I'm using evil mode on Emacs2 27.1 on OSX. My goal is to search and replace some text containing unicode strings using either of emacs' replace-regex or vim's search/replace functionality.

To begin with, let me showcase the example in vim without the use of unicode characters:

My text file has plenty of markers (let's say the unicode char i.e U2404) and I need to wrap the marker along with its preceding word into \mbox{}

E.g input text

This is a string।
This is another (string) ।
One more example string here    ।

This regex does the job for me in vim: %s/\((\?\w*)\?\)\s*।/\\mbox{\1 ।}/g


This is a \mbox{string ।}
This is another \mbox{(string) ।}
One more example string \mbox{here ।}

Now, onto solving the real problem with unicode chars. Sample text:

This is a नमस्ते।
This is another (नमस्ते) ।
One more example string नमस्ते    ।

The above vim regex does not work because \w does not match unicode chars. However, I can use \S, which denotes any non-space character, in the regex to apply the search/replace with pattern %s/\((\?\S*)\?\)\s*।/\\mbox{\1 ।}/gc

This regex does not work in emacs' evilmode. Is there such a thing as \S in emacs' regex repertoire? I glanced through emacs' regex syntax and couldn't find anything.

What's the regex to use to obtain the same results as with the vim command %s/\((\?\S*)\?\)\s*।/\\mbox{\1 ।}/gc?

1 Answer 1


I don't use evil mode, so I've no idea if its regexes are different from ordinary Emacs regexes or not.

But if you use M-x re-builder, you'll see that "\\((?\\w*)?\\) *।" is a perfectly fine regex that matches all of your examples, with the group matching exactly what you want.

  • Works great. Thanks!
    – linuxfan
    Mar 12, 2021 at 0:24

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