Using search commands

You can search for items by entering keywords in the search box at the top of most eBay pages.

In some cases, we'll automatically expand your search to include items based on the intent of your search rather than matching the exact words you typed. Also, we may expand your search to include the plural or alternate spelling of your search words. For example, searching for 'grey' would return items containing the word 'grey' or 'gray'.

Also, the words you enter in the search box are not case-sensitive, so your results will be the same whether you use capital letters or lower case letters.

To refine your search further, you can combine advanced search operators along with your search words to get results that are more precise.

Note: Using any advanced search operator will turn off automatic search expansions. To see which keywords are associated with specific categories, see Keyword search category expansions.

What advanced search operators do

Operator What it does Example

Quotation marks (also known as double-quotes)

Searches for only the word or phrase in the listing title

"Action" DVD
returns items that have the exact words Action and DVD in the title in any order.

"Action DVD"
returns items that have these two words in the title in this specific order.

Brackets + items separated by commas

Act together as an OR operator

Note: You should use both of these operators (i.e. brackets around items separated by commas) for best results

returns items that contain either the word purse OR handbag in the title.

Minus sign

Acts as a NOT operator

Note: You need a space before the minus sign and no space after

Red -shoes
returns items that have red in the title and do NOT have shoes in the title.

Plus sign

Used specifically to turn off automatic expansion and has no other function

harry potter +dvd
returns only items that have harry and potter and dvd in the title.

Using search commands and advanced search operators

To search for: Do this: Example

Results that contain all the words you enter

Enter the keywords with a space between them

new DVD player
returns items with all three words in the title in any order

Results that contain the exact words you typed in a particular order

Place quotation marks around the group of words

"New York"
returns items with titles containing New York in that order only, but not those containing just New or just York or the words York New

Results that do not contain a certain word

Place a minus sign immediately before the word to be excluded (no space after the minus sign)

shirt blue -wool
returns items with titles containing the words shirt and blue but not containing the word wool

Results that don't contain several words

Place a minus sign before the list of words separated by commas (with no spaces after the minus sign and the commas) and surround by brackets

bowl -(black,green,purple) or bowl -black -green -purple
returns items with titles containing the word bowl but not containing the words black, green, and purple

Results that contain either of the words

Enter keywords in brackets separated by commas (no space after the commas)

returns items with titles containing either the word purse or the word handbag

Results that contain only a specific spelling of a word

Enter the keywords or phrases in quotes

returns only items with the exact word book and not items with the word books in the title

How eBay's automatic search expansion works

Expansion service What it does Example

Keyword to keyword

Modifies your keyword query to search for either your original keyword, or a synonymous keyword from our dictionary

Searches for red shoes will return items that have the words red and either shoe or shoes in the title.

Keyword to category

Modifies your query to search for items that have a specific keyword in the title or live in a specific related category.

Searches for Harry Potter DVD will return items that have Harry Potter in the title and have either DVD in the title, or live in the DVDs category.

Keyword to item specifics

Modifies your query to search for items that have the keywords from the original query in the title, or have particular item specifics used in the item description.

A search for Nike Golf will return items that have golf in the title and either have Nike in the title, or have Brand=Nike specified in the item specifics section of the description

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