesses a sacredness
due to something in itself, even when viewed simply as a representation
or memorial. The Lord's Supper is the Scriptural name for the
_observance_ commemorating the death of Christ; the word _communion_ is
once applied to it (_1 Cor._ x, 16), but not as a distinctive name; at
an early period, however, the name _communion_ was so applied, as
denoting the communing of Christians with their Lord, or with one
another. The term _eucharist_ describes the Lord's Supper as a
thanksgiving _service_; it is also called by preeminence _the
sacrament_, as the ratifying of a solemn vow of consecration to Christ.
* * * * *
able, intelligent, perspicacious, sensible,
acute, keen, quick of scent, sharp,
apt, keen-sighted, quick-scented, sharp-witted,
clear-sighted, keen-witted, rational, shrewd,
discerning, judicious, sage, wise.
_Sagacious_ refers to a power of tracing the hidden or recondite by
slight indications, as by instinct or intuition; it is not now applied
to mere keenness of sense-perception. We do not call a hound _sagacious_
in following a clear trail; but if he loses the scent, as at the edge of
a stream, and circles around till he strikes it again, his conduct is
said to be _sagacious_. In human affairs _sagacious_ refers to a power
of ready, far-reaching, and accurate inference from observed facts
perhaps in themselves very slight, that seems like a special sense; or
to a similar readiness to foresee the results of any action, especially
upon human motives or conduct--a kind of prophetic common sense.
_Sagacious_ is a broader and nobler word than _shrewd_, and not capable
of the invidious sense which the latter word often bears; on the other
hand, _sagacious_ is less lofty and comprehensive than _wise_ in its
full sense, and more limited to matters of direct practical moment.
absurd, futile, obtuse, silly, sottish, undiscerning,
dull, ignorant, senseless, simple, stupid, unintelligent.
foolish, irrational,
* * * * *
bargain, barter, change, deal, exchange, trade.
A _bargain_ is strictly an agreement or contract to buy and sell, tho
the word is often used to denote the entire transaction and also as a
designation for the thing sold or purchased. _Change_ and _exchange_ are
words of wider signification, applying only incidentally to the transfer
of property or value; a _change_ secures something different in any way
or by any means; an _exchange_ secures something as an equivalent or
return, tho not necessarily as payment for what is given. _Barter_ is
the _exchange_ of one commodity for another, the word being used
generally with reference to portable commodities. _Trade_ in the broad
sense may apply to vast businesses (as the book-_trade_), but as
denoting a single transaction is used chiefly in regard to things of
moderate value, when it becomes nearly synonymous with _barter_. _Sale_
is commonly, and with increasing strictness, limited to the transfer of
property for money, or for something estimated at a money value or
considered as equivalent to so much money in hand or to be paid. A
_deal_ in the political sense is a _bargain_, substitution, or transfer
for the benefit of certain persons or parties against all others; as,
the nomination was the result of a _deal_; in business it may have a
similar meaning, but it frequently signifies simply a _sale_ or
_exchange_, a dealing; as, a heavy _deal_ in stocks.
* * * * *
case, exemplification, instance,
example, illustration, specimen.
A _sample_ is a portion taken at random out of a quantity supposed to be
homogeneous, so that the qualities found in the _sample_ may reasonably
be expected to be found in the whole; as, a _sample_ of sugar; a
_sample_ of cloth. A _specimen_ is one unit of a series, or a fragment
of a mass, all of which is supposed to possess the same essential
qualities; as, a _specimen_ of coinage, or of architecture, or a
_specimen_ of quartz. No other unit or portion may be exactly like the
_specimen_, while all the rest is supposed to be exactly like the
_sample_. An _instance_ is a _sample_ or _specimen_ of action. Compare
abnormality, aggregate, exception, monstrosity, total, whole.
* * * * *
cloy, fill, sate, suffice,
content, glut, satiate, surfeit.
To _satisfy_ is to furnish just enough to meet physical, mental, or
spiritual desire. To _sate_ or _satiate_ is to gratify desire so fully
as for a time to extinguish it. To _cloy_ or _surfeit_ is to gratify to
the point of revulsion or disgust. _Glut_ is a strong but somewhat
coarse word applied to the utmost satisfaction of vehement appetites and
passions; as, to _glut_ a vengeful spirit with slaughter; we speak of
_glutting_ the market with a supply so excessive as to extinguish the
demand. Much less than is needed to _satisfy_ may _suffice_ a frugal or
abstemious person; less than a sufficiency may _content_ one of a
patient and submissive spirit. Compare PAY; REQUITE.
check, disappoint, restrain, starve, straiten,
deny, refuse, restrict, stint, tantalize.
Satisfy _with_ food, _with_ gifts, etc.; satisfy one (in the sense of
make satisfaction) _for_ labors and sacrifices; satisfy oneself _by_ or
_upon_ inquiry.
* * * * *
disciple, learner, pupil, savant, student.
The primary sense of a _scholar_ is one who is being schooled; thence
the word passes to denote one who is apt in school work, and finally one
who is thoroughly schooled, master of what the schools can teach, an
erudite, accomplished person: when used without qualification, the word
is generally understood in this latter sense; as, he is manifestly a
_scholar_. _Pupil_ signifies one under the close personal supervision or
instruction of a teacher or tutor. Those under instruction in schools
below the academic grade are technically and officially termed
_pupils_. The word _pupil_ is uniformly so used in the Reports of the
Commissioner of Education of the United States, but popular American
usage prefers _scholar_ in the original sense; as, teachers and
_scholars_ enjoyed a holiday. Those under instruction in Sunday-schools
are uniformly designated as Sunday-school _scholars_. _Student_ is
applied to those in the higher grades or courses of study, as the
academic, collegiate, scientific, etc. _Student_ suggests less
proficiency than _scholar_ in the highest sense, the _student_ being one
who is learning, the _scholar_ one who has learned. On the other hand,
_student_ suggests less of personal supervision than _pupil_; thus, the
college _student_ often becomes the private _pupil_ of some instructor
in special studies. For _disciple_, etc., compare synonyms for ADHERENT.
dunce, fool, idiot, idler, ignoramus, illiterate person.
* * * * *
art, knowledge.
_Knowledge_ of a single fact, not known as related to any other, or of
many facts not known as having any mutual relations or as comprehended
under any general law, does not reach the meaning of _science_;
_science_ is _knowledge_ reduced to law and embodied in system. The
_knowledge_ of various countries gathered by an observant traveler may
be a heterogeneous medley of facts, which gain real value only when
coordinated and arranged by the man of _science_. _Art_ always relates
to something to be done, _science_ to something to be known. Not only
must _art_ be discriminated from _science_, but _art_ in the industrial
or mechanical sense must be distinguished from _art_ in the esthetic
sense; the former aims chiefly at utility, the latter at beauty. The
mechanic _arts_ are the province of the artisan, the esthetic or fine
_arts_ are the province of the artist; all the industrial _arts_, as of
weaving or printing, arithmetic or navigation, are governed by exact
rules. _Art_ in the highest esthetic sense, while it makes use of rules,
transcends all rule; no rules can be given for the production of a
painting like Raffael's "Transfiguration," a statue like the Apollo
Belvedere, or a poem like the Iliad. _Science_ does not, like the
mechanic _arts_, make production its direct aim, yet its possible
productive application in the _arts_ is a constant stimulus to
scientific investigation; the _science_, as in the case of chemistry or
electricity, is urged on to higher development by the demands of the
_art_, while the _art_ is perfected by the advance of the _science_.
Creative _art_ seeking beauty for its own sake is closely akin to pure
_science_ seeking _knowledge_ for its own sake. Compare KNOWLEDGE;
* * * * *
bail, earnest, gage, pledge, surety.
The first four words agree in denoting something given or deposited as
an assurance of something to be given, paid, or done. An _earnest_ is of
the same kind as that to be given, a portion of it delivered in advance,
as when part of the purchase-money is paid, according to the common
expression, "to bind the bargain." A _pledge_ or _security_ may be
wholly different in kind from that to be given or paid, and may greatly
exceed it in value. _Security_ may be of real or personal
property--anything of sufficient value to make the creditor secure; a
_pledge_ is always of personal property or chattels. Every pawnshop
contains unredeemed _pledges_; land, merchandise, bonds, etc., are
frequently offered and accepted as _security_. A person may become
_security_ or _surety_ for another's payment of a debt, appearance in
court, etc.; in the latter case, he is said to become _bail_ for that
person; the person accused gives _bail_ for himself. _Gage_ survives
only as a literary word, chiefly in certain phrases; as, "the _gage_ of
Security _for_ the payment of a debt; security _to_ the state, _for_ the
prisoner, _in_ the sum of a thousand dollars.
* * * * *
self-control, self-devotion, self-renunciation,
self-denial, self-immolation, self-sacrifice.
_Self-control_ is holding oneself within due limits in pleasures and
duties, as in all things else; _self-denial_, the giving up of pleasures
for the sake of duty. _Self-renunciation_ surrenders conscious rights
and claims; _self-abnegation_ forgets that there is anything to
surrender. There have been devotees who practised very little
_self-denial_ with very much _self-renunciation_. A mother will care for
a sick child with complete _self-abnegation_, but without a thought of
_self-denial_. _Self-devotion_ is heart-consecration of self to a
person or cause with readiness for any needed sacrifice.
_Self-sacrifice_ is the strongest and completest term of all, and
contemplates the gift of self as actually made. We speak of the
_self-sacrifice_ of Christ, where any other of the above terms would be
feeble or inappropriate.
self-gratification, selfishness, self-seeking, self-will.
* * * * *
cast, despatch, emit, impel, propel,
dart, discharge, fling, lance, sling,
delegate, dismiss, forward, launch, throw,
depute, drive, hurl, project, transmit.
To _send_ is to cause to go or pass from one place to another, and
always in fact or thought away from the agent or agency that controls
the act. _Send_ in its most common use involves personal agency without
personal presence; according to the adage, "If you want your business
done, go; if not, _send_;" one _sends_ a letter or a bullet, a messenger
or a message. In all the derived uses this same idea controls; if one
_sends_ a ball into his own heart, the action is away from the directing
hand, and he is viewed as the passive recipient of his own act; it is
with an approach to personification that we speak of the bow _sending_
the arrow, or the gun the shot. To _despatch_ is to _send_ hastily or
very promptly, ordinarily with a destination in view; to _dismiss_ is to
_send_ away from oneself without reference to a destination; as, to
_dismiss_ a clerk, an application, or an annoying subject. To
_discharge_ is to _send_ away so as to relieve a person or thing of a
load; we _discharge_ a gun or _discharge_ the contents; as applied to
persons, _discharge_ is a harsher term than _dismiss_. To _emit_ is to
_send_ forth from within, with no reference to a destination; as, the
sun _emits_ light and heat. _Transmit_, from the Latin, is a dignified
term, often less vigorous than the Saxon _send_, but preferable at times
in literary or scientific use; as, to _transmit_ the crown, or the feud,
from generation to generation; to _transmit_ a charge of electricity.
