At the beginning of the week I promised to tell you a simple trick I used to look up words in an online dictionary even though it was unavailable because of updating works.
Not only can you consult a dictionary with this search operator, but you can also do a search within a whole specific website or domain. It’s performed by adding site:[domain name] to the terms of your search. For example, chemistry site:oxforddictionaries.com shows all the positions in which the word chemistry appears in the Oxford Dictionaries website including definitions, examples, articles, resources, games…
That’s a great tool when the search system of a website is limited (e. g. dictionaries show the main entry for a word, not the definitions or examples in which it’s used) or when there’s no search system at all. Take methane site:iupac.org, for instance. This will find the word methane in the IUPAC’s website as well as in the Gold Book or even the many pdf documents stored in the domain iupac.org. This was really useful when correcting the chemistry dictionary because there were compounds so complex that couldn’t be found in any database, but sometimes I got lucky to find them in pdf articles in the IUPAC’s website.
Additionally, whenever I doubt whether a phrase is correct in English or not I check if it’s used in the UK by adding site:uk to my search, or even site:bbc.co.uk to ensure a proper source.
As you can see, this search operator is useful to find hidden information or avoid the noise of the web by selecting a specific source.