General Search Tips


To Search:

  1. Enter a search term in the Search box.
  2. Click the 'Search' button to the right of the Search box or press Enter on your keyboard.

Searches from the basic search box on the home page or from the box on the top menu return entries that include all of your search terms anywhere on the page. There is no need to include and between terms. Your search terms will be highlighted in yellow in the text. 

Searches are not case sensitive. For example, it does not matter if you enter Danse Macabre or danse macabre; both will return the same results.

Accent marks
Many names and terms, especially those from non-English languages, contain special symbols to clarify their pronunciation. To search for these words, simply type the word without the accent marks. For example, to search for cliché, simply type cliche in the search box.

Phrase searches
To search for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. Without quotation marks, the search will return all entries that have all the words in your search, regardless of their location on the page or relation to one another. With quotation marks, the search will return only entries that contain your search phrase exactly as you entered it.

Limiting results with NOT
Some words or phrases can apply to a variety of topics or people. Use the not search in order to reduce the number of unwanted topics in the search results. For instance, if you want to search for entries on compounds but only want entries on compound words and not compound sentences, enter compound not sentences or compound –sentence into the search box. Include more terms to limit the results further. As you can see from the two examples, you may use either the word not or the minus sign to exclude a word from the search; however, the minus sign must be attached to the front of the word to be excluded, while not must be surrounded by spaces. Both approaches have the effect of excluding all entries that contain the word.

Results with OR
Sometimes you may want to search on two different topics that do not appear together, such as two different people or two different phrases. In that case, enter both search terms, or sets of terms, separated by the word or. For instance, the search "Paul Bunyan" or "Pecos Bill" will return any entry that deals with either folk hero, including entries that mention one but not the other.

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