Vocabulary: Synonyms

A difficult thing in Nepali are the words which mean the same but have different meanings. Such synonyms are called पर्यायवाची शब्द in Nepali. Let’s look at some common synonyms in Nepali.

अति (ati): too much

Synonyms: धेरै (dherai), असाध्यै, (asadhyai), बढी (badhi) निकै (nikai), ज्यादै (jyadai)

These have their own uses, which I’ll explain later.

आमा (ama): mother

Synonyms: जननी (janani), मुमा (muma), माता (mata)

Janani is rare, while mata sounds ‘divine’. Muma is usually said by children. 

आँखा (akha): eye

Synonyms: चक्षु (chaxu), नेत्र (netra), नयन (nayan), लोचन (lochan)

Chaxu is rare, netra is kind of common. Nayan actually means pupils. As of lochan, I haven’t seen it other than archaic writings. 

ईश्वर (ishwar): god; almighty

Synonyms: देव (dev), देवता (dewataa), भगवान् (bhagwan), परमेश्वर (parmeshwar)

These all are common, with bhagwan being the most common. All can be interchanged with each other. Parmeshwar isn’t as common.

इच्छा (icchaa): wish; hope; wants; desire

Synonyms: चाहना (chaahanaa), आकाङ्क्षा (aakangchya), कामना (kamana)

Chahana means ‘one’s desire’. Aakangchya means ‘one’s wish or hope’ while ‘kamana’ means wish. Aakaangchya is not so common but used a lot in technical writings.

उपहार (upahaar): present; reward; gift

Synonyms: कोसेली (koseli), सौगात (saugat), इनाम (inaam)

Koseli means ‘a type of gift you give as goodwill’. Inaam means ‘reward’.

ऋषि (rishi): sage; holy person; saint

Synonyms: मुनि (muni), योगी (yogi)

They can be interchanged with each other.

एकान्त (ekaanta): a silent place; silent

Synonyms: सुनसान (sunsan), निर्जन (nirjan)

खुट्टा (khutta): foot; leg; feet

Synonyms: पाउ (pau), गोडा (godaa)

Goda means ‘knees’.

गरिमा (garimaa): importance

Synonyms: महत्त्व (mahatwa), महिमा (mahima), गौरव (gaurav)

These sound like technical words, so it is best to go with Mahatwa.

घर (ghar): house; home; residence

Synonyms: आवास (aawass), निवास (niwas), गृह (griha), भवन (bhawan), सदन (sadan), निकेतन (niketan)

Niwas, griha, bhawan, sadan and niketan are usually conjoined with names. If you mean house, then it’s best to go with ‘ghar’.

चन्द्रमा (chandrama): Moon

Synonyms: चन्द्र (chandra), शशी (shashi), इन्दु (indu), सोम (som), जून (jun)

Common synonyms are chandra and jun. Others are not so common.

ठाउँ (thau): place; location

Synonyms: स्थल (sthal), स्थान (sthan), थलो (thalo)

Can be interchanged with each other. Thau is more common.

ताल (taal): lake

Synonyms: पोखरी (pokhari), तलाउ (talaau), दह (daha), सर (sar)

Interchangeable words. Pokhari is also common.

थोरै (thorai): less; little

Synonyms: कम (kam), कम्ती (kamti), न्यून (nyuun)

Interchangeable words. Nyuun isin’t common. It sounds old.

धन (dhan): assets; wealth

Synonyms: सम्पति (sampati), वित्त (witta), ऐश्वर्य (aishwarya)

Bitta and aishwarya are not common. It is preferable to say but dhan or sampati.

नयाँ (naya): new

Synonyms: नौलो (naulo), नव (nawa)

Naya is often joined with naulo when asking of anything new. 

पहाड (pahaad): hill

Synonyms: पर्वत (parwat), शिखर (shikhar), गिरि (giri)

Pahaad is the most common word here. Shikhar sounds ‘divine’ while parwat is technical.

पिता (pita): father

Synonyms: बुबा (buba), बा (ba), बाबा (baba), बाउ (bau)

Interchangeable words. ‘Bau’ is considered rude.

फूल (phul): flower

Synonyms: पुष्प (pushpa), सुमन (suman), कुसुम (kusum), प्रसून (prasun)

Phul is common while pushpa is considered okay to use. 

बल (bal): strength; power

Synonyms: शक्ति (shakti), क्षमता (chyamata), ताकत (taakat)

Chyamataa means ‘potential’. Shakti, bal and taakat are used equally, so they are interchangeable. 

मान्छे (manche): person; people; human being

Synonyms: मानिस (maanis), मानव (manav), मनुष्य (manushya), जान (jan)

Now, manis and manche have the same meaning. Manav means ‘human’ or ‘human-like’. Manushya means ‘human being’ while jaan  means ‘living body’.

वन (ban): forest; woods; jungle 

Synonyms: अरण्य (aranya), जंगल (jangal) कानन (kaanan)

Jangal is common while the other two sound old.

सूर्य (surya): Sun

Synonyms: रवि (rawi), भानु (bhanu), दिवाकर (diwaakar), दिनकर (dinkar), दिनेश (dinesh), घाम (gham)

Other than gham, the rest sound very technical and ‘divine’. It is suggested that when referring the Sun, it is better to use gham or surya.

हात (haat): Hand

Synonyms: हस्त (hasta), कर (kar)

Haat is common. Hasta sounds old while kar, well, is rare.

Please note that there are more synonyms. The list would be very long, so I haven’t written others. Hope this list helps. If you are confused where to use what, or on any word, or need any help, you can ask me for help!

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