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It gives you the first match it finds. In your abc example, c is a match for [[:alpha:]]+, so it stops there. The actual regexp matching is always forwards; it's just the starting position which is moved backwards until a match is found. If you searched for "\\b[[:alpha:]]+" then abc would be the first match. Note that what you are (IIUC) expecting would ...


Ibuffer is what you're looking for. M-x ibuffer Mark your buffers any way you prefer: using m to mark them manually, % g by regexp content-matching, * M to mark by major mode, or whatever other option which suits your fancy -err needs. Use Q to make a regexp search and replace on marked buffers or I for plain search and replace. Do the replaces, then go ...


The history of query-replace replacement pairs can be saved by adding query-replace-defaults (and also optionally query-replace-history) to savehist-additional-variables.

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