Term Modifiers

Lucene supports modifying query terms to provide a wide range of searching options.

  • Wildcard Searches Lucene supports single and multiple character wildcard searches.

    To perform a single character wildcard search, use the ? symbol.

    To perform a multiple character wildcard search, use the * symbol.

    The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match that with the single character replaced. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:


    Multiple character wildcard searches look for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for "test", "tests" or "tester" you can use the search:


    You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term.



    You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

  • Fuzzy Searches

    Lucene supports fuzzy searches based on the Levenshtein Distance or Edit Distance algorithm. To do a fuzzy search use the tilde (swung dash), ~, symbol at the end of a single word Term. For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to "roam" use the fuzzy search:


    This search will find terms like foam and roams.

    An additional (optional) parameter can specify the required similarity. The value is between 0 and 1, with a value closer to 1 only terms with a higher similarity will be matched. For example:


    The default that is used, if the parameter is not given, is 0.5.

  • Proximity Searches

    Lucene supports finding words that are within a specific distance away. To do a proximity search, use the tilde, ~, symbol at the end of a phrase. For example, to search for "apache" and "jakarta" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search:

    "jakarta apache"~10
  • Range Searches

    Range Queries allow one to match documents whose field(s) values are between the lower and upper bound specified by the Range Query. Range Queries can be inclusive or exclusive of the upper and lower bounds. Sorting is done lexicographically.

    mod_date:[20020101 TO 20030101]

    This will find documents whose mod_date fields have values between 20020101 and 20030101, inclusive. Note that Range Queries are not reserved for date fields. You could also use range queries with non-date fields:

    title:{Aida TO Carmen}

    This will find all documents whose titles are between "Aida" and "Carmen", but not including "Aida" and "Carmen".

    Inclusive range queries are denoted by square brackets. Exclusive range queries are denoted by curly brackets.

  • Boosting a Term

    Lucene provides the relevance level of matching documents based on the terms found. To boost a term, use the caret, ^, symbol with a boost factor (a number) at the end of the term you are searching. The higher the boost factor, the more relevant the term will be.

    Boosting allows you to control the relevance of a document by boosting its term. For example, if you are searching for

    jakarta apache

    and you want the term "jakarta" to be more relevant, boost it using the ^ symbol along with the boost factor next to the term. You would type:

    jakarta^4 apache

    This will make documents with the term jakarta appear more relevant. You can also boost Phrase Terms as in the example:

    "jakarta apache"^4 "jakarta lucene"

    By default, the boost factor is 1. Although the boost factor must be positive, it can be less than 1 (e.g. 0.2)

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