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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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Often, perpendicular to. at right angles (to), at 90 degrees (to): The two paths are perpendicular to one another.


v. commit, execute, perform, carry out or through, effect, effectuate, accomplish, do, be responsible for, practise, Colloq pull (off): Atrocities were perpetrated on both sides in the war.

perpetual adj. 1 eternal, infinite, everlasting, never-ending, unending, perennial, ageless, timeless, long-lived, permanent, unceasing, lasting, enduring, unvarying, unchanging, immutable, invariable, undeviating, Literary sempiternal: They declared their perpetual love for each other. 2 constant, uninterrupted, continuous, unfailing, incessant, persistent, unremitting, unending, non-stop, endless, recurrent, continual, repetitive: Why should we have to listen to the neighbours' perpetual bickering?


v. continue, maintain, extend, keep (on or up), keep going, preserve, memorialize, immortalize, eternalize: Thoughtless jokes can perpetuate damaging stereotypes.


n. permanence, constancy, timelessness; eternity: The estate was bequeathed to the townspeople in perpetuity.

perplex v. confuse, bewilder, puzzle, mystify, distract, baffle, befuddle, confound, muddle, disconcert, stump, nonplus, stymie, stupefy, stun, daze, dumbfound or dumfound, flabbergast, Colloq

bamboozle, hornswoggle, Chiefly US and Canadian discombobulate, throw for a loop: The more I tried to understand bathymetric semiotics, the more perplexed I became. Anne-Marie's reticence perplexed us all.


adj. confusing, bewildering, puzzling, mystifying, baffling, confounding, disconcerting, stupefying, flabbergasting, enigmatic, paradoxical, incomprehensible, unfathomable, impenetrable, recondite, arcane, labyrinthine, complex, complicated, Byzantine, intricate, involved, convoluted, twisted, knotty, Gordian: The writing is filled with perplexing

references to the author's personal experiences, of which the reader is told nothing.


n. 1 confusion, bewilderment, bafflement, distress, doubt, difficulty: My perplexity grew as he related his version of the event. 2 intricacy, complexity, complicatedness, arcaneness, reconditeness, impenetrability, impenetrableness, involvement, unfathomability, obscurity, difficulty: The more deeply the enigma was probed, the greater its perplexity. 3 puzzle,

enigma, mystery, dilemma, problem, paradox, catch-22, quandary, predicament, bind: Because of the interlocking directorships of the companies, we faced many perplexities in trying to sort out what had happened to the funds.


n. consideration, emolument, bonus, (fringe) benefit, extra, bonus, dividend, gratuity, tip, douceur, baksheesh, token (of appreciation), US lagniappe or lagnappe, Colloq perk: It was traditional to provide each director with a company car as a perquisite.

persecute v. 1 oppress, suppress, subjugate, maltreat, ill-treat, abuse, outrage, molest, victimize, tyrannize, afflict, punish, martyr, torment, torture: For years black people had been persecuted. 2 bother, annoy, pester, plague, hector, bully, badger, harry, harass, irritate, worry, vex, trouble, worry, importune, hound: Her lawyers continually persecuted him for non-payment of alimony.


n. 1 oppression, suppression, subjugation, maltreatment, ill-treatment, abuse, outrage, molestation, victimization, tyranny, affliction, punishment, torment, torture: They suffered persecution because of their difference of religion. 2 bother, annoyance, hectoring, bullying, badgering, harrying, harassing, irritation, worry, vexation, trouble: The press is often guilty of the persecution of famous people.


n. persistence, steadfastness, determination, resolution, resolve, decisiveness, decision, firmness, purposefulness, pertinacity, staying power, stamina, sedulousness, assiduity,

grit, pluck, tirelessness, indefatigableness, indefatigability, patience, endurance, diligence, devotion, tenacity, doggedness, stubbornness, inflexibility, obstinacy, obstinateness, obdurateness, Colloq guts, US stick-to-it-iveness: Perseverance is essential for success in the theatre.

