I've tried using the - (not) symbol in searches on Stack Overflow to reduce the number of irrelevant matches in the results, with no effect.

I'm getting really sick of "Whats your favorite programmer joke / cartoon?" appearing in the results for almost every search I perform.

I've read this page and there is no mention of how to use a Not operator to exclude the following word.

I've heard about excluding tags using -, but I'm talking about excluding words.

Is this possible? Has it just not been implemented? If not, I'd really like to see this added to search.

  • 1
    Arbitrary logical expressions is the more general question. Nov 27, 2010 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


This was added a while back - you can now use the - operator to exclude search terms: https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=what%27s+your+favorite+programmer+-cartoon

  • 3
    Yes, Google is always a good backup. I've developed a few searches in my time and usually found implementing the NOT operator pretty easy. Strange it isn't already available.
    – user135186
    Sep 1, 2009 at 3:03
  • The link in Shog9's answer does not use the site: operator. You might consider using something like site:stackoverflow.com to constrain your Google search to Stackoverflow.
    – chb
    Jul 30, 2012 at 19:27
  • @chb: thanks for the heads-up: this was actually implemented a while ago.
    – Shog9
    Jul 30, 2012 at 19:33
  • @Shog9 facepalm I had no idea; should've looked at the post date and tried again.
    – chb
    Jul 30, 2012 at 19:41
  • Your search tips, like the steak ones at Tumbleweeds, are out of date then
    – random
    Jul 30, 2012 at 20:37

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