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PERLRECHARCLASS(1)               Perl Programmers Reference Guide              PERLRECHARCLASS(1)

       perlrecharclass - Perl Regular Expression Character Classes

       The top level documentation about Perl regular expressions is found in perlre.

       This manual page discusses the syntax and use of character classes in Perl regular

       A character class is a way of denoting a set of characters in such a way that one
       character of the set is matched.  It's important to remember that: matching a character
       class consumes exactly one character in the source string. (The source string is the
       string the regular expression is matched against.)

       There are three types of character classes in Perl regular expressions: the dot, backslash
       sequences, and the form enclosed in square brackets.  Keep in mind, though, that often the
       term "character class" is used to mean just the bracketed form.  Certainly, most Perl
       documentation does that.

   The dot
       The dot (or period), "." is probably the most used, and certainly the most well-known
       character class. By default, a dot matches any character, except for the newline. That
       default can be changed to add matching the newline by using the single line modifier:
       either for the entire regular expression with the "/s" modifier, or locally with "(?s)".
       (The "\N" backslash sequence, described below, matches any character except newline
       without regard to the single line modifier.)

       Here are some examples:

        "a"  =~  /./       # Match
        "."  =~  /./       # Match
        ""   =~  /./       # No match (dot has to match a character)
        "\n" =~  /./       # No match (dot does not match a newline)
        "\n" =~  /./s      # Match (global 'single line' modifier)
        "\n" =~  /(?s:.)/  # Match (local 'single line' modifier)
        "ab" =~  /^.$/     # No match (dot matches one character)

   Backslash sequences
       A backslash sequence is a sequence of characters, the first one of which is a backslash.
       Perl ascribes special meaning to many such sequences, and some of these are character
       classes.  That is, they match a single character each, provided that the character belongs
       to the specific set of characters defined by the sequence.

       Here's a list of the backslash sequences that are character classes.  They are discussed
       in more detail below.  (For the backslash sequences that aren't character classes, see

        \d             Match a decimal digit character.
        \D             Match a non-decimal-digit character.
        \w             Match a "word" character.
        \W             Match a non-"word" character.
        \s             Match a whitespace character.
        \S             Match a non-whitespace character.
        \h             Match a horizontal whitespace character.
        \H             Match a character that isn't horizontal whitespace.
        \v             Match a vertical whitespace character.
        \V             Match a character that isn't vertical whitespace.
        \N             Match a character that isn't a newline.
        \pP, \p{Prop}  Match a character that has the given Unicode property.
        \PP, \P{Prop}  Match a character that doesn't have the Unicode property


       "\N", available starting in v5.12, like the dot, matches any character that is not a
       newline. The difference is that "\N" is not influenced by the single line regular
       expression modifier (see "The dot" above).  Note that the form "\N{...}" may mean
       something completely different.  When the "{...}" is a quantifier, it means to match a
       non-newline character that many times.  For example, "\N{3}" means to match 3 non-
       newlines; "\N{5,}" means to match 5 or more non-newlines.  But if "{...}" is not a legal
       quantifier, it is presumed to be a named character.  See charnames for those.  For
       example, none of "\N{COLON}", "\N{4F}", and "\N{F4}" contain legal quantifiers, so Perl
       will try to find characters whose names are respectively "COLON", "4F", and "F4".


       "\d" matches a single character considered to be a decimal digit.  If the "/a" regular
       expression modifier is in effect, it matches [0-9].  Otherwise, it matches anything that
       is matched by "\p{Digit}", which includes [0-9].  (An unlikely possible exception is that
       under locale matching rules, the current locale might not have "[0-9]" matched by "\d",
       and/or might match other characters whose code point is less than 256.  The only such
       locale definitions that are legal would be to match "[0-9]" plus another set of 10
       consecutive digit characters;  anything else would be in violation of the C language
       standard, but Perl doesn't currently assume anything in regard to this.)

       What this means is that unless the "/a" modifier is in effect "\d" not only matches the
       digits '0' - '9', but also Arabic, Devanagari, and digits from other languages.  This may
       cause some confusion, and some security issues.

       Some digits that "\d" matches look like some of the [0-9] ones, but have different values.
       For example, BENGALI DIGIT FOUR (U+09EA) looks very much like an ASCII DIGIT EIGHT
       (U+0038).  An application that is expecting only the ASCII digits might be misled, or if
       the match is "\d+", the matched string might contain a mixture of digits from different
       writing systems that look like they signify a number different than they actually do.
       "num()" in Unicode::UCD can be used to safely calculate the value, returning "undef" if
       the input string contains such a mixture.

       What "\p{Digit}" means (and hence "\d" except under the "/a" modifier) is
       "\p{General_Category=Decimal_Number}", or synonymously, "\p{General_Category=Digit}".
       Starting with Unicode version 4.1, this is the same set of characters matched by
       "\p{Numeric_Type=Decimal}".  But Unicode also has a different property with a similar
       name, "\p{Numeric_Type=Digit}", which matches a completely different set of characters.
       These characters are things such as "CIRCLED DIGIT ONE" or subscripts, or are from writing
       systems that lack all ten digits.

