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a word similar to another in sound; the partial coincidence in outward form occurs simply by chance and is not conditioned by semantic or word-formation processes. Examples are seen in the Russian vremia (“time”) and bremia (“burden”) and apellirovat’ (“to appeal”) and operirovat’ (“to operate”).

Some scholars regard as paronyms words with the same root that are similar in structure or sound and are the same part of speech or have common grammatical features. Because of the partial coincidence in sound, there may be an outward change in one of the words, usually the one less used; this is known in linguistics as false etymology. Sometimes a chance coincidence in sound leads to changes that become fixed in language. For example, svidetel’ (“witness”) was connected in Old Russian not with the root vid- (meaning “to see”) but with věd-, a root appearing in vedat’ (“to know”) and svedushchii (“knowledgeable”).

Paronyms may be misused by a speaker, as when stupen’ nogi is used instead of stupnia nogi to refer to the sole of the foot, the confusion arising from the similarity in sound between the Russian words for “stairstep” (or “level”) and “sole.” Paronyms are used in poetry (including rhymes) and also in puns.


Gvozdev, A. N. Ocherki po stilistike russkogo iazyka, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1955.
Bel’chikov, Iu. A., and M. S. Paniusheva. Trudnye sluchai upotrebleniia odnokorennykh slov russkogo iazyka: Slovar’-spravochnik. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
There were breaks of approximately 5 seconds in duration between the acoustic representations of pairs of the paronym words (Experiment 1, Subtest 1) and between sentences (Experiment 1, Subtest 2) that also included paronym words.
The sum of the errors in two categories (PTEW and PTES) indicated that the participants with visual impairments performed more accurately in recognizing paronym words in both tests (M = 5.
In addition, the sighted participants made more errors during the discrimination of paronym words, as well as during the discrimination of sentences that included paronym words.
05) on the test with pairs of the paronym words (Experiment 1, Subtest 1) and significantly more PTES in the test with sentences (Experiment 1, Subtest 2) in Categories D (t = 2.
Specifically, the sighted participants had difficulty identifying and rendering the pairs of paronym words (PTEW--Experiment 1, Subtest 1) but did not experience the same difficulty on the sentence-discrimination test (PTES--Experiment 1, Subtest 2).
As we mentioned in the Method section (see also Table 1), Category G refers to the omission of the paronym word or to a substitution of the paronym word with another, whereas Category F refers to a combination of errors.
Such data will yield a better understanding of the role of special linguistic patterns, such as paronym words, when they are rendered by synthetic speech.
The text included 304 words, 36 of which were paronyms.