Search up vs. Look up

Jhorer Brishti

Senior Member
United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
rower2600 said:
But maybe in the colloquial English of Bangladesh and India it would be fine to say "search up"? I agree, in the U.S. we'd say "looking the word up" or "searching for the word"
:)

In one of the threads in the Spanish-English General Vocabulary Forum, I posted a reply using the phrase "search up". Someone corrected this as a mistake but I wasn't convinced and asked if anyone else would ever use "search up" in a sentence colloquially. The above is one of the responses I got.;)


As I have been living in the USA since the age of three I consider myself to be a native speaker of English(the language I think in) and my variant is not at all influenced by the colorful dialects spoken by anyone who is educated in the language in Bangladesh.I don't know WHY but no alarm goes off in my head when I read this sentence: "If you can't discover anything related to Discus fish in the library, search it up on google". Please tell me that there's someone else here who uses "search up" in much the same way as the more common "look up"..
 
  • elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Personally, I'd say "search for it on Google" or "do a Google search for it." Nevertheless, I can maybe see how this could be modern Internet lingo for "search for it on the Internet" (note that this makes it distinct from "look it up" - which can be used in non-Internet contexts).

    English is fond of adding "up" to pretty much any verb - and sometimes to other types of words - to create a phrasal verb whose meaning is understood based on context but that won't necessarily appear in a dictionary.

    To me, "search it up" could be one such development. I would not, however, consider it standard English, nor would I teach it to a foreigner.

    (This is the first time I've come across this collocation.)
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Sorry, as a native AE speaker, I have never heard this expression in this context.

    Search can be used by itself: If you can't discover anything related to Discus fish in the library, search on google.

    Search can be used with "for": If you can't discover anything related to Discus fish in the library, search for it on google.

    Search + up could occur in this situation: Search up to 5 dictionaries on this site. (but it's really "search" + up to...)

    You can also "search up and down the street for the wallet you lost"
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Just to make your feel better, I searched on google. I make it an exclusive search for "search it up" in quotation marks.

    It came back with 12 800 results
    http://www.google.com/search?hs=7KC&hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=%22search+it+up%22&btnG=Search

    I did the same for "look it up"
    It came back with 10 300 000 results
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22look+it+up%22&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial

    So as you can see many people probably would prefer with "look it up," but evidently there are people (natives and non-natives) that use "search it up" for "look it up" ;) in the sense of on the internet. Many examples from websites:

    "Hehe, searched it up on the net. Since I don't know anything about him or you, I can't say why you based your name off of him..."
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    That last quotation: "Hehe, searched it up on the net. Since I don't know anything about him or you, I can't say why you based your name off of him..." rather does suggest that it's non-standard English.
     

    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    roxcyn said:
    Just to make your feel better, I searched on google. I make it an exclusive search for "search it up" in quotation marks.

    It came back with 12 800 results
    http://www.google.com/search?hs=7KC&hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=%22search+it+up%22&btnG=Search

    I did the same for "look it up"
    It came back with 10 300 000 results
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22look+it+up%22&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial

    So as you can see many people probably would prefer with "look it up," but evidently there are people (natives and non-natives) that use "search it up" for "look it up" ;) in the sense of on the internet. Many examples from websites:

    "Hehe, searched it up on the net. Since I don't know anything about him or you, I can't say why you based your name off of him..."

    I repeated your search and read through about 200 of these (the first 200, hehe).

    Jhorer is on to something here!! (and it is NOT simply a usage of Indian English - a rich and valuable form of the language spoken by millions - sometimes as a native language)!

    Almost all of the usages involved searching for something on the computer or computer programs that have improved "Search" features!

    So we may be present almost at the birth of a new form! The difference between a computer search and looking something up in a book (as we probably all know from using the dictionaries on this site) is that you type in what you want and, without flipping innumerable pages and checking the headwords in dictionaries to make faster progress, or hauling down lots of books, BOOM! It just POPS UP! You have "searched it up!"

    The use of "up" is perfectly correct as an analogy to: "look it up" and to "hunt it up" ("Have you a hard-bound copy of Pendennis? Yes, I think so, but I'll have to hunt it up in the storeroom").

    If confined, more or less, to looking things up on a computer by using the "Search" feature, it fits in nicely with English's usual drive for short verbal phrases that convey new meanings and is certainly a valuable shortening of "look it up on the computer" or the use of tradenames (no matter how clever: Google, to google).

    So, thanks to you and to Jhorer for making me search this up!!

    FANTASTIC!!
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    elroy said:
    Personally, I'd say "search for it on Google" or "do a Google search for it." Nevertheless, I can maybe see how this could be modern Internet lingo for "search for it on the Internet" (note that this makes it distinct from "look it up" - which can be used in non-Internet contexts).

    English is fond of adding "up" to pretty much any verb - and sometimes to other types of words - to create a phrasal verb whose meaning is understood based on context but that won't necessarily appear in a dictionary.

    To me, "search it up" could be one such development. I would not, however, consider it standard English, nor would I teach it to a foreigner.

    (This is the first time I've come across this collocation.)

    Until it is more widely-used (ask me in 20 or so years) I tend to agree with elroy. I would be aware of it, but would not recommend that it be taught as commonly spoken English....The way technology is advancing, to search up might become much more common a lot quicker than 20 years from now! (For example, how many of you knew what Googling was 20, or 15, or even 10 years ago?!)
     

    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    mjscott said:
    Until it is more widely-used (ask me in 20 or so years) I tend to agree with elroy. I would be aware of it, but would not recommend that it be taught as commonly spoken English....The way technology is advancing, to search up might become much more common a lot quicker than 20 years from now! (For example, how many of you knew what Googling was 20, or 15, or even 10 years ago?!)

    Oh, I think it will be faster than that. The usage ("to search up") is likely to be encouraged by Google, unless it wants to lose its rights, as Kleenex did. It's lucky that it did not try to register the word originally in the UK, since, in fact, "google" is a cricket term, as is "googly."

    Personally, since I have never liked applying trade names to things and thus becoming a mouthpiece in private conversations for those who do not share their profits with me, nor wearing clothes with logos and becoming a walking sign-board (EAT AT JOE'S), I am going to use it for: "look it up on the computer" forthwith and henceforth!
     

    danielfranco

    Senior Member
    "Search up" = look for specific data in the memory of a computer, using software designed specifically for such task.

    No, I didn't find it anywhere. I'm just summarizing what I've understood so far. (Also, when someone googles the phrase "search up", this will give them a hit!). I think as part of the standard English it will not make the cut, but at the rate networked-computer technology advances, it will be relevant in a very short span. Maybe it will be standard usage by as soon as 2021!
     

    bartonig

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would correct a student learning English that search up is not acceptable especially if an exam were looming. I would never use it, but the strange thing is that I assumed it would be separable - even though it doesn't exist (in my lexicon). It seems to me that most verbs formed with up are separable:

    back up, clear up, dish up, eat up, f**k up, give up, hush up, inch up, jack up, and so on.

    The only one I can think of that isn't is kick up as in kick up a fuss. You wouldn't say kick the fuss up.

    Any others?
     
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