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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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atone v. expiate, make amends, pay, repay, answer, compensate; redress, remedy, propitiate, redeem: Nothing can atone for her betrayal of him to the enemy. He has atoned for his sins many times over.

atonement n. amends, propitiation, reparation, repayment, compensation, payment, restitution, recompense, expiation, penance,

satisfaction: He sent her flowers in atonement, together with a note apologizing profusely for his actions.

atrocious adj. 1 cruel, wicked, iniquitous, villainous, fiendish, execrable, appalling, abominable, monstrous, inhuman, savage, barbaric, brutal, barbarous, heinous, dreadful, flagrant, flagitious, gruesome, grisly, ruthless, ghastly, unspeakable, horrifying, horrible, awful, infamous, infernal, satanic,

hellish: They will never forget the atrocious crimes that took place during the war. 2 awful, terrible, bad, rotten, horrid, appalling, frightful, horrendous, Colloq lousy: That's the most atrocious book it has ever been my misfortune to review. Priscilla has atrocious taste.

atrocity n. 1 enormity, wickedness, flagitiousness, iniquity, infamy, cruelty, heinousness, horror, evil, inhumanity, barbarity, savagery: The atrocity of the 'Final Solution' was a well-kept secret during the war. 2 evil, outrage, crime, villainy,

offence: She could not listen when the prosecutor read a list of the atrocities perpetrated at the camp.

attach v. 1 fasten, join, connect, secure, fix, affix; tack or hook or tie or stick on, pin, rivet, cement, glue, bond, solder, weld, braze; unite; Nautical bend: The tag is still attached to your dress. Attach this to the wall. How do I attach the sail to the spar? 2 connect, associate, assign, affiliate, enlist, join,

add, subjoin, Brit second: Her brother-in-law has been attached to my regiment. 3 endear, attract: I won't say that we were in love, but I was very closely attached to her. 4 fix, affix, pin, apply, ascribe, assign, attribute, put, place: Why do you

attach so much importance to what Dora says? 5 adhere, cleave, stick: Many legends have attached themselves to Charlemagne. 6 seize, lay hold of, confiscate, appropriate: If he cannot meet

the mortgage payments the bank will attach his house.

attached adj. 1 connected, joined, Brit seconded: She has been attached to the Foreign Office for many years. 2 united, fastened,

fixed: The knob attached to the outside of the door might come off. 3 Often, attached to. devoted (to), partial (to), fond

(of), devoted (to): I feel closely attached to her. I became attached to the painting and did not wish to sell it. 4 spoken for, married, unavailable, engaged, betrothed: I would have asked Suzanne out, but I gather she's attached.


n. 1 fastening; connection, tie, link, bond: The attachment of this fitting is too flimsy. William cannot understand how an attachment could have been formed between his wife and his brother. 2 attaching, fastening, linking, joining, affixing, fixing, connection: The mode of attachment to the wall is not immediately apparent. 3 affection, regard, fidelity, faithfulness, devotion, regard, liking, fondness, affinity, friendliness, loyalty, admiration, tenderness, partiality, friendship, love: We still feel a deep attachment, despite the divorce. 4 adjunct, addition, accessory, device, appliance, extra, accoutrement or US also accouterment, appendage, part; ornament, decoration; Colloq gadget: With this attachment, the film is advanced automatically. Attachments are available at extra cost.

attack v. 1 assail, assault, fall or set or pounce upon; charge, rush, raid, strike (at), storm; engage (in battle), fight; Colloq mug, jump: They were attacked on their way home by a gang of boys. Helicopter gunships were sent out to attack the bunker. 2 criticize, censure, berate; abuse, revile, inveigh against, denounce, condemn, malign, denigrate, decry, disparage, deprecate, vilify: His article attacked the minister for his

views on housing. 3 begin, start; approach, undertake: We attacked the meal with gusto. 4 affect, seize; infect: Rheumatism attacks young and old alike. 5 waste, devour, destroy, eat; erode, corrode, decompose, dissolve: Termites

have attacked the beams of the house. Watch how the acid attacks the areas on the plate that have not been protected.

--n. 6 assault, onset, offensive, onslaught, incursion, raid, strike, inroad, invasion: The enemy responded to our attack

with a smokescreen. After capturing the pawn, Karpov launched an attack on the queen. 7 criticism, censure; abuse, denunciation,

revilement, denigration, decrial, disparagement, deprecation, vilification: The quarterly's attack is totally uncalled for.

8 seizure, spell, spasm, paroxysm; fit, bout: Preston has had another attack of gout. How do you stop an attack of hiccups? 9 destruction, wasting; erosion, corrosion: Noting the attack on the planks by shipworm, the surveyor declared the vessel unseaworthy. Aluminium will not withstand the attack of the salt air in this area.

attempt v. 1 try, essay, undertake, take on, venture; endeavour, strive, Colloq have or take a crack at, try on, have a go or shot at: It is too stormy to attempt the crossing tonight. Is she going to attempt to dive off the cliff tomorrow?