persevere v. Often, persevere in or with or at. persist, resolve, decide, endure, continue, carry on or through, keep at or on or up, be steadfast or staunch or constant, keep going, stand fast or

firm, see through, be or remain determined or resolved or resolute or stalwart or purposeful or uncompromising, be tenacious or persistent or constant or pertinacious or assiduous or sedulous, be tireless or untiring or indefatigable, show determination or pluck or grit, be plucky, be patient or diligent or stubborn or inflexible or adamant or obstinate or obdurate, show or exhibit or demonstrate patience or diligence or stubbornness or inflexibility or obstinacy or obduracy,

remain dogged, pursue doggedly, be intransigent or intractable, cling to, stick to, support, stop at nothing, sustain, Colloq

stick with, stick (it) out: We must persevere if we are to win. I shall persevere in my loyalty.

persist v. 1 Often, persist in or at. persevere, be persistent, insist (on), stand firm or fast, be steadfast or staunch, strive, toil, labour, work (hard) (at): She persists in arguing her innocence. Only those who persist will succeed. 2 remain, continue, endure, carry on, keep up or on, last, linger, stay: The bad weather persisted through the weekend.


n. perseverance, resolve, determination, resolution, steadfastness, tenacity, constancy, assiduity, stamina, tirelessness, indefatigability, indefatigableness, tirelessness, pluck, grit, patience, diligence, pertinacity, doggedness, stubbornness, obstinacy, obduracy: By sheer persistence he got his own way.


adj. 1 persisting, persevering, tenacious, steadfast, firm, fast, fixed, staunch, resolute, resolved, determined, unfaltering, unswerving, undeviating, unflagging, tireless, untiring, indefatigable, dogged, unwavering, stubborn, obstinate, obdurate, inflexible, rigid: He was persistent in

his demands for justice. The inspector never gave up his persistent pursuit of criminals. 2 continuing, constant, continuous, continual, unending, interminable, unremitting, unrelenting, perpetual, incessant, unceasing, non-stop: The persistent rainy weather began to depress us. At last he gave in to her persistent complaints and bought a washing machine.

person n. 1 individual, human (being), being, man or woman or child, (living) soul; mortal: Not a single person knew the answer to

my question. 2 in person. physically, personally, bodily, actually, myself or yourself or himself or herself or ourselves or yourselves, or themselves, Colloq in the flesh: The correspondent visited the battlefield in person to see for himself the extent of the carnage. I know their records, but I have never seen them in person.

persona n. face, front, fa‡ade, mask, guise, exterior, role, part, character, identity, self: Her office persona is quite different from the one she displays at home.

personage n. celebrity, luminary, VIP, name, notable, somebody, personality, star, superstar, magnate, mogul, Colloq big-shot, big wheel, hotshot, hot stuff, Brit big noise, Theatre US headliner: My cousin is fast becoming a personage in the financial world.

personal adj. 1 individual, physical, bodily, actual, live; in person, in the flesh: The star is scheduled to make a personal appearance on tonight's chat show. 2 intimate, exclusive, private, special, particular: Would you do me a personal favour? I hear they are having personal problems. 3 intimate, close, dear, bosom, familiar, special: Wendy happens to be a personal friend of ours. 4 intimate, individual; disparaging, slighting, offensive, derogatory, critical, deprecating, belittling, adverse, unfriendly, insulting: He should confine his criticism to her acting and avoid personal remarks.


n. 1 character, nature, temperament, disposition, make-up, persona; identity, psyche: Miles has an extremely abrasive personality that has upset many people. 2 celebrity, luminary, star, superstar, name, headliner, somebody: Whom shall we get as a personality to attract the crowds?


adj. monogrammed, initialled, individualized; signed: They ordered personalized stationery with their new address on it.