_Transmit_ fixes the attention more on the intervening agency, as _send_
does upon the points of departure and destination.
bring, convey, give, hold, receive,
carry, get, hand, keep, retain.
To send _from_ the hand _to_ or _toward_ (rarely _at_) a mark; send
_to_ a friend _by_ a messenger or _by_ mail; send a person _into_
banishment; send a shell _among_ the enemy.
* * * * *
emotion, feeling, perception, sense.
_Sensation_ is the mind's consciousness due to a bodily affection, as of
heat or cold; _perception_ is the cognition of some external object
which is the cause or occasion of the _sensation_; the _sensation_ of
heat may be connected with the _perception_ of a fire. While
_sensations_ are connected with the body, _emotions_, as joy, grief,
etc., are wholly of the mind. "As the most of them [the _sensations_]
are positively agreeable or the opposite, they are nearly akin to those
_emotions_, as hope or terror, or those passions, as anger and envy,
which are acknowledged by all to belong exclusively to the spirit, and
to involve no relation whatever to matter or the bodily organism. Such
_feelings_ are not infrequently styled _sensations_, though improperly."
PORTER _Human Intellect_ Sec. 112, p. 128. [S. '90.] _Feeling_ is a general
term popularly denoting what is felt, whether through the body or by the
mind alone, and includes both _sensation_ and _emotion_. A _sense_ is an
organ or faculty of _sensation_ or of _perception_.
* * * * *
feeling, impressibility, sensitiveness, susceptibility.
_Sensibility_ in the philosophical sense, denotes the capacity of
emotion or feeling, as distinguished from the intellect and the will.
(Compare synonyms for SENSATION.) In popular use _sensibility_ denotes
sometimes capacity of feeling of any kind; as, _sensibility_ to heat or
cold; sometimes, a peculiar readiness to be the subject of feeling,
especially of the higher feelings; as, the _sensibility_ of the artist
or the poet; a person of great or fine _sensibility_. _Sensitiveness_
denotes an especial delicacy of _sensibility_, ready to be excited by
the slightest cause, as displayed, for instance, in the
"sensitive-plant." _Susceptibility_ is rather a capacity to take up,
receive, and, as it were, to contain feeling, so that a person of great
_susceptibility_ is capable of being not only readily but deeply moved;
_sensitiveness_ is more superficial, _susceptibility_ more pervading.
Thus, in physics, the _sensitiveness_ of a magnetic needle is the ease
with which it may be deflected, as by another magnet; its
_susceptibility_ is the degree to which it can be magnetized by a given
magnetic force or the amount of magnetism it will hold. So a person of
great _sensitiveness_ is quickly and keenly affected by any external
influence, as by music, pathos, or ridicule, while a person of great
_susceptibility_ is not only touched, but moved to his inmost soul.
coldness, hardness, insensibility, numbness, unconsciousness.
The sensibility _of_ the organism _to_ atmospheric changes.
* * * * *
austere, inflexible, rigorous, uncompromising,
hard, morose, stern, unmitigated,
harsh, relentless, stiff, unrelenting,
inexorable, rigid, strict, unyielding.
That is _severe_ which is devoid of all softness, mildness, tenderness,
indulgence or levity, or (in literature and art) devoid of unnecessary
ornament, amplification, or embellishment of any kind; as, a _severe_
style; as said of anything painful, _severe_ signifies such as heavily
taxes endurance or resisting power; as, a _severe_ pain, fever, or
winter. _Rigid_ signifies primarily _stiff_, resisting any effort to
change its shape; a corpse is said to be _rigid_ in death; hence, in
metaphorical sense, a _rigid_ person or character is one that resists
all efforts to change the will or course of conduct; a _rigid_ rule or
statement is one that admits of no deviation. _Rigorous_ is nearly akin
to _rigid_, but is a stronger word, having reference to action or active
qualities, as _rigid_ does to state or character; a _rigid_ rule may be
_rigorously_ enforced. _Strict_ (L. _stringo_, bind) signifies bound or
stretched tight, tense, strenuously exact. _Stern_ unites harshness and
authority with strictness or severity; _stern_, as said even of
inanimate objects, suggests something authoritative or forbidding.
_Austere_ signifies severely simple or temperate, _strict_ in
self-restraint or discipline, and similarly _unrelenting_ toward others.
We speak of _austere_ morality, _rigid_ rules, _rigorous_ discipline,
_stern_ commands, _severe_ punishment, _harsh_ speech or a _harsh_
voice, _hard_ requirements, _strict_ injunctions, and _strict_
obedience. _Strict_ discipline holds one exactly and unflinchingly to
the rule; _rigorous_ discipline punishes severely any infraction of it.
The _austere_ character is seldom lovely, but it is always strong and
may be grand, commanding, and estimable.
affable, easy, gentle, lenient, pliable, sweet, tractable,
bland, genial, indulgent, mild, soft, tender, yielding.
* * * * *
agitate, jar, quake, shiver, totter,
brandish, joggle, quaver, shudder, tremble,
flap, jolt, quiver, sway, vibrate,
fluctuate, jounce, reel, swing, wave,
flutter, oscillate, rock, thrill, waver.
A thing is _shaken_ which is subjected to short and abruptly checked
movements, as forward and backward, up and down, from side to side, etc.
A tree is "_shaken_ with a mighty wind;" a man slowly _shakes_ his head.
A thing _rocks_ that is sustained from below; it _swings_ if suspended
from above, as a pendulum, or pivoted at the side, as a crane or a
bridge-draw; to _oscillate_ is to _swing_ with a smooth and regular
returning motion; a _vibrating_ motion may be tremulous or _jarring_.
The pendulum of a clock may be said to _swing_, _vibrate_, or
_oscillate_; a steel bridge _vibrates_ under the passage of a heavy
train; the term _vibrate_ is also applied to molecular movements.
_Jolting_ is a lifting from and letting down suddenly upon an unyielding
surface; as, a carriage _jolts_ over a rough road. A _jarring_ motion is
abruptly and very rapidly repeated through an exceedingly limited space;
the _jolting_ of the carriage _jars_ the windows. _Rattling_ refers
directly to the sound produced by _shaking_. To _joggle_ is to _shake_
slightly; as, a passing touch _joggles_ the desk on which one is
writing. A thing _trembles_ that _shakes_ perceptibly and with an
appearance of uncertainty and instability, as a person under the
influence of fear; a thing _shivers_ when all its particles are stirred
with a slight but pervading tremulous motion, as a human body under the
influence of cold; _shuddering_ is a more pronounced movement of a
similar kind, in human beings often the effect of emotional or moral
recoil; hence, the word is applied by extension to such feelings even
when they have no such outward manifestation; as, one says, "I _shudder_
at the thought." To _quiver_ is to have slight and often spasmodic
contractile motions, as the flesh under the surgeon's knife. _Thrill_ is
applied to a pervasive movement felt rather than seen; as, the nerves
_thrill_ with delight; _quiver_ is similarly used, but suggests somewhat
more of outward manifestation. To _agitate_ in its literal use is nearly
the same as to _shake_, tho we speak of the sea as _agitated_ when we
could not say it is _shaken_; the Latin _agitate_ is preferred in
scientific or technical use to the Saxon _shake_, and especially as
applied to the action of mechanical contrivances; in the metaphorical
use _agitate_ is more transitory and superficial, _shake_ more
fundamental and enduring; a person's feelings are _agitated_ by
distressing news; his courage, his faith, his credit, or his testimony
is _shaken_. _Sway_ applies to the movement of a body suspended from
above or not firmly sustained from below, and the motion of which is
less pronounced than _swinging_, smoother than _vibrating_, and not
necessarily constant as _oscillating_; as, the _swaying_ of a reed in
the wind. _Sway_ used transitively especially applies to motions of
grace or dignity; _brandish_ denotes a threatening or hostile motion; a
monarch _sways_ the scepter; the ruffian _brandishes_ a club. To _reel_
or _totter_ always implies liability to fall; _reeling_ is more violent
than _swaying_, _tottering_ more irregular; a drunken man _reels_; we
speak of the _tottering_ step of age or infancy. An extended mass which
seems to lack solidity or cohesion is said to _quake_; as, a _quaking_
bog. _Quaver_ is applied almost exclusively to tremulous sounds of the
human voice. _Flap_, _flutter_, and _fluctuate_ refer to wave-like
movements, _flap_ generally to such as produce a sharp sound; a cock
_flaps_ his wings; _flutter_ applies to a less pronounced and more
irregular motion; a captive bird or a feeble pulse _flutters_. Compare
* * * * *
cover, guard, protect, shield,
defend, harbor, screen, ward.
Anything is _covered_ over which something is completely extended; a
vessel is _covered_ with a lid; the head is _covered_ with a hat. That
which _covers_ may also _defend_ or _protect_; thus, troops interposed
between some portion of their own army and the enemy are often called a
_covering_ party. To _shelter_ is to _cover_ so as to _protect_ from
injury or annoyance; as, the roof _shelters_ from the storm; woods
_shelter_ from the heat. To _defend_ (L. _defendere_, to strike away)
implies the actual, _protect_ (L. _protegere_, to cover before) implies
the possible use of force or resisting power; _guard_ implies sustained
vigilance with readiness for conflict; we _defend_ a person or thing
against actual attack; we _guard_ or _protect_ against possible assault
or injury. A powerful person may _protect_ one who is weak by simply
declaring himself his friend; he _defends_ him by some form of active
championship. An inanimate object may _protect_, as a garment from cold;
_defend_ is used but rarely, and by somewhat violent metaphor, in such
connection. _Protect_ is more complete than _guard_ or _defend_; an
object may be faithfully _guarded_ or bravely _defended_ in vain, but
that which is _protected_ is secure. To _shield_ is to interpose
something over or before that which is assailed, so as to save from
harm, and has a comparatively passive sense; one may _guard_ another by
standing armed at his side, _defend_ him by fighting for him, or
_shield_ him from a missile or a blow by interposing his own person.
_Harbor_ is generally used in an unfavorable sense; confederates or
sympathizers _harbor_ a criminal; a person _harbors_ evil thoughts or
designs. See CHERISH. Compare synonyms for HIDE; DEFENSE.
betray, expel, expose, give up, refuse, reject, surrender.
cast out,
Shelter _under_ a roof _from_ the storm; _in_ the fortress, _behind_ or
_within_ the walls, _from_ attack.
