Expanded search options for phrases, wildcards, etc.

Several more advanced search operations are available if the basic search proves insufficient. The complete set of valid searches is summarized below.

Middle English Compendium search examples
Search goal Syntax Examples / Notes
Find any of several words Enter several terms separated by spaces man woman child will find entries that have any of those three terms.
Find an exact phrase (still applying character equivalencies) Enclose phrase in double quotes

“man and woman” will only match when those three terms appear next to each other in that order. Note that the "and" here is not a boolean search operator.

Also note that other operations (wildcards, booleans, etc.) will not work within phrases.

Search for words with a common prefix or suffix (wildcard search) Use an asterisk (*) to represent the missing characters. hel* will find entries that contain a term that begins with hel (e.g., hel, helable, helde)

*mode with find all works that end with mode (e.g, unthōle-mọ̄de, thōle-mọ̄d(e, and mọ̄de itself.

Allow one ambiguous character in a search term Use a question mark (?) to indicate “any character” w?man will match any of woman, wyman, etc.
Find words near each other (proximity search) Enclose in quotes and append, e.g., ‘~4’ (where “4” is the maximum number of other words between words in your phrase “man woman”~5 will find all occurrences of man and woman within 5 words of each other (regardless of ordering)
Use a more complex AND/OR/NOT query (boolean search)

Use upppercase AND/OR/NOT in your query. You may also use parentheses to group.

Note that lower-case and/or/not will be treated as simple search terms.

“How darst” AND lord will return only things with both the phrase “how darst” and the word “lord”

(man AND woman) OR helle must have both “man” and “woman” or the word “helle”, or both.

Note that NOT can be used with other terms (helle NOT devil) or by itself, e.g., NOT Chaucer

Show all entries Press the search button while the search field is empty This can be useful if you want to just narrow entries using the filters on the left.
Search for a phrase using a wildcard Not supported by the search engine used by the MED “man and wom*” or “man and w?man” (BOTH UNSUPPORTED because wildcards don't work within a phrase)