       The design intent is for "\d" to exactly match the set of characters that can safely be
       used with "normal" big-endian positional decimal syntax, where, for example 123 means one
       'hundred', plus two 'tens', plus three 'ones'.  This positional notation does not
       necessarily apply to characters that match the other type of "digit",
       "\p{Numeric_Type=Digit}", and so "\d" doesn't match them.

       The Tamil digits (U+0BE6 - U+0BEF) can also legally be used in old-style Tamil numbers in
       which they would appear no more than one in a row, separated by characters that mean
       "times 10", "times 100", etc.  (See <http://www.unicode.org/notes/tn21>.)

       Any character not matched by "\d" is matched by "\D".

       Word characters

       A "\w" matches a single alphanumeric character (an alphabetic character, or a decimal
       digit); or a connecting punctuation character, such as an underscore ("_"); or a "mark"
       character (like some sort of accent) that attaches to one of those.  It does not match a
       whole word.  To match a whole word, use "\w+".  This isn't the same thing as matching an
       English word, but in the ASCII range it is the same as a string of Perl-identifier

       If the "/a" modifier is in effect ...
           "\w" matches the 63 characters [a-zA-Z0-9_].

       otherwise ...
           For code points above 255 ...
               "\w" matches the same as "\p{Word}" matches in this range.  That is, it matches
               Thai letters, Greek letters, etc.  This includes connector punctuation (like the
               underscore) which connect two words together, or diacritics, such as a "COMBINING
               TILDE" and the modifier letters, which are generally used to add auxiliary
               markings to letters.

           For code points below 256 ...
               if locale rules are in effect ...
                   "\w" matches the platform's native underscore character plus whatever the
                   locale considers to be alphanumeric.

               if Unicode rules are in effect ...
                   "\w" matches exactly what "\p{Word}" matches.

               otherwise ...
                   "\w" matches [a-zA-Z0-9_].

       Which rules apply are determined as described in "Which character set modifier is in
       effect?" in perlre.

       There are a number of security issues with the full Unicode list of word characters.  See

       Also, for a somewhat finer-grained set of characters that are in programming language
       identifiers beyond the ASCII range, you may wish to instead use the more customized
       "Unicode Properties", "\p{ID_Start}", "\p{ID_Continue}", "\p{XID_Start}", and
       "\p{XID_Continue}".  See <http://unicode.org/reports/tr31>.

       Any character not matched by "\w" is matched by "\W".


       "\s" matches any single character considered whitespace.

       If the "/a" modifier is in effect ...
           In all Perl versions, "\s" matches the 5 characters [\t\n\f\r ]; that is, the
           horizontal tab, the newline, the form feed, the carriage return, and the space.
           Starting in Perl v5.18, experimentally, it also matches the vertical tab, "\cK".  See
           note "[1]" below for a discussion of this.

       otherwise ...
           For code points above 255 ...
               "\s" matches exactly the code points above 255 shown with an "s" column in the
               table below.

           For code points below 256 ...
               if locale rules are in effect ...
                   "\s" matches whatever the locale considers to be whitespace.

               if Unicode rules are in effect ...
                   "\s" matches exactly the characters shown with an "s" column in the table

               otherwise ...
                   "\s" matches [\t\n\f\r ] and, starting, experimentally in Perl v5.18, the
                   vertical tab, "\cK".  (See note "[1]" below for a discussion of this.)  Note
                   that this list doesn't include the non-breaking space.

       Which rules apply are determined as described in "Which character set modifier is in
       effect?" in perlre.

       Any character not matched by "\s" is matched by "\S".

       "\h" matches any character considered horizontal whitespace; this includes the platform's
       space and tab characters and several others listed in the table below.  "\H" matches any
       character not considered horizontal whitespace.  They use the platform's native character
       set, and do not consider any locale that may otherwise be in use.

       "\v" matches any character considered vertical whitespace; this includes the platform's
       carriage return and line feed characters (newline) plus several other characters, all
       listed in the table below.  "\V" matches any character not considered vertical whitespace.
       They use the platform's native character set, and do not consider any locale that may
       otherwise be in use.

       "\R" matches anything that can be considered a newline under Unicode rules. It's not a
       character class, as it can match a multi-character sequence. Therefore, it cannot be used
       inside a bracketed character class; use "\v" instead (vertical whitespace).  It uses the
       platform's native character set, and does not consider any locale that may otherwise be in
       use.  Details are discussed in perlrebackslash.

       Note that unlike "\s" (and "\d" and "\w"), "\h" and "\v" always match the same characters,
       without regard to other factors, such as the active locale or whether the source string is
       in UTF-8 format.

       One might think that "\s" is equivalent to "[\h\v]". This is indeed true starting in Perl
       v5.18, but prior to that, the sole difference was that the vertical tab ("\cK") was not
       matched by "\s".

       The following table is a complete listing of characters matched by "\s", "\h" and "\v" as
       of Unicode 6.3.

