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The Oxford Thesaurus - An A-Z Dictionary Of Synonyms

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adj. muscular, sinewy, lean, lank, thin and strong, tough and

flexible: He was a stocky and wiry little man, rather like a

short-legged terrier.


n. 1 sagacity, sageness, judgement, discernment, reason,

prudence, judiciousness, (common) sense, insight, penetration,


sapience, understanding, rationality, clear-sightedness,


clear-headedness, perspicacity, perspicuity, percipience,


perception, perceptiveness, intelligence, acuteness, acumen,


astuteness, sharpness, shrewdness, long-headedness: At least


she had the wisdom not to shoot the intruder. Allen's wisdom


stems from long experience in such matters. 2 knowledge,


learning, erudition, lore, scholarship, enlightenment: The


wisdom of the ages is locked away in these books.


adj. 1 sage, sagacious, judicious, reasonable, commonsensical,


prudent, sensible, insightful, sapient, understanding, rational,


sound, clear-sighted, clear-headed, discerning, perspicacious,


perspicuous, percipient, perceptive, intelligent, acute, astute,


sharp, shrewd, crafty, clever, bright, quick-witted, smart,


brilliant, long-headed, Colloq brainy: Among the wisest of men


were Solomon, Confucius, Buddha, and, perhaps, Aristotle. 2


knowledgeable, learned, enlightened, informed, erudite;


(well-)educated, knowing, well-read, well-versed, lettered,


scholarly: We saw to it that they escaped, and the police were


none the wiser. Wise heads prevailed at the college on what


constituted worthwhile research. 3 well-advised, advisable,


judicious, sensible, expedient, reasonable, strategic, tactful,


tactical, prudent, politic, discreet, diplomatic,


well-thought-out, well-considered, proper, fitting, appropriate,


meet: Do you think it wise to punish the child so severely? 4


put wise (to). inform or advise or warn (of or about): If you


must know how he found out, it was Myrna who put him wise. Did


she also put him wise to where the money is hidden? 5 wise to.


aware or knowledgeable or informed of or about, sensitive to, on


to or onto, Colloq in the know about: You are wrong if you


think she isn't wise to your little tricks. Get wise to what's


going on, Man.

--v. 6 wise up (to). become informed or aware (of or about), wake up (to), Colloq get wise (to) or in the know (about): If Cooley doesn't wise up, he'll be in deep trouble. Was it you who

wised Meg up to the fact that Tom no longer cares?

wisecrack n. 1 joke, quip, rejoinder, witticism, pun, barb, jest, gibe or jibe, Colloq gag; dig: Everything is a potential subject for a wisecrack.

--v. 2 joke, quip, pun, gibe or jibe: Get serious and stop wisecracking for a change.

wise guy n. wiseacre, smart alec or aleck, Archaic witling, Colloq know-all or know-it-all, Brit Clever Dick or cleverdick, Slang smarty-pants, smarty, Brit smart-arse, US smart-ass, wisenheimer: There's always some wise guy waiting to make a clever remark.

wish v. 1 desire, want; yearn, crave, long, hope, hanker, have a mind, (have a) fancy, choose, care: I wish you'd go now. If you had Aladdin's lamp, what would you wish for? 2 require, request, demand, order, specify: Did you wish lemon or milk in your tea? 3 foist or force or thrust or impose upon, Colloq fob off on or upon, palm off on: The job of treasurer was wished on me when Jock left.

--n. 4 desire, request, whim, want, craving, longing,

hankering: Your every wish is my command. 5 desire, longing, craving, need, yearning, hankering, passion, keenness, thirst, appetite, hunger, whim, urge, liking, fondness, fancy, preference, predisposition, disposition, inclination, Colloq

yen, Slang itch: She expressed a wish for nightingale tongues, truffles, and champagne.


adj. 1 neither here nor there, undecided, indecisive, irresolute, half-hearted, shilly-shallying, tergiversating, vacillating, uncertain, of or having mixed feelings, of two

minds: Make up your mind and stop being so wishy-washy about everything! 2 feeble, weak, watery, watered down, thin, vapid, flat, bland, runny, diluted, tasteless, insipid, flavourless,

stale: Isabel served me some wishy-washy tea and sent me on my way.


n. shred, scrap, strand, thread, snippet, tuft, lock: The


laboratory matched the wisp of hair found in the victim's hand

with the hair of the suspect.

