Interested in Language
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).
Last edited by Olympian; 17-Nov-2011 at 07:52. Reason: Changed font to make it readable
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.
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.
@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. :)
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.
@5jj, thank you.