* * * * *
emblem, mark, presage, symbol, token,
indication, note, prognostic, symptom, type.
manifestation, omen, signal,
A _sign_ (L. _signum_) is any distinctive _mark_ by which a thing may be
recognized or its presence known, and may be intentional or accidental,
natural or artificial, suggestive, descriptive, or wholly arbitrary;
thus, a blush may be a _sign_ of shame; the footprint of an animal is a
_sign_ that it has passed; the _sign_ of a business house now usually
declares what is done or kept within, but formerly might be an object
having no connection with the business, as "the _sign_ of the trout;"
the letters of the alphabet are _signs_ of certain sounds. While a
_sign_ may be involuntary, and even unconscious, a _signal_ is always
voluntary, and is usually concerted; a ship may show _signs_ of distress
to the casual observer, but _signals_ of distress are a distinct appeal
for aid. A _symptom_ is a vital phenomenon resulting from a diseased
condition; in medical language a _sign_ is an _indication_ of any
physical condition, whether morbid or healthy; thus, a hot skin and
rapid pulse are _symptoms_ of pneumonia; dulness of some portion of the
lungs under percussion is one of the physical _signs_. Compare AUGUR;
* * * * *
crime, fault, misdeed, vice,
criminality, guilt, offense, viciousness,
delinquency, ill-doing, transgression, wickedness,
depravity, immorality, ungodliness, wrong,
evil, iniquity, unrighteousness, wrong-doing.
_Sin_ is any lack of holiness, any defect of moral purity and truth,
whether in heart or life, whether of commission or omission. "All
_unrighteousness_ is _sin_," _1 John_ v, 17. _Transgression_, as its
etymology indicates, is the stepping over a specific enactment, whether
of God or man, ordinarily by overt act, but in the broadest sense, in
volition or desire. _Sin_ may be either act or state; _transgression_ is
always an act, mental or physical. _Crime_ is often used for a flagrant
violation of right, but in the technical sense denotes specific
violation of human law. _Guilt_ is desert of and exposure to punishment
because of _sin_. _Depravity_ denotes not any action, but a perverted
moral condition from which any act of _sin_ may proceed. _Sin_ in the
generic sense, as denoting a state of heart, is synonymous with
_depravity_; in the specific sense, as in the expression a _sin_, the
term may be synonymous with _transgression_, _crime_, _offense_,
_misdeed_, etc., or may denote some moral activity that could not be
characterized by terms so positive. _Immorality_ denotes outward
violation of the moral law. _Sin_ is thus the broadest word, and
_immorality_ next in scope; all _crimes_, properly so called, and all
_immoralities_, are _sins_; but there may be _sin_, as ingratitude,
which is neither _crime_, _transgression_, nor _immorality_; and there
may be _immorality_ which is not _crime_, as falsehood. Compare
blamelessness, goodness, integrity, rectitude, sinlessness,
excellence, holiness, morality, right, uprightness,
godliness, innocence, purity, righteousness, virtue.
Compare synonyms for VIRTUE.
* * * * *
carol, chant, chirp, chirrup, hum, warble.
To _sing_ is primarily and ordinarily to utter a succession of
articulate musical sounds with the human voice. The word has come to
include any succession of musical sounds; we say the bird or the rivulet
_sings_; we speak of "the _singing_ quality" of an instrument, and by
still wider extension of meaning we say the teakettle or the cricket
_sings_. To _chant_ is to _sing_ in solemn and somewhat uniform cadence;
_chant_ is ordinarily applied to non-metrical religious compositions. To
_carol_ is to _sing_ joyously, and to _warble_ (kindred with _whirl_) is
to _sing_ with trills or quavers, usually also with the idea of joy.
_Carol_ and _warble_ are especially applied to the _singing_ of birds.
To _chirp_ is to utter a brief musical sound, perhaps often repeated in
the same key, as by certain small birds, insects, etc. To _chirrup_ is
to utter a somewhat similar sound; the word is often used of a brief,
sharp sound uttered as a signal to animate or rouse a horse or other
animal. To _hum_ is to utter murmuring sounds with somewhat monotonous
musical cadence, usually with closed lips; we speak also of the _hum_ of
machinery, etc.
* * * * *
agnostic, deist, doubter, infidel, unbeliever.
atheist, disbeliever, freethinker,
The _skeptic_ doubts divine revelation; the _disbeliever_ and the
_unbeliever_ reject it, the _disbeliever_ with more of intellectual
dissent, the _unbeliever_ (in the common acceptation) with indifference
or with opposition of heart as well as of intellect. _Infidel_ is an
opprobrious term that might once almost have been said to be
geographical in its range. The Crusaders called all Mohammedans
_infidels_, and were so called by them in return; the word is commonly
applied to any decided opponent of an accepted religion. The _atheist_
denies that there is a God; the _deist_ admits the existence of God, but
denies that the Christian Scriptures are a revelation from him; the
_agnostic_ denies either that we do know or that we can know whether
there is a God.
believer, Christian.
* * * * *
brief, draft, outline, plan,
design, drawing, picture, skeleton.
A _sketch_ is a rough, suggestive presentation of anything, whether
graphic or literary, commonly intended to be preliminary to a more
complete or extended treatment. An _outline_ gives only the bounding or
determining lines of a figure or a scene; a _sketch_ may give not only
lines, but shading and color, but is hasty and incomplete. The lines of
a _sketch_ are seldom so full and continuous as those of an _outline_,
being, like the shading or color, little more than indications or
suggestions according to which a finished _picture_ may be made; the
artist's first representation of a sunset, the hues of which change so
rapidly, must of necessity be a _sketch_. _Draft_ and _plan_ apply
especially to mechanical drawing, of which _outline_, _sketch_, and
_drawing_ are also used; a _plan_ is strictly a view from above, as of a
building or machine, giving the lines of a horizontal section,
originally at the level of the ground, now in a wider sense at any
height; as, a _plan_ of the cellar; a _plan_ of the attic. A mechanical
_drawing_ is always understood to be in full detail; a _draft_ is an
incomplete or unfinished _drawing_; a _design_ is such a preliminary
_sketch_ as indicates the object to be accomplished or the result to be
attained, and is understood to be original. One may make a _drawing_ of
any well-known mechanism, or a _drawing_ from another man's _design_;
but if he says, "The _design_ is mine," he claims it as his own
invention or composition. In written composition an _outline_ gives
simply the main divisions, and in the case of a sermon is often called a
_skeleton_; a somewhat fuller suggestion of illustration, treatment, and
style is given in a _sketch_. A lawyer's _brief_ is a succinct statement
of the main facts involved in a case, and of the main heads of his
argument on points of law, with reference to authorities cited; the
_brief_ has none of the vagueness of a _sketch_, being sufficiently
exact and complete to form, on occasion, the basis for the decision of
the court without oral argument, when the case is said to be "submitted
on _brief_." Compare DESIGN.
* * * * *
accomplished, apt, dexterous, happy, proficient,
adept, clever, expert, ingenious, skilled,
adroit, deft, handy, practised, trained.
_Skilful_ signifies possessing and using readily practical knowledge and
ability, having alert and well-trained faculties with reference to a
given work. One is _adept_ in that for which he has a natural gift
improved by practise; he is _expert_ in that of which training,
experience, and study have given him a thorough mastery; he is
_dexterous_ in that which he can do effectively, with or without
training, especially in work of the hand or bodily activities. In the
case of the noun, "an expert" denotes one who is "experienced" in the
fullest sense, a master of his branch of knowledge. A _skilled_ workman
is one who has thoroughly learned his trade, though he may be naturally
quite dull; a _skilful_ workman has some natural brightness, ability,
and power of adaptation, in addition to his acquired knowledge and
dexterity. Compare CLEVER; DEXTERITY; POWER.
awkward, clumsy, inexpert, shiftless, unskilled, untrained.
bungling, helpless, maladroit, unhandy, untaught,
Skilful _at_ or _in_ a work, _with_ a pen or tool of any kind.
* * * * *
asperse, decry, disparage, revile,
backbite, defame, libel, traduce,
calumniate, depreciate, malign, vilify.
To _slander_ a person is to utter a false and injurious report
concerning him; to _defame_ is specifically and directly to attack one's
reputation; to _defame_ by spoken words is to _slander_, by written
words, to _libel_. To _asperse_ is, as it were, to bespatter with
injurious charges; to _malign_ is to circulate studied and malicious
attacks upon character; to _traduce_ is to exhibit one's real or assumed
traits in an odious light; to _revile_ or _vilify_ is to attack with
vile abuse. To _disparage_ is to represent one's admitted good traits or
acts as less praiseworthy than they would naturally be thought to be, as
for instance, by ascribing a man's benevolence to a desire for
popularity or display. To _libel_ or _slander_ is to make an assault
upon character and repute that comes within the scope of law; the
_slander_ is uttered, the _libel_ written, printed, or pictured. To
_backbite_ is to speak something secretly to one's injury; to
_calumniate_ is to invent as well as utter the injurious charge. One may
"abuse," "assail," or _vilify_ another to his face; he _asperses_,
_calumniates_, _slanders_, or _traduces_ him behind his back.
defend, eulogize, extol, laud, praise, vindicate.
* * * * *
cant, colloquialism, vulgarism, vulgarity.
A _colloquialism_ is an expression not coarse or low, and perhaps not
incorrect, but below the literary grade; educated persons are apt to
allow themselves some _colloquialisms_ in familiar conversation, which
they would avoid in writing or public speaking. _Slang_, in the primary
sense, denotes expressions that are either coarse and rude in themselves
or chiefly current among the coarser and ruder part of the community;
there are also many expressions current in special senses in certain
communities that may be characterized as _slang_; as, college _slang_;
club _slang_; racing _slang_. In the evolution of language many words
originally _slang_ are adopted by good writers and speakers, and
ultimately take their place as accepted English. A _vulgarism_ is an
expression decidedly incorrect, and the use of which is a mark of
ignorance or low breeding. _Cant_, as used in this connection, denotes
the barbarous jargon used as a secret language by thieves, tramps, etc.
* * * * *
dawdling, dilatory, gradual, lingering, slack,
delaying, drowsy, inactive, moderate, sluggish,
deliberate, dull, inert, procrastinating, tardy.
_Slow_ signifies moving through a relatively short distance, or with a
relatively small number of motions in a given time; _slow_ also applies
to that which is a relatively long while in beginning or accomplishing
something; a watch or a clock is said to be _slow_ when its indications
are behind those of the standard time. _Tardy_ is applied to that which
is behind the proper or desired time, especially in doing a work or
arriving at a place. _Deliberate_ and _dilatory_ are used of persons,
tho the latter may be used also of things, as of a stream; a person is
_deliberate_ who takes a noticeably long time to consider and decide
before acting or who acts or speaks as if he were deliberating at every
point; a person is _dilatory_ who lays aside, or puts off as long as
possible, necessary or required action; both words may be applied either
to undertaking or to doing. _Gradual_ (L. _gradus_, a step) signifies
advancing by steps, and refers to _slow_ but regular and sure
progression. _Slack_ refers to action that seems to indicate a lack of
tension, as of muscle or of will, _sluggish_ to action that seems as if
reluctant to advance.
See synonyms for NIMBLE.
* * * * *
fling, gibe, jeer, mock, scoff, taunt.
A _sneer_ may be simply a contemptuous facial contortion, or it may be
some brief satirical utterance that throws a contemptuous side-light on
what it attacks without attempting to prove or disprove; a depreciatory
implication may be given in a _sneer_ such as could only be answered by
elaborate argument or proof, which would seem to give the attack undue
Who can refute a _sneer_?