wistful adj. 1 melancholy, mournful, sad, morose, sorrowful, disconsolate, heartsick, forlorn, woeful, woebegone, desirous, longing, yearning: She gave a last, wistful look at the aeroplane as it rose into the clouds. 2 thoughtful, contemplative, pensive, absent-minded, detached, absorbed, in a


brown study, preoccupied, meditating, meditative, reflective,


ruminating, ruminative, dreamy, dreaming, day-dreaming, musing:


Some might have misinterpreted his wistful gaze at her




n. 1 intelligence, brains, mind, (common) sense, judgement,


understanding, discernment, wisdom, sagacity, insight,


astuteness, cleverness, Slang savvy: He hasn't the wit to know


when he's being insulted. 2 humour, drollery, levity, joking,


repartee, raillery, facetiousness, waggishness, badinage,


repartee, jocularity, wordplay, paronomasia; amusement,


entertainment: Some say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.


3 comedian, comedienne, humorist, comic, wag, joker, farceur,


farceuse, punster, madcap, zany; parodist, satirist,


caricaturist; Colloq pundit, card, character: In the face of


such a devastating remark, even the club wit was struck dumb.


n. 1 sorceress, enchantress, magician, sibyl, pythoness;


warlock: The witches prophesied that Macbeth would be king. 2


hag, fury, battleaxe, crone, gorgon, Medusa, ogress, Xanthippe,


shrew, virago, harridan, fishwife, termagant, Archaic beldam or


beldame, Offensive old bag, bitch: How could you stand living


with the old witch for so many years?

withdraw v. 1 draw back, retract, pull back, recoil, shrink back: He would suddenly withdraw into his cocoon whenever she said the name, 'Elsie'. 2 retract, recall, take back, cancel, rescind,

recant, disavow, disclaim, abjure, void, annul, go back on, back down (on): If she doesn't withdraw that remark, I shall sue her for slander. 3 pull out, extract, remove, Technical retrude:

Afterwards, she withdrew the knife, washed it, and replaced it in the rack. The dentist withdrew the bad tooth. 4 retire, retreat, go, repair: After dinner, we withdrew to the drawing-room for brandy and cigars. 5 leave, depart, go, make (oneself) scarce, absent (oneself), retire: We waited till the servants withdrew before exchanging news about Cora.

withdrawn adj. 1 reserved, detached, distant, standoffish, aloof, shy, diffident, bashful, timid, timorous, introverted, taciturn, reticent, silent, quiet, retiring, shrinking: Why is Henry acting so withdrawn tonight? 2 remote, distant, isolated, solitary, hidden, secluded, private, out-of-the-way, reclusive:

Sarah and Ben have led a withdrawn existence since the children married and moved away.

withering adj. destructive, devastating, death-dealing, murderous, deadly: The enemy laid down a withering barrage of machine-gun fire.

withhold v. 1 hold or keep back, retain, reserve, restrain, control, repress, check, hide, conceal: He could withhold his anger no longer. 2 hold or keep back, deduct, retain, reserve: The company is required to withhold a percentage of wages and salaries for taxes.

withstand v. resist, oppose, stand (up to), face, defy, confront, combat, grapple with, fight (against), cope with, hold out against, weather, suffer, survive, tolerate, take, bear, last through, endure, brave, Colloq Brit stick: Can Brian withstand the pressure of his new job? Our small force withstood the attack for days.

witness n. 1 observer, onlooker, spectator, viewer, eyewitness, bystander, watcher, Rare earwitness: Were you a witness to what took place here? 2 deponent, testifier, corroborating witness, corroborator: The defence will call its witnesses today. 3

bear witness (to or of). testify (to), attest (to), be or give or provide or furnish or constitute evidence or proof or

testimony (of or to), verify, confirm, corroborate, show, prove: The bent poker bears witness to the violence of the attack.

--v. 4 see, observe, watch, look on or at, view, behold, mark, note, notice, take in, Colloq spot, catch: I did witness the way they looked at each other. 5 countersign, sign, certify, endorse, substantiate, document, certificate: Would you mind witnessing our signatures, Miss Cabot? 6 See 3, above.

witticism n. pun, quip, play on words, bon mot, jest, joke, epigram, clever remark, sally, Archaic or literary conceit, Colloq gag,

one-liner: Clive is just as likely to utter a witticism as say something excruciatingly banal.

witty adj. ingenious, subtle, clever, humorous, sarcastic, sardonic, piquant, humorous, comic(al), farcical, ludicrous, facetious, amusing, jocular, waggish, droll, funny: Corbett, not ready with his usual witty riposte, shouted an obscenity at the bus driver.

wizened adj. wrinkled, shrunken, shrivelled (up), withered, gnarled, dried up, wilted, faded, wasted: The wizened old crone is his grandmother.

