A synonym is a word that means the same, or almost the same thing, as another word.

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Synonym of “s--t eating grin” suitable for polite company

Can anyone think of a synonym for "shit eating grin" that would be usable in polite company? This definition from the OED captures the meaning I'm looking for perfectly: A broad grin expressing ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the word to mean to apply attributes of an entire race to a single individual?

Normally racism is used to mean generalizing about an entire race based on a few individual examples, but what is the word to mean to apply attributes of an entire race to a single individual? That is ...
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11answers
2k views

How do I say that I am interested in a lot of things without coming off either as superficial or arrogant

For example: I like Math but also love History and am pretty good at sports. This is for my Statement of Purpose.
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7answers
48k views

Difference between contract and catch [a disease]

What could be the difference between contracting a disease and catching a disease? I know there isn't any big difference. However, it looks like there are some diseases you can both catch and ...
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6answers
16k views

What is the difference between “citizen” and “denizen”

Citizen: 1. A legally recognized subject ornational of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized. 2. An inhabitant of a particular town or city. Denizen: 1. An inhabitant or occupant of a ...
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5answers
40k views

“Last Name” and “surname”

Between last name and surname, which one is British and which one is American? If I talk with somebody from Great Britain, which one is preferable?
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6answers
41k views

Is “sans” a drop-in replacement for “without”?

I keep hearing people use the word sans in place of without which causes me to cringe. Can sans really be used as a drop-in replacement? Examples: "I prefer cheeseburgers sans pickles." "I ...
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4answers
57k views

I was wondering if there are synonyms for “I was wondering”

Often I ask a question (by e-mail), and precede the question with I was wondering if... For example I was wondering if you can give me your office hrs? Why not just simply ask the real question? ...
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4answers
8k views

Which word is used more in the UK: 'gaol' or 'jail'?

I know both words share the same meaning and pronunciation, but I wonder about their comparative usage in modern English.
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4answers
14k views

What's the difference between orthography and spelling?

The terms "spelling" and "orthography" seem to be largely synonymous. What is the difference really? Is it that "orthography" is a more formal or technical term and hence more well-defined? Or is it ...
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5answers
27k views

Argentine or Argentinian?

I was taught in my school days that Argentine was the correct adjective for something relating to the country Argentina. However, these days, even in common speech (but moreover in formal English on ...
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3answers
86k views

Difference between “purpose”, “aim”, “target”, “goal”, “objective”, and “ambition”

What is the difference between “purpose”, “aim”, “target”, “goal”, “objective”, and “ambition”? I found these questions: Difference between “aim” and “purpose” Difference between “purpose” and “...
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4answers
3k views

The use of “random” to mean “arbitrary”, “unidentified”, “unknown”, etc

I'm seeing the use of "random" instead of "arbitrary", etc., with increasing frequency. To me, "random" has a specific meaning and is not synonymous with these other words. Is it correct to use it in ...
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4answers
20k views

Is there any difference between 'often' and 'frequently'?

Do both mean exactly the same or do they have slightly different meanings?
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5answers
22k views

Differences between “propensity”, “predilection” and “proclivity”

Propensity, predilection and proclivity all have the meaning of tendency, so what's the difference? Are they interchangeable?
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20answers
4k views

A synonym for “soft” with a negative connotation

I'm looking for a synonym for soft, as in the opposite of coarse or crass. The context is a young French woman in Nazi Germany who asks a shopkeeper for something to catch a mouse in her house. The ...
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6answers
1k views

Having to do with rivers

I had originally thought that the word riparian meant having to do with rivers, but it appears that it actually means only having to do with river banks. Is there a word that more exactly means having ...
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16answers
2k views

Synonym to “software wizard”

Some software programs provide helper functions which guide you through a certain process, and traditionally these are called wizards. I wish to provide this functionality in the administration-side ...
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4answers
3k views

Is puppy a synonym of dog?

I'm a bit confused as to why some thesauruses, e.g. Oxford Dictionaries, state that puppy is a synonym of dog. To me they are related but not a synonym. dog hound, canine, mongrel, cur, ...
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6answers
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A better word for invigilator, a person overseeing an exam

I'm issuing a written final exam to a student in Nepal. In setting this up I need to communicate to a non native speaking person in the abroad administration, in a clear and precise manner, that a ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there an adjective form of Jubilee?

With the Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne approaching, I'm seeing the word Jubilee more frequently than normal. Is there a word to describe the people celebrating with the same root as the ...
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1answer
2k views

“brake the rules” vs “break the rules”

In a shop I have found a T-shirt with the sentence: "Brake the rules" (not "Break the rules"). Is it correct?
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9answers
4k views

What is a good word for a person who doesn't masturbate?

Is there a word for a person who doesn't masturbate? If so, what would he/she/it be known as?
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3answers
22k views

Difference between “Excuse me” and “Sorry”

What is the difference between "Excuse me, ..." and "Sorry, ..."? When do we use one or the other? For example, when you haven't heard the speaker, or stepped on someone's foot or accidentally ...
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5answers
1k views

What's a less obscure word for “sinecure”?

