LR does not do any language processing on the keywords, thus no synonym support. All you get is what words you type in.
this is, from my point of view, a problem and a missing feature. Whilst it is good to be able to keyword images with synonyms it is equally important to be able to select keywords based on synonyms as well.
As a (silly) example you may not remember that in your library "picture" is a synonym of "image" and create a new keyword for "picture". If I you were able to search for "picture" and the keyword list shows "image" you would know that by using "image" you'd automatically get 'picture' in IPTC keywords.
So all this is great but seems to have been developed only half way by Adobe.
Unless someone comes and tell us there is a 'hidden' way to achieve the same objective, thus my post on this forum
Just to clarify what LR does do: When you search by keyword in the Library Filter bar or with a smart collection, LR does search synonyms. However, as you noticed, when you use the Filter Keywords box in the Keyword List panel, synonyms are ignored. Also, you can't enter a synonym into the Keywording panel (if you try it, LR will silently create a new keyword for you). It appears that LR 2 had the ability to filter the keyword list by synonyms and use synonyms to apply keywords, but that functionality was removed in LR 3.
Please add your vote and opinion to this topic in the official Adobe feedback forum: Lightroom: Find keyword by synonym
My Any Tag plugin does handle synonyms the way you want, but it was designed for a particular workflow and may not be to your taste.
thanks is for this, I've voted on the forum and will have a look at your plug-in. Seems to be a good interim soluton.
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There is another way round searching by synonym. I, too, have my wildlife photos catalogued by Latin names and common names in taxonomical hierarchy.. So as well as putting the common name as a synonym, I also add the common names as subordinate keywords. If I type in the Latin name into my keyword list, I get the common name as synonym. If I type the common name when I'm keywording, I get the parent Latin name (and the family and order Latin names further up the hierarchy) added as well. When exporting the keywords in this latter case, the common name is only exported once, despite the fact that it is technically there both as a keyword and a synonym of the parent word. This means you have to do a little extra work at the stage of entering keywords, but I find it works well for me. Hope this helps.
That's a good tip, thanks.