perfect synonyms

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 10 14:50:29 UTC 2009

Years ago I revived the claim that the two most nearly synonymous words in
English are "gorse" and "furze."  Not only do they designate the same
referent; they are both monosyllabic and even bear a minor phonetic

I can now reveal two comparably synonymous English words. They are
so mundane, however, that no one will be impressed.

The envelope please:

"Flapjack" and "slapjack."

Objection: whereas "gorse" and "furze" have the virtue of always meaning
each other, "slapjack" can also mean "chamberpot."  At least that's what the
late Fred Cassidy told me many years ago.

Gorse/furze, flapjack/slapjack.  I guess it's...a toss-up.


The American Dialect Society -

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