Acronym vs. Synonym

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Acronym and Synonym is that the Acronym is a abbreviation made out of the first letters of the words of a sequence and Synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language.

  • Acronym

    An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components in a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in NATO or laser) and sometimes syllables (as in Benelux).

    There are no universal standards of the multiple names for such abbreviations and of their orthographic styling. In English and most other languages, such abbreviations historically had limited use, but they became much more common in the 20th century. Acronyms are a type of word formation process, and they are viewed as a subtype of blending.

  • Synonym

    A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. For example, the words begin, start, commence, and initiate are all synonyms of one another. Words are typically synonymous in one particular sense: for example, long and extended in the context long time or extended time are synonymous, but long cannot be used in the phrase extended family. Synonyms with the exact same meaning share a seme or denotational sememe, whereas those with inexactly similar meanings share a broader denotational or connotational sememe and thus overlap within a semantic field. The former are sometimes called cognitive synonyms and the latter, near-synonyms.

    Some lexicographers claim that no synonyms have exactly the same meaning (in all contexts or social levels of language) because etymology, orthography, phonic qualities, ambiguous meanings, usage, and so on make them unique. Different words that are similar in meaning usually differ for a reason: feline is more formal than cat; long and extended are only synonyms in one usage and not in others (for example, a long arm is not the same as an extended arm). Synonyms are also a source of euphemisms.

    Metonymy can sometimes be a form of synonymy: the White House is used as a synonym of the administration in referring to the U.S. executive branch under a specific president. Thus a metonym is a type of synonym, and the word metonym is a hyponym of the word synonym.

    The analysis of synonymy, polysemy, hyponymy, and hypernymy is inherent to taxonomy and ontology in the information-science senses of those terms. It has applications in pedagogy and machine learning, because they rely on word-sense disambiguation.

  • Acronym (noun)

    An abbreviation formed by the initial letters of other words, sometimes exclusively such abbreviations when pronounced as a word (as “laser”) rather than as individual letters (initialisms such as “TNT”).

  • Acronym (noun)

    An abbreviation formed by the beginning letters or syllables of other words (as “Benelux”).

  • Acronym (verb)

    To form into an acronym

  • Synonym (noun)

    A word whose meaning is the same as that of another word.



  • Synonym (noun)

    A word or phrase with a meaning that is the same as, or very similar to, another word or phrase.

    ““Happy” is a synonym of “glad”.”

  • Synonym (noun)

    Any of the formal names for a taxon, including the valid name (i.e. the senior synonym).

  • Synonym (noun)

    Any name for a taxon, usually a validly published, formally accepted one, but often also an unpublished name.

  • Synonym (noun)

    An alternative (often shorter) name defined for an object in a database.

  • Acronym (noun)

    an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (e.g. ASCII, NASA).

  • Synonym (noun)

    a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close

    “‘the East’ was a synonym for the Soviet empire”

    “‘shut’ is a synonym of ‘close’”

  • Synonym (noun)

    a person or thing so closely associated with a particular quality or idea that the mention of their name calls it to mind

    “the Victorian age is a synonym for sexual puritanism”

  • Synonym (noun)

    a taxonomic name which has the same application as another, especially one which has been superseded and is no longer valid.

Oxford Dictionary

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