When the left hand side of a rewriting rule matches, the input is deleted and replaced by the right hand side. Tokens are copied directly from the RHS unless they begin with a dollar sign. Metasymbols are:
The $ n syntax substitutes the corresponding value from a $+, $-, $*, $=, or $~ match on the LHS. It may be used anywhere.
A host name enclosed between $[ and $] is looked up in the host database(s) and replaced by the canonical name. For example, $[ftp$] might become ftp.CS.Berkeley.EDU and $[[126.96.36.199]$] would become vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU. Sendmail recognizes it's numeric IP address without calling the name server and replaces it with it's canonical name.
The $( ... $) syntax is a more general form of lookup; it uses a named map instead of an implicit map. If no lookup is found, the indicated default is inserted; if no default is specified and no lookup matches, the value is left unchanged. The arguments are passed to the map for possible use.
The $> n syntax causes the remainder of the line to be substituted as usual and then passed as the argument to ruleset n. The final value of ruleset n then becomes the substitution for this rule. The $> syntax can only be used at the beginning of the right hand side; it can be only be preceded by $@ or $:.
The $# syntax should only be used in ruleset zero or a subroutine of ruleset zero. It causes evaluation of the ruleset to terminate immediately, and signals to sendmail that the address has completely resolved. The complete syntax is:
Normally, a rule that matches is retried, that is, the rule loops until it fails. A RHS may also be preceded by a $@ or a $: to change this behavior. A $@ prefix causes the ruleset to return with the remainder of the RHS as the value. A $: prefix causes the rule to terminate immediately, but the ruleset to continue; this can be used to avoid continued application of a rule. The prefix is stripped before continuing.
The $@ and $: prefixes may precede a $> spec; for example:
Substitution occurs in the order described, that is, parameters from the LHS are substituted, hostnames are canonicalized, subroutines are called, and finally $#, $@, and $: are processed.