15+ Words with “syn” or a Variation

The Greek prefix syn-, meaning “together,” and two alternative forms combine with many other word elements to form terms pertaining to community or unity. This post lists and briefly defines the most common of these words, along with literal definitions of the root word.

1. idiosyncrasy (“personal” and “blend”): a peculiarity or hypersensitivity

2. synagogue (“bring”): a Jewish congregation, or its headquarters

3. synapse (“fasten”): the junction of nervous impulses

4. synchronicity (“timing”): occurrence of events at the same time or same period, or coincidental occurrence of events

5. syncopation (“shortening”): musical rhythm that emphasizes the weak beat

6. syncretism (“federation of Cretan cities”): a combination of different forms

7. syndication (“act of judgment”): association of people or entities to sell something, or selling editorial content to multiple distributors or the state of being sold this way

8. syndrome (“run”): a set of things, such as signs or symptoms of a medical condition, that form a pattern

9. synecdoche (“interpret”): a figure of speech substituting the part for the whole, or vice versa

10. synergy (“working”): combined action

11. synesthesia (“sense”): a sensation occurring with another, or a condition in which one experiences one sensation simultaneously with another

12. synonym (“name”): a word with one or more meanings identical or similar to one or more meanings of one or more words, or a word or phrase that embodies a concept or quality

13. synopsis (“be going to see”): an abstract or summary

14. syntax (“arrange”): the structure of linguistic elements, or harmonious arrangement of components

15. synthesis (“put”): something made by combining parts into a whole, digital reproduction of analogue sounds, or deductive reasoning

When the prefix precedes b, m, or p, it is converted to sym, as in asymptote (“not falling”), symbiosis(“living”), symbol (“thrown”), symmetry (“measured”), sympathy (“feeling”), symphony (“sounding”), symposium (“drinking,” from the ancient Greek custom of discussing intellectual matters while drinking wine in a social setting), and symptom (“happening”), and when confronted with l, it changes to syl, as in syllable (“take”)— the similar-looking syllabus, derived from a misreading, is unrelated—and syllogism(“think”).