Using regular expressions with MySQL

The basic syntax to use regular expressions in a MySQL query is:

SELECT something FROM table WHERE column REGEXP 'regexp'

For example, to select all columns from the table events where the values in the column id end with 5587, use:

SELECT * FROM events WHERE id REGEXP '5587$'

A more elaborate example selects all columns of the table reviews where the values in the column description contain the word excellent:

SELECT * FROM reviews WHERE description REGEXP '[[:<:]]excellent[[:>:]]'

MySQL allows the following regular expression metacharacters:

. match any character
? match zero or one
* match zero or more
+ match one or more
{n} match n times
{m,n} match m through n times
{n,} match n or more times
^ beginning of line
$ end of line
[[:<:]] match beginning of words
[[:>:]] match ending of words
[:class:] match a character class
i.e., [:alpha:] for letters
[:space:] for whitespace
[:punct:] for punctuation
[:upper:] for upper case letters
[abc] match one of enclosed chars
[^xyz] match any char not enclosed
| separates alternatives

MySQL interprets a backslash (``) character as an escape character. To use a backslash in a regular expression, you must escape it with another backslash (`\`).