Angry — furious — enraged. Fear — terror — horror.
The dominant synonym expresses the notion common to all synonyms of the group in the most general way, without contributing any additional information as to the manner, intensity, duration or any attending feature of the referent. So, any dominant synonym is a typical basic-vocabulary word (see Ch. 2). Its meaning, which is broad and generalised, more or less "covers" the meanings of the rest of the synonyms, so that it may be substituted for any of them. It seems that here, at last, the idea of interchangeability of synonyms comes into its own. And yet, each such substitution would mean an irreparable loss of the additional information supplied by connotative components of each synonym. So, using to look instead of to glare, to stare, to peep, to peer we preserve the general sense of the utterance but lose a great deal in precision, expressiveness and colour.
Summing up what has been said, the following characteristic features of the dominant synonym can be underlined:
I. High frequency of usage.
II. Broad combinability, i. e. ability to be used in combinations with various classes of words.
Broad general meaning.
Lack of connotations. (This goes for stylistic connotations as well, so that neutrality as to style is also a typical feature of the dominant synonym.)
There are words in every language which people instinctively avoid because they are considered indecent, indelicate, rude, too direct or impolite. As the "offensive" referents, for which these words stand, must still be alluded to, they are often described in a round-about