Happy Wednesday! Here’s your new word for the week, one which can be used to describe other words!
- a word that has a similar meaning to another, but not quite. Also known as semi-synonyms.
Examples: consider the differences between ask, question, probe, enquire, interview, and interrogate.
Origin: the prefix “homoe-” comes from the Ancient Greek ὅμοιος (homoios, “of like kind”, “similar”).
Compare this to synonyms (homosemants, maybe?), which have the same meaning to each other. This word covers the more subtle differences between words – the differences that won’t show up in a thesaurus. For a native speaker, these words have different meanings: you wouldn’t interrogate your mom on what time dinner will be, for example – but for someone not as familiar with a language, it can be easy to use the wrong term. Figuring out which homoeosemant should be used in which context is a matter of trial-and-error, study, and often talking to a native! Otherwise you’ll answer the phone in a Spanish speaking country and not know whether to say “Hola”, “Diga”, “Bueno”, “Oigo”, “Aló”…
Enjoy your new word!