Synonyms are words that are commonly supposed to have the same meaning, but in reality, they have a fine difference in meaning

A list of Synonyms with illustrations is given below:


1. Alter (partial change/modification): The teacher made some alterations while he checked my notebook.

Change ( to be entirely different): Raja changed his car.

2.  Allow (absence of restraint; it is negative in sense): It seems that his parents allow him to make a quarrel.

Permit (to give permission after definite agreement): We wanted to use the leisure room as our library and the principal permitted.

3.  Answer (answer is to a question): Answer the questions in brief.

Reply (it is to a charge): He charged me of stealing and I gave a legal reply.

4.  Ancient (not modern): Ancient Indian history is full of pride and glory.

5. Abdicate (spoken only of a king giving up his throne): King Edward abdicated his throne because of his love to a girl.

Resign (to give up any post high or low): The secretary had resigned his post.

6. Admit (to acknowledge some fact): Namita admitted that she had bought the book.

Confess (to accept responsibility for some crime): The boy confessed that he stole the bicycle.

7. Amusement (something done to occupy the vacant mind): Watching outdoor games is my amusement.

Recreation (Something done to refresh the mind after hard work): I take a long walk in the evening for my recreation.

Diversion (Something that turns the mind away from thought or work): The arrival of the president became a source of diversion for the students.

8. Abstain (to keep away from a thing): We should abstain from wine.

Refrain (to keep away from some action): We should refrain from gambling.

9. Accustomed (to) (used to a thing or habit): In my boyhood, I was accustomed to early rising.

Addicted to (to be habituated to something undesirable): Kanak is addicted to wine.

10. Accept (to agree to some request, invitation etc.): I have accepted Kamala’s invitation and went there.

Acknowledge (to recognise the claims of others): He acknowledged that Ram is the real heir of the kingdom.


11. Act (something done): We should act upon the advice of our parents.

Feat (an act of skill): She showed her feat in doing the work.

12. Absolute (without any check, restraint, or condition): He became the absolute ruler of the land.

Autocratic (to rule without caring for any rules and regulations): The kings of  Nepal were autocratic.

Despotic (tyrannical/oppressive): Chenghis Khan was a despotic leader of the Mongols.

13. Apprehend (to understand a little): I  apprehend only the general sense of what he says.

Comprehend (to understand fully): I comprehended what he said.

14. Accident (an unwelcome event): He died in an accident.

Incident (an event, occurrence): Our history is full of remarkable incidents.

15. Avocation ( any work taken up for the sake of pleasure, not primarily with the intention of earning money): Writing is my avocation.

Vocation ( the main business or profession through which one earns one’s livelihood): Writing of educational books is my vocation.

16. Avenge (to inflict just punishment privately for a wrong done to another; it does not imply satisfaction of any personal grudge): In ancient Arab hostilities continued for generations and wrong done to the father were often avenged by the sons.

Revenge ( to inflict punishment for wrongs done to one’s own self, the purpose being to gratify personal grudge):  Ram is ready to take revenge for the wrong done to him.

17. Anticipate ( to expect some trouble or difficulty in future):  I have anticipated that he would forbid me to visit Pakistan.

Forestall ( to take steps to prevent some future trouble ): Our Government had forestalled many soldiers in the India- Pakistan Border during the Kargil War.

18. Astonishment (unpleasant surprise ): I am astonished that he has become my friend.

Wonder ( surprise mingled with praise):  We wondered at his sudden success. 

19. Beautiful (used for a woman or for a thing considered feminine):  Sita is a beautiful girl. 

Handsome (used for man or object considered masculine):  Rakib is a handsome boy. 


20. Battle (an armed fight between two armies): The Battle of Sharaighat took place between the Ahoms and the Mughals. 

War (war consists of a series of battles ): In the Second World War some millions of people were killed intentionally.

21. Fight ( a fight is usually between two or more persons and not between armies): Ramanon was badly wounded in the fight.

Duel (an armed fight between two persons ): The duel is no longer in fashion. 

22. Busy ( actually doing some work):  We are very busy now with our mission. 

Diligent (a person of hard-working habits): Habib is a diligent young boy.

23. Discover (to find out something which already existed but was unknown to men ): Columbus discovered America. 

Invent (to find out or make something new): Marconi invented wireless.

24. Begin (it is a general word and can be used in reference to any action ): I began to read at 12 o’clock yesterday.

Commence (used for beginning something important): Our Annual Sports will commence on 3rd February.


 Start ( used only for physical movement ):  The bus started at 4 O’clock.

25. Crime ( to do something against the law of a country): Bribery is a crime. 

Vice  (something against the law of morality): Drinking is said to be a vice. 

Sin (Something against the law of religion): Telling a lie is a sin. 

26. Character ( A man’s qualities which make him good or bad): Rakesh is respected by all because of his good and ideal character.

Reputation (praise received for some noble action): He earned a reputation by dint of welfare deeds to the masses.