--n. 2 endeavour, try, essay; effort, undertaking, bid, Colloq crack, go, shot: The weather cleared sufficiently for another attempt at the summit. He made a feeble attempt to wave. 3 attack, assault: An abortive attempt was made on the life of the vice-president tonight.

attend v. 1 be present (at), go to, be at, appear (at), put in an appearance (at), turn up (at), haunt, frequent; sit in (on), US and Canadian audit: Are you attending the concert? She attends Miss Fiennes's elocution class. 2 turn to, pay attention to,

serve, tend to, take care of, deal with, handle, heed, fulfil:

I shall attend to your request as soon as possible, Madam. 3 Also, attend to. watch over, wait on or upon, care for, take care of, minister to, occupy oneself with, look after, look out for, devote oneself to: Mrs Atterbury attends the patients in

the cancer ward on weekdays. The clergyman has his own flock to attend to. 4 escort, accompany, conduct, convoy, squire, usher, wait upon, follow; chaperon or chaperone: The actress arrived, attended by her entourage of toadies. 5 be associated with, accompany, result in or from, give rise to: A departure in the midst of the battle would be attended by great peril, Milord.


n. 1 presence, appearance, being: Your attendance at chapel is required. 2 audience, crowd, assembly, assemblage, gathering, turnout, gate, house: The attendance at the fˆte was greater than we expected. 3 in attendance. waiting upon, attending, serving: The king always has at least four people in attendance.

attendant adj. 1 waiting upon, accompanying, following; resultant, resulting, related, consequent, concomitant, depending, accessory: The circumstances attendant on your acceptance of the post are immaterial.

--n. 2 escort, servant, menial, helper, usher or usherette, chaperon or chaperone; aide, subordinate, underling, assistant; follower, Derogatory lackey, flunkey, slave; Colloq US cohort: He dismissed his attendants and entered the church alone.

attention n. 1 heed, regard, notice; concentration: Please give your attention to the teacher. Pay attention! Don't let your attention wander. 2 publicity, notice, distinction, acclaim, prominence, r‚clame, notoriety; limelight: She seems to have been getting a lot of attention lately.

attentive adj. 1 heedful, observant, awake, alert, intent, watchful, concentrating, assiduous; mindful, considerate: James is very attentive in class. You really must be more attentive to the needs of others. 2 polite, courteous, courtly, gallant, gracious, accommodating, considerate, thoughtful, solicitous, civil, respectful, deferential: He is always very attentive to the ladies.

attest v. bear witness (to), bear out, swear (to), vow, testify, certify, vouchsafe, declare, assert, asseverate, aver, affirm,

confirm, verify, substantiate, vouch for, Law depose, depose and say, depone: I attest to the fact that they left the restaurant together. The merits of chƒteau-bottled Bordeaux are attested by most epicures.

attitude n. 1 posture, position, disposition, stance, bearing, carriage, aspect, demeanour: The attitude of the figures in the sculpture was one of supplication. 2 posture, position, disposition, opinion, feeling, view, point of view, viewpoint, approach, leaning, thought, inclination, bent, tendency, orientation: What is your attitude towards the situation in South Africa?

attract v. draw, invite; entice, lure, allure, appeal to, charm, captivate, fascinate, Colloq pull: Our attention was attracted by a slight noise in the cupboard. Melissa attracts men the way flowers attract bees.


n. 1 draw, appeal; magnetism; gravitation, Colloq pull: David confided to Joan that he felt a strong attraction to her. There is an attraction between the north and south poles of these

magnets. 2 draw, lure, enticement, attractant, inducement; show, entertainment, presentation, performance , Colloq come-on, crowd-puller, crowd-pleaser: The presence of the movie stars has been a powerful attraction. The producer has planned to repeat the attraction every evening.


adj. attracting, drawing, pulling, captivating, taking, fetching, appealing, luring, inviting, enticing, seductive, inviting, engaging, charming, interesting, pleasing, winning, alluring, good-looking, pretty, handsome: The person I'd like to meet needn't be beautiful or stunning - attractive will do nicely.

attribute n. 1 quality, character, characteristic, property, feature, trait, virtue: It is surprising how soon historical personages become invested with romantic attributes.

--v. 2 ascribe, impute, assign, put down to, trace to, charge, credit: The shrivelled arm of Richard the Third was attributed to witchcraft. To what do you attribute your interest in birds?


n. assignment, ascription, credit: The curator disagreed with the expert's attribution of the painting to Canaletto.