I'm writing a message which will go out to a global community, so I want to keep the vocabulary relatively straightforward. I'm describing a job which previously has been a little vaguely-defined, but ...
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9answers
4k views

Word for “decorated too much”

I'm looking for a word (verb) meaning decorate/embellish too much — in a bad sense — and in particular having the tint of being too much so that something instead of being beautiful becomes fussy and ...
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8answers
4k views

Is there a similar word to 'twain' but meaning 'three' instead of 'two'?

I would like to split something into three parts, is there a phrase I can use with similar overtones to "cleave in twain"?
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3answers
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“To date” versus “until now”

Is there a difference between these two expressions? Are they perfect synonyms?
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7answers
37k views

What are some slang words for “police” in countries besides the US?

In the US we have a number of slang terms that are commonly used to refer to the police: cops pigs five-O fuzz buzzkill (referring to their presence messing up the enjoyment of drugs) I am curious ...
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4answers
15k views

What's the difference between superpose and superimpose?

The definitions seem very much alike: superposed - Place (something) on or above something else, esp. so that they coincide: "superposed triangles". superimpose - Place or lay (one thing) ...
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5answers
40k views

Difference between “humble” and “modest”

What is the difference between humble and modest? I saw one difference here. Is that true? Any other difference?
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5answers
3k views

What words sound like opposites but are synonyms?

Somewhat related to this question, I am curious to know what words in English would seem to be opposites at first blush but are in fact synonyms? Immediately I can think of flammable and inflammable.
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2answers
26k views

“Auxiliary” or “ancillary”

I am trying to phrase something like: We argue that introducing these concepts is likely to achieve ancillary goals. Should I use auxiliary or ancillary here? Is there a difference in meaning?
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4answers
584 views

A single word meaning 'absolute control over something'

I'm looking for a single word meaning 'absolute control over something'. For example, the government having absolute control over money. I thought of 'stranglehold', but I'd prefer something without ...
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10answers
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Synonymous idiom for “more x than you can shake a stick at”

It's very difficult to search the web for synonymous idioms, at least for me. I found Origin of "More X than you can shake a stick at", but I'm really trying to find a similar phrase to it. ...
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10answers
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Word for energyless-ness

What's a single word that can connote the concept of (or something similar to) "energyless-ness" (which, as far as I can tell, is not a word). This is meant to be used in the context of burnout. When ...
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5answers
2k views

Synonym for “daily” of Latin origin?

When talking about a year long interval I can say "annual" to mean "yearly". For example, "the annual yield is", "the interest rate is 25% per annum", or "the annualized interest rate is 25%" if the ...
9
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6answers
1k views

Other words for the cadaverous blue?

I am looking for the particular word (if it exists in English) for the ghastly blue colour of a dead person...
9
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6answers
6k views

What is the name of the small containers of half & half, etc.?

Does anyone know what the word/name for the small plastic cup things that contain liquids (like half and half for coffee) is? Right now I’m using sachet because a coworker started to do so, but I’ve ...
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4answers
2k views

50s synonym for “snogging”

What would the British term in 1954 have been for "snogging"? "Making out" is American. "All over each other" doesn't seem quite specific enough.
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3answers
31k views

Alternatives for “conducted” with respect to research

Literature review is a big part of my life. I usually use “[Scientist] conducted a research using data from” to state a previous study. Do you have recommendations of other verbs to use? I am tired ...
9
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4answers
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What are alternative responses for when someone sneezes?

Question: What is an appropriate English response to reply when someone nearby sneezes? Background: I am American by birth, and was raised to respond 'God Bless You' when someone sneezes -- though I ...
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3answers
3k views

What is the difference between “onerous” and “arduous”?

Is there any difference in the meaning of these words? Which one of them is used the most in everyday conversation? In my vocabulary for both words I've found essentially the same meaning: "difficult ...
9
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10answers
826 views

What to call the attitude of pursuing something

What will you call a person with an endless spirit of pursuing something?
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7answers
27k views

Difference between “socket” and “outlet”

While translating a technical document I began thinking about socket and outlet. It seems like they're mostly interchangeable. Is that correct? Or is there a difference between the two?
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8answers
22k views

Synonyms for “anal retentive”

I would like one or more synonyms for anal retentive. I was chatting last night in an mmorpg, and any message with the word anal was banned. I ended up talking about my canal retentive minus c guild-...
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5answers
10k views

“Bash” vs. “party”

Our management team ask us to join a pizza/beer bash, which is essentially nothing but a pizza lunch held for all employees. My concept of the word bash still remained somewhere near the name of the ...
9
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7answers
23k views

What's the difference between the universe and the cosmos?

Is there a difference between the universe and the cosmos? I used to think that the cosmos was a sort of container for the universe, one that could contain potentially infinite universes.
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2answers
2k views

Why “mind” means “pay attention to”

Why the word "mind" can be used as a verb, synonym of "pay attention to"? It has the same etymology of the "mind" (centre of thought, feelings, brain) noun? When it is better to use "mind" in place of ...
9
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1answer
481 views

Is there a well-known term for the synonym or near-synonym “telescoping” words?

This has been rattling around in the back of my mind for many years (way before Stack Exchange came into existence), so it's a relief to finally ask the question. There are words that can be "...