What are the differences between these words?





In English we say 'equivalent word' or 'synonym'. How about in Japan? As I investigated it further, there is called 'quasi-synonyms' (類義語/るいぎご or 類語/るいご) and (同意語 or シノニム).

Here are my research to these words: 類義語 = is a quasi-synonym which are words with similar meaning/ideas, but not interchangable. ( = similar word?)

類語 = is the same with above, only one Kanji difference.

同意語 = is the true synonym with identical meaning/ideas, and interchangable as well.

シノニム = is the English loanword of synonym. (thus, has the same meaning as どういご). ->Is my conclusion correct?

Relating to the questions above, when do we use 類義語, 類語, 同意語, シノニム properly?

If possible please add furigana to the answer and please explain with English as much as possible while pertaining the Japanese equivalent.

Thank you very much!

1 Answer 1


There is a good explanation here:




(1) 同義語 refers to words that have the exact same meaning, but that have a different spelling or pronunciation, such as あす and あした

(2) 類義語, 類語 and シノニム refer to words that have a similar meaning (not exactly the same), such as あがる and のぼる or 遊戯 and ゲーム

(3) Sometimes 同義語 and 類義語 are used interchangeably

Also, to further explain about シノニム:



Another name for 同意語. Very rarely does it include the meaning 類語 (the English term "synonym" however does include the meaning of 類語). Sometimes it is abbreviated as "Syn."

It is not used commonly, however it is used to mean something that is overlapping or conflicting in the classification of organism and information processing. In these areas, it is almost always used to mean 同意語 or alias and does not include the meaning of 類語.

To answer your question:

Is my conclusion correct?

Yes, I believe you pretty much got it right.

Relating to the questions above, when do we use 類義語, 類語, 同意語, シノニム properly?

I believe you already answered this for the most part. 類義語 and 類語 are the same meaning, however I believe 類義語 is the more commonly used.

同意語 and 類義語 can mean the same thing, however as mentioned above, 同意語 should primarily used when the two words have the exact meaning, just different spelling, while 類義語 is used for similar words that cannot be used interchangeably.

シノニム on the other hand is not well known by all Japanese speakers. I would refrain from using it other than in certain circles.


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