PALEY _Moral Philosophy_ bk. v, ch. ix.
A _fling_ is careless and commonly pettish; a _taunt_ is intentionally
insulting and provoking; the _sneer_ is supercilious; the _taunt_ is
defiant. The _jeer_ and _gibe_ are uttered; the _gibe_ is bitter, and
often sly or covert; the _jeer_ is rude and open. A _scoff_ may be in
act or word, and is commonly directed against that which claims honor,
reverence, or worship. Compare BANTER.
Only an essentially vicious mind is capable of a sneer _at_ virtue.
* * * * *
collectivism, communism, fabianism.
_Socialism_, as defined by its advocates, is a theory of civil polity
that aims to secure the reconstruction of society, increase of wealth,
and a more equal distribution of the products of labor through the
public collective ownership of land and capital (as distinguished from
property), and the public collective management of all industries. Its
aim is extended industrial cooperation; _socialism_ is a purely economic
term, applying to landownership and productive capital. Many socialists
call themselves _collectivists_, and their system _collectivism_.
_Communism_ would divide all things, including the profits of individual
labor, among members of the community; many of its advocates would
abolish marriage and the family relation. _Anarchism_ is properly an
antonym of _socialism_, as it would destroy, by violence if necessary,
all existing government and social order, leaving the future to
determine what, if anything, should be raised upon their ruins.
* * * * *
noise, note, tone.
_Sound_ is the sensation produced through the organs of hearing or the
physical cause of this sensation. _Sound_ is the most comprehensive word
of this group, applying to anything that is audible. _Tone_ is _sound_
considered as having some musical quality or as expressive of some
feeling; _noise_ is _sound_ considered without reference to musical
quality or as distinctly unmusical or discordant. Thus, in the most
general sense _noise_ and _sound_ scarcely differ, and we say almost
indifferently, "I heard a _sound_," or "I heard a _noise_." We speak of
a fine, musical, or pleasing _sound_, but never thus of a _noise_. In
music, _tone_ may denote either a musical _sound_ or the interval
between two such _sounds_, but in the most careful usage the latter is
now distinguished as the "interval," leaving _tone_ to stand only for
the _sound_. _Note_ in music strictly denotes the character representing
a _sound_, but in loose popular usage it denotes the _sound_ also, and
becomes practically equivalent to _tone_. Aside from its musical use,
_tone_ is chiefly applied to that quality of the human voice by which
feeling is expressed; as, he spoke in a cheery _tone_; the word is
similarly applied to the voices of birds and other animals, and
sometimes to inanimate objects. As used of a musical instrument, _tone_
denotes the general quality of its sounds collectively considered.
* * * * *
announce, converse, discourse, say,
articulate, declaim, enunciate, talk,
chat, declare, express, tell,
chatter, deliver, pronounce, utter.
To _utter_ is to give forth as an audible sound, articulate or not. To
_talk_ is to _utter_ a succession of connected words, ordinarily with
the expectation of being listened to. To _speak_ is to give articulate
utterance even to a single word; the officer _speaks_ the word of
command, but does not _talk_ it. To _speak_ is also to _utter_ words
with the ordinary intonation, as distinguished from singing. To _chat_
is ordinarily to _utter_ in a familiar, conversational way; to _chatter_
is to _talk_ in an empty, ceaseless way like a magpie.
Speak _to_ (address) a person; speak _with_ a person (converse with
him); speak _of_ or _about_ a thing (make it the subject of remark);
speak _on_ or _upon_ a subject; in parliamentary language, speak _to_
the question.
* * * * *
address, dissertation, oration, speaking,
discourse, harangue, oratory, talk,
disquisition, language, sermon, utterance.
_Speech_ is the general word for _utterance_ of thought in _language_. A
_speech_ may be the delivering of one's sentiments in the simplest way;
an _oration_ is an elaborate and prepared _speech_; a _harangue_ is a
vehement appeal to passion, or a _speech_ that has something
disputatious and combative in it. A _discourse_ is a set _speech_ on a
definite subject, intended to convey instruction. Compare CONVERSATION;
hush, silence, speechlessness, stillness, taciturnity.
* * * * *
automatic, impulsive, involuntary, voluntary,
free, instinctive, unbidden, willing.
That is _spontaneous_ which is freely done, with no external compulsion
and, in human actions, without special premeditation or distinct
determination of the will; that is _voluntary_ which is freely done with
distinct act of will; that is _involuntary_ which is independent of the
will, and perhaps in opposition to it; a _willing_ act is not only in
accordance with will, but with desire. Thus _voluntary_ and
_involuntary_, which are antonyms of each other, are both partial
synonyms of _spontaneous_. We speak of _spontaneous_ generation,
_spontaneous_ combustion, _spontaneous_ sympathy, an _involuntary_
start, an _unbidden_ tear, _voluntary_ agreement, _willing_ submission.
A babe's smile in answer to that of its mother is _spontaneous_; the
smile of a pouting child wheedled into good humor is _involuntary_. In
physiology the action of the heart and lungs is called _involuntary_;
the growth of the hair and nails is _spontaneous_; the action of
swallowing is _voluntary_ up to a certain point, beyond which it becomes
_involuntary_ or _automatic_. In the fullest sense of that which is not
only without the will but distinctly in opposition to it, or compulsory,
_involuntary_ becomes an antonym, not only of _voluntary_ but of
_spontaneous_; as, _involuntary_ servitude. A _spontaneous_ outburst of
applause is of necessity an act of volition, but so completely dependent
on sympathetic impulse that it would seem frigid to call it _voluntary_,
while to call it _involuntary_ would imply some previous purpose or
inclination not to applaud.
* * * * *
detective, emissary, scout.
The _scout_ and the _spy_ are both employed to obtain information of the
numbers, movements, etc., of an enemy. The _scout_ lurks on the
outskirts of the hostile army with such concealment as the case admits
of, but without disguise; a _spy_ enters in disguise within the enemy's
lines. A _scout_, if captured, has the rights of a prisoner of war; a
_spy_ is held to have forfeited all rights, and is liable, in case of
capture, to capital punishment. An _emissary_ is rather political than
military; sent rather to secretly influence opponents than to bring
information concerning them; so far as he does the latter, he is not
only an _emissary_, but a _spy_.
* * * * *
blot, discolor, dishonor, soil, sully, tinge,
color, disgrace, dye, spot, tarnish, tint.
To _color_ is to impart a color desired or undesired, temporary or
permanent, or, in the intransitive use, to assume a color in any way;
as, he _colored_ with shame and vexation. To _dye_ is to impart a color
intentionally and with a view to permanence, and especially so as to
pervade the substance or fiber of that to which it is applied. To
_stain_ is primarily to _discolor_, to impart a color undesired and
perhaps unintended, and which may or may not be permanent. Thus, a
character "_dyed_ in the wool" is one that has received some early,
permanent, and pervading influence; a character _stained_ with crime or
guilt is debased and perverted. _Stain_ is, however, used of giving an
intended and perhaps pleasing color to wood, glass, etc., by an
application of coloring-matter which enters the substance a little below
the surface, in distinction from painting, in which coloring-matter is
spread upon the surface; _dyeing_ is generally said of wool, yarn,
cloth, or similar materials which are dipped into the _coloring_ liquid.
Figuratively, a standard or a garment may be _dyed_ with blood in
honorable warfare; an assassin's weapon is _stained_ with the blood of
his victim. To _tinge_ is to _color_ slightly, and may also be used of
giving a slight flavor, or a slight admixture of one ingredient or
quality with another that is more pronounced.
* * * * *
affirm, aver, declare, predicate, set forth,
allege, avouch, depose, pronounce, specify,
assert, avow, express, propound, swear,
asseverate, certify, inform, protest, tell,
assure, claim, maintain, say, testify.
To _state_ (L. _sto_, stand) is to _set forth_ explicitly, formally, or
particularly in speech or writing. _Assert_ (L. _ad_, to, and _sero_,
bind) is strongly personal, signifying to _state_ boldly and positively
what the one making the statement has not attempted and may not attempt
to prove. _Affirm_ has less of egotism than _assert_ (as seen in the
word _self-assertion_), coming nearer to _aver_. It has more solemnity
than _declare_, and more composure and dignity than _asseverate_, which
is to _assert_ excitedly. In legal usage, _affirm_ has a general
agreement with _depose_ and _testify_; it differs from _swear_ in not
invoking the name of God. To _assure_ is to _state_ with such authority
and confidence as the speaker feels ought to make the hearer sure.
_Certify_ is more formal, and applies rather to written documents or
legal processes. _Assure_, _certify_, _inform_, apply to the person;
_affirm_, etc., to the thing. _Assert_ is combative; _assure_ is
conciliatory. I _assert_ my right to cross the river; I _assure_ my
friend it is perfectly safe. To _aver_ is to _state_ positively what is
within one's own knowledge or matter of deep conviction. One may
_assert_ himself, or _assert_ his right to what he is willing to contend
for; or he may _assert_ in discussion what he is ready to maintain by
argument or evidence. To _assert_ without proof is always to lay oneself
open to the suspicion of having no proof to offer, and seems to arrogate
too much to one's personal authority, and hence in such cases both the
verb _assert_ and its noun _assertion_ have an unfavorable sense; we say
a mere _assertion_, a bare _assertion_, his unsupported _assertion_; he
_asserted_ his innocence has less force than he _affirmed_ or
_maintained_ his innocence. _Affirm_, _state_, and _tell_ have not the
controversial sense of _assert_, but are simply declarative. To
_vindicate_ is to defend successfully what is assailed. Almost every
criminal will _assert_ his innocence; the honest man will seldom lack
means to _vindicate_ his integrity.
contradict, controvert, disprove, gainsay, refute, retract,
contravene, deny, dispute, oppose, repudiate, waive.
* * * * *
abrupt, high, precipitous, sharp, sheer.
_High_ is used of simple elevation; _steep_ is said only of an incline
where the vertical measurement is sufficiently great in proportion to
the horizontal to make it difficult of ascent. _Steep_ is relative; an
ascent of 100 feet to the mile on a railway is a _steep_ grade; a rise
of 500 feet to the mile makes a _steep_ wagon-road; a roof is _steep_
when it makes with the horizontal line an angle of more than 45 deg.. A
_high_ mountain may be climbed by a winding road nowhere _steep_, while
a little hill may be accessible only by a _steep_ path. A _sharp_
ascent or descent is one that makes a sudden, decided angle with the
plane from which it starts; a _sheer_ ascent or descent is
perpendicular, or nearly so; _precipitous_ applies to that which is of
the nature of a precipice, and is used especially of a descent; _abrupt_
is as if broken sharply off, and applies to either acclivity or
declivity. Compare HIGH.
easy, flat, gentle, gradual, horizontal, level, low, slight.
* * * * *
agitation, disturbance, tempest.
