Synonym of the day

Synonym of the day

Sunday, May 23, 2021


exacerbate is a synonym of worsen

verb [ ig-zas-er-beyt, ek-sas- ]

exacerbate is another word for worsen

Worsen and exacerbate both mean to make something bad worse, and they can be used interchangeably in many contexts. A physician might tell you that fatigue will worsen your symptoms, while a medical textbook would say that fatigue exacerbates the symptoms of a disease. Worsen is a grammatically looser verb, in that, unlike exacerbate, it can be used without an object: the weather worsened. However, it’s also a blunt instrument compared with exacerbate, whose exactness gives it a sharper edge. Exacerbate means specifically to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of something that’s already a problem (exacerbate tensions). It comes from a Latin word meaning “harsh” or “bitter” in taste, which may be why, in contrast to the more gradual progression of worsening, the word exacerbate suggests a more immediate and intense effect.

Commonly found as

exacerbate inequality
The pandemic has exacerbated inequality, making disparities more starkly visible.
exacerbated by the fact
Tensions were exacerbated by the fact that the two leaders had refused the help of translators at their recent meeting.

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Saturday, May 22, 2021


fragment is a synonym of piece

noun [ frag-muhnt ]

fragment is another word for piece

The noun piece can mean a portion, part, or unit of something and has numerous definitions, giving it a broad range of application: a piece of cake, a piece of land, a piece of furniture, a piece of music, a piece of pottery. One of its definitions overlaps with the core meaning of the synonym fragment: a part that is broken off or detached (scattered fragments of the broken vase). By itself, piece is more general and ambiguous: a piece of pottery is more likely to mean an individual bowl or mug than a broken-off piece, whereas there’s no mistaking what a fragment of pottery refers to. While piece and fragment both name things that are less than whole, the connotations of fragment are more particular: fragment suggests a broken, inconsequential, incomplete part, with irregular or imprecise outlines or boundaries.

Commonly found as

fragments of pottery, bone, rock
The sample from the archeological dig contained fragments of pottery.
small fragment
Only a small fragment of this renowned manuscript has ever been found.

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Synonym of the day

Friday, May 21, 2021


maudlin is a synonym of mushy

adjective [ mawd-lin ]

maudlin is another word for mushy

Mushy is an informal word meaning overly emotional or sentimental (mushy love letters). The more elevated adjective maudlin means tearfully or weakly emotional, or foolishly sentimental (a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog). Maudlin emotion is excessive because it’s disproportionate to what motivates it. If a TV commercial for soap makes you sob, you are being maudlin, although the same could be said of the commercial, with its effective but shallow and insincere formula for eliciting tears. As for how this adjective came to suggest preternaturally hyperactive tear ducts: before English speakers were describing commercials and sad stories as maudlin, they were using the term as a noun to refer to Mary Magdalene, who was traditionally depicted weeping.

Commonly found as

maudlin sentimentality
The documentary treats the life of its subjects with a maudlin sentimentality masquerading as a concerned social conscience.
without being maudlin
The father of the bride gave a speech that was heartfelt without being maudlin.

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