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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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of right and wrong are a subject for moral philosophy. It is a moral, not a legal, issue.

--n. 3 lesson, homily, teaching, point, message; aphorism, maxim, precept, apophthegm or apothegm, adage, saw, proverb, epigram, motto, slogan: The moral of the story is, 'Do unto others before they do unto you'. 4 morals. behaviour, conduct, mores, belief, habit(s), custom(s), practice(s), principle(s), scruples, ethics, ideals, standards; probity, morality,

rectitude, integrity: For this appointment, we require a person of the highest morals.

morale n. dedication, spirit(s), unity, esprit de corps, disposition, attitude, confidence, self-confidence, self-esteem: The team's morale improved after they won their first game in five weeks.

morality n. 1 ethics, morals, ethicalness, moralness, principle(s), mores, integrity, propriety, standards, ideals; honesty, right, rightness, righteousness, rectitude, justice, fair play,

fairness, decency, uprightness, integrity: Morality should not be conditioned by expediency. 2 behaviour, conduct, habit(s), custom(s): Are you suggesting that utilitarianism is a guide for morality?

morass n. 1 bog, marsh, swamp, fen, quagmire, slough, marshland, moorland, No. Eng. and Scots moss: The land not under cultivation was morass or forest. 2 entanglement, confusion, muddle, mess, quagmire, tangle, quicksand: It took years to extricate the company from the legal morass of the bankruptcy courts.


n. halt, hiatus, suspension, stay, respite, freeze, delay, waiting-period, postponement: The arts commission requests a six-month moratorium on sales to foreign purchasers.

morbid adj. 1 unhealthy, unwholesome, disordered, unsound, sick, pathological, pathogenic: Inhalation of fumes containing lead has caused this morbid condition. 2 grim, ghoulish, macabre, monstrous, ghastly, grotesque, grisly, gruesome: At an early age, Glynis exhibited a morbid interest in cadavers. Spare me the morbid details - please! 3 gloomy, lugubrious, glum, morose, sombre, blue, sad, melancholy, despondent, depressed, dejected,

downcast: With Charley again in one of his morbid moods, we can anticipate another cheerless visit.

moreover adv. furthermore, further, besides, not only that, more than that, what is more; to boot, into the bargain, in addition, additionally, as well, too: She was pleased that I had brought some wine - it was, moreover, her favourite burgundy.

moribund adj. 1 dying, in extremis, at death's door, failing, fading, with one foot in the grave, half-dead, breathing one's last, expiring, on one's last legs, on one's deathbed: Apparently moribund for weeks, he suddenly revived when he saw her. 2 ending, declining, obsolescent, weak, on the way out, waning, on the wane, dying out; stagnating, stagnant: At the time, the Ottoman Empire was already moribund.

morning n. 1 forenoon, a.m., dawn, daybreak, sunrise, Literary morn, Archaic cock crow, day-spring, morrow, Chiefly US sun-up: The meeting will be at nine o'clock in the morning.

--adj. 2 matutinal, matinal, a.m., forenoon: I prefer a morning meeting.

morsel n. 1 mouthful, bite, gobbet, spoonful, forkful, chew, taste, sample, nibble, bit, drop, dollop, soup‡on: She delicately ate tiny morsels of the banana. 2 bit, crumb, fragment, scrap, sliver, splinter, shard or sherd, shred, remnant, particle, atom, speck, whit, fraction, grain, granule, pinch, piece,

Colloq smidgen or smidgin: There wasn't the slightest morsel of evidence to connect me with the crime.

mortal adj. 1 human; transitory, temporal, transient, ephemeral: It finally dawned on him that the king was mortal, like other men. 2 physical, bodily, corporeal, corporal, fleshly, earthly, worldly, perishable: Her mortal remains are buried at Bognor Regis. 3 deadly, fatal, lethal, terminal, destructive,

disastrous: The admiral lay dying from a mortal wound. 4 relentless, implacable, unrelenting, bitter, sworn, deadly, unremitting, unappeasable, unceasing: Halifax was the mortal enemy of despotism. 5 abject, extreme, awful, great, enormous, intense, terrible, inordinate, dire: Giles lived in mortal fear

of offending his mother.

