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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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colours, standard, labarum, Chiefly nautical jack, Nautical and yachting burgee, Technical vexillum: We saw from her pennant that she was a Spanish frigate.

pension n. 1 benefit, allowance, annuity, subsistence, superannuation, allotment, old-age pension, US social security, Colloq golden handshake: She finds that her pension is not enough to live on.

--v. 2 Usually, pension off. (cause to) retire, superannuate; dismiss; Colloq shelve, put out to pasture: The company cut back on staff by pensioning off everyone over 60.

pensioner n. retiree, veteran, senior citizen, Brit OAP (= 'old-age pensioner'), US golden-ager, Colloq Brit wrinkly: The housing units were specially designed for pensioners' needs.

pensive adj. thoughtful, meditative, musing, in a brown study, cogitative, contemplative, reflective, preoccupied, ruminative, wistful, day-dreaming, in a trance, in a reverie, brooding, sober, serious, grave: I found the professor in a pensive mood, staring out the window.

pent-up adj. restrained, constrained, repressed, stifled, bottled-up, corked-up, held in, checked, held back, curbed, inhibited, restricted: After weeks of frustration, he wanted to release his pent-up emotions in a scream. They went jogging to try to work off their pent-up energy.

penurious adj. 1 stingy, mean, penny-pinching, miserly, tight, tight-fisted, close-fisted, cheese-paring, niggardly, cheap, ungenerous, parsimonious, skinflinty, thrifty, begrudging, grudging, Scrooge-like, Colloq near, Brit mingy, US chintzy: Even today, he is so penurious that he gives his children an allowance of only 50 pence a week. 2 poor, poverty-stricken, destitute, impoverished, penniless, indigent, needy, impecunious, necessitous, beggarly, bankrupt, Colloq (dead or flat) broke, stony-broke, hard up: They lived in penurious circumstances.

people n.pl. 1 persons, individuals, men and women, ladies and gentlemen, males and females, living souls; mortals; bodies: How many people can this aeroplane carry? 2 relations, relatives, kin, kinsmen, kinsfolk or US and Canadian kinfolk,


family, kith and kin; ancestors, forebears: His people left


Russia in 1917. 3 masses, (general) public, hoi polloi,


consumers, multitude, populace, common people, common man,


commoners, subjects, citizenry, plebeians, grass roots,


proletariat, rank and file, the crowd, commonalty or


commonality, mobile vulgus, bourgeoisie; man or woman in the


street, Everyman, Everywoman, Mr or Mrs Average, Brit A. N.


Other, Joe Bloggs, man or woman on the Clapham omnibus, US John


Doe, Mary Doe, Richard Roe, John Q. Public; Colloq and often


derogatory proles, the rabble, ragtag and bobtail, silent


majority, common herd, Brit plebs, admass: Politicians unable


to communicate with the people are seldom elected.


--n.sing. 4 race, community, clan, tribe, folk, nation,


population, society: On the subject of religion, they were a


people divided. The anthropologists were studying the peoples


south of the Sahara.


--v. 5 populate, colonize, settle, occupy: The area was once


peopled with Berber tribesmen.


n. 1 vigour, vim (and vigour), spirit, animation, vivacity,


energy, verve, zest, fire, sprightliness, life, effervescence,


sparkle, ebullience, dash, enthusiasm, brio, ‚lan, Colloq zip,


zing: He certainly has a lot of pep for an octogenarian.


--v. 2 pep up. stimulate, invigorate, animate, enliven,


vitalize, vivify, energize, exhilarate, quicken, arouse, breathe


(some) life into, inspire, activate, actuate, fire, cheer up,


Colloq buck up, spark, work or fire up, US wind up: After those


defeats, the team needed to be pepped up.

pepper v. sprinkle, scatter, dot, speckle, fleck, spot, spray, bespeckle, speckle, spatter, stipple, mottle: The letter was peppered with ink-spots. Their speech was peppered with swear-words.

perceive v. 1 see, make out, discern, catch sight of, glimpse, spot, espy, apprehend, take in, notice, note, discover, descry, observe, mark, remark, identify, distinguish, detect: I perceived his hesitation when a solo flight was suggested. She perceived a strange odour emanating from the cupboard. 2 appreciate, grasp, feel, sense, apprehend, understand, gather,

comprehend, deduce, infer, figure out, ascertain, determine, conclude, decipher, Colloq dig, catch on: She perceived that he was going to renege on his promise to take her to the Riviera. 3 Often, perceive of. regard, view, look on, consider, contemplate, judge, deem, believe, think: Calthorpe perceives of himself as a great actor, but he is dreadful. This gesture

is often perceived as threatening.


n. share, part, portion, proportion, interest, piece, Colloq cut: We are to get a percentage of the profits in return for our investment.


