User-defined synonym list?

I’ve been using DT since day 1-ish; now on DT Pro (paid for it despite a promotional free Press offer; occasionally it’s nice to be one of the Good Guys). And something has been on my mind since day 2-ish.

When I fly, I use the autopilot a lot. But there’s a little button on the control yoke: autopilot disconnect. (You can also override the a/p if you push/pull/turn the yoke hard enough…)

What’s the relevance? This:

Sometimes I want to force a See Also list. If I’m looking (as I just was) for stuff on epic, I want to be sure it will pull up a whole lot of things that I know are probably relevant. In the – excuse me – Windows program Nota Bene, I can manually input a sort of synonyms list so that a search for ANY term on that list will target ALL terms on that list.

For example, I might have a synonyms list called *EPIC, with entries including Homer, Odyssey, Iliad, Gilgamesh, tragedy, Campell, Vogler, Rieu, nostos, Odysseus, Star_Wars … well, you get the picture.

I have tried doing something similar in DT (all versions) but it just doesn’t work, even if I use context search. Indeed, I can’t figure out the way it does do what it does.

But such a synonyms- (or “autopilot disconnect”-) list would be of inestimable value to me. DT’s ability to find connections is wonderful. But it’s not so good at preserving connections I have made in advance.

Does anyone else feel the same way? It seems to me that we’re missing a major ontological convenience here, and I wonder how difficult it would be to graft it on to a future upgrade.


thanks for the great suggestion. There have been discussions about such a feature earlier, because those of us who use several languages and deal with the same topic in several languages, are in trouble without such a synonym list. Many in this forum seem to work in the academic field, so this should be relevant for most users.

I hope for an implementation in the nearer future. For the time being the only workaround is creating little documents with synonyms or translations for one word each.


Actually, I tried the “little document for synonyms of one word each” system and it fails. I don’t know what it DOES do… but it doesn’t work by direct association, that’s for sure.

Let’s postulate a file 1 containing the terms “A”, “B” and “C”. Now postulate three smaller files; file2 contains “A”, file3 contains “B”, file4 contains “C”.

Now let’s do a “See also” or a contextual search for “B”.

I would expect – even as things stand with DT - that the alogrithm would do this:

(1) Find “B” in file1 and file3.
(2) Find “A” and “C” in file1
(3) Associate “A” and “C” with “B”
(3) Look for “A” and “C” elsewhere
(4) Return file2 and file4 as well as file1 and file2.

It doesn’t. Not predictably. This is an example case where (remember the thread?) having no idea at all of what DT is actually doing can be a bit of a disadvantage.


it is a pity that the approach did not work for you. One more argument for DT implementing a feature like that.

In my case, it works quite nicely in my translation database. It is quite small, so the little documents may be better weighed, and sometimes they do not only include words but sample translations as well.

I can imagine that in my large main database this approach would not work since the normal documents outnumber the small ones by far.


. . . and it’s precisely in a larger database that one needs the security blanket of a reliable synonym-list, unfortunately . . .