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I am using vim under Ubuntu under the windows WLS. When I edit SQL files, only inside comments - the word "note" is always highlighted with a background yellow color. This includes, for example, if I say :nohl, or I search for something etc. And it is just the word "note", nothing else. Not, for example "noted". I would like to stop this behaviour, but am unable to find where it is coming from. The only option so far is to turn off highlighting entirely - but I do like the syntax highlighting for programming.

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Add

:hi link sqlTodo sqlComment

to .vim/after/ftplugin/sql.vim or

Add

augroup NO_TODO | au!
    au FileType sql :hi link sqlTodo sqlComment
augroup END

to your .vimrc.

Why NOTE, TODO, FIXME and XXX are highlighted?

Usually most vim syntax files have a kind of Todo group included into Comment to be highlighted differently.

For example, sql filetype has these lines:

" Comments:
syn match sqlComment    "--.*$" contains=sqlTodo,@Spell
" Todo:
syn keyword sqlTodo TODO FIXME XXX DEBUG NOTE contained
hi def link sqlTodo     Todo

Which includes sqlTodo into sqlComment and highlights sqlTodo as Todo.

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    I don't yet have the reputation to up vote -- but I used the .vimrc approach and it worked. So thanks.
    – Bruce
    Oct 25, 2021 at 12:32

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