NOTES ON SYNONYMS 1. (See Note 1 on p. 18.) Synonyms may also differ by the degree or intensity of the phenomenon described or by certain additional implications conveyed by their meanings. E. g. malady describes a more dangerous illness than disease, sometimes a fatal one, whereas ailment mostly refers to a slight disorder. Malady implies a lasting, sometimes a chronic illness, whereas ailment is short and temporary. Illness is the most general word in the group (the synonymic dominant).
2. Synonyms may differ by their stylistic characteristics. E. g. chum is a colloquial synonym of Mend, to fancy sounds less formal than to imagine. To pass away is a bookish synonym of to die. TEXT B. A VISIT TO THE DOCTOR — Well, what's the matter with you, Mr. Walker?
— You'd better ask me what is not the matter with me, doctor. I seem to be suffering from all the illnesses imaginable: insomnia, headaches, backache, indigestion, constipation and pains in the stomach. To make things still worse, I've caught a cold, I've got a sore throat and I'm constantly sneezing and coughing. To crown it all, I had an accident the other day, hurt my right shoulder, leg and knee, and nearly broke my neck. If I take a long walk, I get short of breath. In fact, I feel more dead than alive.
— I'm sorry to hear that. Anyhow, I hope things aren't as bad as you imagine. Let me examine you. Your heart, chest and lungs seem to be all right. Now open your mouth and show me your tongue. Now breathe in deeply, through the nose... There doesn't seem to be anything radically wrong with you, but it's quite clear that you're run down, and if you don't take care of yourself, you may have a nervous breakdown and have to go to hospital. I advise you, first of all, to stop worrying. Take a long rest, have regular meals, keep to a diet of salads and fruit, and very little meat Keep off alcohol. If possible, give up smoking, at least for a time. Have this tonic made up and take two tablespoonfuls three times a day before meals. If you do this, I can promise you full recovery within two or three months.
— And if I don't, doctor?
— Then you'd better make your will, if you haven't yet done so.
— I see. Well, thank you, doctor. 1 shall have to think it over and decide which is the lesser evil: to follow your advice or prepare for a better world.