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    #1

    Question 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Hello,

    This is with reference to the Occupy Wallstreet protesters in New York being evicted from the park they were occupying.

    After the police cleared the park and it was cleaned, demonstrators were allowed to return but were banned from setting up camp again. Numbers dwindled to less than two dozen overnight on Wednesday.

    "I was dismayed by the number of people who stayed," said Sam DeLily, 23, from the New York borough of Queens. "I was disappointed that more people didn't realize we'd need a show of support last night more than ever."


    Can 'amazed' and 'dismayed' be used interchangeably? I know 'amazed' is generally used to mean 'surprised' or 'astonished', and 'dismayed' is used slightly in a negative sense, to mean 'appalled' or 'disheartened', but 'amazed' and 'dismayed' are also indicated as synonyms. That is why I am asking these questions.

    1. Can 'dismayed' be replaced with 'amazed' without changing the meaning since the next sentence (I was disappointed that ..) clarifies the meaning?

    2. Without the follow-up sentence (beginning with 'I was disappointed that ..'), if 'dismayed' is replaced with 'amazed', would it then mean that Sam was surprised that so many people stayed (rather than so few).

    Thank you
    Last edited by Olympian; 17-Nov-2011 at 08:52. Reason: Changed font to make it readable

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympian View Post
    Can 'amazed' and 'dismayed' be used interchangeably?
    No
    I know 'amazed' is generally used to mean 'surprised' or 'astonished', and 'dismayed' is used slightly in a negative sense, to mean 'appalled' or 'disheartened', but 'amazed' and 'dismayed' are also indicated as synonyms.
    Where did you read this? It is not true.
    5

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    #3

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I know 'amazed' is generally used to mean 'surprised' or 'astonished', and 'dismayed' is used slightly in a negative sense, to mean 'appalled' or 'disheartened', but 'amazed' and 'dismayed' are also indicated as synonyms.
    Where did you read this? It is not true.

    5
    Sorry, perhaps I read it wrong. Here, under 'amazed' it says that 'dismayed' is a 'related word', which is not synonym perhaps because there is a separate section for synonyms and 'dismayed' does not appear in it.

    Here, it says, 'amaze' and 'dismay' are synonyms for 'appall'.


    Thank you

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    #4

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    A thesaurus is a good place to look for alternative words that might be suitable for your purposes, but you need to check in a good dictionary before you actually use one you find. There are very few exact synonyms in English, and 'amaze', 'dismay' and 'appall' are far from synonymous.

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    #5

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Thesauruses have their limitations- many clump words together too readily as synonyms- that list in the second list is a good example of this as it's dumping words together that are far from synonymous; they're strong feeling, but not all the same.

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    #6

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    @5jj and @Tdol, Thank you. So thesauruses are useful for reminding of words that we already know well, not really for suggesting words that can be substituted for a given word. :)

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    #7

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympian View Post
    @5jj and @Tdol, Thank you. So thesauruses are useful for reminding of words that we already know well, not really for suggesting words that can be substituted for a given word. :)
    You can use a thesaurus for suggesting alternative words, but you have to know the meaning of the word you eventually use.
    Some words in a list of synonyms can turn out to be near-antonyms if used in the wrong context.

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    #8

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You can use a thesaurus for suggesting alternative words, but you have to know the meaning of the word you eventually use.
    Some words in a list of synonyms can turn out to be near-antonyms if used in the wrong context.
    @Raymott, thank you. If you can think of an example, could you please give one?

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    #9

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympian View Post
    @Raymott, thank you. If you can think of an example, could you please give one?
    There's a ramshackle collection of 'synonyms' here: amazement - surprise, shock, stupefaction, incredulity, disbelief, speechlessness, awe, wonder, wonderment. Oxford Compact Thesaurus, (3rd ed.) 2005.

    There would be quite a difference if you replaced 'amazement' in the following sentence with some of the words suggested:

    When my boyfriend said that he wanted to become a priest, I gazed at him in amazement.

    A devout church-goer, might gaze at her boyfriend in awe or wonderment.
    A born-again atheist might gaze at him in shock, incredulity or disbelief.

    The reactions would be rather different, and you would have to know the full context of situation before selecting your alternative.


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    #10

    Re: 'amaze' vs 'dismay'

    @5jj, thank you.

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