About Synonymy

How to play


A two player guessing game. One player is the hinter and the other player is the guesser. The hinter is given one or more terms at the top which the guesser is supposed to guess. Hints are just terms that are similar (such as synonyms) to any of the terms given. Usually, the terms given are all already very similar, so the hinter can just hint additional similar terms or synonyms.

Once the guesser guesses any of the terms, the game is won and the next round starts. Players can pass a round at anytime if it seems that guessing any of terms seems hopeless. Both players must agree to passing before the round is officially passed.


A two playor guessing game which can also played in a single player mode. Both players are given a phrase on top and a list of possibly related phrases (in some random order) under it, and are asked to order the list with the most relevant phrase on top and the least relevant at the bottom. The players are awarded points when they guess the same ordering of the phrases. For example, a game might start with 'x chased y' on top and the following list (given in some random order for each player) under it:

  • x follows y
  • x repeats y
  • x went afetr y

If both players come up with the same ordering of the related phrases, for example,

  • x went afetr y
  • x follows y
  • x repeats y
they would each get some points for guessing the relationship. Each round of Phrasology lasts for 1 minute. Players can pass a round if they see no clear reasonable ordering.


Synonymy and Phrasology attempt to infer facts about natural language. Synonymy attempts to grow sets or categories of terms. Terms are any sequence of words that expresses one full idea. For example, "apple", "mango", "kiwi", "dragonfruit", and "Super Metroid" are all terms. Note that terms can consist of smaller terms, however, once all of these terms are put together, their meaning may change.

We place each term into one or more categories, and, using input from the games, we attempt to grow each of these categories. This is something we call set expansion. Again, terms can fit into various categories, and we try to detect this. From our previous example, "apple" may be a fruit or a computer company; likewise, "kiwi" may refer to fruit, birds, or New Zealanders. Not all terms must belong to several categories, however; "Super Metroid" may just belong to the category of "objectively the best game for all existence".

Phrasology is used to attempt paraphrasing of natrual language relationships. If we let A and B share some initial relationship Y, we may input A and B into the game and see what relationships players may infer about A and B, allowing us to paraphrase Y. For instance we may start with student as A, school as B and attends as the relationship Y relateing the two. Guessers may say A attends B, A skips B, A hates B, B contains A. Giving us paraphrased relationships between the two entities.


Coded by:
  • Stephan K. Romansky
  • Eddie Antonio Santos
  • James Moore
Supervised by
Dr. Davood Rafiei
Design by
Kim Wu