One reason we have so many synonyms is a legacy of English history.
Anglo-Saxon was spoken until the Normans invaded England in 1066 when William the Conqueror made French the language of the courts. Anglo-Saxon was spoken by the peasants and French by the aristocracy, which is why so many English words have twins. For instance, baby from Anglo-Saxon, infant from French, ask (AS)/ enquire (Fr), freedom (AS)/ liberty (Fr) and so on.
A second reason is also based in history. The British Empire in its [more…]