Trying to Google a Word You Can't Remember? There's a Trick for That

ijeab/iStock via Getty Images
ijeab/iStock via Getty Images / ijeab/iStock via Getty Images

A bad memory is much more manageable today than it was before the internet. If you can't recall the lyrics to a song or the name of an actress from a movie, the answer is just a web search away. There are situations when Google is less helpful, such as when you can't think of the right keywords for your prompt, but there's a way around that. With the right search modifier, it's possible to look up a word that you've forgotten.

According to Lifehacker, an asterisk acts as a placeholder in Google searches. Just add whatever words you do remember around the symbol and Google will do its best to fill in the blank. For example, if you've been meaning to read a book about a girl with a something tattoo and want to find the title, you can plug "the girl with the * tattoo" into the search field. Google will bring up results related to Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and eliminate irrelevant links.

Of course, this is only helpful if you remember the terms that often appear with the forgotten term. When you have less information at your disposal, try tools like OneLook. The dictionary search engine helps you find words based on their definition, or even what they sound like. (For instance, typing in "bl???t," where each question mark stands for one letter, autosuggests "blight.") For moments when words escape you completely, use Google's melody search tool. After tapping the mic icon on the search bar and saying "what's this song?" you can hum the tune to a song whose lyrics you don't remember.

If you know which tricks to use, it's easy to get the exact result you want from your web search after hitting Enter the first time. Here are more ingenious Google hacks you should be taking advantage of.

[h/t Lifehacker]