I'm trying to make a vimscript that will read the .gitignore file, return it's values as a List and check for paths that has wildcards eg: /vim/snippets/*, vim/**/*.

let g:ignored = readfile("/home/user/Projects/dotfiles/.gitignore")

let c=0
while c < len(g:ignored)

  let g:ignoredPath = ignored[c]
  let c += 1

  echo g:ignoredPath


I want to check g:ignored variable for possible values with wildcards but how can I do that? I'm guessing I have to use regex in an execute or something. But I don't know the right syntax at all.

  • after the readfile you already have a list of all entries. You can use the match() function to check which item matches a certain regex Nov 1, 2018 at 14:36
  • @ChristianBrabandt sorry I didn't clarrified my intention, but I want to save the matching value in a variable.. and it seems impossible using match() (correct me if i'm wrong) as it only returns integer. Nov 1, 2018 at 15:12
  • 2
    have a look at :h matchstr then.
    – B.G.
    Nov 1, 2018 at 15:17
  • @DoktorOSwaldo thank you so much that did the trick! could you make this an answer so I can accept it? Nov 1, 2018 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


The Function you are searching is matchstr it returns the matched string or if the pattern is not found, an empty string.

For your example you should note: if the expression given to matchstr is a List the matching item is returned and the type isn't changed. So it is possible that the returned item isn't a string if your list consist of other datatypes.

but as always you can read all that in :h matchstr.

Note: There is also :h matchlist which can work with capturing groups (in vim called submatches) and :h matchstrpost which also returns the start and end position of the match.

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