Back to basics: synonym and antonym

 

from deviantart.com

from deviantart.com

Today’s post is about synonyms and antonyms. Synonyms are words that have the same meaning. Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings.

Here are synonyms for the word happy: cheerful, delighted, ecstatic, glad, jolly.
Here are antonyms for the word happy: sad, depressed, morose, miserable.

Note that in the first list, all of the words have the same meaning as happy. In the second list, all the words have the opposite meaning as happy.

If a word is a synonym, we can plug it into a sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. Let’s remove the word happy from the sentence below and replace it with glad.

Sentence 1: Fritz was happy that he ate three hot dogs.
Sentence 2: Fritz was glad that he ate three hot dogs.

Sentence 2 has the same meaning as sentence 1 because we replaced happy with its synonym glad.

Now let’s remove the word happy and replace it with its antonym depressed.

Sentence 1: Fritz was happy that he ate three hot dogs.
Sentence 2: Fritz was depressed that he ate three hot dogs.

This time, sentence 2 has the opposite meaning as sentence 1 because we replaced happy with an antonym.

A trick to remembering the definitions of synonym and antonym is this: Synonym means same. And both words start with the letter S. So think synonym = same. Then you’ll remember automatically that antonym is the opposite.

Quiz
Below are lists of words. Decide if each is a list of synonyms or antonyms.

1. sick: diseased, ill, unwell, queasy, unhealthy, ailing
2. teach: explain, demonstrate, instruct, train, tutor, show
3. hungry: full, satisfied, stuffed, satiated
4: finish: start, commence, begin, initiate
5: smart: astute, brainy, clever, wise, bright

Answers: 1) synonyms 2) synonyms 3) antonyms 4) antonyms 5) synonyms

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