27. Custom (refers to the habitual actions of a society): Taking veils even at a young age is a custom in Arabian society.

Habit (it refers to the usual practice of an individual): My habit is to take a banana with milk.

28. Cite (used for reference to both person or thing): The subject of the letter to the minister is cited above.

Quote (used for passage from a book): Quote a line from Shakespeare in support of your comment.


29. Ceiling (the inner part of the covering of a house):  The ceiling of the house is made of plastic pieces.

Roof (Outer part of the covering of a house): The roof of the house is made of straw.

30. Common (that which two or more persons share or are interested in): Book reading is a common habit of my friends.

Mutual (that which is reciprocal or is interchanged): Ram and Shaym agreed to mutual help.

31. Comply (to obey a wish or order): The boy complied with my order.

Conform (to follow rules and regulations): Kanak agreed to conform with the discipline of the institute.

32.  Command (it implies an order of a superior officer as-king, queen, military officer etc. to lower persons): The General commanded the army to march forward.

Order (an order is for particular acts): The host ordered the servant to close the gate.

Injunction (a direction from a superior authority like law courts regarding general conduct): The Magistrate sent an injunction to Ramen to attend the court.

33. Credible (believable): Your story is quite credible.


Credulous (a person who easily believes others):  Nabin is often cheated by others because of his credulous nature.

34.  Contagious (a disease that is easily caught by touch alone): Smallpox is a contagious disease.

35.  Infection (a disease that spreads through air and water even without touch): Cholera is an infectious disease.

36.  Contentment (satisfaction of mind of a person whose desires are limited): After getting the job of a clerk Ramen felt full contentment.

Satisfaction (the gratification of one’s desire): His company gives me satisfaction.

37. Compulsion (to be compelled to do something by the pressure of circumstance): Babul had left the village under the compulsion of poverty.

Obligation (it implies a moral duty which a person must perform): We are under an obligation to respect our elders.

38.  Drown (used only for animals and human beings): Kalam drowned in the river and died.

Sink (used only for lifeless things): The boat sank in the pond.


39.  Deny (used with reference to some facts): She denied that she had committed the sin.

Refuse (used with reference to a request): He refused to help me.

40. Delightful (that which gives pleasure to the mind and senses): Football is a delightful game for me.

Delicious (used only with reference to the sense of taste): The supper last night was very delicious.

41. Distinguish (to recognize broad differences): Please distinguish the achievements of Akbar and Shahjahan.

Discriminate (to point out the minute difference): Only a perfect critic can discriminate the difference between Socialism and communism.

42.  Doubt (used with reference to some fact or statement and implies that what is doubted is wrong): I have doubted about his success.


Suspect (it is used with reference to persons only and implies what is suspected is true): I suspect Hari to be a dishonourable man.

43. Efficacious (producing the desired result): The medicine given to you is proved very efficacious.

Efficient (competent): Naliniwala was an efficient poetess of Assam.

44. Effective (having the desired effect):  Effective measures have been taken to control the terrorists.

Effectual (that which serves the desired purposefully): His advice proved effectual.

45. Envy (ill-will or discontentment at some superiority enjoyed by others): Ranin is envious of his friend’s prosperity.

Jealous (anxiously careful of, or concerned for something or someone) Nanak is a jealous advocate of modern poetry.

47. Error (a slight fault of judgment): There may have some errors in the book.

Mistake (to take one thing or person for another): I mistake him for a doctor.

Blunder (mistake of a serious kind): Even some teachers commit a serious blunder in solving such a calculation.

47.  Enough (refers to the quantity of something which a person desires): He has earned enough black money.

Sufficient (refers to the actual needs of a person): I am still unable to earn sufficient money to support my family.

48.Famous (used in a good sense): Navakanta Baruah is a famous Assamese poet.

Notorious (used in a bad sense): Usama Bin Laden is said to be a notorious terrorist.


49.  Forgiveness (related to the matter of a serious nature): He stole the chest and asked for forgiveness.

Pardon (used only for matters of less importance): please pardon me as I can not meet you.

50.  Falsehood (telling something wrong but without the intention of deceiving anybody): It is a falsehood to tell that we can live in the jungle.

Lie (telling something wrong with the intention of deceiving others): I generally do not tell a lie.

51. Grateful (used for conduct to anybody for a favour done to us): I am very grateful to the publisher for rendering me a helping hand.

Thankful ( it is a state of a person’s mind): I am thankful to all my colleagues for their help rendered to me.

52. General (not special or particular): A general meeting was called for the purpose of raising money.


Universal (all-inclusive): In the sonnets by William Shakespeare there is a universal appeal of love.

53. House (the four walls within which one lives): We live in an  Assam-type house.

Home (a house with its belongings): charity begins at home.

54. Haste (quickness in doing something): Make haste, otherwise we will miss the train.

Hurry (quickness with confusion): We left the luggage in a hurry.

