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What is diacritic search?

A diacritic is a mark that indicates pronunciation of a word. Sometimes a diacritic indicates a different word in the same language. Sometimes a diacritic distinguishes words in different languages.


  • Fermé (French "closed") vs. Ferme (French "farm”)
  • Höra (Swedish “hear”) vs. Hora (Spanish “hour”)

If you search without diacritics, the search engine will retrieve all forms of the word searched. For example, a search for hora, (without a diacritic), would retrieve hora, horá, horã, horä, höra.

If instead you search for höra (with a diacritic over the o), the search engine will retrieve only höra.

For more precision in search results, you can use the appropriate diacritic mark for the specific words in your search.

Because a search with diacritics is more restrictive (and more precise), the number of hits will usually drop when you search with diacritics.

For diacritic search to work, the profile must have the parameter Diacritic search set to ON in EBSCOadmin. This parameter is on by default as of October 1, 2018.


Due to the vast amount of content in EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), from thousands of publishers and content providers, there will be inconsistencies when searching with diacritics.

  • Some content providers do not provide diacritics in their content. If the diacritics are not there to begin with, your search with diacritics will not match this content.

  • When you search with diacritics in EDS, your search results will usually show a mix of records without diacritics. This can happen for several reasons:

    • The diacritic match might be in a citation field not displayed in the result list.

    • The diacritic match might be in the full-text of the document, not in the citation.

    • A database contributing to the results might not be indexed with diacritics, in which case, the search will be run against that database in flattened form (without diacritics), and results retrieved will include results with and without diacritics.