Search Term Connectors

The following term connectors help you define the terms you are searching (or not searching) on.

For information on defining the proximity between your search terms, see Proximity Connectors. Additionally, for information on using wildcard characters in your search terms, see Search Connector Wildcards.

Note: To view all search connectors (term and proximity) and wildcard characters on a single page so you can print a single document, see Search Connectors Quick Reference Card.


andUse the and connector to find words that are far apart from one another or in different sections. Searches using and usually find more documents than searches using the near connector. As a rule, use and when it doesn't matter where your search words appear in a document. Use the near connector when there is a connection between your search terms and you need to find the terms near each other.
Note: You can use an ampersand (&) in place of and. The two connectors operate the same way.

To find general information about budget deficits, you could use this search:

budget and deficit

However, to find documents that are relevant when your search terms are less specific, you may need to use the near connector. For example, this search will find more relevant documents than if the and connector were used:

fiduciary near/1 duty near/10 breach

and notUse the and not connector to find documents in which a search word or phrase is to be excluded.

You can use these connectors in the same way as the and not connector:

  • andnot
  • but not
  • butnot

All these connectors operate the same way.

This search finds documents where the word capital occurs but the word gains does not.

capital and not gains

Because the exclusion covers the entire document, in this example, a document would be excluded if the word gains appears anywhere in the document.

You can exclude documents containing multiple words this way:

capital and not gains and not improvements

This example finds documents where the word capital occurs but the words gains and improvements do not.

orUse the or connector to find documents that contain either or both of the words or phrases linked by or. Use the or connector to link search words that are synonyms, antonyms, alternative spellings, or abbreviations.

The search looks for the words or phrases linked by the or connector, not the word "or" itself. The words or phrases linked by or can be in any part of a document.

You can use a space in place of or if you wish. The two connectors operate the same way.


Ship or vessel or boat


reasonable or unreasonable


takeover or takeover


british broadcasting corporation or b.b.c. or bbc

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