A _storm_ is properly a _disturbance_ of the atmosphere, with or without
rain, snow, hail, or thunder and lightning. Thus we have rain-_storm_,
snow-_storm_, etc., and by extension, magnetic _storm_. A _tempest_ is a
_storm_ of extreme violence, always attended with some precipitation, as
of rain, from the atmosphere. In the moral and figurative use, _storm_
and _tempest_ are not closely discriminated, except that _tempest_
commonly implies greater intensity. We speak of _agitation_ of feeling,
_disturbance_ of mind, a _storm_ of passion, a _tempest_ of rage.
calm, fair weather, hush, peace, serenity, stillness, tranquillity.
* * * * *
account, legend, narrative, recital, relation,
anecdote, myth, novel, record, tale.
incident, narration,
A _story_ is the telling of some series of connected incidents or
events, whether real or fictitious, in prose or verse, orally or in
writing; or the series of incidents or events thus related may be termed
a _story_. In children's talk, a _story_ is a common euphemism for a
falsehood. _Tale_ is nearly synonymous with _story_, but is somewhat
archaic; it is used for an imaginative, legendary, or fictitious
_recital_, especially if of ancient date; as, a fairy _tale_; also, for
an idle or malicious report; as, do not tell _tales_; "where there is no
_tale_-bearer, the strife ceaseth." _Prov._ xxvi, 20. An _anecdote_
tells briefly some _incident_, assumed to be fact. If it passes close
limits of brevity, it ceases to be an _anecdote_, and becomes a
_narrative_ or _narration_. A traditional or mythical _story_ of ancient
times is a _legend_. A history is often somewhat poetically called a
_story_; as, the _story_ of the American civil war. Compare ALLEGORY;
annals, biography, chronicle, history, memoir.
* * * * *
apathy, insensibility, slowness, stupefaction,
dulness, obtuseness, sluggishness, stupor.
_Stupidity_ is sometimes loosely used for temporary _dulness_ or partial
_stupor_, but chiefly for innate and chronic _dulness_ and
_sluggishness_ of mental action, _obtuseness_ of apprehension, etc.
_Apathy_ may be temporary, and be dispelled by appeal to the feelings or
by the presentation of an adequate motive, but _stupidity_ is inveterate
and commonly incurable. Compare APATHY; IDIOCY; STUPOR.
acuteness, brilliancy, keenness, sagacity,
alertness, cleverness, quickness, sense,
animation, intelligence, readiness, sensibility.
* * * * *
apathy, fainting, stupefaction, syncope,
asphyxia, insensibility, swoon, torpor,
coma, lethargy, swooning, unconsciousness.
_Stupor_ is a condition of the body in which the action of the senses
and faculties is suspended or greatly dulled--weakness or loss of
sensibility. The _apathy_ of disease is a mental affection, a state of
morbid indifference; _lethargy_ is a morbid tendency to heavy and
continued sleep, from which the patient may perhaps be momentarily
aroused. _Coma_ is a deep, abnormal sleep, from which the patient can
not be aroused, or is aroused only with difficulty, a state of profound
_insensibility_, perhaps with full pulse and deep, stertorous breathing,
and is due to brain-oppression. _Syncope_ or _swooning_ is a sudden loss
of sensation and of power of motion, with suspension of pulse and of
respiration, and is due to failure of heart-action, as from sudden
nervous shock or intense mental emotion. _Insensibility_ is a general
term denoting loss of feeling from any cause, as from cold,
intoxication, or injury. _Stupor_ is especially profound and confirmed
_insensibility_, properly comatose. _Asphyxia_ is a special form of
_syncope_ resulting from partial or total suspension of respiration, as
in strangulation, drowning, or inhalation of noxious gases.
* * * * *
_Subjective_ and _objective_ are synonyms in but one point of view,
being, for the most part, strictly antonyms. _Subjective_ signifies
relating to the subject of mental states, that is, to the person who
experiences them; _objective_ signifies relating to the object of mental
states, that is, to something outside the perceiving mind; in brief
phrase it may be said that _subjective_ relates to something within the
mind, _objective_ to something without. A mountain, as a mass of a
certain size, contour, color, etc., is an _objective_ fact; the
impression our mind receives, the mental picture it forms of the
mountain, is _subjective_. But this _subjective_ impression may become
itself the object of thought (called "subject-object"), as when we
compare our mental picture of the mountain with our idea of a plain or
river. The direct experiences of the soul, as joy, grief, hope, fear,
are purely _subjective_; the outward causes of these experiences, as
prosperity, bereavement, disappointment, are _objective_. That which has
independent existence or authority apart from our experience or thought
is said to have _objective_ existence or authority; thus we speak of the
_objective_ authority of the moral law. Different individuals may
receive different _subjective_ impressions from the same _objective_
fact, that which to one is a cause of hope being to another a cause of
fear, etc. The style of a writer is called _objective_ when it derives
its materials mainly from or reaches out toward external objects; it is
called _subjective_ when it derives its materials mainly from or
constantly tends to revert to the personal experience of the author.
* * * * *
aid, bounty, indemnity, reward, support,
allowance, gift, pension, subvention, tribute.
bonus, grant, premium,
A _subsidy_ is pecuniary aid directly granted by government to an
individual or commercial enterprise, or money furnished by one nation to
another to aid it in carrying on war against a common enemy. A nation
grants a _subsidy_ to an ally, pays a _tribute_ to a conqueror. An
_indemnity_ is in the nature of things limited and temporary, while a
_tribute_ might be exacted indefinitely. A nation may also grant a
_subsidy_ to its own citizens as a means of promoting the public
welfare; as, a _subsidy_ to a steamship company. The somewhat rare term
_subvention_ is especially applied to a _grant_ of governmental aid to a
literary or artistic enterprise. Governmental _aid_ to a commercial or
industrial enterprise other than a transportation company is more
frequently called a _bounty_ than a _subsidy_; as, the sugar _bounty_.
The word _bounty_ may be applied to almost any regular or stipulated
_allowance_ by a government to a citizen or citizens; as, a _bounty_ for
enlisting in the army; a _bounty_ for killing wolves. A _bounty_ is
offered for something to be done; a _pension_ is granted for something
that has been done.
* * * * *
destroy, overthrow, ruin, supplant,
extinguish, overturn, supersede, suppress.
To _subvert_ is to overthrow from or as from the very foundation;
utterly destroy; bring to ruin. The word is now generally figurative, as
of moral or political ruin. To _supersede_ implies the putting of
something that is wisely or unwisely preferred in the place of that
which is removed; to _subvert_ does not imply substitution. To
_supplant_ is more often personal, signifying to take the place of
another, usually by underhanded means; one is _superseded_ by authority,
_supplanted_ by a rival. Compare ABOLISH.
conserve, keep, perpetuate, preserve, sustain, uphold.
* * * * *
achieve, attain, flourish, prevail, prosper, thrive, win.
A person _succeeds_ when he accomplishes what he attempts, or _attains_
a desired object or result; an enterprise or undertaking _succeeds_ that
has a prosperous result. To _win_ implies that some one loses, but one
may _succeed_ where no one fails. A solitary swimmer _succeeds_ in
reaching the shore; if we say he _wins_ the shore we contrast him with
himself as a possible loser. Many students may _succeed_ in study; a few
_win_ the special prizes, for which all compete. Compare FOLLOW.
be defeated, come short, fail, fall short, lose, miss, miscarry.
* * * * *
hint, implication, innuendo, insinuation, intimation.
A _suggestion_ (L. _sub_, under, and _gero_, bring) brings something
before the mind less directly than by formal or explicit statement, as
by a partial statement, an incidental allusion, an illustration, a
question, or the like. _Suggestion_ is often used of an unobtrusive
statement of one's views or wishes to another, leaving consideration and
any consequent action entirely to his judgment, and is hence, in many
cases, the most respectful way in which one can convey his views to a
superior or a stranger. A _suggestion_ may be given unintentionally, and
even unconsciously, as when we say an author has "a _suggestive_ style."
An _intimation_ is a _suggestion_ in brief utterance, or sometimes by
significant act, gesture, or token, of one's meaning or wishes; in the
latter case it is often the act of a superior; as, God in his providence
gives us _intimations_ of his will. A _hint_ is still more limited in
expression, and is always covert, but frequently with good intent; as,
to give one a _hint_ of danger or of opportunity. _Insinuation_ and
_innuendo_ are used in the bad sense; an _insinuation_ is a covert or
partly veiled injurious utterance, sometimes to the very person
attacked; an _innuendo_ is commonly secret as well as sly, as if
pointing one out by a significant nod (L. _in_, in, to, and _nuo_, nod).
* * * * *
miraculous, preternatural, superhuman.
The _supernatural_ (_super_, above) is above or superior to the
recognized powers of nature; the _preternatural_ (_preter_, beyond) is
aside from or beyond the recognized results or operations of natural
law, often in the sense of inauspicious; as, a _preternatural_ gloom.
_Miraculous_ is more emphatic and specific than _supernatural_, as
referring to the direct personal intervention of divine power. Some hold
that a miracle, as the raising of the dead, is a direct suspension and
even violation of natural laws by the fiat of the Creator, and hence is,
in the strictest sense, _supernatural_; others hold that the miracle is
simply the calling forth of a power residing in the laws of nature, but
not within their ordinary operation, and dependent on a distinct act of
God, so that the _miraculous_ might be termed "extranatural," rather
than _supernatural_. All that is beyond human power is _superhuman_; as,
prophecy gives evidence of _superhuman_ knowledge; the word is
sometimes applied to remarkable manifestations of human power,
surpassing all that is ordinary.
common, commonplace, everyday, natural, ordinary, usual.
* * * * *
bear, cherish, keep, maintain, sustain,
carry, hold up, keep up, prop, uphold.
_Support_ and _sustain_ alike signify to _hold up_ or _keep up_, to
prevent from falling or sinking; but _sustain_ has a special sense of
continuous exertion or of great strength continuously exerted, as when
we speak of _sustained_ endeavor or a _sustained_ note; a flower is
_supported_ by the stem or a temple-roof by arches; the foundations of a
great building _sustain_ an enormous pressure; to _sustain_ life implies
a greater exigency and need than to _support_ life; to say one is
_sustained_ under affliction is to say more both of the severity of the
trial and the completeness of the _upholding_ than if we say he is
_supported_. To _bear_ is the most general word, denoting all _holding
up_ or _keeping up_ of any object, whether in rest or motion; in the
derived senses it refers to something that is a tax upon strength or
endurance; as, to _bear_ a strain; to _bear_ pain or grief. To
_maintain_ is to _keep_ in a state or condition, especially in an
excellent and desirable condition; as, to _maintain_ health or
reputation; to _maintain_ one's position; to _maintain_ a cause or
proposition is to hold it against opposition or difficulty. To _support_
may be partial, to _maintain_ is complete; _maintain_ is a word of more
dignity than _support_; a man _supports_ his family; a state _maintains_
an army or navy. To _prop_ is always partial, signifying to add
_support_ to something that is insecure. Compare ABET; ENDURE; KEEP.
abandon, break down, demolish, destroy, let go, throw down,
betray, cast down, desert, drop, overthrow, wreck.
