Simple query string queryedit

Returns documents based on a provided query string, using a parser with a limited but fault-tolerant syntax.

This query uses a simple syntax to parse and split the provided query string into terms based on special operators. The query then analyzes each term independently before returning matching documents.

While its syntax is more limited than the query_string query, the simple_query_string query does not return errors for invalid syntax. Instead, it ignores any invalid parts of the query string.

Example requestedit

GET /_search
  "query": {
    "simple_query_string" : {
        "query": "\"fried eggs\" +(eggplant | potato) -frittata",
        "fields": ["title^5", "body"],
        "default_operator": "and"

Top-level parameters for simple_query_stringedit

(Required, string) Query string you wish to parse and use for search. See Simple query string syntax.

(Optional, array of strings) Array of fields you wish to search.

This field accepts wildcard expressions. You also can boost relevance scores for matches to particular fields using a caret (^) notation. See Wildcards and per-field boosts in the fields parameter for examples.

Defaults to the index.query.default_field index setting, which has a default value of *. The * value extracts all fields that are eligible to term queries and filters the metadata fields. All extracted fields are then combined to build a query if no prefix is specified.

There is a limit on the number of fields that can be queried at once. It is defined by the indices.query.bool.max_clause_count search setting, which defaults to 1024.


(Optional, string) Default boolean logic used to interpret text in the query string if no operators are specified. Valid values are:

OR (Default)
For example, a query string of capital of Hungary is interpreted as capital OR of OR Hungary.
For example, a query string of capital of Hungary is interpreted as capital AND of AND Hungary.
[6.0.0] Deprecated in 6.0.0. set fields to * instead (Optional, boolean) If true, search all searchable fields in the index’s field mapping.
(Optional, boolean) If true, the query attempts to analyze wildcard terms in the query string. Defaults to false.
(Optional, string) Analyzer used to convert text in the query string into tokens. Defaults to the index-time analyzer mapped for the default_field. If no analyzer is mapped, the index’s default analyzer is used.
(Optional, boolean) If true, match phrase queries are automatically created for multi-term synonyms. Defaults to true. See Synonyms for an example.
(Optional, string) List of enabled operators for the simple query string syntax. Defaults to ALL (all operators). See Limit operators for valid values.
(Optional, integer) Maximum number of terms to which the query expands for fuzzy matching. Defaults to 50.
(Optional, integer) Number of beginning characters left unchanged for fuzzy matching. Defaults to 0.
(Optional, boolean) If true, edits for fuzzy matching include transpositions of two adjacent characters (ab → ba). Defaults to true.
(Optional, boolean) If true, format-based errors, such as providing a text value for a numeric field, are ignored. Defaults to false.
(Optional, string) Minimum number of clauses that must match for a document to be returned. See the minimum_should_match parameter for valid values and more information.

(Optional, string) Suffix appended to quoted text in the query string.

You can use this suffix to use a different analysis method for exact matches. See Mixing exact search with stemming.


Simple query string syntaxedit

The simple_query_string query supports the following operators:

  • + signifies AND operation
  • | signifies OR operation
  • - negates a single token
  • " wraps a number of tokens to signify a phrase for searching
  • * at the end of a term signifies a prefix query
  • ( and ) signify precedence
  • ~N after a word signifies edit distance (fuzziness)
  • ~N after a phrase signifies slop amount

To use one of these characters literally, escape it with a preceding backslash (\).

The behavior of these operators may differ depending on the default_operator value. For example:

GET /_search
    "query": {
        "simple_query_string" : {
            "fields" : ["content"],
            "query" : "foo bar -baz"

This search is intended to only return documents containing foo or bar that also do not contain baz. However because of a default_operator of OR, this search actually returns documents that contain foo or bar and any documents that don’t contain baz. To return documents as intended, change the query string to foo bar +-baz.

Limit operatorsedit

You can use the flags parameter to limit the supported operators for the simple query string syntax.

To explicitly enable only specific operators, use a | separator. For example, a flags value of OR|AND|PREFIX disables all operators except OR, AND, and PREFIX.

GET /_search
    "query": {
        "simple_query_string" : {
            "query" : "foo | bar + baz*",
            "flags" : "OR|AND|PREFIX"
Valid valuesedit

The available flags are:

ALL (Default)
Enables all optional operators.
Enables the + AND operator.
Enables \ as an escape character.
Enables the ~N operator after a word, where N is an integer denoting the allowed edit distance for matching. See Fuzziness.
Enables the ~N operator, after a phrase where N is the maximum number of positions allowed between matching tokens. Synonymous to SLOP.
Disables all operators.
Enables the - NOT operator.
Enables the \| OR operator.
Enables the " quotes operator used to search for phrases.
Enables the ( and ) operators to control operator precedence.
Enables the * prefix operator.
Enables the ~N operator, after a phrase where N is maximum number of positions allowed between matching tokens. Synonymous to NEAR.
Enables whitespace as split characters.

Wildcards and per-field boosts in the fields parameteredit

Fields can be specified with wildcards, eg:

GET /_search
  "query": {
    "simple_query_string" : {
      "query":    "Will Smith",
      "fields": [ "title", "*_name" ] 

Query the title, first_name and last_name fields.

Individual fields can be boosted with the caret (^) notation:

GET /_search
  "query": {
    "simple_query_string" : {
      "query" : "this is a test",
      "fields" : [ "subject^3", "message" ] 

The subject field is three times as important as the message field.


The simple_query_string query supports multi-terms synonym expansion with the synonym_graph token filter. When this filter is used, the parser creates a phrase query for each multi-terms synonyms. For example, the following synonym: "ny, new york" would produce:

(ny OR ("new york"))

It is also possible to match multi terms synonyms with conjunctions instead:

GET /_search
   "query": {
       "simple_query_string" : {
           "query" : "ny city",
           "auto_generate_synonyms_phrase_query" : false

The example above creates a boolean query:

(ny OR (new AND york)) city)

that matches documents with the term ny or the conjunction new AND york. By default the parameter auto_generate_synonyms_phrase_query is set to true.