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Match every word except foo

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Tip 220 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2002 · complexity intermediate · author Michael Geddes · version 6.0

This is a regular expression that matches all words except 'foo'

  • \v Very magic
  • < Start-of-word
  • (Foo>) The atom 'Foo' followed by end-of-word
  • @! Match (with zero length) when the previous atom doesn't match.
  • \k+ Match one or more Keywords
  • > Match end-of-word.

The non-magic version is:


The use of \@! can be very tricky. According to the Vim help files, it is often easier to use \@<! instead. For example, to find all 'bar' strings unless they are part of 'foobar', use the following (non-magic):




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