Na query malformed must start with start object – How to solve this Elasticsearch exception

Opster Team

August-23, Version: 6.8-8.9

Briefly, this error occurs when Elasticsearch receives a query that doesn’t start with a JSON object. Elasticsearch expects queries to be properly formatted JSON objects. The error indicates that the query is malformed, possibly due to incorrect syntax or structure. To resolve this issue, you should review your query to ensure it’s a valid JSON object. Make sure it starts with a ‘{‘ (start_object) and ends with a ‘}’. Also, check for any missing or extra commas, quotes, or brackets that could be causing the issue.

This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” [_na] query malformed; must start with start_object ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: query, index.

Log Context

Log “[_na] query malformed; must start with start_object” class name is We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

 * Parses an inner query. To be called by query implementations that support inner queries.
 protected static QueryBuilder parseInnerQueryBuilder(XContentParser parser) throws IOException {
 if (parser.currentToken() != XContentParser.Token.START_OBJECT) {
 if (parser.nextToken() != XContentParser.Token.START_OBJECT) {
 throw new ParsingException(parser.getTokenLocation(); "[_na] query malformed; must start with start_object");
 if (parser.nextToken() == XContentParser.Token.END_OBJECT) {
 // we encountered '{}' for a query clause; it used to be supported; deprecated in 5.0 and removed in 6.0
 throw new IllegalArgumentException("query malformed; empty clause found at [" + parser.getTokenLocation() + "]");


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