Magic Spell Jar Post Nine (words to describe words)

Words to describe words

Synonym –(sin-ah-nim) words that mean similar things and can be used in place of one another, depending on the sentence.  Like hot and warm.  They are synonyms and are similar in meaning, but cannot be changed in certain sentences without changing the meaning of the sentence.  You will find synonyms in a thesaurus.  That can be helpful if you just cannot think of the exact word you want but do know a similar word.

Synonym and Cinnamon – Some people have trouble with these – pronouncing them the same and sometimes interchanging the when writing. They are not promounced the same and the meanings are very different – synonyms are words of similar meanings – cinnamon (sin ah mon) is a spice that Norwegians like on their romegrat. A;though it is true that Norwegians like cinnamon on a variety of foods, it is not true they  eat cinnamon on everything!

A common synonym joke is, “What’s another word for Thesaurus?”


Antonym (ann-tah-nim)–Words that are opposites. Like hot and cold. Sometimes when you are writing only the exact opposite word of what is needed will come to mind.  Usually a thesaurus will have a list of antonyms after the listing of synonyms.

Homonym (hah-mah-nim) This one is a little bit sloppy.  A true homonym is a word with a totally different meaning depending on the sentence but it is spelled the same and pronounced the same like this:

(The unadorned cake looks plain.  The buffalo was pictured on the plain.) Or  (The plane flew low over the trees. The carpenter used his plane to smooth the wood.)

Those are two pairs of words spelled alike and pronounced alike and are what I consider true homonyms.  Strictly speaking, that is the true definition of homonyms: spelled alike, pronounced alike with different meanings

But most people would also pair Plane and Plain as homonyms. They are spelled differently but pronounced the same with different meanings.

Also, most people include words spelled the same but pronounced differently depending upon the sentence: Like this: Our neighbor is Polish (poe lish) and he will polish (pah lish) the car.  Or another example in mind is this – The grocer doesn’t produce (pro doos, with the accent on pro) the groceries he sells, but he sells produce (pro doos, with the accent on doos0.  Or here is another – The wind is blowing from mountains in which the dragons lived, but you must wind up your power cord before putting the saw away. Spelled the same, pronounced differently with different meanings.

Homonyms are confusing. But the thing to remember is that for most people words that share the same spelling or share the same pronunciation are homonyms.

Palindrome  A palindrome is easy to recognize and the mosr fun.  It is a word or phrase spelled the same forward and backward.  The thing is the poor word cannot know if it is coming or going!  The whole family has palindromic names – Dad, Mom, Sis, Bub, Tot.  Palindromes can be phrase or a sentence or even a whole verse.  Probably the most well known palindromic of more that one word is, “Madam, I’m Adam.” Of course you have to omit the comma and apostrophe as they do not come out in the proper place on the back read.

Madam is a palindromic word. Madam, I’m Adam. is a palindromic phrase.

Knowing what a palindrome is can come in hand y.  Crosswords sometimes have a clue like “an actress with a palindromic name.  Say you’ve filled in an E as the last letter from another clue.  Well, guess what? It is a palindrome, therefore the first letter must also be an E.  This actually was in a recent Sunday crossword.  Turned out the name was Eve.

How many palindromes can you list?

Oxymoron – Yes, this is a description of a word (or phrase) even though it sounds like a made-up word, and a goofy one at that.  An oxymoron is a contradiction of terms.  Some are in common use and no one really notices the contradiction – like bad luck, big baby, alone together, awfully nice, pretty toad, and my favorite – honest politician.  As you can see by my favorite, sometimes the contradiction is a matter of personal belief.  For instance if you hate dogs and think they never behave, good dog would be an oxymoron, although I don’t see it as one.   Can you think of an oxymoron?