The roof is supported _by_, _on_, or _upon_ pillars; the family was
supported _on_ or _upon_ a pittance, or _by_ charity.
* * * * *
conjecture, deem, guess, imagine, surmise, think.
To _suppose_ is temporarily to assume a thing as true, either with the
expectation of finding it so or for the purpose of ascertaining what
would follow if it were so. To _suppose_ is also to think a thing to be
true while aware or conceding that the belief does not rest upon any
sure ground, and may not accord with fact; or yet again, to _suppose_ is
to imply as true or involved as a necessary inference; as, design
_supposes_ the existence of a designer. To _conjecture_ is to put
together the nearest available materials for a provisional opinion,
always with some expectation of finding the facts to be as
_conjectured_. To _imagine_ is to form a mental image of something as
existing, tho its actual existence may be unknown, or even impossible.
To _think_, in this application, is to hold as the result of thought
what is admitted not to be matter of exact or certain knowledge; as, I
do not know, but I _think_ this to be the fact: a more conclusive
statement than would be made by the use of _conjecture_ or _suppose_.
ascertain, be sure, conclude, discover, know, prove.
* * * * *
abandon, cede, give over, relinquish,
alienate, give, give up, sacrifice,
capitulate, give oneself up, let go, yield.
To _surrender_ is to _give up_ upon compulsion, as to an enemy in war,
hence to _give up_ to any person, passion, influence, or power. To
_yield_ is to give place or give way under pressure, and hence under
compulsion. _Yield_ implies more softness or concession than
_surrender_; the most determined men may _surrender_ to overwhelming
force; when one _yields_, his spirit is at least somewhat subdued. A
monarch or a state _cedes_ territory perhaps for a consideration;
_surrenders_ an army, a navy, or a fortified place to a conqueror; a
military commander _abandons_ an untenable position or unavailable
stores. We _sacrifice_ something precious through error, friendship, or
duty, _yield_ to convincing reasons, a stronger will, winsome
persuasion, or superior force. Compare ABANDON.
* * * * *
alike, equivalent, like, similar,
correspondent, identical, same, synonymic.
corresponding, interchangeable,
_Synonymous_ (Gr. _syn_, together, and _onyma_, name) strictly signifies
being _interchangeable_ names for the same thing, or being one of two
or more _interchangeable_ names for the same thing; to say that two
words are _synonymous_ is strictly to say they are _alike_,
_equivalent_, _identical_, or the _same_ in meaning; but the use of
_synonymous_ in this strict sense is somewhat rare, and rather with
reference to statements than to words.
To say that we are morally developed is _synonymous_ with saying
that we have reaped what some one has suffered for us.
H. W. BEECHER _Royal Truths_ p. 294. [T. & F. '66.]
In the strictest sense, _synonymous_ words scarcely exist; rarely, if
ever, are any two words in any language _equivalent_ or _identical_ in
meaning; where a difference in meaning can not easily be shown, a
difference in usage commonly exists, so that the words are not
_interchangeable_. By _synonymous_ words (or _synonyms_) we usually
understand words that coincide or nearly coincide in some part of their
meaning, and may hence within certain limits be used interchangeably,
while outside of those limits they may differ very greatly in meaning
and use. It is the office of a work on synonyms to point out these
correspondences and differences, that language may have the flexibility
that comes from freedom of selection within the common limits, with the
perspicuity and precision that result from exact choice of the fittest
words to express each shade of meaning outside of the common limits. To
consider _synonymous_ words _identical_ is fatal to accuracy; to forget
that they are _similar_, to some extent _equivalent_, and sometimes
_interchangeable_, is destructive of freedom and variety.
* * * * *
manner, method, mode, order, regularity, rule.
_Order_ in this connection denotes the fact or result of proper
arrangement according to the due relation or sequence of the matters
arranged; as, these papers are in _order_; in alphabetical _order_.
_Method_ denotes a process, a general or established way of doing or
proceeding in anything; _rule_, an authoritative requirement or an
established course of things; _system_, not merely a law of action or
procedure, but a comprehensive plan in which all the parts are related
to each other and to the whole; as, a _system_ of theology; a railroad
_system_; the digestive _system_; _manner_ refers to the external
qualities of actions, and to those often as settled and characteristic;
we speak of a _system_ of taxation, a _method_ of collecting taxes, the
_rules_ by which assessments are made; or we say, as a _rule_ the
payments are heaviest at a certain time of year; a just tax may be made
odious by the _manner_ of its collection. _Regularity_ applies to the
even disposition of objects or uniform recurrence of acts in a series.
There may be _regularity_ without _order_, as in the recurrence of
paroxysms of disease or insanity; there may be _order_ without
_regularity_, as in the arrangement of furniture in a room, where the
objects are placed at varying distances. _Order_ commonly implies the
design of an intelligent agent or the appearance or suggestion of such
design; _regularity_ applies to an actual uniform disposition or
recurrence with no suggestion of purpose, and as applied to human
affairs is less intelligent and more mechanical than _order_. The most
perfect _order_ is often secured with least _regularity_, as in a fine
essay or oration. The same may be said of _system_. There is a
_regularity_ of dividing a treatise into topics, paragraphs, and
sentences, that is destructive of true rhetorical _system_. Compare
chaos, derangement, disarrangement, disorder, irregularity.
* * * * *
close, mute, reticent, speechless,
dumb, reserved, silent, uncommunicative.
_Dumb_, _mute_, _silent_ and _speechless_ refer to fact or state;
_taciturn_ refers to habit and disposition. The talkative person may be
stricken _dumb_ with surprise or terror; the obstinate may remain
_mute_; one may be _silent_ through preoccupation of mind or of set
purpose; but the _taciturn_ person is averse to the utterance of thought
or feeling and to communication with others, either from natural
disposition or for the occasion. One who is _silent_ does not speak at
all; one who is _taciturn_ speaks when compelled, but in a grudging way
that repels further approach. _Reserved_ suggests more of method and
intention than _taciturn_, applying often to some special time or topic;
one who is communicative regarding all else may be _reserved_ about his
business. _Reserved_ is thus closely equivalent to _uncommunicative_,
but is a somewhat stronger word, often suggesting pride or haughtiness,
as when we say one is _reserved_ toward inferiors. Compare PRIDE.
communicative, free, garrulous, loquacious, talkative, unreserved.
* * * * *
artistic, delicate, esthetic, fastidious, nice,
chaste, delicious, esthetical, fine, tasty.
dainty, elegant, exquisite,
_Elegant_ (L. _elegans_, select) refers to that assemblage of qualities
which makes anything choice to persons of culture and refinement; it
refers to the lighter, finer elements of beauty in form or motion,
especially denoting that which exhibits faultless taste and perfection
of finish. That which is _elegant_ is made so not merely by nature, but
by art and culture; a woodland dell may be beautiful or picturesque, but
would not ordinarily be termed _elegant_. _Tasteful_ refers to that in
which the element of taste is more prominent, standing, as it were, more
by itself, while in _elegant_ it is blended as part of the whole.
_Tasty_ is an inferior word, used colloquially in a similar sense.
_Chaste_ (primarily _pure_), denotes in literature and art that which is
true to the higher and finer feelings and free from all excess or
meretricious ornament. _Dainty_ and _delicate_ refer to the lighter and
finer elements of taste and beauty, _dainty_ tending in personal use to
an excessive scrupulousness which is more fully expressed by
_fastidious_. _Nice_ and _delicate_ both refer to exact adaptation to
some standard; the bar of a balance can be said to be nicely or
delicately poised; as regards matters of taste and beauty, _delicate_ is
a higher and more discriminating word than _nice_, and is always used in
a favorable sense; a _delicate_ distinction is one worth observing; a
_nice_ distinction may be so, or may be overstrained and unduly subtle;
_fine_ in such use, is closely similar to _delicate_ and _nice_, but
(tho capable of an unfavorable sense) has commonly a suggestion of
positive excellence or admirableness; a _fine_ touch does something;
_fine_ perceptions are to some purpose; _delicate_ is capable of the
single unfavorable sense of frail or fragile; as, a _delicate_
constitution. _Esthetic_ or _esthetical_ refers to beauty or the
appreciation of the beautiful, especially from the philosophic point of
view. _Exquisite_ denotes the utmost perfection of the _elegant_ in
minute details; we speak of an _elegant_ garment, an _exquisite_ lace.
_Exquisite_ is also applied to intense keenness of any feeling; as,
_exquisite_ delight; _exquisite_ pain. See BEAUTIFUL; DELICIOUS; FINE.
clumsy, displeasing, grotesque, inartistic, rough,
coarse, distasteful, harsh, inharmonious, rude,
deformed, fulsome, hideous, meretricious, rugged,
disgusting, gaudy, horrid, offensive, tawdry.
* * * * *
discipline, give instruction, inform, nurture,
drill, give lessons, initiate, school,
educate, inculcate, instill, train,
enlighten, indoctrinate, instruct, tutor.
To _teach_ is simply to communicate knowledge; to _instruct_
(originally, to build in or into, put in order) is to impart knowledge
with special method and completeness; _instruct_ has also an
authoritative sense nearly equivalent to command. To _educate_ is to
draw out or develop harmoniously the mental powers, and, in the fullest
sense, the moral powers as well. To _train_ is to direct to a certain
result powers already existing. _Train_ is used in preference to
_educate_ when the reference is to the inferior animals or to the
physical powers of man; as, to _train_ a horse; to _train_ the hand or
eye. To _discipline_ is to bring into habitual and complete subjection
to authority; _discipline_ is a severe word, and is often used as a
euphemism for _punish_; to be thoroughly effective in war, soldiers must
be _disciplined_ as well as _trained_. To _nurture_ is to furnish the
care and sustenance necessary for physical, mental, and moral growth;
_nurture_ is a more tender and homelike word than _educate_. Compare
* * * * *
audacity, heedlessness, presumption,
foolhardiness, over-confidence, rashness,
hardihood, precipitancy, recklessness,
hastiness, precipitation, venturesomeness.
_Rashness_ applies to the actual rushing into danger without counting
the cost; _temerity_ denotes the needless exposure of oneself to peril
which is or might be clearly seen to be such. _Rashness_ is used chiefly
of bodily acts, _temerity_ often of mental or social matters; there may
be a noble _rashness_, but _temerity_ is always used in a bad sense. We
say it is amazing that one should have had the _temerity_ to make a
statement which could be readily proved a falsehood, or to make an
unworthy proposal to one sure to resent it; in such use _temerity_ is
often closely allied to _hardihood_, _audacity_, or _presumption_.
_Venturesomeness_ dallies on the edge of danger and experiments with it;
_foolhardiness_ rushes in for want of sense, _heedlessness_ for want of
attention, _rashness_ for want of reflection, _recklessness_ from
disregard of consequences. _Audacity_, in the sense here considered,
denotes a dashing and somewhat reckless courage, in defiance of
conventionalities, or of other men's opinions, or of what would be
deemed probable consequences; as, the _audacity_ of a successful
financier. Compare EFFRONTERY.
care, circumspection, cowardice, hesitation, timidity, wariness.
