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What is a synonym lexical relation?



Discovering and understanding the use of words which have the lexical relation synonym is important for the accurate and effective choice of words in communication and translation.


A synonym lexical relation is a relationship between two or more lexical units which have identical core semantic components and which differ only with respect to their supplemental or peripheral components.


Cruse 1986 267

  • Synonym type



    Stylistic (most common)

    A lexical unit that has a similar range of reference but is differentiated by speaker intention, the audience, and the situation.

    {happy, glad, joyful}


    A nearly synonymous lexical unit, borrowed from another language to fill what is perceived to be a semantic gap.

    The word kabunyan means 'sky' in Tuwali Ifugao, but the word langit which means 'sky' in Tagalog has been borrowed to refer to 'heaven.'


    Different lexical units that are part of the vocabulary of different dialects but have very similar ranges of reference.

    {flashlight (American English), torch (British English)}

  • Underlying structure

    The underlying structure of a synonym set is a simple set.


    Here is a frame for testing and eliciting a synonym lexical relation set:

    • X is Y.

    Context for this page:

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