Did jealousy create “re-search”?


I like breaking down words.

My new specimen is:


Let’s take a good look at it, shall we?

Wait, first, what’s the definition of “research”? We seem to throw that word around a lot.

Persian cat room guardian
“If you throw it, I’ll catch it.”

RESEARCH: NOUN “The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.”

RESEARCH: VERB “Investigate systematically.” or “Discover or verify information for use in (a book, programme, etc.)”

(Oxford Dictionaries: research)

Those are some complicated definitions! :0

RESEARCH just looks like a SEARCH with a RE.

Let’s do an experiment and take off “re”.

SEARCH: VERB “Try to find something by looking or otherwise seeking carefully and thoroughly.” or “Examine (a place, vehicle, or person) thoroughly in order to find something or someone.” or ” Look for information in (a database or the World Wide Web) using a search engine.

SEARCH: NOUN “An act of searching for someone or something.” or “An act or instance of searching a database or the World Wide Web.” or “Computing The systematic retrieval of information, or the facility for this.” or “Law An investigation of public records to find if a property is subject to any liabilities or encumbrances.

(Oxford Dictionaries: search)

Okay so, but, uh,

1464533I would think if you are searching a.k.a “seeking carefully”, aren’t you doing a “systematic investigation”? Can you seek carefully without being systematic?

Can you say, “Let’s search for treasure!” without making a plan how you are going to go about doing it?

Wouldn’t you say, “Okay, Sam, Tommy, you guys go left. Me and John will go right. Whistle if you see anything suspicious.”

How is that not systematic?

What I’m saying is

isn’t “research” basically just “search”?

They’re not synonymous?

Oxford Dictionaries (OD) says one of the synonyms for research is “exploration” or “explore”. Also, the synonym for search is “explore” as well.

Haven’t these dictionary people learned that if x = z and z = y then x = y? (never knew math would pay off like this)

If research = explore and explore = search, that should mean research = search, right?

Back up a bit

What does “re” usually mean?

OD says it means “once more”.

Research would just be “search once more”.

But when people say they do research, they are not searching once more for something they have already found. Unless of course they have been to the future and back. They are researching for new things.

giphy boromir

Then why on Earth do we say “research”? Isn’t search enough? Why does it need this extra “re”? It’s beautiful just the way it is!


Here are my theories:

Research is more pretentious. Some people were unsatisfied saying they had searched for things. They wanted to make it sound like they had found these things before and they were just confirming. But they are liars.

Research is more academic. People in academia like long complicated words that have synonyms that are simpler. So, they added the “re” to “search” to make it look more sophisticated.

One guy created the synonym for explore. It was “search“. He became extremely famous for this. His younger brother was so jealous he created a synonym for explore as well. It was “research“. He became famous, too. Until the day of their deaths, the brothers have been fighting over “search” and “research“. Mainly because “research” comes before “search” in the dictionary giving the younger brother more recognition.


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