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<?php $abs = "Bob Rob Sue"; $abby = "sometext Bob1:2 is Sue3:4 where Rob2:1 etc"; // escape each word for safe use in a regular expression, then join with pipes $words = str_replace(" ", "|", preg_quote($abs)); // build a regular expression that finds a boundary, a word, \d+:\d+, and a boundary $regex = '/\b(' . $words . ')(\d+:\d+)\b/'; preg_match_all($regex, $abby, $matches, PREG_SET_ORDER); print_r($matches);
Output for 7.2.0 - 7.2.33, 7.3.0 - 7.3.30, 7.4.0 - 7.4.23, 8.0.0 - 8.0.11, 8.1rc1 - rc2
Array ( [0] => Array ( [0] => Bob1:2 [1] => Bob [2] => 1:2 ) [1] => Array ( [0] => Sue3:4 [1] => Sue [2] => 3:4 ) [2] => Array ( [0] => Rob2:1 [1] => Rob [2] => 2:1 ) )

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