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Example: I am looking to see if "arg" is a special keyword in Lua. I go to the Lua reference manual at I search for "arg". I find hundreds of occurrences of the word "argument(s)" or "vararg".

Any ideas? I know Firefox won't implement whole words as a core feature (something about cluttering up the ui... argh...), and I couldn't find a good addon that implemented this well.

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This is still a problem after all these years. Did you find a good solution? – DCShannon May 14 '15 at 0:33
@DCShannon I'm afraid not, no. The work happening in Bug 269442 briefly raised my hopes, but nothing usable yet. – romkyns May 14 '15 at 14:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I usually search for something like this:


or, in your case this would probably work


Its not foolproof. If there is punctuation directly after an instance of what you're looking for you would have to search for that explicitly, but for the most part it works pretty well.

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Yeah, I do that occasionally, but as you say it's not foolproof. – romkyns Apr 16 '10 at 13:48
This is such an important feature that I can't believe I'm still google-ing for answer in 2012. – huggie Jul 3 '12 at 7:09

I was very surprised to see that there isn't a current addon that supports this.

If I needed to do it without an addon I would copy the text of a page into an editor and search for the regex


Which will find

  • arg!
  • "arg"
  • ARG
  • ¿arg?
  • arg-u-ment

but would not find

  • argument
  • barge
share|improve this answer
Hmm, good idea, though if I did copy it then I'd just use the "whole words" option in this case, which all my favourite editors have. – romkyns Apr 16 '10 at 13:51
I love these crazy smart ideas! :) – Ali Shakiba Mar 7 '13 at 15:32

Here's a thread on Bugzilla about this feature. There's a patch there that supposedly works, but you have to recompile Firefox yourself to install it, which I have not tried yet.

That particular thread is about the 18th duplicate of this bug. I read a good portion of one of the earlier ones, and the support staff were so dismissive of the idea that this might be useful to anyone that it was surreal.

I'll be using a different browser, myself.

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This is a five year old question. That bug report is 11 years old. Are you sure this hasn't actually been implemented in that time? – Michael Frank May 13 '15 at 23:24
@MichaelFrank Whole word search is not in Firefox at this point in time, which is why I ended up here. The bug report is eleven years old, and yes, they STILL haven't fixed it. That's not the first bug report either, it's a duplicate made years after the first one. When I posted this answer, the last comment on the bug thread was from the guy who wrote the patch, and it's from 12/31/2014. – DCShannon May 14 '15 at 0:30
To be clear, the reason they are not fixing it is not because they are lazy or incompetent. The Firefox team believe that the feature is unnecessary and that the extra checkbox would clutter the Find bar UI and confuse users. I’m not making this up. – Timwi May 14 '15 at 19:37
@Timwi That belief is evidence of incompetence. – DCShannon May 14 '15 at 19:55
@DCShannon: Perhaps incompetence in UI design, yeah. I’m just saying it’s not like they couldn’t code the feature. – Timwi May 21 '15 at 12:44

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