--n. 6 human (being), man, woman, person, soul, individual, creature, earthling: The novel depicts a lifestyle far removed from that of ordinary mortals. We mortals have nothing to fear from intergalactic aliens.

mortify v. 1 humiliate, shame, humble, embarrass, abash, chagrin, rebuff, crush, discomfit, deflate, bring down, degrade, downgrade, reduce, chasten, subdue, suppress, make someone eat humble pie, teach someone his or her place, Colloq put down: She was mortified to learn that she had been disqualified. 2 punish, castigate, discipline, control, subdue, subjugate: Repentance was considered insufficient penance, so the flagellants mortified the flesh with scourges. 3 gangrene,

fester, necrose, putrefy, rot, decompose, decay, putresce: After a fortnight, the flesh mortifies and falls away.

mother n. 1 dam, materfamilias, (female) parent, Old-fashioned or formal or jocular mater, Formal progenitrix; matriarch, Colloq

ma, old lady, old woman, Brit mummy, mum, US mom, mommy, mama, mamma, maw, mammy, mam: He runs crying to his mother whenever anyone teases him. 2 source, origin, genesis: Necessity is the

mother of invention. 3 nourisher, nurturer, nurse: Poverty was the mother of anarchy.

--adj. 4 native, natural, innate: She has the mother wit to know better.

--v. 5 nurture, nourish, nurse, care for, look after, protect, shelter, watch over, take care of: She mothered me when I needed her, and I won't desert her now. 6 pamper, baby, coddle, spoil, indulge, fuss over, overprotect: You mother the child

too much.

motif n. theme, idea, topic, subject, concept, leitmotif; pattern, figure, refrain, device, ornament, decoration, element, convention: The painter repeats the motif throughout his pictures in much the same way that a composer repeats a bar of music.

motion n. 1 movement, moving, change, shift, shifting, action, going, travelling, travel, progress, passage, transit; activity,

commotion, stir, agitation, turmoil, turbulence: One could barely sense the slow motion of the train. The leaves of the

aspen appear to be in constant motion. 2 mobility, movability, motility: I could feel the motion gradually returning to my numbed limbs. 3 gait, bearing, carriage, tread, walk, step:

The machine works with alternate upward and downward motions. 4 gesture, gesticulation, signal, sign: She made a motion for me

to come nearer. 5 proposal, suggestion, proposition, recommendation, offering, submission: A motion must be seconded by a member in good standing.

--v. 6 gesture, gesticulate, beckon, signal, sign, wave: The cashier motioned to me and I went over to the window.

motivate v. prompt, activate, move, inspire, incite, induce, actuate, stimulate, provoke, influence, encourage, occasion, bring about, cause; excite, egg (on), urge, prod, spur, galvanize, goad, rouse, arouse, stir (up), wheedle, coax, persuade, cajole,

tempt, push, impel, drive, instigate: The biggest problem is motivating students to apply themselves to academic subjects.

motive n. 1 inducement, incentive, motivation, stimulus, motivating force, stimulation, incitement, influence, cause, reason, rationale, grounds; attraction, lure, enticement, goad, spur, urge, prod: It is thought that jealousy was his motive for murder. 2 purpose, aim, intention, intent, object, objective, goal, end, arriŠre pens‚e (= 'hidden motive'); ambition, desire; Colloq angle: I asked the chairman what his motive was in trying to expand the company.

--adj. 3 driving, impelling, propelling, propulsive, moving, kinetic, activating, operative: The motive power used in the ultra-light aircraft is provided entirely by the pilot's pedalling.

mottled adj. dappled, brindled, marbled, streaked, splodgy or US splotchy, blotched, blotchy, freckled, spotted, spotty, patchy, speckled, flecked, sprinkled, spattered, splashed, streaky, stippled, pied, piebald; multicoloured, variegated, particoloured, Colloq splodged or US splotched: Do you like that mottled effect on the wallpaper?

motto n. maxim, proverb, saying, adage, saw, aphorism, apophthegm or apothegm, gnome, slogan, byword, catchword, battle-cry, guide, moral, principle, rule, precept: The motto of the Order of the

Garter is Honi soit qui mal y pense, 'Shame on whoever thinks ill of it'.

mould° n. 1 form, cast, matrix, die; template or templet, pattern, form: He broke the mould to prevent the casting of a duplicate statuette. 2 form, shape, pattern, format, structure, build, construction, design, arrangement, organization, configuration, kind, brand, make, line, type, stamp, cut: Was man made in the same mould as his God, or vice versa? 3 character, nature, stamp, type, kind, kidney, ilk, sort: Grandpa said that he wouldn't want someone of her mould in the family.

