I can't really see any difference in meaning between "hence" and "thus". To me they seem to be interchangeable, in every context I've encountered either of them the other one would have also fitted. So, are they truly synonyms?

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    The difference in usage is explained here: painintheenglish.com/case/4452 – Alex_ander May 30 '19 at 14:33
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    Originally, hence was equivalent to away from here (as with thence = ...from there, whence = ...from where, etc.). That literal (locational) usage is fairly dated / literary today, but some people would still use hence to mean henceforth (from this/that time onward), and you can't substitute thus where it has that sense. Personally, I'd advise learners to stick with so, and not bother learning how to use hence or thus at all (you might have to read / hear them, but you shouldn't really need to use them often, if at all). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 30 '19 at 14:38

Neither "hence" or "thus" are very often used except in mathematical proofs. In that context they are pretty similar in meaning:

Hence: following from the preceding ...

Thus: it follows that...

"Hence" would start a sentence, and you sometimes see it in the form "Hence or otherwise" (meaning you should use the previous calculation, but you don't have to)

In non-mathematical use, hence can mean "from here", ("The station is five miles hence") But this is pretty rare.

If you are just speaking, or writing in non-mathematical way, then "so" is much more common.

It's getting cold (thus?) (hence??) so you should take a coat.

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  • As a mathematician I use "thus" and "hence" regularly. I have always understood the word "thus" to be more akin to "like this", as in "by use of this technique". "Hence" does indeed have the force of "from here". – Prime Mover Jun 8 at 11:17

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