       The first column gives the Unicode code point of the character (in hex format), the second
       column gives the (Unicode) name. The third column indicates by which class(es) the
       character is matched (assuming no locale is in effect that changes the "\s" matching).

        0x0009        CHARACTER TABULATION   h s
        0x000a              LINE FEED (LF)    vs
        0x000b             LINE TABULATION    vs  [1]
        0x000c              FORM FEED (FF)    vs
        0x000d        CARRIAGE RETURN (CR)    vs
        0x0020                       SPACE   h s
        0x0085             NEXT LINE (NEL)    vs  [2]
        0x00a0              NO-BREAK SPACE   h s  [2]
        0x1680            OGHAM SPACE MARK   h s
        0x2000                     EN QUAD   h s
        0x2001                     EM QUAD   h s
        0x2002                    EN SPACE   h s
        0x2003                    EM SPACE   h s
        0x2004          THREE-PER-EM SPACE   h s
        0x2005           FOUR-PER-EM SPACE   h s
        0x2006            SIX-PER-EM SPACE   h s
        0x2007                FIGURE SPACE   h s
        0x2008           PUNCTUATION SPACE   h s
        0x2009                  THIN SPACE   h s
        0x200a                  HAIR SPACE   h s
        0x2028              LINE SEPARATOR    vs
        0x2029         PARAGRAPH SEPARATOR    vs
        0x202f       NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE   h s
        0x205f   MEDIUM MATHEMATICAL SPACE   h s
        0x3000           IDEOGRAPHIC SPACE   h s

       [1] Prior to Perl v5.18, "\s" did not match the vertical tab.  The change in v5.18 is
           considered an experiment, which means it could be backed out in v5.22 if experience
           indicates that it breaks too much existing code.  If this change adversely affects
           you, send email to "perlbug AT perl.org"; if it affects you positively, email
           "perlthanks AT perl.org".  In the meantime, "[^\S\cK]" (obscurely) matches what "\s"
           traditionally did.

       [2] NEXT LINE and NO-BREAK SPACE may or may not match "\s" depending on the rules in
           effect.  See the beginning of this section.

       Unicode Properties

       "\pP" and "\p{Prop}" are character classes to match characters that fit given Unicode
       properties.  One letter property names can be used in the "\pP" form, with the property
       name following the "\p", otherwise, braces are required.  When using braces, there is a
       single form, which is just the property name enclosed in the braces, and a compound form
       which looks like "\p{name=value}", which means to match if the property "name" for the
       character has that particular "value".  For instance, a match for a number can be written
       as "/\pN/" or as "/\p{Number}/", or as "/\p{Number=True}/".  Lowercase letters are matched
       by the property Lowercase_Letter which has the short form Ll. They need the braces, so are
       written as "/\p{Ll}/" or "/\p{Lowercase_Letter}/", or
       "/\p{General_Category=Lowercase_Letter}/" (the underscores are optional).  "/\pLl/" is
       valid, but means something different.  It matches a two character string: a letter
       (Unicode property "\pL"), followed by a lowercase "l".

       If locale rules are not in effect, the use of a Unicode property will force the regular
       expression into using Unicode rules, if it isn't already.

       Note that almost all properties are immune to case-insensitive matching.  That is, adding
       a "/i" regular expression modifier does not change what they match.  There are two sets
       that are affected.  The first set is "Uppercase_Letter", "Lowercase_Letter", and
       "Titlecase_Letter", all of which match "Cased_Letter" under "/i" matching.  The second set
       is "Uppercase", "Lowercase", and "Titlecase", all of which match "Cased" under "/i"
       matching.  (The difference between these sets is that some things, such as Roman numerals,
       come in both upper and lower case, so they are "Cased", but aren't considered to be
       letters, so they aren't "Cased_Letter"s. They're actually "Letter_Number"s.)  This set
       also includes its subsets "PosixUpper" and "PosixLower", both of which under "/i" match

       For more details on Unicode properties, see "Unicode Character Properties" in perlunicode;
       for a complete list of possible properties, see "Properties accessible through \p{} and
       \P{}" in perluniprops, which notes all forms that have "/i" differences.  It is also
       possible to define your own properties. This is discussed in "User-Defined Character
       Properties" in perlunicode.

       Unicode properties are defined (surprise!) only on Unicode code points.  Starting in
       v5.20, when matching against "\p" and "\P", Perl treats non-Unicode code points (those
       above the legal Unicode maximum of 0x10FFFF) as if they were typical unassigned Unicode
       code points.

       Prior to v5.20, Perl raised a warning and made all matches fail on non-Unicode code
       points.  This could be somewhat surprising:

        chr(0x110000) =~ \p{ASCII_Hex_Digit=True}     # Fails on Perls < v5.20.
        chr(0x110000) =~ \p{ASCII_Hex_Digit=False}    # Also fails on Perls
                                                      # < v5.20

       Even though these two matches might be thought of as complements, until v5.20 they were so
       only on Unicode code points.