--v. 4 shape, form, make, work, fashion, configure, sculpture or sculpt, model, knead, construct: carve, cut: The artist moulded the original design in clay. 5 forge, cast, stamp, die-cast: These beads are moulded from solid gold. 6 influence, shape, form, affect, make, control, direct, guide, lead: The speech-writer's job is to mould the language to fit his client's ideas. The candidate is trying to mould public opinion in his favour.


n. mildew, fungus, blight, smut: A mild solution of bleach

will clean that mould off the bathroom tiles.


n. soil, earth, loam, topsoil, dirt, humus: Add some rich

mould to the house-plants periodically and they will flourish.


adj. aged, ancient, outdated, old-fashioned, antediluvian,

unused, stale, decayed, decaying, carious, mildewed, mouldering, musty; spoilt or spoiled, rotten, rotting, putrid, putrescent, putrefying, rancid, rank, decomposed, decomposing, mucid: Digging about in the files, he unearthed some mouldy old plans of the house. All the food in the fridge had gone mouldy while they were away.

mound n. 1 hillock, rise, hummock, hill, hump, bank, elevation, knoll, knob, swell, dune, slope, tor, Chiefly W US and Canadian butte,: We stood on a high mound from which we could see for miles. 2 heap, pile, stack, Archaeology tumulus, tell, barrow, (kitchen) midden: Excavation of the mound yielded scores of Iron Age artefacts.

mount n. 1 See mountain, 1, below.

--v. 2 climb (up), go up, ascend, scale, clamber up, make one's way up: We mounted the ladder to the roof. The speaker mounted the dais. 3 rise (up), arise, soar, fly (up), rocket (upwards):

With the salmon in its grasp, the eagle mounted to the sky. 4 climb or get or clamber up on, bestride, straddle, bestraddle: The gunfighter mounted his horse and rode off. 5 (put on) display, (put on) exhibit, put on exhibition, present, install or instal, stage, prepare, ready, put on, put in place, set up;

arrange, coordinate, compose, organize, set in motion, launch: The gallery will mount a show of John's sculpture next spring. They have mounted a major advertising campaign for their face cream. 6 frame, mat or matt, set off: This print should be mounted using an olive green paper. 7 increase, wax, rise, escalate, intensify, swell, expand, grow, mount up, multiply, pile up, build up, accumulate: Complaints have been mounting against the vulgar language heard on prime-time TV.

--n. 8 backing, setting, support, mounting, background, set, arrangement, backdrop, scene: This style of mount sets off the ruby to its best advantage. 9 horse, steed, charger, palfrey: Her mount was a grey mare.

mountain n. 1 height, elevation, mount, eminence, prominence, peak, alp, tor, summit, No. Eng. and Scots fell, Scots and Irish English

ben: Her favourite sport is climbing mountains. 2 heap, pile, stack, mound, accumulation, abundance, mass, Colloq ton(s), heaps, piles, stacks: I have a mountain of laundry to do.


adj. 1 craggy, alpine, Himalayan: It was very slow going through the mountainous parts of the country. 2 huge, towering,

high, steep, enormous, immense, formidable, mighty, monumental, prodigious, staggering: Their tiny craft was almost engulfed by the mountainous seas.

mourn v. grieve (over), lament, sorrow (over), bemoan, bewail, keen, weep for or over, regret, rue, deplore: We all mourned the loss of a great leader. After his death, the nation mourned for a month.

mournful adj. 1 sad, sorrowful, dismal, melancholy, blue, afflicted, doleful, dolorous, grief-stricken, rueful, forlorn, woebegone,

sombre, lugubrious, funereal, joyless, dispirited, cheerless, unhappy, downhearted, heavy-hearted, disconsolate, heartbroken, inconsolable, despondent, desolate, despairing, heartsick, overcome, prostrate: The mournful crowd filed past the bier to pay their last respects. 2 deplorable, sorrowful, grievous, distressing, upsetting, tragic, saddening, disheartening, depressing, lamentable, catastrophic, calamitous, disastrous:

