While consulting the version of the New Oxford American Dictionary provided with Mac OS, I came across the following “word spectrum”, which its says “show shades of meaning between two polar opposites”. While I generally appreciate its notes such as “The right word”, I was surprised by this spectrum:
Some of the words in there appear next to one another, which I would truly treat as synonymous, like “honest” and “truthful”. However, I am surprised by the ordering of some other words. For example, I would have classified “upfront” even higher than “frank”. Also, I would classify words like “taciturn” and “of few words” as neutral on this scale, as I don't feel they convey any negative connotation.
So, my question is (and I'm sorry it took so long to get to it!): is this spectrum corroborated by usage in your experience? That may depend on local factors, of course, which I'd be happy to be referred to.