        "a"  =~  /\w/      # Match, "a" is a 'word' character.
        "7"  =~  /\w/      # Match, "7" is a 'word' character as well.
        "a"  =~  /\d/      # No match, "a" isn't a digit.
        "7"  =~  /\d/      # Match, "7" is a digit.
        " "  =~  /\s/      # Match, a space is whitespace.
        "a"  =~  /\D/      # Match, "a" is a non-digit.
        "7"  =~  /\D/      # No match, "7" is not a non-digit.
        " "  =~  /\S/      # No match, a space is not non-whitespace.

        " "  =~  /\h/      # Match, space is horizontal whitespace.
        " "  =~  /\v/      # No match, space is not vertical whitespace.
        "\r" =~  /\v/      # Match, a return is vertical whitespace.

        "a"  =~  /\pL/     # Match, "a" is a letter.
        "a"  =~  /\p{Lu}/  # No match, /\p{Lu}/ matches upper case letters.

        "\x{0e0b}" =~ /\p{Thai}/  # Match, \x{0e0b} is the character
                                  # 'THAI CHARACTER SO SO', and that's in
                                  # Thai Unicode class.
        "a"  =~  /\P{Lao}/ # Match, as "a" is not a Laotian character.

       It is worth emphasizing that "\d", "\w", etc, match single characters, not complete
       numbers or words. To match a number (that consists of digits), use "\d+"; to match a word,
       use "\w+".  But be aware of the security considerations in doing so, as mentioned above.

   Bracketed Character Classes
       The third form of character class you can use in Perl regular expressions is the bracketed
       character class.  In its simplest form, it lists the characters that may be matched,
       surrounded by square brackets, like this: "[aeiou]".  This matches one of "a", "e", "i",
       "o" or "u".  Like the other character classes, exactly one character is matched.* To match
       a longer string consisting of characters mentioned in the character class, follow the
       character class with a quantifier.  For instance, "[aeiou]+" matches one or more lowercase
       English vowels.

       Repeating a character in a character class has no effect; it's considered to be in the set
       only once.


        "e"  =~  /[aeiou]/        # Match, as "e" is listed in the class.
        "p"  =~  /[aeiou]/        # No match, "p" is not listed in the class.
        "ae" =~  /^[aeiou]$/      # No match, a character class only matches
                                  # a single character.
        "ae" =~  /^[aeiou]+$/     # Match, due to the quantifier.


       * There is an exception to a bracketed character class matching a single character only.
       When the class is to match caselessly under "/i" matching rules, and a character that is
       explicitly mentioned inside the class matches a multiple-character sequence caselessly
       under Unicode rules, the class (when not inverted) will also match that sequence.  For
       example, Unicode says that the letter "LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S" should match the
       sequence "ss" under "/i" rules.  Thus,

        'ss' =~ /\A\N{LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S}\z/i             # Matches
        'ss' =~ /\A[aeioust\N{LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S}]\z/i    # Matches

       For this to happen, the character must be explicitly specified, and not be part of a
       multi-character range (not even as one of its endpoints).  ("Character Ranges" will be
       explained shortly.)  Therefore,

        'ss' =~ /\A[\0-\x{ff}]\z/i        # Doesn't match
        'ss' =~ /\A[\0-\N{LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S}]\z/i    # No match
        'ss' =~ /\A[\xDF-\xDF]\z/i    # Matches on ASCII platforms, since \XDF
                                      # is LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S, and the
                                      # range is just a single element

       Note that it isn't a good idea to specify these types of ranges anyway.

       Special Characters Inside a Bracketed Character Class

       Most characters that are meta characters in regular expressions (that is, characters that
       carry a special meaning like ".", "*", or "(") lose their special meaning and can be used
       inside a character class without the need to escape them. For instance, "[()]" matches
       either an opening parenthesis, or a closing parenthesis, and the parens inside the
       character class don't group or capture.

       Characters that may carry a special meaning inside a character class are: "\", "^", "-",
       "[" and "]", and are discussed below. They can be escaped with a backslash, although this
       is sometimes not needed, in which case the backslash may be omitted.

       The sequence "\b" is special inside a bracketed character class. While outside the
       character class, "\b" is an assertion indicating a point that does not have either two
       word characters or two non-word characters on either side, inside a bracketed character
       class, "\b" matches a backspace character.

       The sequences "\a", "\c", "\e", "\f", "\n", "\N{NAME}", "\N{U+hex char}", "\r", "\t", and
       "\x" are also special and have the same meanings as they do outside a bracketed character
       class.  (However, inside a bracketed character class, if "\N{NAME}" expands to a sequence
       of characters, only the first one in the sequence is used, with a warning.)

       Also, a backslash followed by two or three octal digits is considered an octal number.

       A "[" is not special inside a character class, unless it's the start of a POSIX character
       class (see "POSIX Character Classes" below). It normally does not need escaping.

       A "]" is normally either the end of a POSIX character class (see "POSIX Character Classes"
       below), or it signals the end of the bracketed character class.  If you want to include a
       "]" in the set of characters, you must generally escape it.

