6 min read

Define synonyms with Synonymize

When shoppers search for something in a commerce store, they sometimes use different words to refer to the same thing depending on many factors, such as their mother tongue, personal context, life experiences, etc. That’s why synonyms are key to provide relevant results to shoppers, regardless of what they search for.

Synonymize is the Empathy Platform Playboard management tool that lets you manage the synonyms and synonym groups handled by your search engine. You can set up:

  • Individual synonyms, with a one-to-one relationship, which can contain both equivalent terms and one-way match terms. For example, equivalent terms can be “shirt” ⇔ “blouse”, where "shirt" brings results for "blouse" and vice versa; and one-way match terms can be “candle" --> "tealight", where "candle" return results for “candle” and “tealight” queries; and "tealight” shows only "tealight” results.
  • Synonym groups, with a one-to-many or many-to-many relationship, which can contain both equivalent terms and one-way match terms. For example, equivalent terms can be “phone” ⇔ “telephone” ⇔ “mobile phone” ⇔ “smartphone”, and one-way match terms “iphone” and “samsung galaxy”.

Terms match synonyms in the exact order in which they appear. For example, to provide results for the synonym pair “high top pants” ⇔ “high waisted trousers”, shoppers must search for that exact query and not any other combination like “trousers high waisted”, because it wouldn’t provide synonym matching.


For more information about what synonyms are and why they're important for your shoppers' experience, see the Synonyms overview.


Consider any query-related configuration you’ve created for your commerce store when creating synonyms. For example, product and attribute boosts and buries are only applied for exact query matches. That means whether a synonym is set up for “t-shirt” ⇔ “tshirt” and a shopper performs the “t-shirt” query that has a boosted product “mauve tie-dye t-shirt”, when the shopper searches using the “tshirt” query, the boosted product does not appear at the top of the results list.

Getting started with Synonymize management tool

When you access the Synonymize management tool, you view a list of all existing synonymize configurations for the instance. If you have not created any configurations, the list does not contain any rows.

List view of Synonymize

List view of Synonymize - (A) Filters and Search, (B) Action tools, (C) Row selector, and (D) Page navigation options.

The list table displays the details of the synonymize configurations:

  • Language: the language set up for your implementation.
  • ID: the identifier automatically assigned to the configuration created. Hover and click it to copy it to the clipboard.
  • Synonyms: terms that mean the same and work as equivalents for the search engine.
  • One-way synonyms: terms that can find any of the terms in the list but not vice versa. This type of synonym is also known as hyponyms.
  • Updated on/by: the date and time when the last changes were made to the configuration and the person who performed these changes. You can sort the results by date with the Updated on field.
  • Status: the status of the configuration. It shows whether the configuration is on or off.

Use the filters and search box (A) of the configuration list view to find the synonymize configuration you need. When using the search box, you can search for strict matching results to get results that match exactly the query you entered. You can choose to have non-strict matching results, including either the configurations whose name matches exactly or partially your query terms.

You can select the number of configurations to be displayed in the list with the row selector (C) in the bottom left corner of the screen. You can navigate to other pages in the configuration list using the page navigation options (D) in the bottom right corner of the screen.

To add a new configuration from the list screen, select the + NEW button. To edit an existing configuration, click its row and the edition screen will open. To edit or clone one configuration, or delete, turn on or off several configurations, select the checkbox next to the corresponding configurations and use the action tools (B) or the options displayed on the three-dot icon on the left.

Creating a synonymize configuration

To add a new configuration from the list screen, click the + NEW button.

Edit view of Synonymize

Edit view of Synonymize - (A) Details, (B) Synonyms, (C) One-way Synonyms, and (D) Related terms for.

The details (A) area is used to set up whether the configuration is on and running for the filters and settings you're configuring. As well, you define the filters that set the specific context for your configuration. Depending on your implementation, you have different segments to filter by, such as language—mandatory for this tool—, country, store, device, etc.

The Synonyms (B) area is where you enter the terms that are to be considered as equals by the search engine when your shopper enters a query in the search box.

The One-way synonyms (C) area is where you enter the terms that will return the results as for the original term, but not the other way around.

The Related terms for (D) area is where suggestions related to the term you’re typing are shown, giving you inspiration and ideas about what to include in your configuration.

To create a synonymize configuration:

  1. Decide whether the configuration is turned on or off (A). Switch the toggle button if you want the synonymize configuration to be off for now.


    If you turn off the configuration, you can turn it on later on using the action tools in the synonymize list screen.

  2. Select the filters (A)—at least the language, since it’s mandatory—to customize the scenario for your configuration. Filters are determined by your implementation. Once selected, the rest of fields become editable.

  3. Enter the terms for the search engine to consider as exact equivalents in the Synonyms section (B), if required. Enter the terms the search engine will use to return the same results as per the already added ones, but not the contrary, in the One-way synonyms section (C), if suitable. Also, you can drag and drop any term suggestion from the Related terms for section (D) to the Synonyms or One-way synonyms sections.


    The related terms suggested added to your configuration are grey-colored pills to distinguish them from the ones you manually entered.

  4. Click Save.


You can get suggestions for a term you manually added to your configuration. Select the corresponding pill to display synonym suggestions in the Related terms for section.


New or edited synonym configurations are not applied immediately. For these synonym configurations to take effect, a new reindex should be launched.


For more information on how the synonym suggestions functionality works, see the Synonyms overview.

Deleting synonyms from a configuration

To delete synonyms from an existing configuration:

  1. Check the configuration you want to edit in the synonymize configuration list screen.
  2. Click the X icon on the right of the synonym pill. If you remove one suggested synonym from your configuration, it should come back to the Related terms for section when the original query is present in the Add synonyms area.
  3. Click Save.