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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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are done. 30 stereotyped, trite, hackneyed, routine, standard, traditional, unchanged, unvaried, invariable: He made his set welcoming speech, as usual dripping with condescension, to the incoming classes. 31 prepared, ready, fit, primed: Are you all set to go?

set-back n. hindrance, hitch, check, reverse, reversal, impediment, block, obstruction, defeat, hold-up, delay, check, rebuff, upset; relapse; Colloq hiccup: The reduction in arts funding has resulted in some severe set-backs in certain programmes. Derek has suffered a set-back and will remain in hospital for a while.

setting n. mounting, scenery, background, backdrop, locale, location, surroundings, habitat, home, environs, environment, milieu, frame, context, site, placement; stage set or setting, mise en scŠne, scene: It is quite interesting to see how the animals

live in their natural setting. The setting of Hardy's novels is in the West Country.

settle v. 1 arrange, order, dispose, organize, straighten out, put in or into order, compose, sort out, classify, coordinate, resolve, set to rights, reconcile: Ben settled his affairs before undergoing surgery. 2 Often, settle on or upon. fix (on), decide (on), establish, appoint, set, confirm, affirm, conclude, make sure or certain (of), determine, agree (upon or on), pick, choose, select: Have you been able to settle on a suitable time

to visit Max and Maddy? 3 decide, reconcile, resolve, put an end to, conclude, clear up, patch up, adjust, negotiate, mediate:

We have settled our differences. 4 Often, settle down. take up residence, go or come or move to, dwell, reside, make one's home, abide, remain, stay, live, set up home or house,put down roots, locate, inhabit, US set up housekeeping, locate: They have decided to settle in Australia after George retires. 5 Sometimes, settle down. light, alight, land, come down, put down, set down, (come to) rest or (roost), descend, perch: The butterfly settled on the tip of Alice's nose. 6 populate,

people, colonize, pioneer: That part of the country wasn't settled till late in the 19th century. 7 Usually, settle down.

calm down, subside, quiet down, be or become tranquil, Chiefly Brit quieten (down): The class settled down and we began the lesson. I must settle down and get back to work. 8 calm, quiet, soothe, tranquillize, relax, Chiefly Brit quieten: He drank

some camomile tea to settle his nerves. 9 subside, sink, decline, fall: A great crack appeared in the wall when the house settled a bit. 10 Often, settle up. pay, square, dispose of, clear, balance, liquidate, discharge: If you settle the bill, we can leave. 11 Often, settle out. gravitate, sink,

fall, precipitate (out): Stop shaking the container and let the sand settle to the bottom. 12 clarify, clear: After about an hour, the particles will start to settle.



n. 1 colony, outpost, post, camp, community, encampment,


village, hamlet: The first colonists established a small


settlement on the bank of the river. 2 colonization, settling,


populating, settling: The settlement of the valley was mainly


by Scandinavians. 3 agreement, rapprochement, resolution,


adjustment, elimination, reconciliation, working-out,


accommodation, arbitration, arrangement: Settlement of the


dispute was supervised by a union representative. 4 payment,


defrayal, discharge, liquidation, satisfaction, settling,


quittance, clearing, clearance: The settlement of our debts is


of paramount importance. 5 deciding, settling, setting,


decision, conclusion, confirmation, affirmation, establishment,


stabilization, determination, agreement, choice, selection: The


only thing on his mind was the settlement of their holiday


destination - should it be France or Thailand?


n. colonist, frontiersman, frontierswoman, pioneer, immigrant:


The early settlers cleared the land for farming.


n. 1 arrangement, system, organization, layout, regime,


structure, make-up, composition, framework, frame, construction;


conditions, circumstances: This set-up of interlocking


directorships makes it difficult to see who answers to whom and


who owns what. What, exactly, is the set-up between you and


Eustace? 2 prearrangement, trap, Slang put-up job: As soon as I


saw the police car, I knew we had walked into a set-up.


v. 1 cut off or apart or in two, lop or chop or hew or hack


off, slice or shear off, cleave, dock, bob, dissever, split,


separate, divide, disjoin, detach, disconnect: The animal's


foot was severed by the trap. 2 separate, disunite, dissolve,


break off or up, terminate, end, cease, stop, discontinue,


suspend, abandon, put an end to: The final divorce decree

severed us from one another once and for all.


adj. 1 some, a few, not too or very many, a handful or a

sprinkling or a number of: Several people asked for you at the

party last night. 2 various, sundry, a variety of, diverse,

divers, different, respective, individual, distinct, disparate,

particular, certain, specific, discrete, dissimilar: There are

several stages one must go through before reaching the end.


