Synonyms in modern search - still AWOL?

Occasional Contributor

So it looks like Synonyms (aka the Search Thesaurus/Dictionaries in the Term store) is still not supported by Modern Search.


Some searching suggests that people were previously being pointed at a particular UserVoice request for this feature, but that's gone.


There's a few references to using Query Rules to do something similar, but while that might work for a handful of words, it quickly gets unmanageable.


There's THIS 2016 reference to using some JavaScript to add synonyms, from a SharePoint list, to the query, as you query.


Is that really as good as it gets in 2022?

Does anyone know if well overdue support for synonyms is on Microsoft's roadmap (I can't see anything obvious on their roadmap page)?


For context: We're trying to setup a mechanism to handle bi-lingual text and mixed macron support. In New Zealand, Māori is our indigenous language, and is increasingly being used in content, however relatively few people speak/type it and even fewer get the macrons right. So, the ability to set up a thesaurus/synonyms, with the English, Māori and un-macroned Māori (which could be Maori or Maaori, I believe), would be really useful for search.

I vaguely recall in the SharePoint on-prem days, that you had to set up your SQL DBs to be accent-insensitive, so that search wouldn't care about accents/macrons and SharePoint Online may still behave this way, but we'd still like to set up the English to Māori and have the option for alternative spellings.

3 Replies

Hello @CraigHumphrey 


in modern search you can configure acronyms in M365 Microsoft Search Admin Center, but i think, it's not possible to use the same from SharePoint term store (but when you find out others, i'm interested ;) ) 


Best, Dave


Thanks David,

a quick read suggests that hacking acronyms to do synonyms is not going to do what we want.
While they've upgraded Bing search to be able to just enter the acronym, SharePoint Search (the key one for us) is centered around specific phrasing and is about returning the definition, not about finding search results.

At least, that's my reading of Qs 2 and 3 from the FAQ:

Hello @CraigHumphrey 


in M365 you can use PnP Modern Search Web Parts to configure a modern SharePoint Search, also with query rules:

PnP Modern Search Web Parts:

And how to use query rules in there:


Best, Dave