For more information including compatibility, examples and test cases, see

1. Abbrev: (import (robin abbrev))

Create unique abbreviations for a list of strings. This library is a port of the equivalent Ruby library.

1.1. abbrev


  • a list of strings

  • an optional prefix


  • an association list mapping unique abbreviations to its matching string

For example:

#|kawa:9|# (import (robin abbrev))
#|kawa:10|# (abbrev '("scheme" "scala" "lisp"))
((lisp . lisp) (lis . lisp) (li . lisp) (l . lisp)
 (scala . scala) (scal . scala) (sca . scala)
 (scheme . scheme) (schem . scheme) (sche . scheme) (sch . scheme))

The first line shows that any prefix to "lisp" is an acceptable, unique abbreviation: because no other word in the list of strings starts with the letter "l". For Scala and Scheme, the unique abbreviations start with three letters, as "s" and "sc" are prefixes to both.

The optional prefix will only include words that have that prefix, allowing us to select a subset of the strings to generate abbreviations for. For example:

#|kawa:11|# (abbrev '("scheme" "scala" "lisp") "s")
((scala . scala) (scal . scala) (sca . scala)
 (scheme . scheme) (schem . scheme) (sche . scheme) (sch . scheme))

With the "s" prefix included, "lisp" is no longer in the output.

As a simple application, the abbreviations can be used as a word or command expander:

#|kawa:2|# (define shortcuts (abbrev '("scheme" "scala" "lisp")))
#|kawa:3|# (cdr (assoc "l" shortcuts))
#|kawa:4|# (cdr (assoc "sch" shortcuts))