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I think we should probably consider reverting this to the original definition that it was given - a word with a similar meaning. "It is now universally recognized that no exact synonyms exist in a given language... Synonyms are words either of which in one or other of its acceptations can sometimes be substituted for the other without affecting the meaning" (Fowler's Modern English Usage); "usually ...having the same general sense, but possessing each of them meanings which are not shared by the other, or having different shades of meaning or implications appropriate to different contexts" (Oxford English Dictionary). We shouldn't use the word "synonym" to mean words of identical meaning, because the word "synonym" would become useless. In common use, the word "synonym" means a word of broadly similar meaning. Roget's Thesaurus includes "indicator, index, pointer, arrow", and "fireworks, illuminations, pyrotechnics"; "luminescent, luminous, incandescent, shining"; "glimmer, flicker, flash". These are (most people would accept) groups of synonyms, but they don't (I would argue) have "very nearly" the same meaning. Amatlexico 17 Nov 2003 20:58 UTC

Comment removed from entry:

  1. (rare) One of two or more words with the same meaning but in different languages; a heteronym. (This is wrong - isn't it. Heteronyms are words that are spelled alike, but have different meanings

Robert Ullmann 13:12, 6 May 2008 (UTC) 23:51, 10 July 2011 (UTC)