Suppose that a user uses a search engine for searching. It is expected that his searches are mostly about his main expertise/interests. However he may sometimes search other things that accidentally catch his attention. Is there any word for those searches? Some candidates may be:

  1. Out-of-expertise searches
  2. Out-of-interest searches
  3. Out-of-focus searches
  • 'Peripheral' means 'not central, not focusing on the central issues [as defined by normal practice]'. 'Dilettante' in the relevant sense means 'just dabbling in this'. Sep 22, 2016 at 21:36
  • For the accidental aspect of such searches, consider "occasional" or "incidental". But, these words may also refer to unusual searches done within areas of expertise.
    – Graffito
    Sep 22, 2016 at 21:40
  • In fact, I preferred "occasional" the most among answers, Is there any opposition to that?
    – Shayan
    Sep 23, 2016 at 15:35

6 Answers 6


How about off-topic searches? An off-topic search is one that lies outside one's main focus/area of expertise/interests.

Another possibility is side-track searches. One could easily be sidetracked from one's main objective by an alluring find.

And yet another possibility is tangent searches. One could easily go off on an unintended tangent unrelated to one's main focus/area of expertise/interests.


The searches you did on things you stumbled upon during searches of your main interests are perhaps incidental searches. They are chance occurrences and a minor result of your actual searches.


incidental adjective

1 a : being likely to ensue as a chance or minor consequence : social obligations incidental to the job

b : minor

2 : occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation

You may incur some incidental expenses on the trip.

an incidental part of the job


Yes, may I suggest that the OP's examples might be consolidated and served by the word extraneous.

Let me give an example of the word-in-context:

The professor explained to his downcast student that he might have garnered a better grade if his written paper had been less extraneous and more like a text-book answer to the assignment's question.

Extraneous: (adjective) Not forming a necessary part of something; not forming an essential or vital part; having no relevance. (M-W)

  • @Silenus Good comment. I have edited the question accordingly. Sep 23, 2016 at 0:01

Secondary interest searches

Once you've said that a few times in your article, or whatever you're writing, you can abbreviate this to

secondary searches


You may call them casual searches.


casual adjective

: happening by chance : not planned or expected

: done without much thought, effort, or concern

a casual encounter on the sidewalk


If the search were both accidental and fortuitous, then one could call the search Serendipitous.

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