adj. discernible, detectable, observable, perceivable, noticeable, distinguishable, recognizable, apparent, evident, notable, obvious, patent, manifest, palpable, plain, clear,

prominent, unmistakable or unmistakeable: There are perceptible differences between your playing and Heifetz's.


n. 1 appreciation, grasp, apprehension, understanding, comprehension, knowledge, perspective, view: Mrs Hart's perception of the situation is quite different from mine. 2 intuition, insight, instinct, feel, feeling, sense, impression, awareness, idea, notion, consciousness, realization: Norton hasn't the slightest perception of what is going on behind his back at the office.


adj. astute, alert, attentive, quick, alive, quick-witted, intelligent, acute, sharp, sensitive, sensible, percipient, discerning, observant, perspicacious; on the qui vive; Colloq on the ball: No one was sufficiently perceptive to predict the

full extent of the recession. She is perhaps the most perceptive journalist writing on French politics today.

perch n. 1 roost, rest, seat; spot, location, position, place, site, vantage point, perspective: From his perch at the top of the cliff, Martin had a clear view of the cave entrance.

--v. 2 roost, rest, sit, nest; place, put, set, situate, locate, position, site: The owl was perched in the tree,

waiting for the vole to appear from its burrow.

percolate v. seep, steep, transfuse, leach, drip, drain, strain, filter, pervade, infuse, ooze, transude, filtrate, trickle, permeate, suffuse, penetrate: The earth is too hard for the rainwater to percolate to the roots below. It slowly percolated through to me that Clare had told the police where I was hiding.

perdition n. damnation, hell, hell-fire, doom, ruin, condemnation, destruction, ruination, downfall: If what divines call lust be punished with perdition, who is pure?


adj. 1 commanding, imperative, compelling, obligatory, mandatory, irrefutable, incontrovertible, decretal: After the sound of marching came a peremptory knock at the door. 2 decisive, final, preclusive, arbitrary, categorical, unequivocal, dogmatic, unconditional, unreserved, flat,

out-and-out, outright, unqualified, unmitigated: The juror was subject to peremptory dismissal because he was the defendant's cousin. 3 imperious, authoritative, tyrannical, despotic, dictatorial, autocratic, emphatic, positive, firm, insistent, Colloq bossy: How dare you take such a peremptory tone when speaking to your father!

perennial adj. 1 durable, lasting, continuing, enduring, constant, stable, lifelong, persistent, incessant, uninterrupted,

continual, continuous, chronic: Once we expected our rivers to yield a perennial supply of fresh water. Bing Crosby has been a perennial favourite since the 1930s. 2 permanent, unfailing, never-failing, endless, unending, ceaseless, unceasing, imperishable, undying, perpetual, everlasting, timeless, eternal, immortal, Literary sempiternal: The artificial flowers at her grave symbolize Ingrid's perennial youth.

perfect adj. 1 complete, absolute, finished, (fully) realized, fulfilled, consummate, pure, entire, whole, perfected, best, ideal: Many have called the building a perfect example of the Palladian style. 2 sublime, ideal, superb, supreme, superlative, best, flawless, faultless, pre-eminent, excellent, exquisite, unexcelled, unrivalled, unequalled, unmatched, matchless, incomparable, nonpareil, peerless, inimitable: At her throat

she wore the most perfect emerald I had ever seen. 3 blameless,

righteous, holy, faultless, flawless, spotless, immaculate: Nobody's perfect. 4 fitting, appropriate, (just) right, apt, suitable, correct, proper, made-to-order, best, Brit spot on: Arthur would be perfect for the role of Quasimodo. 5 precise, exact, accurate, correct, unerring, true, authentic, lifelike, right on, excellent, superlative, superb, reliable, Brit spot

on: These copies are perfect replicas of the original. 6 utter, absolute, complete, mere, thorough, out-and-out, through-and-through; 24-carat, categorical, unqualified,

unalloyed, unmitigated: We were perfect strangers at the time. Once again, he's shown himself to be a perfect idiot. 7 expert, proficient, accomplished, experienced, practised, skilful, skilled, gifted, talented, adept, deft, adroit, polished, professional, masterly, masterful: The admirable Crichton was the perfect butler.

--v. 8 complete, finish, realize, fulfil, consummate, accomplish, achieve, effect, execute, carry out or through, bring (to perfection): The design of the bicycle was not to be perfected for several years. 9 rectify, correct, emend, (put or set) right, improve, refine, polish, cultivate, better, ameliorate: Viniculture has been perfected in the Bordeaux region of France.


n. 1 purity, flawlessness, faultlessness, sublimity,

superiority, excellence, pre-eminence, transcendence: Though we strive for perfection, we never can achieve it. 2 completion, completeness, achievement, fulfilment, realization, consummation, accomplishment, attainment: The building doesn't reach perfection till the last roof-tile is in place. 3 ideal,

paragon, model, archetype, pattern, mould, standard, idealization, essence, quintessence, acme, pinnacle, summit: Machiavelli probably achieved the perfection of political cunning.


n. 1 purist, pedant, precisian, precisionist, stickler, Colloq fusspot, US fuss-budget: The foreman is such a perfectionist that there's no satisfying him.

