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Synonym of the day


impasse is a synonym of standstill

noun [ im-pas, im-pas ]

impasse is another word for standstill

Both words refer to a state in which all movement or progress has ceased. Standstill is used of both physical motion and more complex and abstract processes: The train came to a standstill; Negotiations are at a standstill. Impasse is a strong synonym for standstill in the latter usage: Peace talks have reached an impasse. However, it’s a more specific word, which suggests not only total lack of movement but also the impossibility of there being a way out or through. Standstill is often used of business, industry, the economy, and traffic, while an impasse is usually “between” two opposing parties and used of issues and discussions (the budget impasse; a political impasse). It’s common to speak of reaching an impasse, resolving or solving the impasse, or even breaking the impasse.

Commonly found as

budget impasse
The budget impasse is extremely frustrating, but it’s also an indicator of a democracy at work.
reach an impasse
The negotiations reached an impasse last night, and no one is sure whether the two leaders will meet again today to try and resolve their differences.

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palpable is a synonym of clear

adjective [ pal-puh-buhl ]

palpable is another word for clear

Both words refer to something that is readily apparent or easily perceived or sensed. As an adjective, clear has a wide range of reference: from materials (clear glass) to communication (a clear explanation). The relevant sense here describes something that is apparent, obvious, or easily perceived or understood: the team’s clear sense of pride. Palpable is a more emphatic, even dramatic word for something easily perceived, because of its literal meaning—able to be touched or felt—and its usual application to things like a mood, emotion, or atmosphere, which are insubstantial and can’t be touched. It suggests that an emotion or mood has such a strong presence that it is like something solid and material. The frequent use of the phrase almost palpable draws on both definitions of the word to make this point.

Commonly found as

palpable sense
After the curtain went down, there was a palpable sense of intimacy in the theater, because we had experienced deep emotions in the company of others.
almost palpable
When I walked into the kitchen, the tension between the couple was almost palpable.

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vigilant is a synonym of alert

adjective [ vij-uh-luhnt ]

vigilant is another word for alert

Both words refer to being keenly aware and attentive to one’s surroundings or the activity one is engaged in. Alert suggests being fully awake and aware and thus capable of quick perception and reaction: stay alert while driving; only alert readers noticed the error. Vigilant suggests a more consciously sustained watchfulness, for the purpose of detecting danger: we must remain vigilant until the threat has passed. It commonly modifies citizens, neighbors, and guards, as well as processes like enforcement, monitoring, and oversight.

Commonly found as

vigilant neighbors
Vigilant neighbors can be annoying, but loss of a bit of privacy is a small price to pay for the safety of our families—and our property.
vigilant oversight
To avoid any more internationally embarrassing revelations, we need vigilant oversight of military spending.

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