emacs Emacs nomenclature Killing and yanking


Killing and yanking more or less correspond to what is usually called "cutting" and "pasting".


killing means deleting text, and copying it to the kill-ring (which could be seen as a sort of "clipboard" in the "cut & paste" terminology). The kill ring is so named because it stores several pieces of killed text, which can later be accessed in cyclic order.

Various commands exist that kill one word (M-d), the rest of the line (C-k), or larger text blocks (such as the currently selected region: C-w).

Other commands exist, that save text to the kill ring, without actually killing it (in a similar way to "copying" in modern terminologies). For example, M-w, which acts on the currently selected region.


Entries in the kill ring can later be yanked back into a buffer. One can typically yank the most recently killed text using e.g C-y (which is similar to the "paste" operation in a more modern terminology). But other commands can access and yank older entries from the kill ring.