--adj. 2 meticulous, precise, punctilious, scrupulous, exacting, particular, demanding, fastidious, fussy; obsessive;

Colloq picky, nit-picking: She takes a perfectionist attitude towards everything she does.

perfectly adv. 1 completely, purely, entirely, absolutely, utterly, totally, wholly, consummately, thoroughly, quite, definitely, positively, unambiguously, unequivocally, unmistakably or unmistakeably, explicitly, truly, very, extremely, extraordinarily, remarkably: Your instructions for finding the house were perfectly clear. 2 superbly, superlatively, flawlessly, faultlessly, impeccably, inimitably, incomparably, sublimely, exquisitely, marvellously, admirably, wonderfully: Sally plays that Chopin ‚tude perfectly. 3 exactly, precisely, flawlessly, faultlessly, accurately, literally, line for line,

word for word, verbatim, letter for letter, to the letter, literatim: He knows the entire Koran perfectly. 4 very, full, quite, Dialect right, Brit jolly, Slang damned, bloody: You know perfectly well that I hate cauliflower.


adj. treacherous, deceitful, traitorous, treasonous, treasonable, disloyal, faithless, false, unfaithful, untrue, insidious, hypocritical, two-faced, Janus-faced, corrupt, dishonest: His perfidious brother betrayed him to his enemies.

perfidy n. perfidiousness, treachery, deceit, traitorousness, treason, disloyalty, faithlessness, falseness, falsity, unfaithfulness, infidelity, insidiousness, hypocrisy, betrayal: The name of Judas is a byword for perfidy.

perforate v. riddle, puncture, pierce, honeycomb, drill, bore, punch; enter, penetrate, pass into: A perforated metal screen let through a pattern of light. The bullet perforated his lung but he survived.

perform v. 1 execute, complete, bring off or about, accomplish, effect, carry out, discharge, dispatch, conduct, carry on, do, fulfil, Colloq pull off, knock off, polish off; put up or shut up:

Postmen perform their duties despite hazards such as vicious dogs. 2 do, act, behave, operate, function, run, work, go, respond: How does your new car perform? 3 present, stage, produce, put on, mount, do; act, depict, take, play, appear as:

The repertory group performs six shows weekly. He is performing the role of Scrooge.


n. 1 execution, completion, bringing off or about, accomplishment, effectuation, carrying out, discharge, dispatch, conduct, carrying-on, doing, fulfilment: The soldiers acquitted themselves nobly in the performance of their duties. 2 show, exhibition, exhibit, play, playing, engagement, act, appearance, Colloq gig: She does three performances nightly at the Blue Angel. 3 playing, acting, interpretation, presentation, portrayal: His performance in the courtroom scene was

outstanding. 4 behaviour, conduct, deportment, demeanour: Her performance in the pub last night was outrageous. 5 scene, show, exhibition, display: The lad put on quite a performance till threatened with punishment by the headmaster.

performer n. actor or actress, artiste, Thespian, trouper, player: They received their training as performers in a repertory company.

perfume n. 1 essence, extract, parfum, eau-de-Cologne, toilet water, scent, fragrance; aroma, odour, smell, bouquet, nose: What is that wonderful perfume you're wearing? The perfume of the wine wafted over to me.

--v. 2 scent: Orange blossoms perfumed the air.


adj. 1 routine, mechanical, automatic, robot-like, unthinking, businesslike, unspontaneous, formal, dismissive, inattentive, uninvolved, apathetic, indifferent, unconcerned, removed, distant, d‚gag‚, offhand, heedless, uninterested, hasty, hurried, superficial, cursory, fleeting, rushed: I don't care for the perfunctory service in those fast-food restaurants. 2 careless, slipshod, slovenly, negligent, sketchy, spotty: The bill, made out in a perfunctory fashion, was incorrect.

perhaps adv. maybe, possibly, it is possible that, conceivably, as the case may be, it may be, Archaic or literary perchance, peradventure, Archaic or dialect mayhap: Perhaps she'll be on the next train.

peril n. danger, threat, risk, jeopardy, exposure, vulnerability, susceptibility, uncertainty, insecurity: You enter there at your peril. It was a time of peril for us all. The child's life

was in peril.

perilous adj. dangerous, risky, hazardous, vulnerable, susceptible, uncertain, insecure, unsafe, unsure: Why undertake such a perilous journey alone?

perimeter n. boundary, border, borderline, margin, periphery, limit(s), bounds, ambit, circumference, edge, verge, fringe(s), Archaic or literary bourn or bourne: The perimeter of the military base is patrolled by sentry dogs.

