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In particular, I'm thinking of the below words involving searching for items/people, with my current understanding on the right

探す - The most general word

探求する - Searching for a physical or abstract item, but not a person. It may not be missing in the first place.

捜索する - Seems like it is often (but not always) used with people. Also, seems like whatever is being searched for has always gone missing

サーチする - "katakana contexts" (eg: marketing)

探し求める - no idea

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  • You might want to add 検索する to that list.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 23, 2023 at 15:01
  • I considered including it but decided against it since then I would presumably have to include 調べる which felt it was too far straying. I decided I could just treat 検索 not as "to search" but instead "to look something up" and thus not include it.
    – MegaZeroX
    Apr 23, 2023 at 19:42

1 Answer 1

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  • 探求: It's typically used in the context of researching or learning, in the sense of "to explore". 探究心 refers to childlike desire to learn and understand things. It's object is almost always something abstract such as knowledge and happiness. 探究 is very similar to this.

  • 捜索: It's used only in the context of searching missing people (行方不明者の捜索) and crime investigation (家宅捜索).

  • サーチ: It's used in the context of internet search, binary search and other technical situations. It's uncommon outside technical contexts.

  • 探索: It's used sometimes like 探求 and sometimes like サーチ.

  • 探し求める: A compound verb made of 探す ("to search") and 求める ("to pursue"). It is used for something that you really want but don't know where it is, such as happiness, spouse, philosophical truth and ancient treasures.

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