Google Define Operator Having Problems?

Apr 21, 2011 • 8:09 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google DefineThere are two different threads reporting issues with Google's define operator.

A Google Blogoscoped Forums thread and a Google Web Search Help thread have complaints about the operator. I should note, it does work fine for me.

But people using the [define:word] command in Google are being taken to a error page that reads:

A search for [define:apple] now return:

No definitions were found for apple.

- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
- Search the Web for documents that contain "apple"

Like I said, I tried it myself and I get Google Experimental logo and taken directly to Google's definitions page.

It may be that Google is testing and rolling out a new interface for definitions soon. Google Operating System has a screen shot of the new interface, which embeds the definitions interface within the normal Google search results user interface. Here is a picture:

click for full size

I do suspect it is a bug in the user interface test, which is why I can't reproduce it.

Forum discussion at Google Blogoscoped Forums and Google Web Search Help.

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04/22/2011 04:57 am

Yeah, not working for me today. But I get... No definitions were found for word. Suggestions: - Make sure all words are spelled correctly. - Search the Web for documents that contain "word"


04/23/2011 10:25 am

If you swap the GET parameter 'q' for 'query' it works. Broken :( Working :) Weird bug.


04/23/2011 08:07 pm

So annoying gotten used to define: I'm typing it over and over.. it's like when the net goes down and you try google the reason. :]

Luke Jones

04/27/2011 02:14 pm

Wow, you're everywhere aren't you?


05/16/2011 03:42 pm

Both are broken to me. Weird is that search results are slighly different.

White Sensei

05/20/2011 06:47 am

 The use of a ":" with the define feature no longer gives a different result than without.  ( am in Japan using the international version of google. This is very annoying since many of my students depended on "define:" to study English.

Digital Bunch

06/01/2011 02:22 pm

Google has any alternative function like defne: ?


06/02/2011 09:08 am

the define: command has certainly not been working for me for several weeks, neither in explorer, neither in google chrome instead of the beautiful and rich list of definitations i used to get from multiple disciplines and sources, i just get a regular search return, with links to different sites that include the requested word, there may be some entries linking to definitations but the result is far from what it used to be any suggestions?

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