When might "searched term" be used instead of "search term"?

For example, I am a software developer. I have a window in which the results of the search will be displayed. It also displays which term was searched.

Which is the correct form to display it?

Search term : [keyword]


Searched term : [keyword]

  • It is not only about UX. The question talks about the exact word to be used in such a situation. – Shanky Mar 6 '14 at 11:59
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    Hi Shanky. I think this is a good question. I have changed it a little bit to broaden its scope and make it useful to more learners. – nxx Mar 6 '14 at 15:27

You can always use 'search term' and I think it sounds more natural (maybe similar to 'keyword').

Search term, doesn't have a definite tense, because it means 'the term of the search'. It can refer to future/present/past searches.

You can use 'searched term' after the search. It's just another way of saying it, and if you want to be clear that the search has happened (and maybe cannot directly be edited), you might choose this.

However, I would go for simplicity, and just use 'Search:' - it means you don't have to worry about plurals ('search term(s)'), let alone tenses.

  • That sounds legal to me. – Shanky Mar 6 '14 at 9:10

"search term" can mean a term that is, was, or will be searched. It is like "keyword", which also does not refer to the time of the action (tense).

"searched term" describes a "term" as something that was "searched" (past tense).

In your example, you can use "searched term" to emphasise the past tense. But, as snailplane points out in comments, this is not really necessary, as "search term" can mean "search term that was used" here.

When you need to be clear that the terms were used in the past, for example, in a database that records search terms that were used as opposed to search terms that might be or will be used, then "searched terms" is more concise than "search terms that were used".


This is tricky and nice one. When you have an empty box, it must read search term because something has to be put there by the users.

Once the tool searches it, it should then display searched term because now it's searched.

The issue occurs because the text box for the term remains the same but then you can do this way...

Use Search term - text grayed and when someone types something, it displays it normally. AND,
Once the search happens, it'll be searched term and then results displayed.

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    No, it's still a search term. – snailcar Mar 6 '14 at 7:59
  • @snailplane How? My searched term is ambidextrous but then it gave results of people with paralysis! – Maulik V Mar 6 '14 at 8:10
  • @snailplane Also, the search term given to me was enterprise mobility but then here I observe on the screen that searched term is enterprise fertility! – Maulik V Mar 6 '14 at 8:13
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    In search term, the word search is not a verb but a noun functioning attributively. It does not inflect. Your coinage searched term is not ungrammatical but does not reflect how people actually speak; speakers generally do not make the distinction you've invented. – snailcar Mar 6 '14 at 8:14
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    @snailplane I think you should write your own answer. Your comment is more accurate than both the answers given. – starsplusplus Mar 6 '14 at 11:26

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