In conjunction with search engines, “stemming” is a means to deliver better search results for the terms entered by a user – results that are more relevant, more to the point, so to speak. How does it work?
Basically, stemming reduces the various forms of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs to their root form, the stem. This causes a search term (which has also been reduced) to match even if the content being searched contains only one or more of the term’s different forms and not the term itself. From the perspective of a search engine that applies stemming, “value“, “valued” and “valuable” are the same, just like “tear”, “tearing” and “torn” are. As you can see from these two examples, there is more to stemming than merely removing prefixes and suffixes from words to determine their common stem. If you would like to learn more about the technology behind stemming, take a look at what a search engine like Elasticsearch has to offer.