I am thinking of two slightly different concepts, both of which I would refer to as synonymy. As I would like to distinguish the concepts in a text, I am looking for two distinct words.
First, I will use the following two terms (and define them here, because I am not sure whether I am using the correct terminology here, either):
- A word consists of any number of inflected forms. It is like a full package of inflected forms, appropriate for its part of speech. For example, the word building is like a package that contains the various inflected forms of that word, namely building and buildings.
- An inflected form is (in its written form) just a single piece of text; for example, building is one inflected form, buildings is another.
Now, for the sake of this explanation, let us consider building and edifice as synonyms (disregarding any different nuances in their precise meanings).
- The word building is a synonym of the word edifice.
- The inflected form building is a synonym of the inflected form edifice.
- The inflected form buildings is a synonym of the inflected form edifices.
Obviously, (1) describes a slightly different concept of synonymity compared to (2) and (3):
- (1) implies that each inflected form of building can be assumed to be synonymous with the equivalent inflected form of edifice, if such a form exists (some words can be only used in singular or in plural, for example).
- (2) and (3) say explicitly that building can be replaced with edifice, and that buildings can be replaced with edifices, respectively. However, they do not make any explicit statements about the synonymy relationship between the two "word packages".
The different concepts could be paraphrased as synonymy with respect to words and synonymy with respect to inflected forms, but is there any more concise term?