period n. 1 interval, time, term, span, duration, spell, space, stretch; while; Colloq chiefly Brit patch: During the period of his absence, his children had grown up. I waited a short period, then phoned again. We went through a bad period last year. 2 era, days, epoch, aeon, age, years: During the Old English period, very little was written down. 3 full stop: Place periods at the ends of sentences.

periodic adj. periodical, intermittent, regular, recurrent, repetitive, iterative, cyclic(al), repeated; episodic, sporadic, occasional: We called in the plumber because of the periodic hammering in the pipes. The next periodic return of Halley's comet is expected in 2061-62.


n. magazine, journal, paper, publication, newsletter, organ, serial, weekly, fortnightly, semi-monthly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, annual, yearbook, almanac, Rare hebdomadal or hebdomadary: Nicole's story will soon be published in an important literary periodical.


adj. 1 incidental, unimportant, minor, secondary, inessential or unessential, non-essential, unnecessary, superficial, tangential, irrelevant, beside the point: Let's ignore the peripheral issues for the time being and concentrate on the important ones. 2 circumferential, external, perimetric, outside, outer: The peripheral measurement of the figure is seven inches.

periphery n. 1 perimeter, circumference, border, edge, rim, brim, ambit, boundary, bound, margin: Trees will be planted along the

periphery of the car park. 2 surface, edge, superficies: Your analysis deals with the periphery, not the core, of the problem.

perish v. die, expire, lose (one's) life, be killed, be lost, meet (one's) death, be destroyed: Three gnus perished in the fire at the zoo.

perjury n. lying, mendacity, mendaciousness, forswearing, prevarication, bearing false witness: The defendant was acquitted and the prosecution witnesses charged with perjury.



See perquisite, below.

perk up


cheer up, become jaunty, brighten, liven up, invigorate,

smarten up, quicken, (re)vitalize, pep up, revive, inspirit, Colloq buck up: The old lady perks up when her grandchildren come to visit. To perk up the party, Peter suggested we should all play a game.

perky adj. lively, cheery, cheerful, jaunty, bouncy, bright, invigorated, vigorous, vitalized, peppy, spirited, sprightly, frisky, animated, vivacious, effervescent, bubbly, buoyant, gay, Colloq bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of pep: Sue's been quite perky since she started going with Trevor.


n. permanency, stability, durability, fixedness, changelessness, lasting quality, longevity, endurance, persistence, dependability, reliability, survival: The new roofing material is being tested for permanence.

permanent adj. 1 everlasting, eternal, unending, endless, perpetual, unceasing, constant, undying, imperishable, indestructible, stable, abiding, long-lasting, lasting, enduring, perennial, long-lived, durable: The satellite is in permanent orbit around the earth. 2 unchanging, invariable, changeless, fixed, unchangeable, immutable, unalterable, stable, persistent: This stain is permanent and will not come out in the wash. Bonham is a permanent member of the executive committee.


adv. forever, for good, once and for all, forevermore, always, eternally, everlastingly; perpetually, constantly, incessantly,

non-stop, continuously, endlessly, ceaselessly, unendingly, interminably: Is the boy permanently disabled? According to one theory the universe will not continue to expand permanently.

permeate v. imbue, diffuse, penetrate, pervade, infiltrate, enter, spread through(out), saturate, seep through(out), percolate through, soak through: He felt the warmth permeate every limb. Greed seemed to permeate every level of society.


adj. allowable, admissible, acceptable, allowed, permitted, tolerable, legal, licit, lawful, legitimate, authorized, proper, (all) right; pardonable, excusable, venial, Colloq OK or okay, kosher, legit: Some things that are permissible are not necessarily honourable.


n. consent, assent, leave, acquiescence, sufferance, tolerance, laxity, leniency or lenience, leave, licence, sanction, acceptance, authorization, approval, approbation, countenance, allowance, liberty, indulgence, sufferance; franchise,

enfranchisement: Have you permission to watch television? She eats anything she likes with the doctor's permission.


adj. assenting, consenting, indulgent, lenient, latitudinarian, acquiescent, lax, easygoing, liberal, tolerant, non-constraining, non-restrictive, libertarian: Allison grew up in the permissive society of the 1960s.

permit v. 1 Often, permit to. allow, agree (to), consent (to), give permission or leave (to), authorize, sanction, license, tolerate, countenance, suffer, brook, admit, grant, enable, empower, franchise, enfranchise; let: He permitted me to use his name as a reference. Do they permit smoking here?

--n. 2 licence, authority, authorization, franchise, warrant; pass, passport, visa: Your parking permit expired last week. Shirley has a permit to visit Tibet.


adj. 1 erect, upright, vertical, plumb, straight (up and down): The plumb-line shows that the wall isn't perpendicular. 2

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