< cpp‎ | regex

    class BidirIt,
    class CharT = typename std::iterator_traits<BidirIt>::value_type,
    class Traits = std::regex_traits<CharT>

> class regex_iterator
(since C++11)

std::regex_iterator is a read-only iterator that accesses the individual matches of a regular expression within the underlying character sequence. It meets the requirements of a LegacyForwardIterator, except that for dereferenceable values a and b with a == b, *a and *b will not be bound to the same object.

On construction, and on every increment, it calls std::regex_search and remembers the result (that is, saves a copy of the value std::match_results<BidirIt>). The first object may be read when the iterator is constructed or when the first dereferencing is done. Otherwise, dereferencing only returns a copy of the most recently obtained regex match.

The default-constructed std::regex_iterator is the end-of-sequence iterator. When a valid std::regex_iterator is incremented after reaching the last match (std::regex_search returns false), it becomes equal to the end-of-sequence iterator. Dereferencing or incrementing it further invokes undefined behavior.

A typical implementation of std::regex_iterator holds the begin and the end iterators for the underlying sequence (two instances of BidirIt), a pointer to the regular expression (const regex_type*), the match flags (std::regex_constants::match_flag_type), and the current match (std::match_results<BidirIt>).

Type requirements

BidirIt must meet the requirements of LegacyBidirectionalIterator.


Several specializations for common character sequence types are defined:

Defined in header <regex>
Type Definition
cregex_iterator regex_iterator<const char*>
wcregex_iterator regex_iterator<const wchar_t*>
sregex_iterator regex_iterator<std::string::const_iterator>
wsregex_iterator regex_iterator<std::wstring::const_iterator>

Member types

Member type Definition
value_type std::match_results<BidirIt>
difference_type std::ptrdiff_t
pointer const value_type*
reference const value_type&
iterator_category std::forward_iterator_tag
regex_type basic_regex<CharT, Traits>

Member functions

constructs a new regex_iterator
(public member function)
(implicitly declared)
destructs a regex_iterator, including the cached value
(public member function)
assigns contents
(public member function)
compares two regex_iterators
(public member function)
accesses the current match
(public member function)
advances the iterator to the next match
(public member function)


It is the programmer's responsibility to ensure that the std::basic_regex object passed to the iterator's constructor outlives the iterator. Because the iterator stores a pointer to the regex, incrementing the iterator after the regex was destroyed accesses a dangling pointer.

If the part of the regular expression that matched is just an assertion (^, $, \b, \B), the match stored in the iterator is a zero-length match, that is, match[0].first == match[0].second.


#include <regex>
#include <iterator>
#include <iostream>
#include <string>
int main()
    const std::string s = "Quick brown fox.";
    std::regex words_regex("[^\\s]+");
    auto words_begin = 
        std::sregex_iterator(s.begin(), s.end(), words_regex);
    auto words_end = std::sregex_iterator();
    std::cout << "Found " 
              << std::distance(words_begin, words_end) 
              << " words:\n";
    for (std::sregex_iterator i = words_begin; i != words_end; ++i) {
        std::smatch match = *i;                                                 
        std::string match_str = match.str(); 
        std::cout << match_str << '\n';


Found 3 words:

See also

identifies one regular expression match, including all sub-expression matches
(class template)
check if a regular expression occurs anywhere within a string
(function template)