Word Roots – OHIO University Libraries


This kind of search is also called a Wild Card Search or Truncated Search. It means removing the suffix of a word and replacing it with the wildcard character, usually an asterisk

In order to search by word roots, you need to use the first part of a word followed by a punctuation mark, which is usually an asterisk: *

Please note: this technique only works in Keyword searches, i.e., not when searching for specific kinds of information such as Authors, Titles, etc.


Use this technique to find variant forms of a single word. Here’s an example from ALICE:


  • climat* finds climate, climates, climatic, climatology, etc. Click on the link to see the search results from ALICE.

Compare the number of records found with this search for the word climate.

It’s Different in Google

For whatever reason(s), this technique is not available in Google.

Instead, Google uses the asterisk to substitute for whole words, rather than word endings. Compare these Google searches:

Note that the second search, in addition to finding three blind mice, also finds three blonde mice, three Bluetooth mice, three different strains of mice, and lots more.