notmuch-sexp-queries - s-expression syntax for notmuch queries
notmuch subcommand --query=sexp [option ...] -- '(and (to santa) (date december))'
Notmuch supports an alternative query syntax based on S-expressions . It can be selected with the command line --query=sexp or with the appropriate option to the library function notmuch_query_create_with_syntax(). Support for this syntax is currently optional, you can test if your build of notmuch supports it with
$ notmuch config get built_with.sexp_queries
An s-expression is either an atom, or list of whitespace delimited s-expressions inside parentheses. Atoms are either
An s-expression query is either an atom, the empty list, or a compound query consisting of a prefix atom (first element) defining a field, logical operation, or modifier, and 0 or more subqueries.
( field q1 q2 ... qn )
( operator q1 q2 ... qn )
( modifier q1 q2 ... qn )
(macro ( p1 ... pn ) body)
Fields  correspond to attributes of mail messages. Some are inherent (and immutable) like subject, while others tag and property are settable by the user. Each concrete field in the table below is discussed further under "Search prefixes" in notmuch-search-terms(7). The row user refers to user defined fields, described in notmuch-config(1).
Most fields are either phrase fields  (which match sequences of words), or term fields  (which match exact strings). Phrase splitting breaks the term (basic value or quoted string) into words, ignore punctuation. Phrase splitting is applied to terms in phrase (probabilistic) fields. Both phrase splitting and stemming apply only in phrase fields.
Each term or phrase field has an associated combining operator (and or or) used to combine the queries from each element of the tail of the list. This is generally or for those fields where a message has one such attribute, and and otherwise.
Term or phrase fields can contain arbitrarily complex queries made up from terms, operators, and modifiers, but not other fields.
Fields with supported modifiers¶
Modifiers refer to any prefixes (first elements of compound queries) that are neither operators nor fields.
(infix atom )
(matching q1 q2 ... qn ) (of q1 q2 ... qn )
(query atom )
(regex atom ) (rx atom )
(starts-with subword )
(and Bob Marley)
(not Bob Marley)
"quick fox" quick-fox quick@fox
(folder (of (id 1234@invalid)))
(id 1234@invalid blah@test)
(and (infix "date:2009-11-18..2009-11-18") (tag unread))
(subject quick "brown fox")
(subject (starts-with prelim))
(subject (starts-wih quick) "brown fox")
(thread (of (id 1234@invalid)))
(thread (matching (from firstname.lastname@example.org) (to email@example.com)))
(to (or firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com)) (or (to firstname.lastname@example.org) (to email@example.com))
(not (to *))
A macro that takes two parameters and applies different fields to them.
$ notmuch config set squery.TagSubject '(macro (tagname subj) (and (tag ,tagname) (subject ,subj)))' $ notmuch search --query=sexp '(TagSubject inbox maildir)'
Nested macros are allowed.
$ notmuch config set squery.Inner '(macro (x) (subject ,x))' $ notmuch config set squery.Outer '(macro (x y) (and (tag ,x) (Inner ,y)))' $ notmuch search --query=sexp '(Outer inbox maildir)'
Parameters can be re-used to reduce boilerplate. Any field, including user defined fields is permitted within a macro.
$ notmuch config set squery.About '(macro (name) (or (subject ,name) (List ,name)))' $ notmuch search --query=sexp '(About notmuch)'
- Technically macros impliment lazy evaluation and lexical scope. There is one top level scope containing all macro definitions, but all parameter definitions are local to a given macro.
- a.k.a. prefixes
- a.k.a. probabilistic prefixes
- a.k.a. boolean prefixes
- Due to the implemention of phrase fields in Xapian, regex queries could only match individual words.
- Due the the way body is implemented in notmuch, this modifier is not supported in the body field.
- Due to the way recursive path queries are implemented in notmuch, this modifier is not supported in the path field.
Carl Worth and many others
2009-2022, Carl Worth and many others
|April 30, 2022||0.36|