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Google Searching with a Tilde Unlocks a World of Variety


If you use Google to navigate the Internet, this just might be the coolest thing you read today: There’s a simple operator that lets you search for a word and all of its synonyms. If you place a tilde (~) before the word or phrase you’re searching with no spaces between the tilde and its associated word, you’ll conduct a search for the word, its synonyms, and terms with alternate endings.

Stack Exchange:

Why did Google use tilde? In math, the “~” symbol means “is similar to.” The tilde tells Google to search for pages that are synonyms or similar to the term that follows.

[ ~inexpensive ] matches “inexpensive,” “cheap,” “affordable,” and “low cost”

[ ~run ] matches “run,” “runner’s,” “running,” as well as “marathon”

Looking for a guide, help, tutorial, or tips on using Google?

[ google ~guide ]

Interested in food facts as well as nutrition and cooking information?

[ ~food ~facts ]

Note that this operator is a lot more helpful if you’re searching for words that actually have synonyms and a breadth of usage: searching ~bird ~advice will cast a broader net and presumably be more useful than searching ~lorikeet ~hypnotism.

More neat Google tricks in this thread.

(Stack Exchange via O’Reilly Radar. title image via Wikimedia Commons)

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