23.5 woe...



n. trouble, hardship, adversity, misery, anguish, tribulation,


calamity, trial, wretchedness, grief, unhappiness, desolation,


dolour, melancholy, gloom, depression, sadness,


disconsolateness, misfortune, affliction, sorrow, distress: How


much more woe could beset one small family?

woebegone adj. troubled, miserable, anguished, wretched, grief-stricken, unhappy, desolate, doleful, dolorous, melancholy, melancholic, gloomy, mournful, sorrowful, depressed, dejected, sad, glum, crestfallen, chap-fallen, lugubrious, downcast, disconsolate, unfortunate, star-crossed, afflicted, distressed, woeful,

forlorn, downhearted, broken-hearted, heartbroken, disheartened, Slang US bummed out: Timmy has been so woebegone since his puppy was stolen!

woman n. 1 female, lady; girl: Elvira was the first woman to be elected to the board. 2 wife, spouse, bride, lady-love, sweetheart, lady, girl, girlfriend, mistress, concubine, mate, helpmeet, helpmate, partner, Colloq sweetie, better half, little woman, the missis or missus, old lady or woman, ball and chain, Slang trouble and strife: In this scene, Porgy tells Bess that

she is his woman, now and forever. 3 lass, maid, maiden, miss, lassie, Slang gal, dame, bird, skirt, chick, bit of fluff,

broad, piece (of work), number, baggage, moll, popsy: The soldiers went into town to try to find some women for an evening's entertainment. 4 domestic, housekeeper, maid, cleaning

woman or lady, maidservant, chambermaid, handmaiden, abigail, lady-in-waiting, Brit charwoman, Colloq Brit char, daily: They have a woman who comes in every other day.

wonder n. 1 marvel, prodigy, phenomenon, spectacle, rarity, sight, curiosity, miracle, Slang knockout, stunner, mind-blower, mind-boggler, trip: Surely, the wheel must rank high among the wonders of technology. And still he gazed, and still the wonder grew, / That one small head could carry all he knew. 2 awe, astonishment, admiration, amazement, wonderment, surprise, stupefaction, fascination: Facsimile transmission, which used to excite so much wonder, is now used in offices all over the world.

--v. 3 ponder, muse, meditate, think, theorize, conjecture, puzzle, query, question, inquire, be inquisitive, be curious, ask oneself, speculate, cudgel (one's) brains: I wondered if I

would be invited to the dance. Have you ever wondered what makes the world go round? 4 marvel (at), goggle, gawk, gape, stare, be awed, be thunderstruck, be amazed, be astonished: We wondered at the death-defying skills of the trapeze artistes. 5 wonder

about. question or doubt the sanity or reason or reasonableness of: I wondered about Tammy after that streaking episode.


adj. sylvan, forested, bosky, tree-covered, woody, timbered:

We rested and had our lunch in the coolness of a wooded glen.


adj. 1 wood, woody, ligneous, xyloid: The wooden cabinet for

the kitchen is almost finished. 2 stiff, rigid, artificial, clumsy, stilted, unnatural, awkward, ungainly, spiritless, unanimated, dead, lifeless, dry, passionless, unimpassioned,

impassive, vacant, empty, colourless, expressionless, deadpan: The understudy gave a wooden performance as Uncle Vanya. 3 unintelligent, block-headed, stupid, dull, insensitive, slow-witted, dull-witted, obtuse, oafish, doltish, tiny-minded, dim-witted, dunderpated, Colloq thick, wooden-headed,

knuckle-headed: Clancy has some pretty wooden ideas about how to run a business.

woolly adj. 1 fleecy, woollen, wool-bearing, laniferous, lanate or lanose, lanuginose or lanuginous, downy, fuzzy, shaggy, flocculent or floccose, flocky: He was wearing a woolly hat. After two days one test tube contained a woolly precipitate. 2

hazy, fuzzy, unclear, obscure(d), foggy, indistinct, confused, vague, cloudy, clouded, nebulous, ill-defined: My recollection of the event is a bit woolly after all these years.