55.  Idle (not busy; without work): I am sitting idleLazy (it is used for habit): Kamala is lazy and she cannot succeed.

56.  Imminent (about to happen): Our examination is imminent.

Immanent (all-pervading): God is immanent.

57.  Instigate (to urge a person to do some evil): The political leaders are seen to remain under the screen in the acts of instigating communal riots.

Incite (inspire a person to some action): My dear students incited me to compose the book.

58.  Justice (it is based on the law of a country): Justice was given him in spite of opposition.

Equity (it is something moral and refers to our sense of right and wrong): It is our demand to get equity in all economic matters.

59.  Keep (to put something safely for a long time): Keep the purse in the table.

place (to put for the time being): please place the bucket on the floor.

60. Kill (cause to death): Nabin was killed in the last battle.

Murder (to put someone to death intentionally): Chandra was murdered by his enemy.


61. Liberal (not miserly): He is liberal in all matters.

Generous (it refers to the nobleness of feeling): Mahatmaji was generous to the poor.

62. Libel (to defame through something written or printed): The young writer was punished for libelling the minister.

Slander (to defame through spoken words): He was brought to book for slandering his neighbour.

63.  Loyalty (faithfulness to a person, party or cause): Kamala’s loyalty to the party is praiseworthy.

Allegiance (duty to one’s king or ruler): The allegiance of the foreigners to India is doubtful.

64.  Misfortune (it is individual or personal ill-luck): His failure in the examination is said to be his misfortune.

Calamity (it is widespread ill-luck): During summer the people of Assam meet an unbearable calamity.

65.  Probable (that which is expected to happen): It is probable that the Chinese may attack India.

Possible (that which can take place in the course of time): It is possible for us to travel the world in a day.


66. Protect (to try to save from future danger): We should protect our environment.

Defend (to try to save from present danger): A garrison was placed there to defend the frontiers.

67. Part (it is a general term): The left part of the house was decorated by his parents.

Portion (it refers to the part set aside for special purpose): The portion of the property was set aside to distribute among the poor.

68. Rural (pertaining to the villages): Rural life is peaceful.

Rustic (uncultured): The rustic villagers made an uproar.

69.  Redress (to do justice to one who has been wronged):  At last he was redressed from the charge of stealing.

Relief (it is an act of kindness): The N.G.O. raised a relief fund for the poor.

70.  Recollect (to call to mind what one has forgotten): I failed to recollect the name of the newcomer.

Remember (to call to mind without any difficulty): I remember your name forever.


71.  Replace (it means to take away something old and put a new thing in its place): Please replace the pen by a new one.

Substitute (to put one thing for another): There is no substitute for water.

72. Strict (it is used for one who sticks to certain rules and regulations): Our principal is a strict disciplinarian.

Severe (one who punishes for the least violation of rules and regulations): We were severely punished for breaking discipline.

73.  Social (related to society): We are social beings.

Sociable (fitted for society): We like Ramen for his sociable nature.

74.  Stop (not to move): The bus stops here for five minutes. 

Stay (to remain with someone for some time): The child now stays with his grandmother.

75.  Simulate: (to pretend to be what one is not): He simulated to be a nobleman and cheated my friend.

Dissimulate (to hide what one really is): Kanak dissimulated and said that he was a doctor.

76.  Sensitive (quick to take an impression from external objects): Karim is very sensitive to any melody.

Sensible (wise): We can rely on a sensible man.

77.  Trade (it is a general term and can be used to denote either small scale or large scale business): Ramesh trades in tea.

Commerce (it is always on a large scale and with foreign countries): Indian commerce with foreign countries has been increasing day by day.

78.  Temporary (that which lasts only for a short time): He is a temporary employee in this industry.

Temporal (worldly): Along with our temporal life we should practise the spiritual side of life.

79.  Truce (Stoppage of hostility for a short time): The two parties come to a truce to stop their hostilities for two days.

Treaty (an agreement that indicates the end of a war): The Treaty of  Versailles was illegal.

80. Visitor (one who visits a place or anybody): The two visitors gave me much trouble asking my private matters.

Visitant (used only for one who comes from another world as an angel, ghosts etc): William Blake, an English poet demanded that he met a visitant while he was playing in the open field.

81. Vacant (not filled at the present moment, but previously occupied): Ranin was given temporary employment in the vacant post of a teacher.

Empty (having nothing): Please fill the empty vessel with milk.

82.  Wages (money paid to servants, labourers usually daily or weekly): I pay 200/- daily to the ward-boy as his wages.

Salary (money paid to highly placed persons; it is monthly or yearly): His salary as a teacher is more than 30,000.00 per month. 0 0 0


N.B.  The article ‘Synonyms’ originally belongs to the book ‘School English Grammar Part- II‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books on Linguistics by M. Menonimus:

  1. A Brief History of the English Language
  2. Essays on Linguistics
  3. My Imageries
  4. Felicitous Expression: Some Examples
  5. Learners’ English Dictionary

Related Search:

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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