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I once learned a term meaning a similar word that cannot stand for it in every context, i.e. a synonym that doesn't work in every instance the original word can (not a hypernym). What is this term?

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The answer is a plesionym. These are near-synonyms but with subtle differences (and the entire semantic range is not necessarily part of another symbol/word, as with hypo/ernymy).

  • The term 'synonym' itself is normally used for what the author calls a'plesionym'. I'd say his terminology is very rarely used. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 14 '16 at 16:55

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