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Getting the Most out of PubMed Medline: Truncation


Truncation is a search method in which symbols are used in place of letters or words to help you broaden your search.

In PubMed, the asterisk (*) represents any group of characters, including no character. Use it at the end of the root of your term (minimum of at least four characters).


  Hawaii* finds:   Hawaii
Hawaii Island
  toxic* finds:   toxic
toxicology, etc.

Using Truncation

Some tips for using truncation in PubMed:

  • Truncation is unlimited. The legacy version of PubMed was limited to the first 600 variations of a truncated stem.
  • Truncating a search term in PubMed disables automatic term mapping, meaning synonyms and MeSH terms will not be added to your search.

More information about truncation is available in the PubMed User Guide,