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The English Language: Synonyms and Antonyms

Updated on April 2, 2013

Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms and antonyms are the bread and butter of effective communication. An effective communicator is not worthy of the title if he or she is unable to quickly find the word that fits the need exactly. If a word is used too often, it loses its ability to convey exact information. Synonyms and antonyms provide a spectrum of options for the effective communicator.


Synonyms are two words which mean almost the same thing. In the table below, the word "delightful" means nearly the same thing as "lovely", but each word conveys a slightly different notion. The table below shows just some of the synonyms for the word delightful. In this case, choosing the right word makes all of the difference.

  • The chocolate-covered strawberries I ate last night were delightful.
  • The chocolate-covered strawberries I ate last night were satisfying.
  • The chocolate-covered strawberries I ate last night were scrumptious.

The first example conveys an idea of having enjoyed the strawberries, while the second sentence conveys an idea that the strawberries were of an acceptable quality. Still, the third sentence conveys yet another idea that the strawberries were scrumptious, or "pleasing to the senses".

Selecting the appropriate word makes all of the difference.

A book containing synonyms for various words is called a thesaurus, and is a handy tool for any communicator.

Synonyms: Delightful


All words in this table are synonyms, and are related to each other in such a fashion that words closest to each other are most closely related.

In this way, synonyms can be described as different hues of words along a linguistic spectrum.


Antonyms are two words which have opposite meaning. Antonyms are useful when looking for a meaning directly opposite to another. When you combine all synonyms of an antonym, even the proper opposite can be obtained. See the table below for some examples of antonyms.

Base Word

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