What is the difference between find and search? Please suggest the proper usage.

  • 1
    Same difference as in Russian, actually (and French and German and Spanish...). Найти vs искать.
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 14, 2011 at 11:25

4 Answers 4


To search for something means "to try to find something."
Vice versa, to find something doesn't mean to have searched. Find generally means discover, reach, arrive at, or perceive.

She also found the time to raise five children.
Vitamin B12 is found in dairy products.
Water finds its own level.

In these sentences, find doesn't imply a search has been done.


You search for something you need to find.

I searched on the internet. I found what I was looking for.

  • 5
    To add - you can also find something without searching, if you just came across it like a book or a shop in a street.
    – JoseK
    Apr 14, 2011 at 11:24
  • Of course. Good point.
    – masarah
    Apr 14, 2011 at 11:29
  • 3
    You can also search for something without finding it.
    – Lunivore
    Apr 14, 2011 at 18:52

Find is more about the discovery, the end result.

Search says nothing about the end result.


Find implies that it has a fixed position and can be located using coordinates. Like you'd find the hotel on the map, you wouldn't search for it. Search brings to mind a rummaging through some filer or sorting through objects until you stumble across the item you're looking for. Alternatively search could be used to imply a sort of easter egg hunt where there may be more than one item you're looking for.

Examples of find:

I found the hotel on the map.
Find the area of the triangle.
I found a great spot to hang out.

Examples of search:

Could you search for the car keys?
Search for a nice indian restaurant on google.
Search for a file on C:\.

However, they're similar enough that even if you used search rather than find or vice versa, it would make little difference.

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