adv. 1 in person, alone, by oneself, on one's own, myself or yourself or himself or herself or ourselves or yourselves or themselves, Colloq in the flesh: She has not met them personally, but we have. They will see to the matter personally. 2 in one's own view or opinion, for one's part, for oneself, as far as one is concerned, from one's own viewpoint, from where one stands, as one sees it or things, as for oneself:

Personally, I wasn't sure I would make it. 3 as an individual, as a person, privately, in private: I like him personally but would never have him as my dentist.

personify v. 1 embody, typify, exemplify, epitomize, be the embodiment of, manifest, represent, stand for, symbolize, Archaic

impersonate, personate: In my view, he personifies everything that is evil. 2 humanize, personalize: In literature, personifying inanimate things in nature with human attributes is called the pathetic fallacy.


n. 1 (point of) view, viewpoint, standpoint, prospect, vantage point, position, angle, Colloq where one is coming from: I can see that my view would be illogical from his perspective. 2 attitude, position, angle, approach, sentiment, outlook,

lookout: Management has a different perspective on what is good for the company.


n. sweat, dampness, wetness; sweating; Technical sudor; diaphoresis: I could feel the perspiration stand out on my forehead. They say that perspiration makes one cooler on a hot day.

persuade v. 1 urge, induce, prevail upon, influence, exhort, importune, dispose, incline, prompt, sway, press: The officer persuaded him to surrender. 2 bring round, convince, win over, talk or argue into, convert: We persuaded her to open the door. He was persuaded to vote Labour.


n. 1 inducement, inducing, influence, influencing, exhortation, exhorting, persuading: At the bank's persuasion, the company tightened up its cashflow management. She has extraordinary powers of persuasion at her command. 2 opinion, belief, creed, faith, set of beliefs, faith, religion, (religious) conviction;

sect, denomination, faction, school (of thought), affiliation: Till he met Maggie, he had always been of the Baptist persuasion.


adj. convincing, telling, influential, effective, productive, impressive, efficacious, cogent, weighty, compelling, forceful, valid, winning, authoritative, dynamic: His most persuasive argument for our leaving was that if we stayed we'd be shot.


adj. 1 forward, brash, brazen, cheeky, insolent, impertinent,


flippant, saucy, bold, presumptuous, impudent, disrespectful,

audacious, rude, impolite, uncivil, ill-mannered, unmannerly, Archaic malapert, Colloq fresh, flip, out of line, brassy, big-mouthed, wise-guy, Slang Brit smart-arsed, US smart-ass(ed), wise-ass(ed): He's a clever child, but I don't like his pert

manner. 2 lively, jaunty, ebullient, vivacious, enthusiastic, bouncy, sprightly, brisk, cheerful, jolly, bright, perky, animated, nimble: She is usually quite pert in the morning, becoming depressed as the day wears on.

pertain v. Often, pertain to. concern, refer to, regard, have reference or relation (to), apply (to), relate (to), include, cover,

affect, appertain (to), be appropriate (to), be fitting (for), befit, bear on, have bearing (on): The sign, 'Keep Off the

Grass', does not pertain to the people who mow the lawn, Morris.

pertinent adj. pertaining, appropriate, fitting, suitable, apt, relevant, germane, apropos, apposite: Try to keep your comments pertinent to the subject under discussion.

perturb v. upset, disturb, fluster, ruffle, unsettle, disconcert, make uneasy, discomfit, vex, worry, agitate, shake up, alarm, disquiet, confuse, discompose, unnerve, addle, disorganize: He became quite perturbed when the police asked him to help with their inquiries.


n. reading, scrutiny, check, examination, study, inspection,

scanning, review: I saw nothing blasphemous in my perusal of

the text.


v. read, study, scan, scrutinize, examine, inspect, review,

browse, run one's eye over: As Gregory was perusing the ancient manuscript, a sudden draught blew out the candle.

pervasive adj. penetrating, pervading, omnipresent, general, inescapable, prevalent, universal, widespread, ubiquitous, permeating, permeative: A pervasive sense of doom in the castle made everyone feel uneasy.

