I have an interface that allows you to pull data related to a number of topics, but then also allows you to be more specific about what aspects of those topics you want information on.

For example, say a general category is "weather" and you can pull information on weather generally. One of the more specific aspects might be "Southern hemisphere weather." Additionally, there might be entries such as "weather monitoring agencies;" that is, entries that are related but not direct subcategories.

I'm looking for a verb that means "to be more specific," by selecting one of these sub- or related categories. I considered refine but that to me implies sifting or filtering, as opposed to delving deeper. Drill down is a more idiomatic approach, but sounds far too informal.

  • How would you use that verb in a sentence? E.g. edit your question to insert something like the following: "If you want to (view forecasts at a higher precision), please click on the place of interest."
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:28
  • @Lawrence It isn't going to be used in a sentence, most likely as a button or header text.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:34
  • That's pretty close to what EL&U calls naming, which is off-topic at EL&U. Perhaps you can couch your question in terms of how you'd use the word in a user's manual. The reason for asking for context is to make it easier to find answers that fit what you have in mind, given that most people reading your question only have the text of your question to go by.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:42
  • 2
    If it's for a button, you can just put "more detail," "see more detail," or possibly "expand," depending on the format. Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:55
  • 2
    Err... Specify?
    – komodosp
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 17:18

6 Answers 6


You may need a vague term like Further or Explore. Otherwise, you have created a paradox for yourself by looking for something while limiting what what will work, "entries that are related but not direct subcategories."

Drill down is a common command for further subcategories that are subsets of the initial search.

Advanced invites more detailed filters in the searches.

So if you want to suggest an ambiguous search that is both a search within a search, and a search beside the search, you need an ambiguous word, like further or explore.


"Specify," to identify clearly and definitely, satisfies your request for a verb meaning "to be more specific." Specifying also offers a greater focus or detail per Dan's request, "I considered refine but that to me implies sifting or filtering, as opposed to delving deeper."


"Expand " is commonly used when you offer a number of choices for each sub-category. However "drill down" seems to be accepted by an authoritative source, so why not?


In the given context I would use the phrase narrow down:

narrow down
to reduce the number of possibilities or choices
We’re working to narrow down the list of possible suspects.

narrow something down to something:
That narrowed it down to just two possibilities.



Specificate is a real word... That was the word that I was looking for when I came across this thread.

Webster says: Definition of specificate : to give specificity to : SPECIFY


Specific is either specific or is not. How does one be "more specific"? So, my suggestion is the word specifically.

  • 2
    I would argue specificity is relative, just as is precision. I'm looking for a verb not an adverb, however.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:14
  • Why not "specify" which is both a word and means "to be more specific?"
    – jacksmith
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 17:44

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