All Words > Parasynonym

Friday, January 24

Parasynonym

[pair-ə-SIN-oh-nim]

Part of speech: noun

Origin: English, 1960s

1.

A linguistic term to describe words with close similarities, but not exactly matching definitions

Examples of Parasynonym in a sentence

"When learning a foreign language it can be easy to get confused by a parasynonym."

"For his thesis he wrote a paper describing the linguistic function of the parasynonym."

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About Parasynonym

Parasynonym is a useful word to describe almost synonyms — words that are very similar but might have different connotations. A motorcycle is a parasynonym for a car. They’re both modes of personal transportation, but they’re very different vehicles.

Did you Know?

This neologism (newly created word) isn’t found in every dictionary, but it’s been used in linguistic discussions and textbooks going back to the 1960s. Neologisms are usually created out of necessity when there are no existing words that fit the description. A neologism could become a parasynonym — the new and old words could be similar, but not exact matches.

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