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silverback gorilla

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Does the New Yorker use fancy words just for the sake of it? J'accuse!!! [18 Dec 2009|09:44pm]
On at least four occasions, I've looked up some obscure New Yorker word and found it to be an exact synonym of some other, more common word.

New Yorker wordOrdinary word that means the same thing
ineluctableinevitable
erstwhileformer
bathospathos
heterodoxunorthodox


I know there are no true synonyms, but I can't understand the distinction between the obscure word and common word in any of these cases. Why would you choose to use one versus the other? What's the difference?
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