* * * * *
article, denomination, member, phrase,
condition, expression, name, word.
_Term_ in its figurative uses always retains something of its literal
sense of a boundary or limit. The _articles_ of a contract or other
instrument are simply the portions into which it is divided for
convenience; the _terms_ are the essential statements on which its
validity depends--as it were, the landmarks of its meaning or power; a
_condition_ is a contingent _term_ which may become fixed upon the
happening of some contemplated event. In logic a _term_ is one of the
essential members of a proposition, the boundary of statement in some
one direction. Thus, in general use _term_ is more restricted than
_word_, _expression_, or _phrase_; a _term_ is a _word_ that limits
meaning to a fixed point of statement or to a special class of subjects,
as when we speak of the definition of _terms_, that is of the
key-_words_ in any discussion; or we say, that is a legal or scientific
_term_. Compare BOUNDARY; DICTION.
* * * * *
brief, concise, neat, short,
compact, condensed, pithy, succinct.
compendious, laconic, sententious,
Anything _short_ or _brief_ is of relatively small extent. That which is
_concise_ (L. _con-_, with, together, and _caedo_, cut) is trimmed down,
and that which is _condensed_ (L. _con-_, with, together, and _densus_,
thick) is, as it were, pressed together, so as to include as much as
possible within a small space. That which is _compendious_ (L. _com-_,
together, and _pendo_, weigh) gathers the substance of a matter into a
few words, weighty and effective. The _succinct_ (L. _succinctus_, from
_sub-_, under, and _cingo_, gird; girded from below) has an alert
effectiveness as if girded for action. The _summary_ is compacted to the
utmost, often to the point of abruptness; as, we speak of a _summary_
statement or a _summary_ dismissal. That which is _terse_ (L. _tersus_,
from _tergo_, rub off) has an elegant and finished completeness within
the smallest possible compass, as if rubbed or polished down to the
utmost. A _sententious_ style is one abounding in sentences that are
singly striking or memorable, apart from the context; the word may be
used invidiously of that which is pretentiously oracular. A _pithy_
utterance gives the gist of a matter effectively, whether in rude or
elegant style.
diffuse, lengthy, long, prolix, tedious, verbose, wordy.
* * * * *
affidavit, attestation, deposition, proof,
affirmation, certification, evidence, witness.
_Testimony_, in legal as well as in common use, signifies the statements
of witnesses. _Deposition_ and _affidavit_ denote _testimony_ reduced to
writing; the _deposition_ differs from the _affidavit_ in that the
latter is voluntary and without cross-examination, while the former is
made under interrogatories and subject to cross-examination. _Evidence_
is a broader term, including the _testimony_ of witnesses and all facts
of every kind that tend to prove a thing true; we have the _testimony_
of a traveler that a fugitive passed this way; his footprints in the
sand are additional _evidence_ of the fact. Compare DEMONSTRATION; OATH.
* * * * *
accordingly, consequently, then, whence,
because, hence, thence, wherefore.
_Therefore_, signifying for that (or this) reason, is the most precise
and formal word for expressing the direct conclusion of a chain of
reasoning; _then_ carries a similar but slighter sense of inference,
which it gives incidentally rather than formally; as, "All men are
mortal; Caesar is a man; _therefore_ Caesar is mortal;" or, "The contract
is awarded; _then_ there is no more to be said." _Consequently_ denotes
a direct result, but more frequently of a practical than a theoretic
kind; as, "Important matters demand my attention; _consequently_ I shall
not sail to-day." _Consequently_ is rarely used in the formal
conclusions of logic or mathematics, but marks rather the freer and
looser style of rhetorical argument. _Accordingly_ denotes
correspondence, which may or may not be consequence; it is often used in
narration; as, "The soldiers were eager and confident; _accordingly_
they sprang forward at the word of command." _Thence_ is a word of more
sweeping inference than _therefore_, applying not merely to a single set
of premises, but often to all that has gone before, including the
reasonable inferences that have not been formally stated. _Wherefore_ is
the correlative of _therefore_, and _whence_ of _hence_ or _thence_,
appending the inference or conclusion to the previous statement without
a break. Compare synonyms for BECAUSE.
* * * * *
concourse, crowd, host, jam, mass, multitude, press.
A _crowd_ is a company of persons filling to excess the space they
occupy and pressing inconveniently upon one another; the total number in
a _crowd_ may be great or small. _Throng_ is a word of vastness and
dignity, always implying that the persons are numerous as well as
pressed or pressing closely together; there may be a dense _crowd_ in a
small room, but there can not be a _throng_. _Host_ and _multitude_ both
imply vast numbers, but a _multitude_ may be diffused over a great space
so as to be nowhere a _crowd_; _host_ is a military term, and properly
denotes an assembly too orderly for crowding. _Concourse_ signifies a
spontaneous gathering of many persons moved by a common impulse, and has
a suggestion of stateliness not found in the word _crowd_, while
suggesting less massing and pressure than is indicated by the word
* * * * *
age, duration, epoch, period, sequence, term,
date, eon, era, season, succession, while.
_Sequence_ and _succession_ apply to events viewed as following one
another; _time_ and _duration_ denote something conceived of as enduring
while events take place and acts are done. According to the necessary
conditions of human thought, events are contained in _time_ as objects
are in space, _time_ existing before the event, measuring it as it
passes, and still existing when the event is past. _Duration_ and
_succession_ are more general words than _time_; we can speak of
infinite or eternal _duration_ or _succession_, but _time_ is commonly
contrasted with eternity. _Time_ is measured or measurable _duration_.
* * * * *
cant, dip, incline, list, slope,
careen, heel over, lean, slant, tilt.
To _tilt_ or _tip_ is to throw out of a horizontal position by raising
one side or end or lowering the other; the words are closely similar,
but _tilt_ suggests more of fluctuation or instability. _Slant_ and
_slope_ are said of things somewhat fixed or permanent in a position out
of the horizontal or perpendicular; the roof _slants_, the hill
_slopes_. _Incline_ is a more formal word for _tip_, and also for
_slant_ or _slope_. To _cant_ is to set slantingly; in many cases _tip_
and _cant_ might be interchanged, but _tip_ is more temporary, often
momentary; one _tips_ a pail so that the water flows over the edge; a
mechanic _cants_ a table by making or setting one side higher than the
other. A vessel _careens_ in the wind; _lists_, usually, from shifting
of cargo, from water in the hold, etc. _Careening_ is always toward one
side or the other; _listing_ may be forward or astern as well. To _heel
over_ is the same as to _careen_, and must be distinguished from "keel
over," which is to capsize.
* * * * *
exhaust, fatigue, harass, jade, wear out, weary.
To _tire_ is to reduce strength in any degree by exertion; one may be
_tired_ just enough to make rest pleasant, or even unconsciously
_tired_, becoming aware of the fact only when he ceases the exertion;
or, on the other hand, he may be, according to the common phrase, "too
_tired_ to stir;" but for this extreme condition the stronger words are
commonly used. One who is _fatigued_ suffers from a conscious and
painful lack of strength as the result of some overtaxing; an invalid
may be _fatigued_ with very slight exertion; when one is _wearied_, the
painful lack of strength is the result of long-continued demand or
strain; one is _exhausted_ when the strain has been so severe and
continuous as utterly to consume the strength, so that further exertion
is for the time impossible. One is _fagged_ by drudgery; he is _jaded_
by incessant repetition of the same act until it becomes increasingly
difficult or well-nigh impossible; as, a horse is _jaded_ by a long and
unbroken journey.
invigorate, refresh, relax, relieve, repose, rest, restore.
* * * * *
apparatus, implement, machine, utensil,
appliance, instrument, mechanism, weapon.
A _tool_ is something that is both contrived and used for extending the
force of an intelligent agent to something that is to be operated upon.
Those things by which pacific and industrial operations are performed
are alone properly called _tools_, those designed for warlike purposes
being designated _weapons_. An _instrument_ is anything through which
power is applied and a result produced; in general usage, the word is of
considerably wider meaning than _tool_; as, a piano is a musical
_instrument_. _Instrument_ is the word usually applied to _tools_ used
in scientific pursuits; as, we speak of a surgeon's or an optician's
_instruments_. An _implement_ is a mechanical agency considered with
reference to some specific purpose to which it is adapted; as, an
agricultural _implement_; _implements_ of war. _Implement_ is a less
technical and artificial term than _tool_. The paw of a tiger might be
termed a terrible _implement_, but not a _tool_. A _utensil_ is that
which may be used for some special purpose; the word is especially
applied to articles used for domestic or agricultural purposes; as,
kitchen _utensils_; farming _utensils_. An _appliance_ is that which is
or may be applied to the accomplishment of a result, either
independently or as subordinate to something more extensive or
important; every mechanical _tool_ is an _appliance_, but not every
_appliance_ is a _tool_; the traces of a harness are _appliances_ for
traction, but they are not _tools_. _Mechanism_ is a word of wide
meaning, denoting any combination of mechanical devices for united
action. A _machine_ in the most general sense is any mechanical
_instrument_ for the conversion of motion; in this sense a lever is a
_machine_; but in more commonly accepted usage a _machine_ is
distinguished from a _tool_ by its complexity, and by the combination
and coordination of powers and movements for the production of a result.
A chisel by itself is a _tool_; when it is set so as to be operated by a
crank and pitman, the entire _mechanism_ is called a _machine_; as, a
mortising-_machine_. An _apparatus_ may be a _machine_, but the word is
commonly used for a collection of distinct articles to be used in
connection or combination for a certain purpose--a mechanical equipment;
as, the _apparatus_ of a gymnasium; especially, for a collection of
_appliances_ for some scientific purpose; as, a chemical or surgical
_apparatus_; an _apparatus_ may include many _tools_, _instruments_, or
_implements_. _Implement_ is for the most part and _utensil_ is
altogether restricted to the literal sense; _instrument_, _machine_, and
_tool_ have figurative use, _instrument_ being used largely in a good,
_tool_ always in a bad sense; _machine_ inclines to the unfavorable
sense, as implying that human agents are made mechanically subservient
to some controlling will; as, an _instrument_ of Providence; the _tool_
of a tyrant; a political _machine_.
* * * * *
division, issue, motion, proposition, subject,
head, matter, point, question, theme.
A _topic_ (Gr. _topos_, place) is a _head_ of discourse. Since a _topic_
for discussion is often stated in the form of a _question_, _question_
has come to be extensively used to denote a debatable _topic_,
especially of a practical nature--an _issue_; as, the labor _question_;
the temperance _question_. In deliberative assemblies a _proposition_
presented or moved for acceptance is called a _motion_, and such a
_motion_ or other matter for consideration is known as the _question_,
since it is or may be stated in interrogative form to be answered by
each member with a vote of "aye" or "no;" a member is required to speak
to the _question_; the chairman puts the _question_. In speaking or
writing the general _subject_ or _theme_ may be termed the _topic_, tho
it is more usual to apply the latter term to the subordinate
_divisions_, _points_, or _heads_ of discourse; as, to enlarge on this
_topic_ would carry me too far from my _subject_; a pleasant drive will
suggest many _topics_ for conversation.
