Continuing the discussion from ISIS is Daesh–not the African-Kemetic (Egyptian) goddess Isis:
I’m splitting this off into its own discussion, because, while “should we call Daesh ‘terrorists’ or ‘murderers’” is relevant, “how close do the meanings of two words have to be to become ‘synonyms’” is not.
In my opinion, being synonymous is contextual. That is, if two words are interchangeable in a given context, they are synonymous in that context, but not necessarily synonymous in any other context. For instance, “terrified” vs. “horrified” vs. “disgusted:”
In the following two sentences, “terrified” and “horrified” would be synonymous, but “disgusted” would not be:
“The student backed away, terrified, from the man advancing on her with a knife.”
“The student backed away, horrified, from the man advancing on her with a knife.”
In the following two sentences, “horrified” and “disgusted” would be synonymous, but “terrified” would not be:
“The student looked down, horrified, at the fluffy animal he was being asked to dissect.”
“The student looked down, disgusted, at the fluffy animal he was being asked to dissect.”
To bring this back to “homicide” and “murder,” I think, in certain contexts, they can be synonymous. However, the latter implies intent but the former does not; in most circumstances, I would not consider the two synonymous, regardless of whether a dictionary or thesaurus listed them as such.