Is there a noun to describe the object of a search? For example in the sentence: "I was searching for my toothbrush". Is there a word to describe "my toothbrush"?

I am looking for a word along the lines of searchee (but that is not a real word).

  • It's usually called "the object of the search"
    – Jim
    Feb 14, 2015 at 18:29
  • 1
    "Searchee" is a real word, it is just not that suitable for everyday speech. There is "wanted" along the lines of your question but not a fit for your example. And there is "lost" of course.
    – ermanen
    Feb 14, 2015 at 18:38
  • Mission: Search Objective: toothbrush Feb 14, 2015 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


Whilst not commonly used, the word quaesitum refers to something which is sought.


There is also "missing"; (of a thing) not able to be found because it is not in its expected place. "a quantity of cash has gone missing" synonyms: lost, mislaid, misplaced, absent, gone (astray), gone, unaccounted for; not present or included when expected or supposed to be. "passion was an element that had been missing from her life for too long." synonyms: absent, not present, lacking, wanting "passion was missing from her life"; (of a person) absent from a place, especially home, and of unknown whereabouts. "she alerted police that her son was missing"


It would hardly do for a toothbrush but, if the object of your search was of sufficient significance, you could describe it as your "grail". Merriam-Webster provides this secondary definition: "the object of an extended or difficult quest."

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