Questions tagged [synonyms]

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

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66
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the purpose of using the word “automagically” when we already have “automatically”?

Is there a difference between the two? I see it used regularly in the tech community to mean automatically. Has the word been adopted into any recognised dictionary? For example: That was the day ...
64
votes
4answers
11k views

“Toward” or “towards”?

Which one should should I use? For some reason I have always used "towards", but I see some people saying "toward", like here: A great deal of his work in economic theory has been directed toward ...
59
votes
10answers
71k views

Alternatives to “and/or”?

As a programmer, I have no problem with seeing or using "and/or" in technical documentation. For example, I can upvote an answer that satisfies me and/or mark it as accepted. That's perfectly good ...
58
votes
10answers
14k views

Which is more wet: ‘moist’ or ‘damp’?

Which contains more liquid, something that is moist or something that is damp? Context of question: This question was asked to a young friend of mine in her high school freshman English class. It was ...
57
votes
5answers
43k views

When are “because”, “since”,“for” and “as” interchangeable?

I am not a native speaker. On a previous question of mine, I thanked for an answer by saying: So the phrase is not an idiom, since it is applied in its literal sense. I consciously chose since ...
55
votes
20answers
8k views

Alternative expression for “xyz Nazi”

I'm not a native English speaker, but I do understand and personally appreciate the use of the term "xyz Nazi" to say that someone is a bit dogmatic about their point of view, without necessarily ...
55
votes
9answers
12k views

Is “faff” well understood outside Britain?

Google says "faff" is just British English. Is it well understood in other English speaking regions? If not, is there an international alternative? faff BRITISH informal verb: faff; 3rd person ...
54
votes
5answers
5k views

What was “Herbal Tea” called before ‘tea’ was introduced in Europe?

I recently got in a discussion with a colleague, about herbal tea not being a correct term, as it contains no tea. Instead, one ought to use the term herbal infusions. Tea (dried leaves from the tea ...
48
votes
7answers
52k views

What are the differences between “assume”, “presume” and “suppose”

I believe that "assume", "presume", "suppose" are similar in meaning of to take some facts as a truth without proof. But it seems to me that "presume" is more formal, "assume" is less formal and "...
47
votes
17answers
34k views

Suggested alternatives for “nice-to-have” as a noun

In the example below, I’m looking for a suitable synonym for nice-to-have. I’m specifically looking for an appropriate noun replacement; do we actually have such a thing in English? Maintenance ...
45
votes
8answers
18k views

What is a less controversial name for the clothing item known as a “wife-beater” in the United States?

In the United States, a white sleeveless shirt is often referred to as a "wife-beater". Typically I try to avoid using "wife-beater" due to its negative connotation. I've tried using a few different ...
45
votes
8answers
49k views

Is there a subtle difference between “somebody” and “someone”, “anybody” and “anyone”?

Are there any subtle differences between "somebody" and "someone", or can they be used completely interchangeably? Similarly, can you imagine a situation in which you would prefer "anybody" to "anyone"...
44
votes
14answers
5k views

A word to describe an excessively formal process or procedure

I'm looking for a single word which may describe that a given process is overly formal in a sense it requires plenty of steps or involves myriad subprocesses. For instance some company is about to ...
44
votes
8answers
9k views

Is the word 'Hitherto' outdated? [closed]

I am wondering if you would consider the word hitherto to be outdated. I prefer it over its definition, "until now" and know of no equal alternative. I have been marked down (on papers) for using this ...
40
votes
7answers
25k views

Less vulgar synonyms for “circlejerk”

Someone asked in the Math.StackExchange chatroom what a "more refined word for circlejerk" might be. UrbanDictionary defines this (in our desired usage) as: [...] pompous, self-congratulatory ...
38
votes
14answers
7k views

What can be used as formal euphemism of “hack”?

I'm writing a technical document, and I need to convey the fact that we had to find a non-optimal, non-orthodox solution that was adopted as the best available alternative (a hack) to solve an ...
36
votes
3answers
10k views

Why are not “infamous” and “inflammable” the opposite of “famous” and “flammable”?

Why are not infamous and inflammable the opposite of famous and flammable, like incomplete, inactivity, inappropriate and so on?
35
votes
14answers
10k views

Appropriate word for internet name of a person

What is the appropriate word or phrase which means the internet name of a person. I mean the nickname that a person uses in almost all places on the internet like blog, IRC, forums, mailing lists etc.
35
votes
9answers
8k views

Word for metallic “dust”?

What’s the English word for the metallic “dust”, or more precisely the tiny remains (waste) of drilling, welding, cutting through metal, and similar metal processing?
35
votes
9answers
13k views

What is the original connection between “nurse” and “sister”?

In Hebrew, the difference between the words "Sister" and "Brother" is that "Sister" has an additional suffix, as might be expected given the structure of the language. Also, the Hebrew word for a ...
35
votes
17answers
11k views

Secular alternative to “preaching to the choir”?

Is there a secular alternative to the phrase "preaching to the choir"?
34
votes
12answers
6k views

Secular alternative to “doubting Thomas”

When looking at this question, the phrase "doubting Thomas" popped into my head as a potential answer. That in turn led me to question the origin of the phrase, which I discovered comes from the ...
32
votes
12answers
17k views

Do the words “jail” and “prison” refer to different things?

In everyday speech, the terms jail and prison are used interchangeably in many situations. However, my understanding is that, at least in the US, they actually refer to slightly different things. For ...
31
votes
17answers
125k views

Polite synonyms for “a——hole-ish” behavior

Are there any polite synonyms for asshole-ish behavior? A good synonym would probably have about the same impact and wouldn't send people looking for their dictionaries.
30
votes
8answers
17k views

Alternative expression/term to trivial use of 'OCD'

After being reproved for doing so myself on SO yesterday. I realized that over the last couple of years the meaning of the expression OCD, seems to have deflated. Up to the point where people(read I) ...
30
votes
5answers
113k views

What is the difference between “gift” and “present”?

