Synonyms are words that are similar in meaning to another word. Synonyms help the writer and the speaker to choose the word which is most appropriate to convey the intended message.
These words are all synonyms:
You can see now that, depending on exactly what you want to communicate, you could choose the appropriate synonym to make your message more crisp and meaningful.
Synonyms are not exact replacements for any word but they are similar in meaning. Their actual meanings are unique to each word. To take the four words given in the example above we find that they all display the common attribute of weakness:
The dictionary meaning of WEAK is ‘not strong’.
The dictionary meaning of FRAIL is ‘not robust’.
The dictionary meaning of ANAEMIC is ‘lacking vitality’.
The dictionary meaning of FEEBLE is ‘lacking in force’.
You will notice that all the four words describe something which is lacking, maybe, strength. Now, the writer and speaker can use the appropriate word to describe what he wants to describe. For instance, if a cricket commentator were to describe a cricketing shot which lacked the power to reach the boundary he would most likely use WEAK and FEEBLE and not FRAIL and ANAEMIC. In the same way, if a person were to describe another person who looks pale you would in all probability describe him as an ANAEMIC person because he could be deficient in iron content in his body which makes him look pale.
Remember that synonyms cannot replace a word verbatim but instead come close to the attribute you want to describe. It is possible to be choosy as there are numerous words which are synonyms of other words. Play this quiz, learn many more synonyms and widen your vocabulary.