1.17 audacious...


audacious adj. 1 daring, bold, confident, intrepid, brave, courageous, adventurous, venturesome, reckless, rash, foolhardy, daredevil, devil-may-care, fearless, doughty, mettlesome: The troop launched an audacious daylight attack. Cranshaw made an audacious bid for the chairmanship. 2 presumptuous, shameless, bold, impudent, pert, saucy, defiant, impertinent, insolent, brazen, unabashed, rude, disrespectful, cheeky, forward: Charlotte was so audacious as to assume that she could win.


n. air, atmosphere, feeling, ambience or ambiance, spirit,


character, quality, odour, aroma, emanation: There is an aura


of elegance about the woman that impresses everyone she meets.

auspices n. aegis, sponsorship, authority, protection, support, backing, supervision, guidance, patronage, sanction, approval, control, influence: The competition is under the auspices of the astronomical society.

authentic adj. genuine, real, actual, bona fide, factual, accurate, true, legitimate, authoritative, reliable, veritable, trustworthy, faithful, undisputed: This is an authentic Chippendale chair.


v. verify, validate, certify, substantiate, endorse, vouch for, confirm, corroborate: You will have to go to the consul to have your passport authenticated.

author n. creator, originator, inventor, father, founder, framer, initiator, maker, prime mover, architect, designer; writer, novelist, litt‚rateur: Adolfo was the author of the plot to kill the governor.


adj. dictatorial, imperious, totalitarian, autocratic, arbitrary, absolute, dogmatic, domineering, strict, severe,

unyielding, tyrannical, despotic, Colloq bossy: Why do people ever elect an authoritarian government?


adj. 1 official, valid, authentic, documented, certified, validated, legitimate, sanctioned; conclusive: The second edition is usually considered the authoritative one. 2 scholarly, learned, authentic, valid, sound, veritable, verifiable, accurate, factual, faithful, dependable, reliable, trustworthy, true, truthful: There is no more authoritative source than Professor Fitzhugh on early Egyptian history.

authority n. 1 power, jurisdiction, dominion, right, control, prerogative, authorization; hegemony: Who gave you the authority to tell me what to do? By the authority vested in me,

I now pronounce you man and wife. 2 word, testimony, evidence,

Colloq say-so: Do not accept anything solely on the authority of the Herald . 3 expert, specialist, scholar, sage, judge, arbiter: Gardner is an authority on Scottish history. 4 authorities. government, establishment, officials, officialdom, powers that be, police: The authorities lowered the speed limit.

authorize v. empower, commission; sanction, approve, countenance, permit, give leave, allow, license, entitle, consent or subscribe to,

endorse, Colloq OK or okay, give the green light or go-ahead to: Who authorized you to speak for all of us?

automatic adj. 1 self-acting, self-governing, self-regulating, mechanical, robot, automated: Many modern cars are equipped with an automatic choke. 2 mechanical, involuntary, unconscious, instinctive or instinctual, natural, spontaneous, impulsive, conditioned, reflex, robot-like, Slang knee-jerk: Flinching is an automatic reaction to a threatening gesture. 3 unavoidable, inevitable, inescapable, ineluctable: It is automatic for the tax inspector to suspect people of hiding something.

auxiliary adj. 1 helping, assisting, supportive, aiding, abetting; helpful, accessory, supplementary: In a well-balanced mind, imagination and understanding are auxiliary to each other. 2 subordinate, additional, subsidiary, secondary, ancillary, extra, reserve; accessory: Larger sailing vessels have an auxiliary motor in case the wind fails.

--n. 3 help, assistance, aid, support, accessory: Knowing another language is a useful auxiliary in the study of your own. 4 helper, assistant, aide, alter ego, supporter, Colloq man Friday, girl Friday: Let me introduce Pat, my auxiliary, who will help you if I am not available.

1.18 available...


available adj. at or to hand, at one's disposal, accessible, handy, present, ready, (readily) obtainable, convenient, nearby, close by, within reach, on tap, at one's fingertips or elbow: Running water is available. If you need me for anything, I am available.


adj. innovative, advanced, progressive, experimental, original, new, ground-breaking, pioneering, precedent-setting; revolutionary, extreme, extremist, Colloq far-out, way-out: We disapprove of your avant-garde notions of teaching. Some modern art, avant-garde not very long ago, seems quite conventional today.

avarice n. greed, acquisitiveness, cupidity, craving, covetousness, desire, greediness, rapacity, selfishness; stinginess, meanness, miserliness, parsimony, tight-fistedness, close-fistedness, niggardliness, penuriousness: The classic tale of avarice is that of King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold.


adj. greedy, acquisitive, grasping, covetous, mercenary, selfish; penny-pinching, stingy, miserly, mean, parsimonious, tight-fisted, close-fisted, niggardly, penurious, tight: She

fell into the clutches of an avaricious lawyer.

average n. 1 mean, norm, usual, standard: The Bell Inn is certainly far above average in accommodation, food quality, and service. 2 on average. in the main, generally, normally, usually,

ordinarily, typically, customarily, as a rule, for the most part: On average, I go abroad twice a year on business.