What is the difference between gift and present?
29
votes
3answers
121k views

“Alternately” or “alternatively”

What is the difference between alternately and alternatively? I've seen both words being used, but which one is grammatically correct? He could do X. Or alternately, he could do Y. He could do X. ...
29
votes
5answers
21k views

What is the distinction between “among” and “amongst”?

It seems amongst is quite often used as a synonym for among but it is supposed to sound more distinguished. Is there any difference in the meaning?
29
votes
5answers
59k views

Difference between “ability” and “capability”

What is the difference in usage between ability and capability?
28
votes
12answers
15k views

Secular phrase for “Heaven only knows” or “God only knows”?

As the title states, I am seeking a secular phrase synonymous to "Heaven only knows" or "God only knows." Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
28
votes
18answers
16k views

Noun for “person with intermediate skill”

I'm looking for the noun form of "person with intermediate skill". For example, in the context of a particular activity, "person with no skill" might be designated a novice, and "person with much ...
27
votes
18answers
8k views

Nonreligious version of “heaven knows that…”

Are there any nonreligious versions of the phrase "heaven knows"? For example: Heaven knows I'm not perfect when it comes to exercise. I've heard other religious variants like "the Lord knows", ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

I'd like to know the spelling of a word, a synonym of unknown

I'm used to watching American TV Series all the time. I watch them with Italian subtitles, so I misspell many words. Many of them are not so difficult to figure out, but there's one that I just cannot ...
26
votes
18answers
12k views

A synonym for “picky” with a positive connotation (food)?

We're very picky about the ingredients we use. In that context, what's a synonym for "picky" with a positive connotation, that denotes that we care very much about the quality of the ingredients? ...
26
votes
9answers
7k views

Is there a single word meaning “the thing that attracts me”?

Is there a single word meaning "the thing that attracts me"? The terms attractor or drawer don't feel right: The attractor for me at this restaurant is their sumptuous ravioli.
26
votes
7answers
75k views

When is it appropriate to use “Yeah” and “Yep” as variants of the word “Yes”?

As a learner of English I know that yes is a standard variant and other two are informal, spoken words. I know nothing more about it, and try always use the yes variant, just not to sound ...
26
votes
5answers
50k views

Recur vs. Reoccur

Is there any difference between the verbs reoccur and recur? Several sources suggest that they are synonymous, but some fine-tuners suggest that there is a nuanced difference, such as Grammarist, ...
26
votes
3answers
171k views

“Farthest” vs. “furthest” [duplicate]

My spellchecker insists on replacing "furthest" with "farthest". I was under the impression that farthest is strictly speaking in terms of distance, whereas furthest is more abstract. A poster on ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Alternative term for 'smoke test'

I currently work as a Test Engineer. I test (power) electronics. One test I often perform is something called a "smoke test". Among engineers, this is a common term: "The phrase smoke test comes ...
25
votes
2answers
203k views

Correspond to vs. Correspond with

Is there any significant difference between Correspond to and Correspond with? I only mean in the sense of "matching", here, rather than "communication". I've looked at a few sources, but I can't ...
24
votes
10answers
67k views

Do native English speakers use the word “touristic”?

A word usage that always annoys me and feels like Euroenglish to me is "touristic". I don't believe I've ever seen it printed or heard it used by a native English speaker and I've travelled in most ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a name for synonyms that appear to have opposite meanings?

The words flammable and inflammable mean the same thing, but (to someone unfamiliar with their meaning) appear to be opposites (because of the "in" prefix). Is there a name for such word pairs that ...
24
votes
4answers
47k views

Is there a difference between “Speciality” and “Specialty”?

My work colleagues and I have been having a discussion about doctors (we work in healthcare), and we're split down the middle as to whether a specialist doctor would have a speciality, or a specialty (...
23
votes
21answers
46k views

What is a less offensive synonym for “retarded”?

I occasionally use "retarded" when chastising myself or other friends. I know it's not Politically Correct, but am I only allowed to say stupid? How long before we can't say that anymore? Other ...
23
votes
16answers
4k views

Alternative to “daydream” without the pleasant connotation

I am looking for a word that means something like "daydream" or "fantasy", but without the connotation that I actually want this "imagining" to come true. For example, something that would fit the ...
23
votes
5answers
16k views

What's the difference between scam and fraud?

I hear a lot about Sim lim scam but not Sim Lim fraud, as in this story. (Sim Lim is a shopping centre in Singapore.) So basically a customer signed a very deceptive contract and lost a lot of money. ...
23
votes
2answers
69k views

When to use “use” and when to use “utilize” in a sentence? [duplicate]

Sometimes I go through articles and find the expression utilize, I've always been wondering if there are special cases in which it should be used instead of used. Also because google ngram clearly ...
23
votes
15answers
122k views

What is the adjective form for the word “integrity?”

I'm looking for the adjective form of "integrity." Instead of "Be a person of integrity," I'd like to say something like "Be [one word I'm looking for]" I did a Google search for this, but I also ...
22
votes
19answers
13k views

Non-vulgar alternative to “Don't care a ____” [closed]

I am writing a poem for school. The verse with the word I need to change is this: 7 hours is too long In much too short a day You really don’t care if you get an answer wrong Because you don’...
22
votes
1answer
5k views

Word for “lose something temporarily”

Is there any verb which means that I lost something but actually you're sure that it isn't lost forever? So I don't know where is it now but if I was looking for it, I would find it. Or, I put it ...