       However, if the "]" is the first (or the second if the first character is a caret)
       character of a bracketed character class, it does not denote the end of the class (as you
       cannot have an empty class) and is considered part of the set of characters that can be
       matched without escaping.


        "+"   =~ /[+?*]/     #  Match, "+" in a character class is not special.
        "\cH" =~ /[\b]/      #  Match, \b inside in a character class.
                             #  is equivalent to a backspace.
        "]"   =~ /[][]/      #  Match, as the character class contains.
                             #  both [ and ].
        "[]"  =~ /[[]]/      #  Match, the pattern contains a character class
                             #  containing just ], and the character class is
                             #  followed by a ].

       Character Ranges

       It is not uncommon to want to match a range of characters. Luckily, instead of listing all
       characters in the range, one may use the hyphen ("-").  If inside a bracketed character
       class you have two characters separated by a hyphen, it's treated as if all characters
       between the two were in the class. For instance, "[0-9]" matches any ASCII digit, and
       "[a-m]" matches any lowercase letter from the first half of the ASCII alphabet.

       Note that the two characters on either side of the hyphen are not necessarily both letters
       or both digits. Any character is possible, although not advisable.  "['-?]" contains a
       range of characters, but most people will not know which characters that means.
       Furthermore, such ranges may lead to portability problems if the code has to run on a
       platform that uses a different character set, such as EBCDIC.

       If a hyphen in a character class cannot syntactically be part of a range, for instance
       because it is the first or the last character of the character class, or if it immediately
       follows a range, the hyphen isn't special, and so is considered a character to be matched
       literally.  If you want a hyphen in your set of characters to be matched and its position
       in the class is such that it could be considered part of a range, you must escape that
       hyphen with a backslash.


        [a-z]       #  Matches a character that is a lower case ASCII letter.
        [a-fz]      #  Matches any letter between 'a' and 'f' (inclusive) or
                    #  the letter 'z'.
        [-z]        #  Matches either a hyphen ('-') or the letter 'z'.
        [a-f-m]     #  Matches any letter between 'a' and 'f' (inclusive), the
                    #  hyphen ('-'), or the letter 'm'.
        ['-?]       #  Matches any of the characters  '()*+,-./0123456789:;<=>?
                    #  (But not on an EBCDIC platform).


       It is also possible to instead list the characters you do not want to match. You can do so
       by using a caret ("^") as the first character in the character class. For instance,
       "[^a-z]" matches any character that is not a lowercase ASCII letter, which therefore
       includes more than a million Unicode code points.  The class is said to be "negated" or

       This syntax make the caret a special character inside a bracketed character class, but
       only if it is the first character of the class. So if you want the caret as one of the
       characters to match, either escape the caret or else don't list it first.

       In inverted bracketed character classes, Perl ignores the Unicode rules that normally say
       that certain characters should match a sequence of multiple characters under caseless "/i"
       matching.  Following those rules could lead to highly confusing situations:

        "ss" =~ /^[^\xDF]+$/ui;   # Matches!

       This should match any sequences of characters that aren't "\xDF" nor what "\xDF" matches
       under "/i".  "s" isn't "\xDF", but Unicode says that "ss" is what "\xDF" matches under
       "/i".  So which one "wins"? Do you fail the match because the string has "ss" or accept it
       because it has an "s" followed by another "s"?  Perl has chosen the latter.


        "e"  =~  /[^aeiou]/   #  No match, the 'e' is listed.
        "x"  =~  /[^aeiou]/   #  Match, as 'x' isn't a lowercase vowel.
        "^"  =~  /[^^]/       #  No match, matches anything that isn't a caret.
        "^"  =~  /[x^]/       #  Match, caret is not special here.

       Backslash Sequences

       You can put any backslash sequence character class (with the exception of "\N" and "\R")
       inside a bracketed character class, and it will act just as if you had put all characters
       matched by the backslash sequence inside the character class. For instance, "[a-f\d]"
       matches any decimal digit, or any of the lowercase letters between 'a' and 'f' inclusive.

       "\N" within a bracketed character class must be of the forms "\N{name}" or "\N{U+hex
       char}", and NOT be the form that matches non-newlines, for the same reason that a dot "."
       inside a bracketed character class loses its special meaning: it matches nearly anything,
       which generally isn't what you want to happen.


        /[\p{Thai}\d]/     # Matches a character that is either a Thai
                           # character, or a digit.
        /[^\p{Arabic}()]/  # Matches a character that is neither an Arabic
                           # character, nor a parenthesis.

       Backslash sequence character classes cannot form one of the endpoints of a range.  Thus,
       you can't say:

        /[\p{Thai}-\d]/     # Wrong!

       POSIX Character Classes

       POSIX character classes have the form "[:class:]", where class is the name, and the "[:"
       and ":]" delimiters. POSIX character classes only appear inside bracketed character
       classes, and are a convenient and descriptive way of listing a group of characters.