n. 1 (little) talk, (brief) conversation, chat, discussion,


consultation, dialogue, huddle, parley, tˆte-…-tˆte, chit-chat,


confabulation, conference, interview, Colloq powwow, confab:

Could I have a word with you before you leave for the day? 2 news, intelligence, information, facts, data, report, story, tidings, account, communiqu‚, bulletin, dispatch or despatch,

advice, message, Colloq low-down, Slang info, dope, Brit gen, US poop: Have you had any word about the situation in the Middle East? 3 name, term, designation, locution, appellation, expression, phrase: What is the word for 'write' in Greek? 4 promise, pledge, vow, oath, (solemn) word of honour, undertaking, assurance, warrant, guarantee or guaranty,

warranty: You have my word that I won't mention this to anyone. 5 utterance, expression, declaration, statement: Let me give

you a word of warning, my friend. 6 suggestion, hint, scintilla, bit: I promise that I won't breathe a word of this to anyone. 7 command, order, signal, direction, instruction, Colloq US high sign: I shall not press the red button till you give the word. 8 in a word. succinctly, briefly, in brief, in a

few words, concisely, in short, in summary, in sum, not to mince words, to make a long story short, when all is said and done, in the final analysis, not to beat about the bush, Colloq in a nutshell: His bedside manner was, in a word, menacing. 9 words. a quarrel, dispute, argument, unpleasantness: Paul and Kitty had words and are not on speaking terms. b lyrics, book, libretto, text: Did Irving Berlin write the words as well as

the music to his songs?

--v. 10 put (forth), say, couch, express, phrase, utter, state, term, style, set forth: Had you worded your complaint in politer language, you might have spared yourself a punch in the eye.


n. phraseology, language, phrasing, choice of words, word

choice: From the confused wording of this note I cannot tell

whether you are coming to my party or not.


adj. verbose, prolix, rambling, long-winded; pleonastic,

redundant, garrulous, windy, talkative, loquacious: This


contract is too wordy and could be cut to two pages. Try to make


your replies less wordy.


n. 1 labour, toil, effort, drudgery, travail, exertion,


industry: Few people make it to the top and stay there without


hard work. 2 employment, business, occupation, vocation,


calling, profession, trade, line, m‚tier, career, livelihood,


job, post, position, situation: Does your work as a test pilot


interfere much with your home life? 3 task, function, duty,


assignment, charge, responsibility, chore, commission,


undertaking, stint: When you are finished with that work, clean


out the cellar. 4 feat, achievement, creation, accomplishment,


opus, handiwork, oeuvre, production, composition, piece,


master-work, masterpiece, chef-d'oeuvre, magnum opus, output:


Some of Edwin's recent works have won prizes. 5 in work. in


production, under way, being done, in the works, being planned,


in the planning stage(s): The budget has been approved and the


project is already in work. 6 out of work. unemployed, idle,


jobless, at liberty, between engagements, available, free, Brit


redundant, Colloq Brit on the dole, US on or collecting


unemployment: How long have you been out of work?


--v. 7 labour, toil, exert oneself, sweat, moil, slave (away),


peg away, slog (away): His father worked in the mines from the


age of nine till he died of black-lung disease at forty. 8 till,


plough, farm, cultivate: Would he have been healthier and


longer-lived had he worked the land? 9 have a job, hold (down) a


post or position, earn a living, be employed: His wife works as


a designer in a Parisian fashion house. 10 control, manage,


manipulate, manoeuvre, wield, handle, operate, use, make use of,


utilize, exploit, deal with, bring into play: Are you sure you


know how to work all those dials and buttons? 11 function,


operate, run, go, develop, turn out, Colloq pan out: Are you


sure that the plan is working to your advantage? 12 function,


operate, run, go: The drill works better if you turn on the


power. 13 knead, mould, form, fashion, shape; mix, stir,


incorporate: Work the clay into long, narrow strips. Try to


work the colour in with your fingers.. 14 manoeuvre, manipulate,


guide: See if you can work him over into a corner where you can


grab him. 15 operate, use, employ, put to (good or effective)


