Syntax – Synonym Operator at Google

Tilde at Google

At Google, ~ (tilde) acts as a synonym operator to look for terms associated with the term you have used.

For example, ~help will also pick up helps, helping, faq, manual, guide and other terms.

This is enormously helpful. You don’t have to think of the terms and OR them in your query.

You can use this to best effect by putting the ~ in front of a keyword for which you would except synonyms.

consumer ~reports on face cream

Then examine the search results for words that have been bolded. For ~reports you are likely to see reviews, research, ratings.  All of these help to improve the relevance of the search results.


In this next search, go to Google to look for online courses about writing. Such courses might be called a writing course or writing class. You’ll need online and perhaps e-learning. Virtual is used sometimes as a term. You might use ~, the synonym operator, to pick up variants and associated words. Add other words later to indicate the type of writing: humour, business, technical, fiction etc. Run two or three queries to see what works best.

Check your search construction against the syntax answer page.


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