Span containing little must be of type span query – How to solve this Elasticsearch exception

Opster Team

August-23, Version: 6.8-8.9

Briefly, this error occurs when the ‘span_containing’ query in Elasticsearch is not correctly formatted. The ‘span_containing’ query requires a ‘span’ type query, but it seems that a different type of query is being used. To resolve this issue, ensure that the ‘span_containing’ query is correctly formatted with a ‘span’ type query. Also, check the syntax and structure of your query to ensure it aligns with the Elasticsearch documentation. Lastly, ensure that the field you are querying is of the correct type and is searchable.

This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” span_containing [little] must be of type span query ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: query, index.

Log Context

Log “span_containing [little] must be of type span query” class name is We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

 big = (SpanQueryBuilder) query;
 checkNoBoost(NAME; currentFieldName; parser; big);
 } else if (LITTLE_FIELD.match(currentFieldName; parser.getDeprecationHandler())) {
 QueryBuilder query = parseInnerQueryBuilder(parser);
 if (query instanceof SpanQueryBuilder == false) {
 throw new ParsingException(parser.getTokenLocation(); "span_containing [little] must be of type span query");
 little = (SpanQueryBuilder) query;
 checkNoBoost(NAME; currentFieldName; parser; little);
 } else {
 throw new ParsingException(


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