Acronym and synonym pairs can be identified and retrieved automatically in a corpus and/or across an enterprise based on customer settings globally or for a single instance. Possible acronym and synonym term pairs can be identified using a rule such as a heuristic, user-defined rule. Rules selected by the user can be used to rank acronym and synonym pairs using factors such as occurrence frequency and maximum term length. A rule interpreter engine executes the user defined rule set to properly identify and retrieve the user selected acronym and synonym pairs through the utilization of a shallow pause read step. Finally, the user selected acronym and synonym pairs are ranked according to the user preferences, and can be displayed or held for subsequent use in searching.