How can I invert a regular expression in JavaScript?


Javascript Problem Overview

I have a string A and want to test if another string B is not part of it. This is a very simple regex whose result can be inverted afterwards.

I could do:

/foobar/.test('[email protected]')

and invert it afterwards, like this:

!(/foobar/).test('[email protected]') 

The problem I have is, that I need to do it within the regular expression and not with their result. Something like:

/!foobar/.test('[email protected]')

(which does not work)

In other words: the regular expression should test for a non-existence and return true in that case.

Is this possible with JavaScript?

Javascript Solutions

Solution 1 - Javascript


/^(?!.*foobar)/.test('[email protected]')

A (short) explanation:

^          # start of the string 
(?!        # start negative look-ahead
  .*       # zero or more characters of any kind (except line terminators)
  foobar   # foobar
)          # end negative look-ahead

So, in plain English, that regex will look from the start of the string if the string 'foobar' can be "seen". If it can be "seen" there is no* match.

* no match because it's negative look-ahead!

More about this look-ahead stuff: But Note that JavaScript only supports look-aheads, no look-behinds!

Solution 2 - Javascript


will match a string that does not contain any of word1, word2, or word3 (and you can extend the list indefinitely). But this also matches null strings. To reject nulls use


Solution 3 - Javascript

Here's an example of an inequality. First I isolate the operator '<', later the operands 'a' and 'b'. Basically, I take the direct expression, include it into right parentheses, invert the latter by '^' and finally embed the resulting expression into square brackets, 'cause the '^' at the beginning would be interpreted differently.

var _str = "a < b" ;
var _op = /</g ;
var _no_op = /[^(<|\ )]/g ;
console.log( _str, _str.match( _op ) ); // get '<'
console.log( _str, _str.match( _no_op ) ); // get 'a', 'b'

P.s.: I just added the blank space in the inverse expression, in order to retrieve exact matching for the operands.

Solution 4 - Javascript

If what you're searching for really isn't more complicated than a simple string like "foobar":

if (yourString.indexOf("foobar") === -1) {
  // ...


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Content TypeOriginal AuthorOriginal Content on Stackoverflow
QuestionacmeView Question on Stackoverflow
Solution 1 - JavascriptBart KiersView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 2 - Javascriptthing241View Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 3 - JavascriptSandro RosaView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 4 - JavascriptBrian KellyView Answer on Stackoverflow