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23.5 Dynamic Abbrev Expansion

The abbrev facility described above operates automatically as you insert text, but all abbrevs must be defined explicitly. By contrast, dynamic abbrevs allow the meanings of abbrevs to be determined automatically from the contents of the buffer, but dynamic abbrev expansion happens only when you request it explicitly.


Expand the word in the buffer before point as a dynamic abbrev, by searching in the buffer for words starting with that abbreviation (dabbrev-expand).

For example, if the buffer contains ‘does this follow ’ and you type f o M-/, the effect is to insert ‘follow’ because that is the last word in the buffer that starts with ‘fo’. A numeric argument to M-/ says to take the second, third, etc. distinct expansion found looking backward from point. Repeating M-/ searches for an alternative expansion by looking farther back. After the entire buffer before point has been considered, the buffer after point is searched.

Dynamic abbrev expansion is completely independent of Abbrev mode; the expansion of a word with M-/ is completely independent of whether it has a definition as an ordinary abbrev.