How are synonyms ordered?

Apologies if this is answered somewhere in your documentation.

When I use the Thesaurus endpoint, the synonyms are returned in a particular non-alphabetical order. How is the order decided; is it based on the closeness of the match?


  • SimoneSimone Administrator admin

    Hi @lintaylor
    Oh, sorry I could not get back to you yesterday - let me find out for you, so bear with me, please! :)

  • AmosDuveenAmosDuveen Member, Administrator, Moderator admin

    Hi @lintaylor,

    I think the best answer I can give is a rather unsatisfactory "sort of". The source for the synonym data (the Oxford Thesaurus of English, OTE) has bandings so that the words in the first banding are the closest match, the second banding contains slightly more distant words and the third banding contains words which are somewhat further removed. However, there is (currently) no place for this distinction in the JSON data model we output from the API so that granularity has been lost in translation.

    However, the order of the synonyms has been maintained so that you can say, in a very general way, that the further up they appear the closer they match the headword but it would be wrong to say that this was an absolute rule. Given the way language is constantly changing and evolving, as well as all of the complexity of regional variation, it would be rather disingenuous to give any more certain answer.

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