The mournful news of the great loss of life in the explosion was broadcast round the world.

mourning n. 1 grief, lament, grieving, lamentation, sorrowing, keening, weeping, wailing: The Highlanders are wont to mingle a degree of solemn mirth with their mourning. 2 bereavement, loss, anguish, sorrow, misery, grief, sadness, woe, woefulness, melancholy, heartache, despondency, despair, desolation: In China people wear white as a sign of mourning. 3 black, widow's weeds, sackcloth and ashes: It was customary at that time to spend at least one month in mourning.

mousy adj. 1 mousey, mouse-coloured, dun, grey, greyish-brown, brownish-grey, brownish, brown, dull, lustreless, lacklustre, drab, flat, plain, colourless: Her lank, mousy hair hung down over her shoulders. 2 timid, cowering, timorous, shy, self-effacing, diffident: Adrian is far too mousy to ask for an increase in salary.

mouth n. 1 lips; maw, jaws, oral cavity, Technical stoma, Slang trap, kisser, muzzle, gob, chops, yap, US bazoo: I want to hear that you don't love me from your own mouth. 2 opening, aperture, doorway, door, gateway, gate, access, entrance, inlet, entry, entry-way, way in, entr‚e; passage, passageway, way, orifice; exit, way out, vent, outlet, outfall, Technical debouchment or debouchure, debouch or d‚bouch‚, embouchure: We stood at the mouth of the cave. An enormous delta formed at the mouth of the river. 3 bragging, boasting, braggadocio, empty or idle talk, bombast, rodomontade, fustian, Slang claptrap, hot air, gas:

The fellow is all mouth and no action. 4 disrespect, impudence, insolence, sauciness, rudeness, impertinence, pertness, boldness, audacity, presumptuousness, brashness, flippancy, Colloq lip, cheek, backchat, sauce, freshness, US sass, back talk: He'd better not give me any of his mouth or I'll have his guts for garters. 5 grimace, pout, moue, face: She made a mouth when I said she couldn't go. 6 down in or at the mouth.

dejected, despondent, sad, sorrowful, unhappy, melancholy, blue, crestfallen, dispirited, disheartened, downcast, Colloq (down)

in the dumps, broken up: He was very down in the mouth after seeing the results of the laboratory tests.

--v. 7 utter, say, speak, pronounce, announce, enunciate, articulate, voice, sound, express, vocalize; declaim, orate: He

mouthed each word with excruciating care. Who wants to hear some pompous fool mouthing platitudes?

mouthful n. morsel, bite, spoonful, forkful, lump, chunk, gob, hunk: He took a mouthful of food.


n. 1 embouchure; bit: I need a new mouthpiece for my clarinet. 2 spokesman, spokeswoman, spokesperson, agent, representative, intermediator, mediator, delegate: He is always quoted through his mouthpiece, never directly. 3 lawyer, attorney, Slang US shyster: A good mouthpiece could get me out of this fix.

movable adj. moveable, floating, variable, changeable, unfixed;


portable, transportable, transferable or transferrable: Easter


Sunday is a movable feast and has no fixed date on the calendar.


Recent developments have produced computers that are smaller


than an attach‚ case and easily movable.


v. 1 shift, stir, budge, make a move, go; proceed, advance,


progress: It is difficult to move in a strait-jacket. The train


is moving at a rate of sixty miles an hour. Don't move - I have


a gun. 2 move house, move out, remove, move away, relocate,


decamp, depart, change residence, emigrate, go or make off,


transfer, Colloq take off (for), pull up stakes, Brit up sticks,


Slang US split (for): When did you say you were moving to


London? 3 shake (up), disturb, stir (up), agitate, affect,


touch: We moved heaven and earth to find a proper place for her


to stay. 4 affect, touch, stir, shake up, agitate, hit (hard),


upset, strike, smite, disturb, ruffle, disquiet, have an (or a


profound) effect (on), make a (deep) impression (on): The


pictures of starving children moved everyone. 5 provoke,


arouse, excite, stir up, lead, rouse, stimulate: At the end of


the film, when she died, I was moved to tears. 6 arouse, rouse,


provoke, actuate, lead, prompt, spur, motivate, influence,


impel, prod, remind, inspire, make: His mention of families

moved me to ask when he had last seen his father. 7 propose, put forward or forth, forward, advance, submit, suggest, advocate, propound: The question of budget was moved at the last meeting.

