proximity operatorA type of operator used by some search engines to improve search constraints by instructing the search to look for words that are within a short distance of each other in a document. For example, using a search engine that supports proximity operators, querying the phrase "cable NEAR modem" will instruct the search engine to look in documents for instances of the words "cable" and "modem" that are near each other. Different search engines will specify different distances that the words must be within.
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