Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 9 years ago

Are identical words technically synonyms?

You would never be happy if you looked up a synonym for the word 'pants' and the search engine returned to word 'pants', but are they technically synonyms?

An acceptable definition for synonym is:

A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language

Note that the word 'another' is NOT a synonym for 'different'.

This is one of the stupidest questions one could ask, but it might have a stupid answer. Please give it some thought.

If this helps you make a decision, it is widely accepted that identical words rhyme. There's not really a debate there.

Happy thinking

Update:

I am aware that they are homonyms, but that is different. I'm talking about identical words with identical meanings, like 'purple' and 'purple'.

Update 2:

Note that the questions requires a yes or a no. Don't say they are the same word, I know they are the same word. We say purple rhymes with purple, so why can't purple have the same meaning as purple?

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  • 9 years ago
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    "Pants" and "pants" are homonyms. They are words that are pronounced the same, but have different meanings, whether they are spelled the same way or not.

    EDIT:

    You realize that pants can mean different things, right?

    You have pants on.

    and

    A dog pants.

    Therefore, "pants" is a homonym.

    Purple and purple is just that. Purple and purple. If they are spelled the same, and have the same meaning, then they are just the same word. Nothing more.

    EDIT: What are you talking about? I never said that purple and purple didn't have the same meaning. I said, and I quote, "If they are spelled the same, and have the same meaning, then they are just the same word. Nothing more."

    So, because you obviously need me to use smaller words, here you go. NO. THEY ARE NOT SYNONYMS.

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