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The term regular expression is often shortened to regex. What is the correct pronunciation of the g in regex?

Is it like the g1 in gallium, or is it like the g2 in giraffe? I’ve heard it said both ways.


1.   IPA /g/
2.  IPA /dʒ/

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  • 6
    Since it's /ɡ/ in regular, it's /ɡ/ when it shortens to regex. Changes like this take place in speech, not spelling. Spelling rules do not affect speech; rather, speech affects spelling rules. Occasionally. Dec 14, 2012 at 15:20
  • 4
    As in all cases where a portmanteau is formed from two words, the pronunciation is preserved in the portmanteau -- the sounds are identical in the original words and the new one.
    – Kris
    Dec 14, 2012 at 15:20
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    @Kris: in my experience, portmanteau words regularly change the pronunciation of the individual parts. Certainly, when my boss pronounced favicon according to your rule, our web designer didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 14, 2012 at 15:28
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    @coleopterist, I think that is, indeed, a duplicate; but I think this is a nice illustration of why it's actually good to have duplicates, because this question's title is much more likely to match what someone is searching for than the older question's title.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 14, 2012 at 15:33
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    It's pronounced Ray-hacks, of course! What?
    – Kaz Dragon
    Dec 14, 2012 at 16:05

4 Answers 4

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On page 27 of Mastering Regular Expressions, Jeffrey Friedl states:

Instead, I normally use "regex." It just rolls right off the tongue ("it rhymes with "FedEx," with a hard g sound like "regular" and not a soft one like in "Regina") and it is amenable to a variety of uses like "when you regex ...," "budding regexers," and even "regexification."

So, if you are looking for an authoritative answer, the above is it.

In a footnote, Friedl also adds:

You might also come across the decidedly unsightly "regexp." I'm not sure how one would pronounce that, but those with a lisp might find it a bit easier.


FWIW, I pronounce it with the soft g simply because it sounds better to mine ears. However, most of the programmers I know do employ the hard g.

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    I say rejex, rejecting the hard g in favor of a more mellifluous phoneme. But I also say gif (not jif) for .gif files.
    – Robusto
    Dec 14, 2012 at 16:05
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    @Cthulhu: I do not plan to unlearn that. I don't care how Jeffrey Friedl or anyone else may pronounce it. Nobody has failed to understand what I meant so far, except those who don't know what regex is.
    – Robusto
    Dec 14, 2012 at 16:14
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    @Malvolio: I don't care what Steve Wilhite says, either.
    – Robusto
    Dec 14, 2012 at 16:15
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    @Robusto- Bravo. I have been saying rejex for the past 25 years as well and don't plan on changing.
    – Jim
    Dec 14, 2012 at 17:05
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    @Jim -- do you generally make this plans ahead of time? Dec 14, 2012 at 17:15
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Sweet reason clearly dictates, as an abbreviation of regular, it should be pronounced /ɹɛ.ɡɛks/. However, I've heard it said thousands of times and far more often than not, it is pronounced /ɹɛ.dʒɛks/. Dunno why, but there it is.

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  • Reason has nothing to do with how a word is pronounced in practice. :-) Apr 29, 2021 at 17:09
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It matters how you link the word to Regular Expression.

1) RegEx => /ɹɛɡ.ɛks/ => You're new to Regular Expression - the word. You're capturing it with two words Reg and Ex.

2) regex => /ɹɛdʒɛks/ => You're very familiar with the word Regular Expression - your mind doesn't remember the full word when you say regex. You think it a whole word to Regular Expression.

So, if you're pronouncing it with the hard g sound, then your mind still captures the full word. And if you're pronouncing it with soft g sound, then your mind doesn't capture the full word but you just capture the word regex as full word.

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I've always heard rejeks or even reejeks. Never heard any other pronunciation. It doesn't lend itself very well to extending. I've been regexing is weird. I never say "regex" to the uninitiated or even "regular expression". Stick instead with word or character pattern.

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  • Just call it a pattern.
    – tchrist
    Dec 17, 2012 at 23:11

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