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Q: how does one test string equality but ignore case?

I've got a situation in which I'd like to compare strings but ignore case. Case is significant for string-equal, and apparently is insensitive to case-fold-search:

(string-equal "string" "StrinG")        ; => nil
(let ((case-fold-search t))
  (string-equal "string" "StrinG"))     ; => nil

I could always preprocess the strings (say, with downcase) before comparing them:

(string-equal (downcase "string")
              (downcase "StrinG"))      ; => t

But that seems like overkill to do two extra function calls every time. Have I overlooked the relevant predicate function somewhere?

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  • I used compare-strings and found the following problem. (setq str "title") (cond (compare-strings str "authortitle") do something.) (compare-strings str "title") do something else.) The first compare-strings returns a positive value implying true which is not what I want. Therefore I used the downcase suggestion.
    – user8343
    May 17 '15 at 15:30
10

You can use compare-strings:

(compare-strings STR1 START1 END1 STR2 START2 END2 &optional IGNORE-CASE)

Use nils for starts and ends to use the whole strings.

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  • Thanks; I'd seen that one but didn't realize that one could use nils as you mentioned. I'll leave the question open a little longer in case there's another option that doesn't require 4 extra nils in a function call.
    – Dan
    Mar 30 '15 at 11:38
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Another short alternative:

(cl-equalp "string" "strinG")      ; => t
(cl-equalp "strinG" "this string") ; => nil 
(cl-equalp "word" "buzzword")      ; => nil

equalp from the deprecated cl library is another alternative. From (documentation 'cl-equalp), my emphasis in bold:

like ‘equal’, except that it accepts numerically equal numbers of different types (float vs. integer), and also compares strings case-insensitively.

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  • 1
    equalp is not short for cl-equalp - cl-equalp is provided by the cl-lib library, whereas equalp is provided by the deprecated cl library. That the cl library defines it as an alias is an internal implementation detail. I therefore suggest you recommend cl-equalp over equalp. See (info "(cl) Organization").
    – Basil
    Apr 11 at 20:49
  • Answer updated, as above.
    – dardisco
    Apr 12 at 22:25
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Use string-suffix-p:

(string-suffix-p "string" "strinG" t)

Much simpler and doesn't require 4 nils. It doesn't test if strings are equal per se ((string-suffix-p "word" "buzzword" t) ⇒ t). Although, in some cases this should be sufficient (if you have limited dictionary to check upon).

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  • 2
    (string-suffix-p "strinG" "this string" t) also returns t. This is not what the OP wants. I suggest you either modify or delete this answer.
    – Tobias
    Jan 28 '16 at 22:09
  • Answer updated. I will leave it because string-{prefix,suffix}-p can useful in many ways: test if word at point is given keyboard (in SQL for example where case can be mixed) etc.
    – rgtk
    Jan 29 '16 at 15:31

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