       Be careful about the syntax,

        # Correct:
        $string =~ /[[:alpha:]]/

        # Incorrect (will warn):
        $string =~ /[:alpha:]/

       The latter pattern would be a character class consisting of a colon, and the letters "a",
       "l", "p" and "h".

       POSIX character classes can be part of a larger bracketed character class.  For example,


       is valid and matches '0', '1', any alphabetic character, and the percent sign.

       Perl recognizes the following POSIX character classes:

        alpha  Any alphabetical character ("[A-Za-z]").
        alnum  Any alphanumeric character ("[A-Za-z0-9]").
        ascii  Any character in the ASCII character set.
        blank  A GNU extension, equal to a space or a horizontal tab ("\t").
        cntrl  Any control character.  See Note [2] below.
        digit  Any decimal digit ("[0-9]"), equivalent to "\d".
        graph  Any printable character, excluding a space.  See Note [3] below.
        lower  Any lowercase character ("[a-z]").
        print  Any printable character, including a space.  See Note [4] below.
        punct  Any graphical character excluding "word" characters.  Note [5].
        space  Any whitespace character. "\s" including the vertical tab
        upper  Any uppercase character ("[A-Z]").
        word   A Perl extension ("[A-Za-z0-9_]"), equivalent to "\w".
        xdigit Any hexadecimal digit ("[0-9a-fA-F]").

       Most POSIX character classes have two Unicode-style "\p" property counterparts.  (They are
       not official Unicode properties, but Perl extensions derived from official Unicode
       properties.)  The table below shows the relation between POSIX character classes and these

       One counterpart, in the column labelled "ASCII-range Unicode" in the table, matches only
       characters in the ASCII character set.

       The other counterpart, in the column labelled "Full-range Unicode", matches any
       appropriate characters in the full Unicode character set.  For example, "\p{Alpha}"
       matches not just the ASCII alphabetic characters, but any character in the entire Unicode
       character set considered alphabetic.  An entry in the column labelled "backslash sequence"
       is a (short) equivalent.

        [[:...:]]      ASCII-range          Full-range  backslash  Note
                        Unicode              Unicode     sequence
          alpha      \p{PosixAlpha}       \p{XPosixAlpha}
          alnum      \p{PosixAlnum}       \p{XPosixAlnum}
          ascii      \p{ASCII}
          blank      \p{PosixBlank}       \p{XPosixBlank}  \h      [1]
                                          or \p{HorizSpace}        [1]
          cntrl      \p{PosixCntrl}       \p{XPosixCntrl}          [2]
          digit      \p{PosixDigit}       \p{XPosixDigit}  \d
          graph      \p{PosixGraph}       \p{XPosixGraph}          [3]
          lower      \p{PosixLower}       \p{XPosixLower}
          print      \p{PosixPrint}       \p{XPosixPrint}          [4]
          punct      \p{PosixPunct}       \p{XPosixPunct}          [5]
                     \p{PerlSpace}        \p{XPerlSpace}   \s      [6]
          space      \p{PosixSpace}       \p{XPosixSpace}          [6]
          upper      \p{PosixUpper}       \p{XPosixUpper}
          word       \p{PosixWord}        \p{XPosixWord}   \w
          xdigit     \p{PosixXDigit}      \p{XPosixXDigit}

       [1] "\p{Blank}" and "\p{HorizSpace}" are synonyms.

       [2] Control characters don't produce output as such, but instead usually control the
           terminal somehow: for example, newline and backspace are control characters.  In the
           ASCII range, characters whose code points are between 0 and 31 inclusive, plus 127
           ("DEL") are control characters.

       [3] Any character that is graphical, that is, visible. This class consists of all
           alphanumeric characters and all punctuation characters.

       [4] All printable characters, which is the set of all graphical characters plus those
           whitespace characters which are not also controls.

       [5] "\p{PosixPunct}" and "[[:punct:]]" in the ASCII range match all non-controls, non-
           alphanumeric, non-space characters: "[-!"#$%&'()*+,./:;<=>?@[\\\]^_`{|}~]" (although
           if a locale is in effect, it could alter the behavior of "[[:punct:]]").

           The similarly named property, "\p{Punct}", matches a somewhat different set in the
           ASCII range, namely "[-!"#%&'()*,./:;?@[\\\]_{}]".  That is, it is missing the nine
           characters "[$+<=>^`|~]".  This is because Unicode splits what POSIX considers to be
           punctuation into two categories, Punctuation and Symbols.

           "\p{XPosixPunct}" and (under Unicode rules) "[[:punct:]]", match what "\p{PosixPunct}"
           matches in the ASCII range, plus what "\p{Punct}" matches.  This is different than
           strictly matching according to "\p{Punct}".  Another way to say it is that if Unicode
           rules are in effect, "[[:punct:]]" matches all characters that Unicode considers
           punctuation, plus all ASCII-range characters that Unicode considers symbols.

       [6] "\p{XPerlSpace}" and "\p{Space}" match identically starting with Perl v5.18.  In
           earlier versions, these differ only in that in non-locale matching, "\p{XPerlSpace}"
           does not match the vertical tab, "\cK".  Same for the two ASCII-only range forms.

