SEARCHING – Metal Detectorists examine a find.
I find myself wondering about the difference between HUNT and SEARCH. In some contexts they seem to mean the same thing, to go in pursuit of an object, a fact, a concept that you know exists but cannot locate at that given moment.
They can however, have very different meanings. To hunt a man is not the same as to search him. Hunter seems a far more agressive word. You hunt a quarry with the implied intention of capturing or killing it. You hunt out wrong-doers with the intention of exposing them. You hunt things hidden in secret places and this implies haste, ripping away anything that conceals your goal. It suggests scant concern as to whether you might do damage in the process and you don’t necessarily put things back where you found them.
Searching is altogether gentler, more cerebral. You search out facts, research papers that might give you a clue as to what you wish to know. Search has its roots in the old French ‘cerchiez’ and we have incorporated the phrase cherchez la femme into our vocabulary – if two men resort to violence, seek out the woman! Cerchiez is also the root for the French ‘Hunt – la Chasse,’ – pursuing a living creature with a pack of animals. Hunt, however has mainly old English and Germanic roots -the meanings are invariably inextricable.
The thing is, native speakers know which word to use in which context. Hunting, persuing, chasing,investigating, researching, somehow we absorb the differences by instinct.
The Magic of Language.