--adj. 3 normal, common, usual, customary, general, typical, ordinary, regular: On an average day, the museum has about 2,000 visitors. 4 mediocre, middling, run-of-the-mill, commonplace, common, ordinary, undistinguished, unexceptional, Colloq so so: Boris is only an average violinist, but he's a virtuoso on the harmonica.

averse adj. disinclined, unwilling, reluctant, resistant, loath, opposed, anti, antipathetic, ill-disposed, indisposed: He does not appear to be averse to your suggestion: in fact, he seems quite keen on it.

aversion n. 1 dislike, abhorrence, repugnance, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, hostility, loathing, hatred, odium, horror; disinclination, unwillingness, reluctance, dislike, distaste:

Does Anne have an aversion to people who smoke? Your aversion to

the theatre might be explained as agoraphobia. 2 dislike, hatred, hate, loathing: Turnips are a particular aversion of mine.

avoid v. shun, keep (away) from, keep off, leave alone, keep or steer clear of, refrain from, dodge, circumvent, sidestep, elude, escape, evade: The doctor suggested that I avoid chocolate. Why does Bennie avoid looking me straight in the eye?

1.19 awake...


awake v. 1 wake (up), awaken, get up, rouse or bestir oneself: When I awoke, she was standing over me with a pistol. 2 awaken, animate, arouse, rouse, stimulate, revive, incite, excite,

activate, alert, stir up, fan, kindle, ignite, fire: Marches

awaken my sense of patriotism. 3 awake to. awaken to, wake up to, realize, understand, become aware or conscious of: I

finally awoke to the fact that my tax return was overdue.

--adj. 4 up, aroused, roused, wide awake, up and about, alert, on the alert, on the qui vive, watchful, on guard, attentive, conscious; heedful, alive: I'm always awake a few minutes before the alarm goes off.



See awake, 1, 2, above.



1 grant, give, confer, bestow, present, accord, furnish,

endow with; assign, apportion: Her dog was awarded the blue ribbon in the club show.

--n. 2 prize, trophy, reward: The award for the tidiest boats has been won by the Bristol Yacht Club. 3 grant, bestowal, presentation, endowment, awarding: Before the award of the prizes, we listened to speeches. Profits were up last year despite a large pay award.

aware adj. 1 informed, apprised, knowledgeable, knowing, posted, in the know, enlightened, au fait, au courant, cognizant, Slang

hip, hep, wise: She is well aware of the consequences. 2 sensitive, sensible, conscious: I became aware that someone was watching us.

awesome adj. awe-inspiring, awful, imposing, amazing, wonderful, breathtaking, marvellous, wondrous, moving, stirring, affecting, overwhelming, formidable, daunting, dreadful, fearsome, fearful, frightening, horrifying, terrifying, terrible; unbelievable, incredible; alarming, shocking, stunning, stupefying, astounding, astonishing,: The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 67 must have been a truly awesome spectacle.

awful adj. 1 bad, terrible, inferior, base, abominable, rotten, horrible, horrid; tasteless, unsightly, ugly, hideous,

grotesque, Slang lousy, Brit naff, Chiefly US hellacious: That is an awful piece of sculpture. I feel awful this morning. 2 frightful, shocking, execrable, unpleasant, grotesque, nasty, ghastly, gruesome, horrendous, horrifying, horrific, horrible, unspeakable: That was an awful thing to do.

awfully adv. very (much), badly, terribly, extremely, greatly, remarkably, in the worst way, dreadfully, extraordinarily, exceedingly, excessively, really, fearfully, inordinately; incomparably: I get awfully tired running in the marathon. I'm awfully sorry I'm late. Doreen is an awfully good horsewoman.

awkward adj. 1 clumsy, ungainly, left-handed, ham-handed, ham-fisted, blundering, bungling, maladroit, uncoordinated, undexterous, inexpert, gauche, unhandy, inept, oafish, unskilled, unskilful, Colloq all thumbs, butter-fingered, Brit cack-handed: In his awkward attempt at putting the watch back together, Sam left out

a few parts. 2 ungraceful, ungainly, inelegant, wooden, gawky: The ballerina made an awkward, flat-footed pirouette and stumbled off stage. 3 embarrassed, shamefaced, uncomfortable, ill at ease, uneasy, out of place, discomfited, confused: He

felt awkward being the only boy in the class. Terry made an awkward excuse and left the room. 4 dangerous, hazardous, risky, precarious, perilous: Be careful, there's an awkward step here.

5 difficult, touchy, sensitive, embarrassing, delicate, unpleasant, uncomfortable, ticklish, tricky, trying, troublesome, Colloq sticky: He's got himself into a very awkward situation indeed.

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