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/

  • 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. Commented 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
    Commented 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
    Commented 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
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 15:33
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    It's pronounced Ray-hacks, of course! What?
    – Kaz Dragon
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 16:05

4 Answers 4


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.

  • 30
    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
    Commented 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
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 16:14
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    @Malvolio: I don't care what Steve Wilhite says, either.
    – Robusto
    Commented 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
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 17:05
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    @Jim -- do you generally make this plans ahead of time? Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 17:15

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.

  • 1
    Reason has nothing to do with how a word is pronounced in practice. :-) Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 17:09

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.


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.

  • 1
    Just call it a pattern.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 23:11

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