search engine A program that when initiated by a search command from a user interface examines a body of data for items satisfying the search criteria and returns the items or their locations to the interface. The data could be, say, a literary database or information about very large numbers of World Wide Web sites. Google, Alta Vista, and Yahoo are examples of Web search engines.
search en·gine • n. Comput. a program for the retrieval of data from a database or network, esp. the Internet.
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