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Although I can't find evidence for this in the official manual...
When the == and != operators are used, the string to the right
of the operator is considered a pattern and matched according to
the rules described below under Pattern Matching. The return
value is 0 if the string matches or does not match the pattern,
respectively, and 1 otherwise. Any part of the pattern may be
quoted to force it to be matched as a string.
An additional binary operator, =~, is available, with the same
precedence as == and !=. When it is used, the string to the
right of the operator is considered an extended regular expres-
sion and matched accordingly (as in regex(3)). The return value
is 0 if the string matches the pattern, and 1 otherwise.