adj. 1 strict, harsh, rigorous, austere, hard, stony,

stony-hearted, hard-hearted, flinty, inexorable, iron-handed, oppressive, unbending, rigid, uncompromising, relentless, unyielding, obdurate, pitiless, punitive, merciless, unsympathetic, unfeeling, cruel, brutal, mean, savage, inhuman, beastly, ruthless, despotic, dictatorial, tyrannical,

autocratic, demanding, exacting, painstaking, fastidious, exigent, taxing: Nicholas Nickleby was subjected to extremely severe treatment at Dotheboys Hall. Mr Bradshaw was a severe taskmaster. 2 stern, forbidding, dour, glowering, grave, grim, stiff, strait-laced, serious, unsmiling, sober, cold, frigid,

aloof, austere: If he so much as dropped a spoon the master would give Nicholas a severe look. 3 dangerous, critical, dreadful, awful, life-threatening, acute, dire; mortal, fatal, terminal: She has had a severe attack of the flu. 4 stringent, punitive, harsh, punishing, burdensome, tough, onerous, grievous, painful, Draconian or Draconic: There are severe penalties for breaking the parking laws in this city. 5 harsh, bitter, cold, inclement, keen, violent, stormy, intense, turbulent, fierce, wicked: Granny couldn't live through another severe winter at Fort William. 6 stark, bare, plain, austere, Spartan, ascetic, primitive, simple, sparse, spare, monastic, modest, unadorned, unembellished, crude, undecorated, unembroidered: The severe d‚cor in the servants' quarters gave the appearance of a prison.

severely adv. 1 acutely, seriously, badly, dangerously, dreadfully; permanently, fully, entirely: The accident left him severely handicapped. 2 strictly, harshly, rigorously, austerely, oppressively, relentlessly, mercilessly, cruelly, brutally, savagely, inhumanly, tyrannically: The boys were severely maltreated at the school. 3 sternly, forbiddingly, dourly, gloweringly, gravely, seriously, grimly, unsmilingly, soberly, coldly, coolly, austerely: Mrs Gladwin regarded me severely

over the top of her pince-nez. 4 stringently, punitively, harshly, onerously, grievously, painfully: One is punished severely for the slightest infraction of the law. 5 dangerously, acutely, critically, dreadfully, awfully; mortally, fatally, terminally: I am afraid to say that your mother is severely ill. 6 starkly, plainly, barely, modestly, austerely, ascetically, monastically, primitively, simply, crudely, sparsely, sparely: The room is furnished a bit severely for my taste.

severity n. 1 strictness, harshness, rigour, rigorousness, austerity, hardness, flintiness, inexorability, inexorableness, stringency, oppression, oppressiveness, rigidity, inflexibility, relentlessness, obduracy, obdurateness, pitilessness, mercilessness, cold-bloodedness, abusiveness, cruelty, brutality, meanness, savagery, inhumanity, beastliness, ruthlessness, despotism, tyranny, fastidiousness, exigency: The severity of the discipline was almost unbearable. 2 coldness, aloofness, sternness, gravity, grimness, frigidity, austerity, solemnity: The severity of his look froze me to the spot. 3 dangerousness, acuteness, seriousness, gravity, ferocity, fierceness, virulence, violence, intensity: The severity of the fits has diminished since we put the patient on new medication. 4 stringency, punitiveness, punishment, harshness, onerousness,

grievousness, painfulness, burdensomeness, oppressiveness: The severity of the sentence is not inappropriate to the heinousness of the crime. 5 harshness, inclemency, violence, storminess, intensity, ferocity, fierceness, fury, furiousness, tempestuousness: The severity of the weather has interfered with our maintenance of the electrical power lines. 6 plainness, starkness, austerity, asceticism, bareness, modesty, simplicity, primitiveness, spareness, sparseness, monasticism, crudeness: The severity of the cells at the monastery was equalled by the austerity of the regimen.


v. sew up, stitch, darn, mend, repair; sew on, attach, fasten;


tack, baste, hem: Would you sew up a hole in my sweater for me


and, while you're at it, would you mind sewing a button on my




n. 1 gender: It is difficult to determine the sex of some of


the lower animals. 2 sexual intercourse or relations, coitus,


coition, mating, copulation, (sexual) congress or union,

intimacy, lovemaking, making love, coupling, Colloq making out, going to bed, shacking up, Slang having it away, Taboo slang screwing, shafting, shagging, fucking, Chiefly Brit bonking: They feel that there is too much sex and violence on television these days.

