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Author image Philippe Bruhat (BooK)
and 50 contributors


metafy - Change the metasyntactic words in your text


metafy [ --help ] [ --version ] [--force-random] [theme[/category]:]theme[I>category>] [ file ... ]


metafy filters any metasyntactic word and replace them with words from any Acme::MetaSyntactic theme. This script works as a filter or directly modifies the files given on the command-line.

A few examples should make it easy to understand what it does and how it works:

  • Replace words from the foo theme by words from the batman theme:

        $ metafy foo:batman
  • Replace the French metasyntactic words by the classic English ones:

        $ metafy foo/fr:foo/en
  • Replace any word from the batman theme by a random one from the donmartin theme. The replacement will be different every time:

        $ metafy --force-random batman:donmartin
  • Replace words from a theme by words from the same theme (for example if you didn't like the first run):

       $ metafy batman

    In other words, if from is not given, it's the same as to.

  • Modify a bunch of files in-place:

        $ metafy --in-place foo:batman *.c

    There is currently no way to create backup files (like perl's -i option allows).

Each word from the original theme is replaced by the same word of the target theme. However, if the target theme does not contain enough words to map to the words from the original theme used in the file, then the same words maybe used more than once. This may break programs!

The option --force-random will certainly break your stuff.


The following command-line options are available (and can all be abbreviated):

Metasyntactic options


Compute the replacement for each word every time it's needed. This will definitely break any program!


Force in-place edition

Informative options

The program will exit if any of these options is selected. However, these options can be combined.


Print the list of available themes.


Print version information.


Print a short help message.


Philippe "BooK" Bruhat, <book@cpan.org>.


Copyright 2006 Philippe 'BooK' Bruhat, All Rights Reserved.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.