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I am a bit lost! Are rail against, fulminate against and inveigh against synonyms or are they different? What do they mean exactly?

My dictionary says: inveigh against= to strongly criticize something or someone. Fulminate= to criticize strongly and rail against: complain angrily.

  • My dictionary says: inveigh against= to strongly criticize something or someone. Fulminate= to criticize strongly and rail against: complain angrily. – Juliette Apr 27 '18 at 12:12
  • but are they interchangeable? – Juliette Apr 27 '18 at 12:19
  • This is a usage question and not a vocabulary question. Your research already confirmed their similarities. – Norman Edward Apr 27 '18 at 13:46
  • 'Fulminate' and 'rail against' both imply raised voices. To fulminate especially is to thunder. But you could 'inveigh' quite quietly, if you were menacing enough, or persistent enough, or had lots of reasons to be cross. – Hugh Apr 29 '18 at 2:38
  • Sorry, Juliette, and while that seems like a wholly reasonable Question please, can your proivide some examples? I see how your dictionary instances aren't helpful and still, please, some examples? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 29 '18 at 22:03
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*"but, are they interchangeable?" The simple answer is yes. They are synonymous terms. The difficult answer is, no. If you wrote to me and said, "I inveigh against your answer to my question.", it would have no real significance to me. 'Inveigh' works, but, is not in generally accepted usage. Communication is the first requisite in any language usage. Erring on the side of 'recognition' in the language you use, should be predominant. And, from your three options, 'rail against' works better, but it is not different in meaning.

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    I think of these terms as describing other communications. I might write to someone saying that I was highly critical of their work on intercostal clavicles. If my tone in the letter was angry, I might be described as railing/inveighing/fulminating. In the communication itself I wouldn't use rail/inveigh/fulminate. – user888379 Apr 27 '18 at 13:57
  • I agree that they are descriptive terms for fervent opposition, as stated in the question. What was asked is how their meaning might differ. "I railed against raising taxes last election and I firmly stand on that platform now.", would be a declaration. A clear statement of opposition to taxes. – Norman Edward Apr 27 '18 at 19:00
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    @NormanEdward: That statement would raise the question of whether you had a loco motive. – Tim Lymington Apr 28 '18 at 9:56
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    Given that the OED has an example from 1470 (in Malory), probably not. But combining rail with platform looks like an unintended pun. – Tim Lymington Apr 28 '18 at 12:37
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    @TimLymington Of course, they all mean that you signal your displeasure. I'll get my coat. – BoldBen May 28 '18 at 5:01

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