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How to use advanced search

The Advanced Search offers a facility to search the database according to criteria that are not available in the Quick Search. Unlike the Quick Search, the Advanced Search produces only those terms that satisfy the search criteria exactly and does not offer any alternative terms. For example if you search for smoked, you will find the term smoked, but you will not find a link to the term smoke – although it is in the database. This search does not disregard punctuation. If you search for rain-forest (with a hyphen), you will not find it as the database only contains rain forest (without a hyphen).

Neither of the searches is case-sensitive, however – so whether you enter focal or FOCAL (or even FoCaL) you will get the same results.

Wording of a term

After you have written text in the box Foclaíocht/Wording, you can choose in the next box which part of the term you want to search for. For example, if you choose start of term and you have written free under wording, you will find over 200 terms, including freesia and free fall, as well as free.

If you choose any part of term you will find terms which contain the wording you entered, in any position. If you write verse, for example, many of the results you get will have nothing to do with that word as to their meaning, such as adverse and overseas. Unlike the Quick Search, this search works at the level of the characters, not at the level of words.

Wildcards can be used in the wording box in order to base the search on a pattern rather than on exact wording (more information here).


Your search may be limited to single-word or to multi-word terms if you wish. A multi-word term is a term which contains a space – and a single-word term is a term which does not contain a space. Hyphens or other punctuation marks are not counted as separators in this case. For example, meta-language is a single word.


You must select a language when performing an Advanced Search – something you don’t need to do for a Quick Search. Note that most terms are in Irish, in English or in Latin. Only a few terms in other languages will be found in the database.

Part of Speech

The search results may be limited to a certain part of speech if you wish. For example, you can find a list containing nouns only.


A domain is mentioned with most of the terms in the database. It consists of a label which explains in what general area of life a term is used: biology, politics, engineering, and so on. You can limit your search to a particular subject area if you like. That is, you can ask for a list which only includes terms with a certain subject-area label. For example, if you search for every English term starting with meta, you will find almost 200 terms. If that is too many, you can ask for a subset of those by adding a domain to the search, for example Philosophy – which results in about 10 terms.

Some areas are hierarchical. For example, we have Sports and Sports > Diving. If you select Sports as a search area, you will find terms which come under Diving as well.


A collection may often be mentioned with an entry also. A collection is a dictionary or a glossary in which the entry was published (in the case of dictionaries already published) or is about to be published (in the case of dictionaries which are still at the editing stage). If you want to confine your search to a single collection, you may do that in the last box.

Combining Criteria

You can select any combination of criteria for your search. The search engine will return terms which satisfy all of those criteria selected. For example, if you look for terms starting with call, and select noun under ‘Part of Speech’, ‘Foclóir Parlaiminte’ under ‘Collection’, you will be shown a list which fulfils all of those criteria.

If you would like to search for terms which satisfy one criterion or another in a particular set of criteria, for example terms in the area of Mathematics or in the area of Computing, you will have to search twice – once for Mathematics and once for Computing.

If your search yields no result, you may have selected criteria that are too narrow. In that case, it is worth while looking back on your criteria and broadening them in some way, for example by removing a domain, a collection or a part of speech from your search.

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