I was trying to learn javascript the other day and was using emacs as I have been trying to learn emacs as well. But after sometimes my left wrist started to hurt(as one's does) so I switched to neovim and noticed a significant amount of lag in html files with document.write(); statements for some reason. I turned off the syntax highlighting and the lag was gone. I am using joshdick/onedark.vim colorscheme. I thought about changing into some other colorscheme, but I would rather stay in this one as my all other resources use the same colorscheme.

Any idea how to cope with this?

  • Unless the colorscheme is defining its own syntax rules (blech), the lag is likely from a slow regex in a syntax file. Do you have javascript syntax files other than those from the standard distribution?
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Feb 25, 2018 at 9:35
  • I have vim-polyglot. Disabling it removes the lag. Can you explain why it caused this scenario? I don't know about regex, I mean I know what it is but I don't know it's use in vim. So, should I just not use vim-polyglot? I don't use it exclusively, I just somewhere picked it up. @DavidBenKnoble
    – 3N4N
    Feb 25, 2018 at 11:30

1 Answer 1



vim-polyglot contains what it calls 'language packs', which are sets of syntax, ftplugin, and other files that 'enhance' the experience of working with a particular language. These files work as explained by the help reference, in particular at :help rtp and various topics like syntax, ftplugin, &c.


Regexes are common to syntax files as a way to define for Vim that, say, var is a keyword and 123 is a constant. If a regex is 'slow', it will slow down syntax highlighting.

By 'slow' I mean that vim's regex engine has a hard time handling it efficiently; this is always a known limitation of regexes, although for the most part vim handles them quite well.


  • Suffer through slowness (but this is Vim, not emacs, so I'm going to guess you don't want that)
  • Turn off syntax highlighting (apparently there is a trend of people doing this to focus better?)
  • Remove your vim-polyglot (consider filing a bug related to your specific language js)
    • If they then fix the bug, you can reuse the plugin

Lacking the time and effort to fully explain syntax files/the runtime path, I'm going to point any curious readers to here (thank you Steve Losh). In fact, if you haven't already, the whole book there is a good read.

  • In your 2nd point under "Fixes", did you want to say "Turn off syntax highlighting" ?
    – 3N4N
    Feb 26, 2018 at 5:43
  • Indeed. Will edit
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Feb 26, 2018 at 8:02

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