       There are various other synonyms that can be used besides the names listed in the table.
       For example, "\p{PosixAlpha}" can be written as "\p{Alpha}".  All are listed in
       "Properties accessible through \p{} and \P{}" in perluniprops.

       Both the "\p" counterparts always assume Unicode rules are in effect.  On ASCII platforms,
       this means they assume that the code points from 128 to 255 are Latin-1, and that means
       that using them under locale rules is unwise unless the locale is guaranteed to be Latin-1
       or UTF-8.  In contrast, the POSIX character classes are useful under locale rules.  They
       are affected by the actual rules in effect, as follows:

       If the "/a" modifier, is in effect ...
           Each of the POSIX classes matches exactly the same as their ASCII-range counterparts.

       otherwise ...
           For code points above 255 ...
               The POSIX class matches the same as its Full-range counterpart.

           For code points below 256 ...
               if locale rules are in effect ...
                   The POSIX class matches according to the locale, except:

                       also includes the platform's native underscore character, no matter what
                       the locale is.

                       on platforms that don't have the POSIX "ascii" extension, this matches
                       just the platform's native ASCII-range characters.

                       on platforms that don't have the POSIX "blank" extension, this matches
                       just the platform's native tab and space characters.

               if Unicode rules are in effect ...
                   The POSIX class matches the same as the Full-range counterpart.

               otherwise ...
                   The POSIX class matches the same as the ASCII range counterpart.

       Which rules apply are determined as described in "Which character set modifier is in
       effect?" in perlre.

       It is proposed to change this behavior in a future release of Perl so that whether or not
       Unicode rules are in effect would not change the behavior:  Outside of locale, the POSIX
       classes would behave like their ASCII-range counterparts.  If you wish to comment on this
       proposal, send email to "perl5-porters AT perl.org".

       Negation of POSIX character classes

       A Perl extension to the POSIX character class is the ability to negate it. This is done by
       prefixing the class name with a caret ("^").  Some examples:

            POSIX         ASCII-range     Full-range  backslash
                           Unicode         Unicode    sequence
        [[:^digit:]]   \P{PosixDigit}  \P{XPosixDigit}   \D
        [[:^space:]]   \P{PosixSpace}  \P{XPosixSpace}
                       \P{PerlSpace}   \P{XPerlSpace}    \S
        [[:^word:]]    \P{PerlWord}    \P{XPosixWord}    \W

       The backslash sequence can mean either ASCII- or Full-range Unicode, depending on various
       factors as described in "Which character set modifier is in effect?" in perlre.

       [= =] and [. .]

       Perl recognizes the POSIX character classes "[=class=]" and "[.class.]", but does not
       (yet?) support them.  Any attempt to use either construct raises an exception.


        /[[:digit:]]/            # Matches a character that is a digit.
        /[01[:lower:]]/          # Matches a character that is either a
                                 # lowercase letter, or '0' or '1'.
        /[[:digit:][:^xdigit:]]/ # Matches a character that can be anything
                                 # except the letters 'a' to 'f' and 'A' to
                                 # 'F'.  This is because the main character
                                 # class is composed of two POSIX character
                                 # classes that are ORed together, one that
                                 # matches any digit, and the other that
                                 # matches anything that isn't a hex digit.
                                 # The OR adds the digits, leaving only the
                                 # letters 'a' to 'f' and 'A' to 'F' excluded.

       Extended Bracketed Character Classes

       This is a fancy bracketed character class that can be used for more readable and less
       error-prone classes, and to perform set operations, such as intersection. An example is

        /(?[ \p{Thai} & \p{Digit} ])/

       This will match all the digit characters that are in the Thai script.

       This is an experimental feature available starting in 5.18, and is subject to change as we
       gain field experience with it.  Any attempt to use it will raise a warning, unless
       disabled via

        no warnings "experimental::regex_sets";

       Comments on this feature are welcome; send email to "perl5-porters AT perl.org".

       We can extend the example above:

        /(?[ ( \p{Thai} + \p{Lao} ) & \p{Digit} ])/

       This matches digits that are in either the Thai or Laotian scripts.

       Notice the white space in these examples.  This construct always has the "/x" modifier
       turned on within it.

       The available binary operators are:

        &    intersection
        +    union
        |    another name for '+', hence means union
        -    subtraction (the result matches the set consisting of those
             code points matched by the first operand, excluding any that
             are also matched by the second operand)
        ^    symmetric difference (the union minus the intersection).  This
             is like an exclusive or, in that the result is the set of code
             points that are matched by either, but not both, of the

       There is one unary operator:

        !    complement

       All the binary operators left associate, and are of equal precedence.  The unary operator
       right associates, and has higher precedence.  Use parentheses to override the default
       associations.  Some feedback we've received indicates a desire for intersection to have
       higher precedence than union.  This is something that feedback from the field may cause us
       to change in future releases; you may want to parenthesize copiously to avoid such changes
       affecting your code, until this feature is no longer considered experimental.