sexual adj. 1 sex, reproductive, genital, procreative or procreant,


sex, progenitive, propagative: Their current project is an


investigation of sexual behaviour in young adults. 2 sensual,


sensuous, erotic, carnal, fleshly, voluptuous, libidinous,


earthy, bodily, physical, lustful, animal, Colloq sexy: They


have a deep sexual attraction to one another.


adj. 1 erotic, arousing, exciting, sensual, sensuous,


seductive, suggestive, provocative, inviting, alluring, bedroom,


flirtatious, appealing, fascinating, striking, tempting,


captivating, enchanting, stunning, Colloq come-hither: She


thought he had a sexy smile. 2 sex, dirty, pornographic,


obscene, filthy, smutty, lewd, foul, lascivious, indecent,


explicit, gross, X-rated, vulgar, rude, coarse, off colour,


risqu‚, titillating, bawdy, ribald, lusty, immodest, rough,


indelicate, suggestive, unseemly, improper, indecorous, naughty,


shameless, Slang raunchy: They sat there leering over a sexy



19.4 shabby...


shabby adj. 1 worn, dingy, faded, worn out, threadbare, tatty, tattered, frayed, raggedy, ragged, scruffy, dilapidated, ratty, dirty, bedraggled, mangy, run-down, seedy, (much) the worse for wear, Brit down at heel, US down at the heel(s), Colloq grubby, scrubby, gungy, tacky, US grungy: He was wearing a shabby suit and down-at-heel shoes. 2 poor, peremptory, unpleasant, nasty, disagreeable, mean, contemptuous, demeaning, grudging, ungenerous, impolite, rude, unfriendly, unhelpful, shoddy, ungentlemanly, unladylike, dishonourable, unworthy, scurvy, Colloq rotten: We were subjected to very shabby treatment at the office where we applied for work. 3 dilapidated, tumbledown, broken-down, shattered, battered, run-down, ramshackle, seedy, neglected, dirty, squalid, slum-like, slummy, Colloq beat-up, crummy: Sam lives in a shabby little house near the canal. 4

mean, stingy, ungenerous, niggardly, contemptible, low, lowly, base, mean-spirited, despicable, vile, uncouth, discreditable, inferior, disreputable, infamous, abominable, dishonourable, ignoble, atrocious, ignominious, odious, detestable, opprobrious: The shabby apology for their behaviour fell on deaf ears.


n. hut, hovel, shanty, cabin, lean-to, Colloq dump: The shack

was built out of scrap lumber and cardboard boxes.


n. 1 Often, shackles. fetter(s), leg-iron(s), chains, iron(s),

bilboes, gyve(s), ball and chain, manacle(s), handcuff(s), restraint(s), bond(s), trammel(s), Colloq cuff(s), Slang bracelet(s), Brit darbies: When those shackles went round his ankles, he thought he'd never see them taken off. 2 Usually, shackles. restriction, restraint, deterrent, impediment, check, obstacle, obstruction, barrier, hindrance, bar, encumbrance: When shall we throw off the shackles of ignorant prejudice and see a truly free world?

--v. 3 chain, fetter, manacle, handcuff, bind, restrain, tie, secure, truss, pinion, tether: He was shackled to the mast and whipped for disobedience. In this glorious spring weather I resent being shackled to a desk. 4 restrain, hold back, check, deter, hinder, discourage, hobble, handicap, restrict, curb, rein, bridle, control, fetter, inhibit, limit: Freedom of expression has been shackled during all those years of oppression.

shade n. 1 shadow, shadiness, dimness, duskiness, semi-darkness, gloominess, murkiness, dusk, gloom, murk, darkness, obscurity, Literary shades: We rested in the shade of an old oak to get

out of the hot sun. 2 tint, tinge, tone, colour, hue,

intensity: The curtains should be of a lighter shade to match the wallpaper. 3 hint, intimation, tinge, suggestion, modicum, sprinkling, soup‡on, trace, suspicion, undertone, overtone, touch, speck, dash, nuance, atom, grain, scintilla, iota, jot or tittle: Did I detect a shade of sarcasm in your voice, Aloysius? 4 ghost, spectre, apparition, phantom, phantasm, spirit, wraith, vision, banshee, Colloq spook: As night came on, horrifying shades took shape amongst the leafless trees. 5

blind, window-blind, curtain, venetian blind; lampshade; screen, cover, covering, protection, veil, awning, canopy, shield,

shelter, umbrella, parasol: We need shades to reduce the glare of the light. We had only a light tent as a shade against the broiling sun. 6 fraction, hair's breadth, bit, hair, Colloq smidgen or smidgin: Try moving the picture a shade to the left. 7 variation, variety, nuance, degree: Do you really think his

approval would make a shade of difference to me? 8 put (someone) in or into the shade. overshadow, exceed, surpass, outstrip, outclass, eclipse, outshine, best, better, beat, put to shame,

outplay, outperform, outdo, Colloq run rings or circles around, show up: Your record time in the 1000-metre put other contenders in the shade. 9 shades. sun-glasses: Take off those shades so I can see what you are thinking.

