We are happy to announce public preview support for synonyms in Azure Search, one of our most requested features on UserVoice. Synonyms functionality allows for Azure Search to not only return results which match the query terms that were typed into the search box, but also return results which match synonyms of the query terms. As a search-as-a-service solution, Azure Search is used in a wide variety of applications which span many languages, industries, and scenarios. Since terminology and definitions vary from case to case, Azure Search’s Synonyms API allows customers to define their own synonym mappings.
Synonyms functionality in Azure Search allows a user to get more results for a given query without sacrificing how relevant those results are to the query terms. In a real estate website, for example, a user may be searching for ‘jacuzzi.’ If some of the listings only have the term ‘hot tub’ or ‘whirlpool bath,’ then the user will not see those results. When ‘jacuzzi’ and ‘hot tub’ are mapped to one another in a synonym map, Azure Search does not have to do any guess-work in understanding that these terms are relevant even though the terms bear no resemblance in spelling.