(plural regular expressions)
- (computing theory) A concise description of a regular formal language with notations for concatenation, alternation, and iteration (repetition) of subexpressions.
- (computing more generally) Any pattern for text matching or searching, frequently offering more or less functionality than a theoretical regular expression.
regular expression - Computer Definition
A programmer’s “Swiss Army knife” for everything related to pattern matching. With a regular expression, a programmer can search for basically any type of pattern in textual data.
In programming, a set of symbols used to search for occurrences of text or to search and replace text. The simplest regular expressions are DOS/Windows wildcards; for example, *.html refers to all file names with HTML extensions. However, regular expression functions are available in many programming languages that allow for complex pattern matching and text manipulation. For example, replacing specific text within a sentence when the sentence begins with a certain word can be performed with a regular expression. See expression.