       The main restriction is that everything is a metacharacter.  Thus, you cannot refer to
       single characters by doing something like this:

        /(?[ a + b ])/ # Syntax error!

       The easiest way to specify an individual typable character is to enclose it in brackets:

        /(?[ [a] + [b] ])/

       (This is the same thing as "[ab]".)  You could also have said the equivalent:

        /(?[[ a b ]])/

       (You can, of course, specify single characters by using, "\x{...}", "\N{...}", etc.)

       This last example shows the use of this construct to specify an ordinary bracketed
       character class without additional set operations.  Note the white space within it; "/x"
       is turned on even within bracketed character classes, except you can't have comments
       inside them.  Hence,

        (?[ [#] ])

       matches the literal character "#".  To specify a literal white space character, you can
       escape it with a backslash, like:

        /(?[ [ a e i o u \  ] ])/

       This matches the English vowels plus the SPACE character.  All the other escapes accepted
       by normal bracketed character classes are accepted here as well; but unrecognized escapes
       that generate warnings in normal classes are fatal errors here.

       All warnings from these class elements are fatal, as well as some practices that don't
       currently warn.  For example you cannot say

        /(?[ [ \xF ] ])/     # Syntax error!

       You have to have two hex digits after a braceless "\x" (use a leading zero to make two).
       These restrictions are to lower the incidence of typos causing the class to not match what
       you thought it would.

       If a regular bracketed character class contains a "\p{}" or "\P{}" and is matched against
       a non-Unicode code point, a warning may be raised, as the result is not Unicode-defined.
       No such warning will come when using this extended form.

       The final difference between regular bracketed character classes and these, is that it is
       not possible to get these to match a multi-character fold.  Thus,

        /(?[ [\xDF] ])/iu

       does not match the string "ss".

       You don't have to enclose POSIX class names inside double brackets, hence both of the
       following work:

        /(?[ [:word:] - [:lower:] ])/
        /(?[ [[:word:]] - [[:lower:]] ])/

       Any contained POSIX character classes, including things like "\w" and "\D" respect the
       "/a" (and "/aa") modifiers.

       "(?[ ])" is a regex-compile-time construct.  Any attempt to use something which isn't
       knowable at the time the containing regular expression is compiled is a fatal error.  In
       practice, this means just three limitations:

       1.  This construct cannot be used within the scope of "use locale" (or the "/l" regex

       2.  Any user-defined property used must be already defined by the time the regular
           expression is compiled (but note that this construct can be used instead of such

       3.  A regular expression that otherwise would compile using "/d" rules, and which uses
           this construct will instead use "/u".  Thus this construct tells Perl that you don't
           want "/d" rules for the entire regular expression containing it.

       The "/x" processing within this class is an extended form.  Besides the characters that
       are considered white space in normal "/x" processing, there are 5 others, recommended by
       the Unicode standard:

        U+0085 NEXT LINE
        U+2028 LINE SEPARATOR

       Note that skipping white space applies only to the interior of this construct.  There must
       not be any space between any of the characters that form the initial "(?[".  Nor may there
       be space between the closing "])" characters.

       Just as in all regular expressions, the pattern can be built up by including variables
       that are interpolated at regex compilation time.  Care must be taken to ensure that you
       are getting what you expect.  For example:

        my $thai_or_lao = '\p{Thai} + \p{Lao}';
        qr/(?[ \p{Digit} & $thai_or_lao ])/;

       compiles to

        qr/(?[ \p{Digit} & \p{Thai} + \p{Lao} ])/;

       But this does not have the effect that someone reading the code would likely expect, as
       the intersection applies just to "\p{Thai}", excluding the Laotian.  Pitfalls like this
       can be avoided by parenthesizing the component pieces:

        my $thai_or_lao = '( \p{Thai} + \p{Lao} )';

       But any modifiers will still apply to all the components:

        my $lower = '\p{Lower} + \p{Digit}';
        qr/(?[ \p{Greek} & $lower ])/i;

       matches upper case things.  You can avoid surprises by making the components into
       instances of this construct by compiling them:

        my $thai_or_lao = qr/(?[ \p{Thai} + \p{Lao} ])/;
        my $lower = qr/(?[ \p{Lower} + \p{Digit} ])/;

       When these are embedded in another pattern, what they match does not change, regardless of
       parenthesization or what modifiers are in effect in that outer pattern.

       Due to the way that Perl parses things, your parentheses and brackets may need to be
       balanced, even including comments.  If you run into any examples, please send them to
       "perlbug AT perl.org", so that we can have a concrete example for this man page.

       We may change it so that things that remain legal uses in normal bracketed character
       classes might become illegal within this experimental construct.  One proposal, for
       example, is to forbid adjacent uses of the same character, as in "(?[ [aa] ])".  The
       motivation for such a change is that this usage is likely a typo, as the second "a" adds

perl v5.20.2                                2015-01-15                         PERLRECHARCLASS(1)

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