use, wield, manipulate, ply, apply, exploit: Tanya must have


worked her magic on Eustace to make him that docile. 16 bring


about, effect, accomplish, carry out or off, make, produce,

achieve, engender, beget, create, do, put through, execute, fulfil, effectuate, implement, realize: I doubt that the new sports centre will work many changes in the area. 17 work in. find time or space for, include, insert, introduce, fit in, squeeze in, accommodate: I'll try and work in your comments when I write up my report. 18 work on. wheedle, coax, importune, press, Brit pressurize, US pressure; influence, persuade, act on, prevail upon, induce, dispose, urge: Keep working on him to try to change his mind. 19 work out. a exercise, do callisthenics, do aerobics, warm up, do setting-up exercises, do (one's) daily dozen, jog, lift weights, train,

drill: I try to work out for an hour every day. b Often, work out at or to. equal, total (up to), result in, amount to, come to: Let's see - that works out at one car for every 4.7 people.

c clear up, resolve, solve, Slang Brit and New Zealand suss out: Thaddeus is old enough to work out his own problems. Can they work out their differences? d evolve, develop, succeed, prosper, come out all right, prove satisfactory, go well, be effective, Colloq pan out: How can you be so sure that everything will work out? e formulate, work up, contrive, draw up, detail,

plan, develop, devise, put together, elaborate, expand, enlarge (on): The captain worked out a way for them to escape. 20 work up. a excite, make excited, agitate, inflame, enkindle, arouse, rouse, stir, move, animate, incite, spur, Colloq fire (up), get (someone) (all) steamed or hopped or het up: Those fire-and-brimstone preachers used to get the people all worked up. b prepare, (make or get) ready, whip into shape, develop, come up with, write up, put together, produce, turn out: Can you work up that proposal in time for Monday's meeting? c advance, ascend, rise, move up or ahead or on: In no time at

all, Greg worked his way up from assembler to foreman. d See 19 (e), above.

worker n. labourer, working man or woman, workman, hand, employee, artisan, craftsman, tradesman, white-collar worker, blue-collar worker, proletarian, breadwinner, wage-earner: It seems

unlikely that the workers would strike for longer hours and less pay.


n. handicraft, craft, craftsmanship, artistry, art, technique, handiwork, skill, skilfulness, mastery, US artisanship: One cannot help but admire the workmanship in those marquetry


works n.pl. 1 plant, factory, workshop, shop, mill: We were taken on a tour of the works to see how the marble is carved. 2 mechanism, machinery, workings, (moving or working) parts; clockwork, Colloq innards, insides, Slang guts: We once had a clock with all the works exposed. 3 the works. a everything,

the lot, Colloq the whole kit and caboodle, the whole shooting match, everything but the kitchen sink, Chiefly US and Canadian the whole shebang: We ordered two hamburgers with the works. b a thrashing, a beating, a drubbing, a battering, a flogging, a lambasting: When he refused to tell them where the money was hidden, they gave him the works.

world n. 1 earth, planet, sphere, globe, Terra; universe, cosmos, existence, creation, life: Do you believe the world is round? Buckland lives in his own, private world. 2 humanity, mankind, people, the human race, society, the public, men, humankind, everybody, everyone, the world at large: We know what he thinks of the world, but what does the world think of him? 3 area, sphere, domain, community, clique, crowd, circle, fraternity, faction, set, coterie: What value does the art world place on Longchamps' paintings? 4 period, time, age, era, epoch,

time(s): They have produced an excellent series of programmes on the ancient world. 5 bring into the world. a deliver, have, give birth to, beget, Rare or dialect birth: Grandmother brought sixteen children into the world. b deliver, midwife: The town family doctor brought hundreds of children into the world in his long career. 6 for all the world. precisely,

exactly, in all respects, in every respect, in every way, just:

He behaved for all the world like a man possessed by the devil. 7 on top of the world. ecstatic, delighted, elated, happy, exultant, overjoyed, rapturous, Brit in the seventh heaven, US in seventh heaven, Colloq on cloud nine, Brit over the moon: George has been on top of the world ever since Prudence agreed to marry him. 8 out of this world. marvellous, wonderful, exceptional, unbelievable, incredible, excellent, superb, Colloq great, smashing, fantastic, fabulous, Slang out of sight,

far-out, Brit magic, US to the max: The place we stayed at Ibiza was out of this world!

worldly adv. 1 mundane, earthly, terrestrial, temporal, physical, carnal, fleshly, corporeal, human; lay, non-spiritual,

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