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Lycos Search Engine

Lycos is one of the oldest search engines. Lycos was originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University to calculate the size of the web using a "spider" robot program that walked around the Internet from site to site through page links.

The name Lycos comes from Lycosidae, the scientific name for the "wolf spider". Wolf spiders are excellent hunters that catch their prey by running after it instead of catching it in a web. They are named "wolf" spiders because people once mistakenly thought that they hunted in packs.

The original key Lycos search features are listed below, however Lycos now outsources its search engine so the range of features can change.

Search Features





space and mars

both "space" and "mars"


space or mars

"space" or "mars"


space and (mars or venus)

"space" and either "mars" or "venus". Always put brackets around OR keywords connected to AND


space and not mars

space, but no pages with "mars"


+space +mars -venus

"space" and "mars" but not "venus" - not recommended - use "space and mars and not venus" instead


space and music*

space and music, musical, musician, etc.


electric and "fastest space"

includes phrase "fastest space"



only French language word "zéro"

Letter Case


only capitalized "EFF"



both "eff" and "EFF"

History. The following features were historically available but no longer function.

Search Features





race adj car

"race" adjacent to "car" in either order - "race car" or "car race"


race near car

"race" within 25 words of "car"


race near/2 car

"race" within 2 words of "car"


race onear/3 car

"race" ordered near (before) "car" within 3 words


race far car

"race" at least 25 words away from "car"


race far/2 car

"race" at least 2 words away from "car"


race ofar/3 car

"race" at least 3 words ordered far from (before) "car"

Other Boolean

race oadj car

"race" ordered adjacent (before) "car", same as "near"


race adj/2 car

"race" up to 2 words before "car", same as "onear/2"


race oadj/3 car

"race" ordered adjacent (before) "car" within 3 words, same as "onear/3"


race before car

"race" before "car", same as "onear"