I understand that words referred to as words should be italicized:

Paul uses the word uphold to describe Christ’s sustaining of the universe. 

Definitions should be enclosed in quotation marks:

One definition of uphold is “to support against an opponent.

My question is, should synonyms be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks? Are the synonyms considered words or concepts? 

Synonyms for uphold include lift, take up, and upraise.

Or

Synonyms for uphold include “lift,” “take up,” and “upraise.”

I appreciate all insights! 

Original Post
Julie Link posted:

 

My question is, should synonyms be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks? Are the synonyms considered words or concepts? 

Hello, Julie Link, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

I guess by "concepts" you mean to say "words used to mean what they mean," rather than referring to them as words. Here is an interesting discussion on the matter:

Words as words: As already noted, words used as words are usually italicized. This helps forestall confusion when these words are not used in the usual manner.

Examples: The word haberdashery has gone out of style.

Edith wasn’t sure what lugubrious meant, but it sounded slimy to her.

Notice that above I wrote "concepts" (and now I'm using it again) as a word, and used quotes. I think italics could also have been used, but the quotes work, perhaps because I was quoting the word you used. I agree that definitions should be enclosed between quotes, as I did above: "words used to mean what they mean."

I think the key to decide whether synonyms are being used as words or as concepts lies in the verb by means of which they are introduced:

Synonyms for uphold include lift, take up, and upraise. (Here lift, take up, and upraise are being used as words.)

Semantically speaking, uphold is close / equivalent to lift, take up, and upraise. (Same thing.)

The word uphold means / can be defined as "to lift, to take up or to upraise." (Here the words are being used as concepts.)

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