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Chain of Synonyms: Shore, Bank, Beach, Coast, Littoral, Strand
The original chain of synonyms: SHORE, BANK, BEACH, COAST, LITTORAL, STRAND.
Umbrella term: SHORE.
SHORE is the most general of these, referring to any sort of land that borders a large water mass, such as lake or sea (e.g. the shores of Loch Ness). The word most strictly regards this meeting of land and water from the view of the limit set on the water.
COAST reverses the view, indicating the limit set on the land. It is most appropriate in reference to land masses along a sea or ocean (e.g. the Pacific coast of North America). One would speak of the shore of a very small island, rather than of its coast.
BANK specifically applies to any sort of land bordering a river (e.g. the banks of the Thames). COAST would never be used in this sense, and SHORE seldom, perhaps only when emphasizing a river’s width (e.g. …. calling to him from the opposite shore of the river). BANK has an additional specific reference to a steep slope or projection of land above the water’s edge (e.g. diving from the bank into the swimming pool).…
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