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I came across the terms いい and よい and wanted to determine if there is a word used to describe two words that have the same meaning, but a preference for one. Thank you.

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  • Do you mean to say いい and よい? 「良かった」 is in the past tense, so it is not a good word pair. – l'électeur Mar 25 '17 at 14:39
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    certainly you know this word in english and can look it up in a dictionary. – A.Ellett Mar 25 '17 at 14:40
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「同意語{どういご}」 or 「類義語{るいぎご}」 will do.

These, however, are not necessarily everyone's everyday, household words. Those who are not too keen on Language in general might not recognize them unless they are written out. In that case, you could use:

「同{おな}じ意味{いみ}の(ふたつの)言葉{ことば}」

Switch 「言葉」 to 「単語{たんご}」 and it will sound more technical/academic.

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  • I wouldn't classify them as two different words, but rather say that いい is an alternative pronounciation (with a slightly different nuance and usage) of two of the conjugations (終止形 and 連体形) of the word よい. In some dialects where it's possible to conjugate いい, maybe you can actually talk of them as two synonymous/quasi-synonymous words, but this is not standard Japanese. – a20 Mar 27 '17 at 16:20

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