--v. 10 screen, protect, shield, shelter, cover: You should shade your eyes from the direct sunlight. 11 darken, opaque, black out, blacken: She shaded in parts of the diagram to give a better effect. 12 dim, shadow, veil, blot out, cloud,

conceal, hide, obscure, shroud, screen, mask, camouflage, disguise: The house is shaded from view by trees on the south side.

shadow n. 1 darkness, gloom, dimness, dusk, obscurity: In the shadow I could make out the dim outline of a figure. 2 cover, screen, covering, shield, veil, curtain, protection, concealment: He

stole past the sentry under the shadow of darkness. 3 hint, intimation, suggestion, suspicion, trace, vestige; remnant: I do not have the slightest shadow of doubt that she is telling the truth. Martin is merely a shadow of his former robust self. 4 cloud, blight, curse: A terrible shadow has fallen upon the family name. 5 See shade, 4, above. 6 companion, alter ego,

comrade, Colloq sidekick, crony, chum, (bosom) pal, US (bosom) buddy: Boswell was Johnson's shadow for almost twenty years.

--v. 7 follow, trail, track, dog, stalk, pursue, trace, Colloq

tail, US and Canadian bird-dog: For a month detectives shadowed the suspect.

shadowy adj. 1 dark, shady, bowery, leafy, shaded, gloomy, dusky, dim, Literary bosky: The hotel bar was a shadowy place with pink lights on the tables. 2 vague, dim, dark, obscure, faint,

indistinct, indefinite, hazy, ill-defined, unclear, indeterminate: The photograph was too shadowy for us to identify anyone in it. The years before he came to London are

part of his shadowy past. 3 spectral, ghostly, phantom, phantasmal, wraithlike, phantasmagoric(al), illusory, dreamlike, imaginary, visionary, chimerical, hallucinatory, unreal, unsubstantial, fleeting, impalpable, transitory, ethereal, immaterial: He saw shadowy figures lurking near the tomb. The plaintiff's case is shadowy, to say the least. 4 See shady, 2, below.

shady adj. 1 See shadowy, 1, above. 2 indistinct, indefinite, questionable, doubtful, uncertain, unreliable, suspicious, suspect, dubious, shifty, disreputable; devious, tricky,

slippery, underhand(ed), unethical, unscrupulous, dishonourable, dishonest, Colloq fishy, crooked, bent, not (strictly) kosher:

The minister's shady past will be revealed in the next issue of Tribune . She got involved with some shady character who had just come out of prison.

shaft n. 1 pole, rod, staff, stick, stem, shank, handle, helve; pillar, column, post, stanchion, upright: The shaft of the

harpoon splintered as the whale suddenly plunged downwards. These shafts help support the upper storey. 2 beam, ray, gleam, streak, pencil: At exactly noon on the winter solstice a shaft of light struck the altar at the centre of the stone circle. 3 thrust, barb, sting, dart, gibe or jibe, barb, Colloq slap (in

the face), knock, put-down: After the episode in the restaurant, Barbara had to suffer the shafts of her colleagues and their teasing. 4 mine-shaft, tunnel, adit, well, pit;

air-shaft, duct, flue: How many men went down the shaft in the first shift? The screen over the ventilating shaft must be kept clean.


adj. hairy, woolly, unkempt, unshorn, uncut, hirsute,

dishevelled, matted, untidy: They had a large black dog with

shaggy hair and a great bushy tail.


v. 1 quiver, quake, shudder, waver, wobble, tremble, shiver:

