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CHAPTER 1 1

Synonyms (continued). Euphemisms. Antonyms

The Dominant Synonym

The attentive reader will have noticed that in the previous chapter much use was made of the numerous synonyms of the verb to look, and yet, the verb to look itself was never mentioned. That doesn't seem fair because it is, certainly, a verb which possesses the highest frequency of use compared with its synonyms, and so plays an important role in communication. Its role and position in relation to its synonyms is also of some importance as it presents a kind of centre of the group of synonyms, as it were, holding it together.

Its semantic structure is quite simple: it consists only of denotative component and it has no connotations.

All (or, at least, most) synonymic groups have a "central" word of this kind whose meaning is equal to the denotation common to all the synonymic group. This word is called the dominant synonym.

Here are examples of other dominant synonyms with their groups:

To surprise — to astonish to amaze to astound.

To shout — to yell to bellow to roar.

To shine — to flash to blaze to gleam to glisten to sparkle to glitter to shimmer to glimmer.

To tremble — to shiver to shudder to shake.

To make — to produce to create to fabricate to manufacture.

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