Rohit Banga Rohit Banga - 1 month ago 5x
Java Question

lucene get matched terms in query

What is the best way to find out which terms in a query matched against a given document returned as a hit in lucene?

I have tried a weird method involving hit highlighting package in lucene contrib and also a method that searches for every word in the query against the top most document ("docId: xy AND description: each_word_in_query").

Do not get satisfactory results?
Hit highlighting does not report some of the words that matched for a document other than the first one.
I'm not sure if the second approach is the best alternative.


The method explain in the Searcher is a nice way to see which part of a query was matched and how it affects the overall score.

Example taken from the book Lucene In Action 2nd Edition:

public class Explainer {

  public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {

     if (args.length != 2) {
        System.err.println("Usage: Explainer <index dir> <query>");

     String indexDir = args[0];
     String queryExpression = args[1];
     Directory directory = File(indexDir));
     QueryParser parser = new QueryParser(Version.LUCENE_CURRENT,
                                     "contents", new SimpleAnalyzer());

     Query query = parser.parse(queryExpression);
     System.out.println("Query: " + queryExpression);
     IndexSearcher searcher = new IndexSearcher(directory);
     TopDocs topDocs =, 10);
     for (int i = 0; i < topDocs.totalHits; i++) {
        ScoreDoc match = topDocs.scoreDocs[i];
        Explanation explanation = searcher.explain(query, match.doc);   
        Document doc = searcher.doc(match.doc);

This will explain the score of each document that matches the query.