perverse adj. 1 wrong, wrong-headed, awry, contrary, wayward, incorrect, irregular, unfair, improper, contradictory: It was most

perverse of you to change your mind after all the arrangements had been made. 2 cantankerous, testy, curmudgeonly, churlish, crusty, bad-tempered, petulant, captious, cross, cross-grained, peevish, waspish, snappish, bilious, splenetic, fractious, ill-tempered, quarrelsome, irascible, sullen, contentious, touchy, obstreperous, crabby, crabbed, irritable, surly, Colloq

grouchy, Brit stroppy, US and Canadian cranky: With everything going wrong, Catherine feels particularly perverse today. 3 stubborn, self-willed, wrong-headed, intractable, wilful, obdurate, obstinate, pigheaded, adamant, inflexible, unbending, refractory, unyielding: I refuse to give in to a perverse child

just because he has a tantrum.


n. 1 deviation, irregularity, misdirection, corruption, subversion, distortion, twisting, falsification, misrepresentation, diversion, sidetracking: The conduct of this trial has been a perversion of the course of true justice. 2 unnatural act, deviation, deviance or deviancy, abnormality, depravity, vice, aberration, debauchery, Colloq kinkiness, Brit kink: Every kind of perversion flourished in ancient Rome.

pervert v. 1 deflect, divert, sidetrack, turn aside or away, subvert, misdirect, distort, twist, abuse, falsify, misapply, misconstrue, misrepresent, corrupt: By withholding evidence, you have perverted the course of justice. 2 seduce, lead

astray, debauch, degrade, corrupt, demoralize, subvert: He was

accused of perverting young girls. 3 deviant, degenerate, debauchee, US deviate, Colloq weirdo: I worry about your being out late, when there are so many perverts about.

perverted adj. deviant, deviate, abnormal, amoral, unmoral, immoral, bad, depraved, unnatural, warped, twisted, profligate, dissolute, delinquent, degenerate, evil, wicked, malign, malicious,

malefic, malevolent, evil-minded, sinful, iniquitous, base, foul, corrupt, unprincipled: Members of the Hell-Fire Club yielded themselves up to the most perverted, abandoned behaviour.



n. gloomy, negative, despairing, hopeless, inauspicious,


depressed, despondent, dejected, melancholy, downhearted,


heavy-hearted, defeatist, glum, sad, blue, unhappy, cheerless,


joyless, cynical, bleak, forlorn: The bears in the Stock


Exchange take a pessimistic view of share prices.


n. nuisance, annoyance, nag, irritant, bother, gadfly, bane,


trial, heckler, vexation, curse, thorn in one's flesh, Colloq


pain (in the neck), Slang US (Yiddish) nudge or noodge or nudzh,


nudnik, Taboo slang pain in the Brit arse or US ass: That man


is such a pest, I wish he'd leave me alone.


v. annoy, nag, irritate, irk, bother, get at or to, badger,


plague, vex, fret, hector, harass, harry, heckle, nettle, chafe,


peeve, pique, provoke, exasperate, bedevil, get or grate on


(someone's) nerves, get under (someone's) skin, get in


(someone's) hair, try (someone's patience), torment, persecute,


Brit chivvy, Colloq drive (someone) up the wall, needle, give


(someone) the needle, hassle, ride, give (someone) a hard or bad


time, bug: Please stop pestering me about going to the football





n. 1 plague, epidemic, pandemic, Black Death, Rare pest: The


pestilence raged throughout all Europe, killing 50 million


people. 2 scourge, blight, curse, cancer, canker, bane,


affliction: How are we to overcome the pestilence of greed?


n. 1 darling, favourite, idol, apple of (one's) eye, Colloq


Brit blue-eyed boy, US fair-haired boy: You know that you were

always Father's pet.

