Searching the MeSH Thesaurus (Qualifiers)

Click the Details Details icon icon to view the details for a qualifier. Details may include any of the following fields depending on the qualifier.

Field Definition Examples

The qualifier (also called subheading) which may be added to a subject heading to refine your search of the MeSH field in MEDLINE.

  • adverse effects
  • prevention & control
  • standards

Two-character abbreviation for the qualifier.


[for qualifier therapeutic use]

Scope Note

The scope note defines the qualifier and/or provides information about using it with subject headings.

Used with diseases to indicate conditions that co-exist or follow (that is co-existing diseases, complications, or sequelae).

[for qualifier complications]


An annotation instructs indexers and searchers on how to use the qualifier.

subhead only; includes "formation" & "production" of substances by living tissue or organisms; see MeSH scope note in Introduction; indexing policy: Manual 19.8.9; DF / biosyn or /BI

[for qualifier biosynthesis]

History Note

Most history notes begins with one or more dates (expressed as YY or YYYY). In addition, the history note lists the categories of subject headings appropriate for the qualifier.

66; used with Category C & F 1966-67; C, F & G 1968-74; C, F1, F3, G3 & I1 1975-89; C & F3 1990 forward

[for qualifier prevention & control]

Entry Term

Synomym or closely related term used to find the appropriate qualifier.

  • causality
  • causes
  • pathogenesis

[for qualifier etiology]

Date of Entry

Computer-generated date when the qualifier record was first added to the system. The format is YYYYMMDD.


[for qualifier etiology]

Revision Date

Date of most recent revision. The format is YYYYMMDD.


[for qualifier etiology.]

Date Established

Date the qualifier was established. The format is YYYYMMDD.


[for qualifier etiology]

Unique ID

Unique identifier for the qualifier. Every identifier begins with the letter Q (for qualifier).


[for qualifier etiology]