* * * * *
footmark, impression, remains, token, trail,
footprint, mark, remnant, track, vestige.
footstep, memorial, sign,
A _memorial_ is that which is intended or fitted to bring to remembrance
something that has passed away; it may be vast and stately. On the other
hand, a slight _token_ of regard may be a cherished _memorial_ of a
friend; either a concrete object or an observance may be a _memorial_. A
_vestige_ is always slight compared with that whose existence it
recalls; as, scattered mounds containing implements, weapons, etc., are
_vestiges_ of a former civilization. A _vestige_ is always a part of
that which has passed away; a _trace_ may be merely the _mark_ made by
something that has been present or passed by, and that is still
existing, or some slight evidence of its presence or of the effect it
has produced; as, _traces_ of game were observed by the hunter. Compare
* * * * *
accomplish, carry on, do, perform,
act, conduct, negotiate, treat.
There are many acts that one may _do_, _accomplish_, or _perform_
unaided; what he _transacts_ is by means of or in association with
others; one may _do_ a duty, _perform_ a vow, _accomplish_ a task, but
he _transacts_ business, since that always involves the agency of
others. To _negotiate_ and to _treat_ are likewise collective acts, but
both these words lay stress upon deliberation with adjustment of mutual
claims and interests; _transact_, while it may depend upon previous
deliberation, states execution only. Notes, bills of exchange, loans,
and treaties are said to be _negotiated_, the word so used covering not
merely the preliminary consideration, but the final settlement.
_Negotiate_ has more reference to execution than _treat_; nations may
_treat_ of peace without result, but when a treaty is _negotiated_,
peace is secured; the citizens of the two nations are then free to
_transact_ business with one another. Compare DO.
* * * * *
act, action, affair, business, deed, doing, proceeding.
One's _acts_ or _deeds_ may be exclusively his own; his _transactions_
involve the agency or participation of others. A _transaction_ is
something completed; a _proceeding_ is or is viewed as something in
progress; but since _transaction_ is often used to include the steps
leading to the conclusion, while _proceedings_ may result in _action_,
the dividing line between the two words becomes sometimes quite faint,
tho _transaction_ often emphasizes the fact of something done, or
brought to a conclusion. Both _transactions_ and _proceedings_ are used
of the records of a deliberative body, especially when published;
strictly used, the two are distinguished; as, the Philosophical
_Transactions_ of the Royal Society of London give in full the papers
read; the _Proceedings_ of the American Philological Association give in
full the _business_ done, with mere abstracts of or extracts from the
papers read. Compare ACT; BUSINESS.
* * * * *
a priori, intuitive, original, primordial, transcendent.
_Intuitive_ truths are those which are in the mind independently of all
experience, not being derived from experience nor limited by it, as that
the whole is greater than a part, or that things which are equal to the
same thing are equal to one another. All _intuitive_ truths or beliefs
are _transcendental_. But _transcendental_ is a wider term than
_intuitive_, including all within the limits of thought that is not
derived from experience, as the ideas of space and time. "Being is
_transcendental_.... As being can not be included under any genus, but
transcends them all, so the properties or affections of being have also
been called _transcendental_." K.-F. _Vocab. Philos._ p. 530.
"_Transcendent_ he [Kant] employed to denote what is wholly beyond
experience, being neither given as an a posteriori nor _a priori_
element of cognition--what therefore transcends every category of
thought." K.-F. _Vocab. Philos._ p. 531. _Transcendental_ has been
applied in the language of the Emersonian school to the soul's supposed
_intuitive_ knowledge of things divine and human, so far as they are
capable of being known to man. Compare MYSTERIOUS.
* * * * *
brief, fleeting, fugitive, short,
ephemeral, flitting, momentary, temporary,
evanescent, flying, passing, transitory.
_Transient_ and _transitory_ are both derived from the same original
source (L. _trans_, over, and _eo_, go), denoting that which quickly
passes or is passing away, but there is between them a fine shade of
difference. A thing is _transient_ which in fact is not lasting; a thing
is _transitory_ which by its very nature must soon pass away; a thing is
_temporary_ (L. _tempus_, time) which is intended to last or be made use
of but a little while; as, a _transient_ joy; this _transitory_ life; a
_temporary_ chairman. _Ephemeral_ (Gr. _epi_, on, and _hemera_, day)
literally lasting but for a day, often marks more strongly than
_transient_ exceeding brevity of duration; it agrees with _transitory_
in denoting that its object is destined to pass away, but is stronger,
as denoting not only its certain but its speedy extinction; thus that
which is _ephemeral_ is looked upon as at once slight and perishable,
and the word carries often a suggestion of contempt; man's life is
_transitory_, a butterfly's existence is _ephemeral_; with no solid
qualities or worthy achievements a pretender may sometimes gain an
_ephemeral_ popularity. That which is _fleeting_ is viewed as in the act
of passing swiftly by, and that which is _fugitive_ (L. _fugio_, flee)
as eluding attempts to detain it; that which is _evanescent_ (L.
_evanesco_, from _e_, out, and _vanus_, empty, vain) as in the act of
vanishing even while we gaze, as the hues of the sunset.
abiding, eternal, immortal, lasting, perpetual, undying,
enduring, everlasting, imperishable, permanent, persistent, unfading.
* * * * *
coalition, conjunction, juncture, unification,
combination, junction, oneness, unity.
_Unity_ is _oneness_, the state of being one, especially of that which
never has been divided or of that which can not be conceived of as
resolved into parts; as, the _unity_ of God or the _unity_ of the human
soul. _Union_ is a bringing together of things that have been distinct,
so that they combine or coalesce to form a new whole, or the state or
condition of things thus brought together; in a _union_ the separate
individuality of the things united is never lost sight of; we speak of
the _union_ of the parts of a fractured bone or of the _union_ of hearts
in marriage. But _unity_ can be said of that which is manifestly or even
conspicuously made up of parts, when a single purpose or ideal is so
subserved by all that their possible separateness is lost sight of; as,
we speak of the _unity_ of the human body, or of the _unity_ of the
analysis, disconnection, disunion, divorce, separation,
contrariety, disjunction, division, schism, severance.
decomposition, dissociation,
* * * * *
accustomed, everyday, general, ordinary, public,
common, familiar, habitual, prevailing, regular,
customary, frequent, normal, prevalent, wonted.
_Usual_ (L. _usus_, use, habit, wont) signifies such as regularly or
often recurs in the ordinary course of events, or is habitually repeated
in the life of the same person. _Ordinary_ (L. _ordo_, order) signifies
according to an established order, hence of _everyday_ occurrence. In
strictness, _common_ and _general_ apply to the greater number of
individuals in a class; but both words are in good use as applying to
the greater number of instances in a series, so that it is possible to
speak of one person's _common_ practise or _general_ custom, tho
_ordinary_ or _usual_ would in such case be preferable. Compare GENERAL;
exceptional, infrequent, rare, strange, unparalleled,
extraordinary, out-of-the-way, singular, uncommon, unusual.
* * * * *
advantage, expediency, serviceableness,
avail, profit, use,
benefit, service, usefulness.
_Utility_ (L. _utilis_, useful) signifies primarily the quality of being
useful, but is somewhat more abstract and philosophical than
_usefulness_ or _use_, and is often employed to denote adaptation to
produce a valuable result, while _usefulness_ denotes the actual
production of such result. We contrast beauty and _utility_. We say of
an invention, its _utility_ is questionable, or, on the other hand, its
_usefulness_ has been proved by ample trial, or I have found it of
_use_; still, _utility_ and _usefulness_ are frequently interchanged.
_Expediency_ (L. _ex_, out, and _pes_, foot; literally, the getting the
foot out) refers primarily to escape from or avoidance of some
difficulty or trouble; either _expediency_ or _utility_ may be used to
signify _profit_ or _advantage_ considered apart from right as the
ground of moral obligation, or of actions that have a moral character,
_expediency_ denoting immediate _advantage_ on a contracted view, and
especially with reference to avoiding danger, difficulty, or loss, while
_utility_ may be so broadened as to cover all existence through all
time, as in the utilitarian theory of morals. _Policy_ is often used in
a kindred sense, more positive than _expediency_ but narrower than
_utility_, as in the proverb, "Honesty is the best _policy_." Compare
disadvantage, futility, inadequacy, inutility, uselessness,
folly, impolicy, inexpediency, unprofitableness, worthlessness.
* * * * *
blank, leisure, unfilled, untenanted, void,
empty, unemployed, unoccupied, vacuous, waste.
That is _empty_ which contains nothing; that is _vacant_ which is
without that which has filled or might be expected to fill it; _vacant_
has extensive reference to rights or possibilities of occupancy. A
_vacant_ room may not be _empty_, and an _empty_ house may not be
_vacant_. _Vacant_, as derived from the Latin, is applied to things of
some dignity; _empty_, from the Saxon, is preferred in speaking of
slight, common, or homely matters, tho it may be applied with special
force to the highest; we speak of _empty_ space, a _vacant_ lot, an
_empty_ dish, an _empty_ sleeve, a _vacant_ mind, an _empty_ heart, an
_empty_ boast, a _vacant_ office, a _vacant_ or _leisure_ hour. _Void_
and _devoid_ are rarely used in the literal sense, but for the most part
confined to abstract relations, _devoid_ being followed by _of_, and
having with that addition the effect of a prepositional phrase; as, the
article is _devoid of_ sense; the contract is _void_ for want of
consideration. _Waste_, in this connection, applies to that which is
made so by devastation or ruin, or gives an impression of desolation,
especially as combined with vastness, probably from association of the
words _waste_ and vast: _waste_ is applied also to uncultivated or
unproductive land, if of considerable extent; we speak of a _waste_
track or region, but not of a _waste_ city lot. _Vacuous_ refers to the
condition of being _empty_ or _vacant_, regarded as continuous or
brimful, busy, filled, inhabited, overflowing,
brimmed, crammed, full, jammed, packed,
brimming, crowded, gorged, occupied, replete.
* * * * *
abortive, futile, shadowy, unsatisfying,
baseless, idle, trifling, unserviceable,
bootless, inconstant, trivial, unsubstantial,
deceitful, ineffectual, unavailing, useless,
delusive, nugatory, unimportant, vapid,
empty, null, unprofitable, visionary,
fruitless, profitless, unreal, worthless.
_Vain_ (L. _vanus_, empty) keeps the etymological idea through all
changes of meaning; a _vain_ endeavor is _empty_ of result, or of
adequate power to produce a result, a _vain_ pretension is _empty_ or
destitute of support, a _vain_ person has a conceit that is _empty_ or
destitute of adequate cause or reason. That which is _bootless_,
_fruitless_, or _profitless_ fails to accomplish any valuable result;
that which is _abortive_, _ineffectual_, or _unavailing_