--n. 8 change, change-over, relocation, transfer, shift, removal: My supervisor suggested a move to a different department. 9 manoeuvre, device, trick, caper, dodge, ploy, stratagem, artifice, ruse, action, act, deed, Colloq gimmick: Getting Diana to invite Colin was a very good move. 10 turn, time, opportunity: I have had my turn, now it's your move. 11 gesture, gesticulation, action, motion, stirring: One move and you're a dead man! 12 get a move on. a get moving, begin, start, commence, get going, get under way, get started, stir or bestir oneself, Colloq get or start the ball rolling, get the

show on the road, break the ice, get cracking, step on it or the gas: He doesn't usually get a move on till noon. b hurry, hasten, make haste, rush, run: Get a move on down to the supermarket before it closes. 13 on the move. a travelling, in transit, on the way, on one's way, on the road, on the go, moving: She is always on the move and it is difficult to catch her. b on the go, working, on the run, busy, occupied: I have been on the move since six this morning. c proceeding, progressing, advancing, moving ahead, succeeding, on the go: It looks as if the industry is again on the move after a brief decline.

movement n. 1 repositioning, move, motion, relocation, moving, migration, shift, transfer, flow, displacement: Population movement increased dramatically in the Middle Ages. 2 action, activity, move, moving, stir, stirring: There was a sudden movement in the bushes. 3 gesture, gesticulation, move, flicker, sign, signal; manoeuvre, change of attitude or

position: Only the slightest upward movement of his eyebrow indicated his surprise. Every little movement has a meaning all

its own. 4 mechanism, works, workings, moving parts, machinery, action, gears, Colloq innards: Technically, the movement of a watch does not include the escapement. 5 campaign, crusade, drive; front, faction, party, group, wing: The 1960s saw many successes for the civil rights' movement in America. 6 change, activity, action, shift, advance or decline, increase or

decrease, upward or downward movement, stirring; development, progress: Shares displayed little movement in today's trading.

7 drift, trend, tendency, course, swing: They have noted a

growing movement towards religious fundamentalism.


n. 1 motion picture, film, moving picture, silent (picture),

talking picture, Colloq talkie, flick: Her grandfather was one

of the first actors in silent movies. 2 Usually, movies.

picture show, cinema, flicks, Colloq big or large screen, silver

screen: Why don't we go to the movies instead of watching

television tonight?


adj. 1 touching, poignant, emotive, affecting, stirring,

heart-rending, emotional, telling, effective, impressive,

striking, compelling; pathetic, exciting, thrilling, inspiring,

inspirational, impelling, persuasive: He related a moving story

of his years in various concentration camps. 2 active, mobile,


unfixed, unstationary, motile, going, operating, working, in


motion, on the move: Be careful not to touch any of the moving


parts inside the clock.


v. 1 cut (down), scythe, trim, shear: You don't need to mow


the lawn so much during a dry spell. 2 mow down. annihilate,


kill, massacre, butcher, slaughter, exterminate, liquidate,


eradicate, wipe out, cut down, cut to pieces, destroy, decimate:


The first platoon was mowed down by machine-gun fire.

13.5 muck...


muck n. 1 ordure, manure, dung, excrement, faeces, droppings; guano: The muck is saved for use as fertilizer. 2 dirt, filth, bilge,

slime, sludge, ooze, scum, sewage, mire, mud, feculence, Colloq gunge, gunk, US grunge: Give me a chance to get the muck off my shoes.

--v. 3 muck about. fool around, waste time, idle, loiter, mess around or about: She told me to stop mucking about and get a job. 4 muck up. ruin, wreck, destroy, make a mess of, botch, mess up, bungle, Colloq screw up, Slang bugger up, make a muck of: She's mucked up her own life, and, given the chance, she'll muck up mine.

mud n. muck, ooze, slime, mire, clay, sludge, silt, dirt, US and Canadian gumbo or gombo: The mud came up to my ankles.

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