Word Story: Search Engines

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The Internet is truly a wonderland that can take you into any world, any field of knowledge you desire. The trouble is where to start and how to get where you want to. That's where we need the guidance and help of "search engines". They come in all shapes and sizes and have the most unusual names like: Abasearch, Altavista, Ask Jeeves, Clickey, Excite, SoDado and possibly the most famous of all, Google. All these "search engines" will take you to your chosen site in seconds and then give you thousands, if not millions of possibilities.

Search engines is yet another expression that has been created in the age of the Internet and computing and as so often it is made up of words that are in common use with their original meanings. "Search" simply means "examine in detail" usually with the purpose of trying to find someone or something. If you mislay your car keys You search the house from top to bottom because you know that they are somewhere in the house. Again if the police suspect that someone is carrying something like an illegal drug, they may well "search" that person, which means they will check pockets and all items of clothing. And then there is the other half of the expression: "engine". This means a machine that with the help of some kind of power will be enable something to move, like the "car engine, the steam engine". When the word first came to be used it had the idea of natural ability or genius. So when you put the two words together as "search engines" there is a certain appropriateness when you consider how clever these devices are. The question is: How do they work? To be honest I really don't know or to use an expression meaning that you haven't the slightest idea how to answer a question: "Search me!"
Author: Alan Townend