I am using NeoVim, and I automatically define an abbreviation for the string W every time the commandline mode starts.

However, it seems that commandline mode includes the search modes as well.

I do not want the abbreviation to exist in the search modes, so I want to delete it if it exists.

I tried maparg('W','c',v:true) and mapcheck('W','c',v:true) to check if W is defined as an abbreviation in command mode, but they do not seem to work. (here 'W' is the abbreviation I want to check for, 'c' stands for commandline mode, and true is for abbreviation -- I think)

What am I doing wrong? Thanks

EDIT: adding my code for defining the abbreviation for W:

autocmd CmdlineEnter,CmdwinEnter :,q: cnoreabbrev W w !git add %

(this allows me to add the file to the local git repo by typing :W<CR>

EDIT: Thanks to the answers below, the solution is:

cnoremap <expr> W (getcmdtype() == ':') ? "w !git add %" : "W"

Thank y'all -- it is very useful.

  • 1
    Can you include the definition of the W abbreviation? mapcheck('W', 'c', v:true) works for me and returns whatever if I define it as cabbrev W whatever, not sure what's the case with your particular setting...
    – filbranden
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:53
  • 1
    Don't use auto-command here. It's pointless.
    – Matt
    Aug 25, 2021 at 6:12
  • @Benben The best way to indicate that the posted answer solved your issue is to "accept" the answer (click on the gray check below the score, it'll turn green) rather than edit the question to include the answer there. Could you please do that instead? Thanks!
    – filbranden
    Nov 25, 2021 at 6:03

1 Answer 1


If you use a mapping instead of an abbreviation then this'll do...

:cnoremap <expr> W (getcmdtype() == ':') ? "foobar" : "W"

From command-line you get W resolving to whatever you specify where I have "foobar". OTOH, if you enter W during a search then getcmdtype() returns / or ? and the ternary expression evaluates to false and inserts "W".

And, per @filbranden, the same thing works with cabbrev...

:cabbrev <expr> W (getcmdtype() == ':') ? "foobar" : "W"

You may know this already but, FYI, there's a difference between these: the cmap version will insert the mapped string immediately after you enter the W while cabbrev requires entering an additional, non-keyword character immediately afterward (per normal abbreviation mechanics).

  • 2
    Using <expr> also works with a cabbrev...
    – filbranden
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:57
  • @filbranden Thanks. Updated.
    – B Layer
    Aug 25, 2021 at 0:07
  • Wow -- Thanks guys! What does <expr> do?
    – Benben
    Aug 25, 2021 at 0:09
  • 2
    Treats the right-hand side as a Vim expression to be evaluated rather than a literal string.
    – B Layer
    Aug 25, 2021 at 0:09
  • 2
    Thanks all! This answer made it unnecessary to remove the definition everytime I enter search mode.
    – Benben
    Aug 25, 2021 at 0:14

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