Finding a synonym for a word is a common task in cryptic clues. It is often a short three- or four-letter word. Like the abbreviation examples, the synonym is often used in the same letter order. It is usually included as part of an anagram. Synonyms



Activity – SPORT

Advantage – EDGE

Affection – LOVE

Afters – DESSERT

Always – EVER

And not – NOR

Arctic – COLD

Aristo – TOFF (as in aristocrats)


As one – UNITED

Assume– DON (as in dress, put on)

At home – IN

Auction – SELL

Away – OUT (as in away from home)



Bank – TIER

Batting – IN (as in cricket)

Battle – WAR

Became – GOT

Big – FAT

Bloke – GUY

Book – TOME

Boy – LAD

Boy – SON

Bury – INTER



Called – RANG

Came first – LED

Cap – TAM (Scottish cap or bonnet)

Cap – HAT

Case – POD

Centre – HUB

Chap – BOD

Character – AIR (as in airs and graces)

Character – PART (in a play)

Charge – ION

Charisma – IT

Check – REIN

Chicken – HEN

Christmas – NOEL

Clever – ABLE

Close to – BY

Coffee – LATTE

Collection – LOT

Crash – BOOM

Cue – KEY



Desire – YEN

Diamonds – ICE

Dig – TILL

Disapproval – TUT

Disease – FLU

Do – ACT

Drink – ALE

Drink – SIP

Dubious – IFFY



Embrace – HUG

Employment – POST

European – POLE

Exit – DIE

Expert – ABLE

Expert – ACE

Exploit – USE



Facilities – LOO (as in toilet)

Family – KIN

Fashionable – IN

Fashion – FAD

Feasible – ON (as it’s on)

Feeble – DIM

Fell – MOOR

Fool – ASS

Founder – BOMB (as in a business or advertising campaign)

French cottage – GITE (a type of holiday accommodation)

Friend – ALLY

Friend – PAL



Gentlemen – SIR

God – THOR

Go – TURN (your turn to go)

Greeting – HOLLA

Group – LOT

Gun – ROD

Guy – CAT



Heather – LING

Held– HAD (as in owned)

Hide – COAT (paint over)

Hill – TOR

Horrible – UGH

Hospital (in or within hospital) – WARD



Idiot – NIT

In favour – FOR

Infusion – TEA

Isn’t – AINT

Item of jewellery – RING



Jaunt – HOP (quick trip)

Job – POST

John – LOO (as in the slang for toilet)

Joke – CHAFF

Journalist – PRESS



Kid – TOT



Labour – TOIL

Land – TRACT

Leading – TOP

Leave – GO

Left-winger – RED (as in politics)

Less water – DRIER

Lies – FIBS

Like this – SO

Lines – VERSE (as in poetry)

Live – BE (be alive)

Lock – TRESS (of hair)

Look – LO




Mark – DOT

Minor – WEE (as in small)

Model – CAR

Moor – FELL

Music phrase – RIFF



Need – WANT

North African – MOOR

Notes – IOUS (as in debts)

Notice – BILL

Not over – ON



Of course – SURELY

Only – SOLE

Out of bed – UP



Party – DO as in ‘a do’.

Pay – FOOT (as in foot the bill)

People – NATION

People of fashion – TON (French)

Performed – DID

Piece of land – TRACT

Pine – ACHE

Place – PUT

Plane – JET

Player – MAN

Players – ACTORS

Players – CAST

Plot – BED (as in garden)

Popular – IN

Popular support – IN (as with the in crowd)

Possess – HAS

Post – SEND

Prisoner – FAG

Privy – LOO

Procedure – OP (as in operation)

Provided – IF

Pub – BAR


Pussy – CAT

Put – PARK

Put on – ADD



Quarrel – TIFF



Read – STUDY

Ready – RIPE

Ready – SET (as in get set, go)

Record – LOG

Repeat – STRESS

Resentment – IRE

Rest – PLACE (as in RIP)

Revolutionary – CHE

Revolutionary – RED

Rich – FAT

Roll – LIST

Roughly – OR SO

Rugby players – SCRUM

Rugby players  – PACK



Scoffed – FED

Senior – AGED

Set aside – ALLOW

Shirt – TEE

Shock – HAIR

Short – GIN

Short – RUM

Silver – OLD (as in hair)

Since – AGO

Skilled – ACE

Slate – PAN

Small – MICRO

Son – LAD

Spectators – GATE (as in paying spectators)

Spring – SPA

Spring – WELL

Stage – DAIS

Stage – LEG (of a journey)

Stick – POLE

Store – BIN

Story – LIE

Study – DEN

Support – ALLY

Support – BACK

Support – BRA

Support – PROP

Supporter – BRA

Supporter – FAN

Sweep – PAN



Taxi – CAB

Tea – CHA

Teacher – RABI

Team – SIDE

The – DAS, DIE or DER (as in German)

The foreign – LA, LE, etc

The French – LA or LE

The French uprising – reverse la (the) for AL

The Spanish – EL (in Spanish)

The girl – SHE

Thus – SO

Tier – ROW

Top – LID

Trademark – BRAND

Trouble – AIL

Trouble, fuss – ADO

Troubles – PAINS

Travel – GO

Turn – ACT (as in next on stage)

Turn – GO



Unfashionable – OUT



Very dry – BRUT

View – SEE

Visiting – AT



Weight – TARE

Well – OK

Well – SO

White – PALE

Winning – UP

Wisdom – LORE

Work – GO

Work – PLY

Worker – ANT

Working – ON (as in on duty)

Write – PEN

Writer – PENS



You and I – US or WE

Note: The foreign – this could be any foreign word meaning “the”. For example, LE (in French) and so on.


1] Bury stick, leaving evidence finally for detectives (8).

The definition word is “detectives”. For bury use the word INTER. For stick use POLE. Leaving evidence finally is the letter manipulation flag for you to remove the E, the last letter of “pole”, to give you the anagram INTERPOL. The answer, of course, is “interpol”.

2] Pussy eats stewed bream or some other sea food (8). Use the synonym for pussy CAT. Stewed is an anagram flag. CATBREAM is the anagram, and the answer is “crabmeat”.

3] Sadly never having had food, daughter becomes exhausted (9). The synonym here is “having had food”. Note the use of the negative to deliberately mislead you with “never having had food” but this is the wrong interpretation. Sadly is the anagram flag indicating you use NEVER in your answer. For “having food” use the synonym ATE. Use D for the abbreviation of daughter, for the full anagram ATEDNEVER. The answer is “enervated”.

4] Skipper’s on call, being top manager (10). Two synonyms here, use MASTER for skipper and RING for call (making a call). “On” tells you that “call” comes first. The answer is “ringmaster”.

5] Adopt a series of steps to disappear quickly (4,6). Use TAKE for adopt, and FLIGHT for a flight of stairs (series of steps). The answer is “take flight”.

6] Absolutely great in play (7). Two synonyms here. Use TALL for great, and TOY for play, to get the anagram TALLTOY. Answer is “totally”.

7] Suggestions from open individuals (9). Another two synonyms. Use OVERT for open and ONES for individuals. The answer is “overtones”.

8] Cunning plan, petrol as driving force (10). Cunning is the anagram flag for PLAN PETROL. Note the misplaced comma! The answer is “propellant”.

Back to Top

By Nigel Benetton

Last updated: Monday, 29th March 2021