Google was no help. It found many synonyms for almost, nearly, close, etc. Is there a noun that means "not quite a synonym"?


car : wagon

hide : lose


A parasynonym?

parasynonym (plural parasynonyms)

(linguistics) A word or phrase that shares similar meanings with another term in some > contexts, but not all; a close synonym.


  • 2
    There is no difference between the (first) definition of this word given above, and a meaningful definition of synonym itself. There are no two words (other than alternative spellings) that 'share exactly similar meanings in all contexts'. I use 'near-synonym' to mean a word 'almost interchangeable with a second word in some senses with no vast change of meaning' (eg 'He made some judicious/prudent investments') and 'synonym' to mean a word 'interchangeable in some senses with a second word with no or very little discernible change of meaning' (eg 'He gave a contented/satisfied smile). – Edwin Ashworth May 26 '14 at 8:43
  • I'm not sure about true synonymy myself, but English is full of words of different linguistic origins that essentially mean the same thing (kingly/regal, paternal/fatherly, etc.). I suspect that this word was coined by someone who does believe in true synonymy. – gpr May 27 '14 at 0:32

Similar means "resembling without being identical", but I imagine you're looking for something fancier.

Some dictionaries think synonymous itself will work:

adjective: synonymous (of a word or phrase) having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or phrase in the same language

  • Yeah, I'm looking more for something that describes a word. So "X" where X is an X of synonym. – mcrumley May 26 '14 at 3:59
  • This definition is more sensible than many, but still omits the necessary 'in certain usages'. A satisfied customer. a contented customer. A contented cow, a satisfied cow??? – Edwin Ashworth May 26 '14 at 8:50

Do you mean something like the word like or alike?

  • Sort of, but more like a synonym for "not quite a synonym." I may need to rephrase the question because the word should be a noun. – mcrumley May 26 '14 at 4:48

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