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coterie is a synonym of clique

noun [ koh-tuh-ree ]

coterie is another word for clique

Both nouns refer to a small, exclusive group of people. Clique suggests a fairly closed group of people, often forming within a larger group, whose members have similar interests or status. Clique has a negative connotation, and suggests an association based on a sense of superiority to everyone else (a clique of popular kids) or on a desire to hold all the power: the ruling clique. Coterie can have positive or negative connotations. It can suggest a close-knit circle of friends, artists, scholars, or scientists: a literary coterie. Coterie can also suggest an exclusive set of people who associate with a prominent person, whose coterie it is: surrounded by her coterie of advisors; his loyal coterie. Here there’s more potential for elitism. As with ruling cliques, powerful coteries in government are usually undesirable, unelected holders of power.

Commonly found as

coterie of friends
She would not travel anywhere without her coterie of friends.
small coterie
The prime minister’s small coterie of wealthy advisors has a disproportionate influence on policy.

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instigate is a synonym of start

verb [ in-sti-geyt ]

instigate is another word for start

Both words refer to setting something going or putting it in motion. Start has a wider range of usage. We can say someone starts a car, starts a club, or starts an argument. Instigate, which derives from a Latin root meaning “to prick” or “to goad,” refers to prompting a human activity by urging or spurring it on. The object of instigate is usually an act of aggression or hostility (instigated a riot; instigated a war), so the word tends to have a negative connotation. However, instigating change is one common and more positive use, and both instigating a project and instigating a discussion are also fairly common and less negative.

Commonly found as

instigate change
After our campaign to improve the quality of our drinking water, we had learned that we could instigate change ourselves and make a significant difference to the health of our community.
instigate war
No one would have cared who instigated the pillow war if we hadn’t left casualties in the form of broken figurines scattered across the floor.

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culminate is a synonym of end

verb [ kuhl-muh-neyt ]

culminate is another word for end

Both words refer to arriving at the final point or stage of something. When a movie ends, it’s over. The sense of end we’re concerned with here can stand alone, as in the example above, or it can be followed by a prepositional phrase stating how something ended: The scene ends with a fade-out. Culminate works as a strong synonym for end in cases like this because it’s normally followed by the preposition “in,” or sometimes “with.” Culminating with a fade-out could be a bit self-contradictory, however, because culminate, which comes from a Latin word for “top” or “peak,” suggests ending at a high, ultimate, or conclusive point: This nail-biting scene culminates in a shocking revelation.

Commonly found as

event(s) + culminate
The two-day event will culminate in an awards ceremony on the lakefront.
eventually culminate
The musician’s long period of seclusion eventually culminated in a burst of composing and recording.

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