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Abbreviations - Provides abbreviations for an input set of one or more words


use Abbreviations;
my $words = 'A ab Abcde';
# The main exported routine:
my %abbrevs = abbreviations $words;
say %abbrevs.gist;
# OUTPUT: «{A => A, Abcde => Ab, ab => a}␤»


Abbreviations is a module with one automatically exported subroutine, abbreviations, which takes as input a set of words and returns the original set with added unique abbreviations for the set. (Note the input words are also abbreviations in the context of this module.)

Its signature:

sub abbreviations($word-set,      #= Str, List, or Hash (Set)
                 :$out-type = HA, #= the default, HashAbbrev
                 :$lower-case,    #= convert the word st to lowercase
                 :$min-length,    #= minimum abbreviation length
                 ) is export {...}

A word satisfies the Raku regex $word ~~ /\S+/ which is quite loose. Using programs can of course further restrict that if need be. For example, for use with module Opt::Handler words must satisfy this regex: $word ~~ /<ident>/.

A regex alternation for single-word sets

A natural consequence of generating all the abbreviations for a set of one word is this: the output provides a regex alternation which matches any partial length of the target word. For example, given a target word 'Args':

use Abbreviations;
use Test;
my $target = "Args";
my $regex = abbrev $target; # OUTPUT: «"A|Ar|Arg|Args"␤»;
my $res = False;
my @w = $regex.split('|');
for @w {
    when /<$regex>/ {
        $res = True
    default {
        $res = False
is $res, True; # OUTPUT: «ok 1␤»

As shown in the example above, limiting the input set to one word results in the output of a regex alternation string. The rest of this description applies to sets of two or more words.

Abbrevians for multiple-word sets

The input multiple-word set can be in one of three forms: (1) a list (recommended), (2) a string containing the words separated by spaces, or (3) as a hash (or set) with the words being keys of the hash (set members). Duplicate words will be automatically and quietly eliminated.

Note the input word set will not be modified unless the :lower-case option is used. In that case, all characters will be transformed to lower-case and any new duplicate words deleted.

If the user wishes, he or she can restrict the minimum length of the generated abbreviations by using the :$min-length parameter.

One will normally get the result as a hash with the input words as keys with their shortest abbreviation as values (return type HA), but the return type can be specified via enum Out-type if desired by selecting one of the :$output-type options. For example:

my %abbrevs = abbrevs @words, :output-type(AH);

There are two shorter alias names for sub abbreviations one can use that are always exported:


In the sprit of the module, one can use Abbreviations :ALL; and have these additional shorter alias names available:


Each of those is individually available by adding its name as an adverb, for example:

use Abbreviations :abb;
my %abb = abb $words;

enum Out-type

enum Out-type is export <HA H AH AL L S >;

The enum Out-type is exported automatically as it is required for using sub abbreviations. It has the following types:

The default HashAbbrev (HA) returned will have input words as keys whose value will be the shortest valid abbreviation.

A variant of HA, the Hash (H) returned will have input words as keys whose value will be a sorted list of its valid abbreviations (sorted by length, shortest first, then by Str order).

An AbbrevHash (AH) is keyed by all of the valid abbreviations for the input word list and whose values are the word from which that abbreviation is defined.

An AbbrevList (AL) is special in that the returned list is the one, shortest abbreviation for each of the input words in input order. For example,

my @w = <Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday>;
my @abb = abbrevs @w, :output-type(AL);
say @abb; # OUTPUT: «M Tu W Th F Sa Su␤»

Note that a hash (or set) input type will not reliably provide this output as expected since the keys are not stored in order. Instead, the ouput will be based on a list of the hash's keys. In effect, entering %out = abbreviations %in is the same as:

my @inputlist = %in.keys.sort({.chars, .Str}';
my %out = abbreviations @inputlist;

A List (L) contains all of the valid abbreviations for the input word list, including the words themselves, sorted by length, then character order.

A String (S) is the string formed by joining the List by a single space between words.

The abbreviation algorithm has been improved from the original (as found on https://rosettacode.org) in the following way: The input word set is formed into subgroups comprised of each input word. Abbreviations are created for each word, abbreviations shared by two or words are eliminated, then all those abbreviations are combined into one set. The result will be the largest possible set of unique abbreviations for a given input word set.

For example, given an input set consisting of the words A ab Abcde, the default output hash of abbreviations (with the original words as keys) contains a total of seven abbreviations:

    A     => ['A'],
    ab    => ['a', 'ab'],
    Abcde => ['Ab', 'Abc', 'Abcd', 'Abcde'],

If the :lower-case option is used, we get a slightly different result since we have fewer unique abbreviations from the lower-cased words. The new hash has only five abbreviations:

my $words = 'A ab Abcde':
my %abbr = abbrevs $words, :lower-case;

The result is

    a     => ['a'],
    ab    => ['ab],
    abcde => ['abc', 'abcd', 'abcde'],

Notice the input word ab now has only one abbreviation and abcde has only three.

Other exported symbols

sub sort-list

sub sort-list(@list, :$type = SL, :$reverse --> List) is export(:sort)

By default, this routine sorts all lists by word length, then by Str order. The order by length is by the shortest abbreviation first unless the :$reverse option is used. This is the routine used for all the output types produced by this module except the AbbrevList (AL) which keeps the original word set order.

The routine's output can be modified for other uses by entering the :$type parameter to choose another of the s.

enum Sort-type

enum Sort-type is export(:sort) < SL LS SS LL N>;

The Sort-types are:


Tom Browder tbrowder@acm.org



Copyright © 2020-2023 Tom Browder

This library is free software; you may redistribute or modify it under the Artistic License 2.0.