The poor child is shaking from the cold. 2 wiggle, wriggle, squirm, shimmy, twitch, joggle, jiggle, waggle, sway, swing, roll, bump, grind, vibrate, oscillate, pulsate, gyrate: When Lola shakes her hips the strongest men have been known to

weaken. 3 weaken, undermined, impair, harm, damage, discourage; disenchant, disappoint, disaffect: The incident shook my faith

in the political party I had supported all my voting life. 4

wave, brandish, flourish, display, show off, parade, exhibit, vaunt, waggle, flap, flutter: It was thrilling to see the once-banned flag being shaken under the noses of the deposed leaders. 5 Often, shake up. agitate, stir (up), mix (up); upset, distress, frighten, scare, shock, disturb, unnerve, unsettle, disconcert, discomfit, worry, fluster, disquiet, confound, confuse, perplex, puzzle, Colloq rattle, get to, US throw (for a loop): Shake the medicine before taking it. I was really shaken by the news that Sheila had quit. 6 shake down. a break in, condition, test, prove, Colloq debug: We shook down the submarine on a 30-day cruise. b blackmail, extort or extract or squeeze or wrest money from, hold up, squeeze, threaten: The shopkeepers were so frightened that the gang easily shook them down. 7 shake off. get rid of, discard, dislodge, drop, brush

off, elude, evade, lose, throw off, rid oneself of, give the slip to: We finally shook off our pursuers: at last we felt safe.

--n. 8 shaking, quivering, quaking, shuddering, wavering, wobbling, trembling, shivering, quiver, quake, shudder, waver, wobble, tremble, shiver, wiggle, wriggle, twitch, joggle, jiggle, sway, swing, roll, gyration: The dog gave a shake of its tail and bounded towards them. 9 agitating, agitation, shaking, stirring (up), jolt, jar, jarring, jounce, jolting, jouncing: Give him a good shake and he'll wake up. 10 the shakes. trembling, tremors, delirium tremens, Colloq D.T.'s: She's had so much to drink that she's got the shakes.

shake-up n. reorganization, rearrangement, overhaul, revamp, restructuring, rehabilitation, make-over, realignment: With new owners you can expect a complete shake-up of top management.

shaky adj. 1 uncertain, wobbly, unstable, precarious, unsound, flimsy, weak, unsteady, unsupported, unsubstantiated, undependable, unreliable, tenuous, untrustworthy, dubious, questionable, doubtful, Colloq iffy: The evidence against him is very shaky indeed. 2 wobbly, wobbling, unstable, precarious, dilapidated, ramshackle, on its last legs, decrepit, falling

down or apart, rickety, flimsy, unsteady, insecure, unsound, unsubstantial, insubstantial, feeble: Surely, you can't expect that shaky old chair to support your weight!

shallow adj. 1 surface, skin-deep, superficial, thin, empty, flimsy,


trivial, unimportant, slight, frivolous, idle, foolish: If you


read only comic books, your thoughts are bound to be shallow. 2


Often, shallows. shoal(s), sand bar, sandbank, bank, shelf:


This boat draws too much water to go fishing in the shallows.


n. 1 fake, fraud, counterfeit, imitation, hoax, humbug,


pretence, forgery, copy, imposture, Colloq phoney or US also


phony: Their call for reform is a sham, as they have no


intention of disturbing the status quo.


--adj. 2 fake, fraudulent, counterfeit, imitation, paste,


simulated, false, make-believe, fictitious, made-up, bogus,


spurious, mock, ersatz, artificial, synthetic, Colloq phoney or


US also phony, pseudo: He sat there feigning interest, a sham


smile on his face.

shambles n. chaos, devastation, mess, disaster, Augean stables, pigsty, muddle, pigpen: I can't find anything in this shambles. The campaign degenerated into a complete shambles.

shambling adj. shuffling, lumbering, dragging, scuttling, awkward, clumsy, lurching, unsteady, faltering: The old beggar hobbled off with a shambling gait.

shame n. 1 embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, chagrin, ignominy, shamefacedness, loss of face, abashment: Watts felt abysmal shame at being discovered stealing from petty cash. 2 disgrace, ignominy, dishonour, disrepute, degradation, opprobrium, vilification, calumniation, infamy, obloquy, odium, contempt, scandal, denigration, loss of face, defamation, discredit, disesteem, disfavour, derogation, disparagement: To think that one knight's single act of cowardice in 1249 could have brought such shame to all his descendants. 3 pity, calamity, disaster, catastrophe; outrage: What a shame that Gerry failed the exam! 4 humility, modesty, (sense of) decency or decorum or propriety, respectability, decorousness, diffidence, shyness, coyness, prudishness, timidity, shamefacedness: The people who wear bathing suits like that obviously have no shame at all. 5 put to shame. a surpass, eclipse, outclass, overshadow, cast into the shade, outdo, outstrip, outshine, show up: Cochrane put his opponents to shame when they failed to score a single point against him. b See 8, below.

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