By Zoe Samuel on March 18, 2018
Synonyms are one of the most interesting parts of language. Having many ways to say the same thing means we can communicate in a nuanced way many other languages do not have. It allows dissembling, nitpicking, obfuscation and poetic license.
Often, in our efforts to sound intelligent, people employ a synonym in the hope that it will make them sound clever, but more often than not, it backfires because others just don't understand what they are saying. Synonyms allow for hyperbole, which is much of what makes English language comedy possible. Quite a lot of the time, synonyms make speech easier, because repeated use of certain sounds can make speaking and reading comprehension more complicated.
Appropriately deployed, synonyms can make you a better writer, public speaker, and communicator. They often give us some of the most amusing translations into the English language, such as Kim Jong Un's use of the word "dotard," and many of the poorly translated ads on the internet. Certain words can suddenly become popular because they sound better than their synonyms, supplanting long-favored words and changing the way we speak every day.
How well do you know English synonyms? Will you prove yourself a master of sameness or a verbal disaster? Take this quiz!