The [@@search]() method of a regular expression specifies how should behave.

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A String that is a target of the search.

Return value

The index of the first match between the regular expression and the given string, or -1 if no match was found.


This method is called internally in For example, the following two examples return the same result.



This method does not copy the regular expression, unlike @@split or @@matchAll. However, unlike @@match or @@replace, it will set lastIndex to 0 when execution starts and restore it to the previous value when it exits, therefore generally avoiding side effects. This means that the g flag has no effect with this method, and it always returns the first match in the string even when lastIndex is non-zero. This also means sticky regexps will always search strictly at the beginning of the string.

const re = /[abc]/g;
re.lastIndex = 2;
console.log("abc".search(re)); // 0

const re2 = /[bc]/y;
re2.lastIndex = 1;
console.log("abc".search(re2)); // -1
console.log("abc".match(re2)); // [ 'b' ]

@@search always calls the regex's exec() method exactly once, and returns the index property of the result, or -1 if the result is null.

This method exists for customizing the search behavior in RegExp subclasses.


Direct call

This method can be used in almost the same way as, except for the different value of this and the different arguments order.

const re = /-/g;
const str = '2016-01-02';
const result = re[](str);
console.log(result);  // 4

Using @@search in subclasses

Subclasses of RegExp can override [@@search]() method to modify the behavior.

class MyRegExp extends RegExp {
  constructor(str) {
    this.pattern = str;
  [](str) {
    return str.indexOf(this.pattern);

const re = new MyRegExp('a+b');
const str = 'ab a+b';
const result =; // calls re[@@search].
console.log(result); // 3


ECMAScript Language Specification
# sec-regexp.prototype-@@search

Browser compatibility

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See also