I enable BBDB as below

  (el-get-bundle! bbdb
    (defun ec--bbdb-initialize ()
      (flyspell-mode t)
      (bbdb-initialize 'message)
      (bbdb-initialize 'gnus)
      (local-set-key "<TAB>" 'bbdb-complete-name))

    (add-hook 'message-mode-hook #'ec--bbdb-initialize)

When I try to write message in Gnus after press a in a group. I can't insert < char. Because it is define as Prefix Command. But I can't find where it is defined in BBDB package.

The reason I think it is the issue related to BBDB is when I comments the code above in my config file, I can insert < char and it is not show as Prefix Command in describe-bindings.

Doesn't anyone know how to fix it?

  • 2
    Doesn't C-h k < (describe-key <) tell what it's bound to?
    – JeanPierre
    Dec 24, 2015 at 9:25
  • < is bound as a prefix command. You can't get the description for prefix command. C-h b can list the bind. But I how to find where it is bind and how to unbind it.
    – Enze Chi
    Dec 25, 2015 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


You can pretty much always insert any character using C-q: C-q <. I'd be surprised if that didn't work in your context. (Of course, often there is an easier, more direct way to insert a given character.)

  • That works and I can insert <. But I really hope to find where it is bound and how to unbind it.
    – Enze Chi
    Dec 25, 2015 at 10:13
  • Check bbdb-mode-map (or whatever the map is called - you might need to check more than one map). If you use library help-fns+.el then you can use C-h M-k, entering the map-variable name, to see a human-readable list of the keys in that map.
    – Drew
    Dec 25, 2015 at 18:27

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