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Maybe use y// (sed's built-in tr command) insteaad of s///: $ echo clayii | sed -e '/clayii/ y/clayk/kieio/' kieiii Note that the y// command will still apply to the entire line, not just to the matching word.


With BSD sed, you can use: sed "s/[[:<:]]clayii[[:>:]]/kieii/g" /path/to/file

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