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This seems a bit idiosincratic, in emacs the way to paste (yank) text in the search minibuffer is doing M-y not C-y (that is Meta-y not Control-y, as is the default way for all other matters)
It’s funny that I didn’t realize something so basic until now. I don’t know what the reason might be, but this is still the way at least in emacs 23.1.91
(R. Stallman answered the same question in 2005 here at

UPDATE: maybe worth pointing that when editing a search (M-E) you need to use the canonical C-y to yank instead of M-y as it is the case in the search


  1. Another way:
    Put cursor mark at the beginning of the word you want to search in buffer.
    Then type C-s C-w to select the word immediately after mark to search for.
    Then either type subsequent C-w to select more words to search or C-s to search for selected words in buffer.

    br, Klaus

    • That’s right!, also when doing so, “C-y” adds the rest of the current line to the search buffer.
      Thanks for commenting Klaus

  2. Cool! I also didn’t know about M-y for search yanking… C-s C-w – rules!

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