--adj. 2 tame, trained, domesticated: Doesn't the landlord take a dim view of your keeping a pet alligator in the bath? 3 favourite, favoured, preferred, cherished, special, particular; indulged, prized, treasured, precious, dearest, adored, darling:

Building the summer-house was Desmond's pet project. Elizabeth's pet pupil is Anne.

--v. 4 caress, fondle, stroke, pat; cuddle, nuzzle, nestle,

snuggle, Colloq neck, smooch or Australian and New Zealand also smoodge or smooge, Chiefly US and Canadian make out: Small children need to be petted a lot. Two teenagers were petting in

the back seat of the car. 5 humour, pamper, favour, baby, coddle, cosset, mollycoddle, cocker, spoil, indulge, dote on: His mother pets him far too much.

petý n. (bad or ill) temper, pique, sulk, (bad) mood, fume, Colloq Brit paddy or paddywhack or paddywack: He's in a terrible pet because they forgot to cancel the milk when they went on holiday.

peter out v. diminish, evaporate, wane, come to nothing or naught or US also nought, die out, disappear, fail, fade (out or away),

dwindle (into nothing), run out, give out, flag, melt away: The path petered out after a mile or so and they realized that they had lost their bearings.

petite adj. delicate, dainty, mignon(ne), diminutive, small, little, slight, tiny, small-boned, Colloq Brit dinky: It was incongruous to see the basketball player with a petite blonde.

petition n. 1 request, application, solicitation, suit, entreaty, supplication, plea, appeal: An anti-pollution petition, signed by thousands of people, was delivered to the Department of the Environment.

--v. 2 request, ask, apply to, apply for, solicit, sue, call upon, entreat, supplicate, plead, appeal (to), appeal (for),

beseech, implore, importune, Rare obsecrate: The shopkeepers petitioned the council for better police protection.

petrified adj. 1 horrified, horror-stricken, terrified, terror-stricken,

panic-stricken, frightened, afraid, paralysed, numbed, benumbed, frozen: The maiden stood petrified as the dragon, breathing

fire, approached. 2 shocked, speechless, dumbfounded or dumfounded, dumbstruck, stunned, thunderstruck, astonished, astounded, confounded, stupefied, appalled, aghast, Colloq flabbergasted: The firemen rescued three petrified children who were huddled in a corner. 3 ossified, fossilized: These were

not stones but the petrified remains of ancient trees.

petrify v. 1 frighten, scare, horrify, terrify, paralyse, numb, benumb: I was petrified by the noise of the explosion. 2 shock,

dumbfound or dumfound, stun, astonish, astound, amaze, confound, disconcert, stupefy, appal, Colloq flabbergast: The sight of so much destruction petrified even hardened reporters. 3 ossify, fossilize, turn to stone: Over thousands of years the desert conditions petrify the wood.

petty adj. 1 insignificant, trivial, paltry, minor, inferior, niggling, trifling, negligible, puny, inessential, non-essential, inconsequential, unimportant, slight, nugatory, of no account, US dinky, Colloq piddling, measly, no great shakes, no big deal, small-time, Brit twopenny-halfpenny or

tuppenny-halfpenny, US and Canadian picayune: He has been convicted only of petty crimes. 2 miserly, mean, mingy, stingy, cheese-paring, grudging, small-minded, cheap, niggardly, parsimonious, tight, tight-fisted, close, close-fisted: It was very petty of you to refuse the beggar a few pence.

petulant adj. peevish, pettish, impatient, ill-humoured, testy, waspish, irascible, choleric, cross, captious, ill-tempered,

bad-tempered, splenetic, moody, sour, bilious, crabby, crabbed, irritable, huffish, huffy, perverse, snappish, crotchety, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, grouchy, grumpy: With a petulant gesture she hurled the rose away.

16.3 phantom...


phantom n. 1 apparition, spectre, ghost, spirit, phantasm, shade, wraith, revenant, vision, Formal eidolon, phantasma, Colloq spook: The so-called phantom of the opera turned out to be a real person. 2 figment (of the imagination), illusion,

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