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I need the antonyms for "append" (that is, I need a word that means "to remove at the end", since "append" means "to add at the end") and "prepend" (that is, I need a word that means "to remove at the beginning", since "prepend" means "to add at the beginning"). Do those words exist?

Would it be possible to use "behead" in a general context or is it limited to killing somebody?

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To detach would be a good word for the antonym of append, and yes, programmers need to prepend and append all day –  mplungjan Apr 15 '13 at 9:17
    
@BillFranke "remove" does not express the difference between the beginning and the end. –  ceving Apr 15 '13 at 9:20
    
If this is for coding purposes, why not just make up your own terminology? FrontDelete vs. BackDelete, for instance. –  onomatomaniak Apr 15 '13 at 9:40
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It would help to know the context for these antonyms. –  KitFox Apr 15 '13 at 14:27
    
Don't look for single words. Use add to or remove from in conjunction with start or end, depending. Perl used pop and push, and shift and unshift, but I don't advise it. –  tchrist Apr 15 '13 at 18:10

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You could top and tail something:-

to cut off the hard parts at each end of a fruit or vegetable when you prepare it for cooking: Top and tail the beans.

One can do this with gooseberries and runner beans and so forth, so I can't see why you shouldn't do it to something else.

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+1 for a solid suggestion. –  onomatomaniak Apr 15 '13 at 12:39
    
Are "top" and "tail" used as verbs in this context? Normally they are not, are they? –  ceving Apr 15 '13 at 13:38
    
@ceving, that's correct. Top and tail are verbs in this context, and used in a slightly unusual way. They both have other meanings as verbs but are more commonly nouns. –  Brian Hooper Apr 15 '13 at 13:55

"Truncate" means to remove part of something, usually at the end.

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For queues or lists in a programming context, you probably want the following words:

  • dequeue - Remove from the front of the list
  • pop (or pull) - Remove from the end of the list
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Depending on the programming language and context there is also "shift" to remove the first element from a list (and "unshift" to add elements to the start). –  kapep Apr 20 at 19:29

In the generic sense, you could use edit, since, strictly speaking, removing is a form of editing. That would be much better than behead.

You might also consider the verb dele, though. It means:

To remove, especially from printed or written matter; delete.

That word itself won't tell you if the text to be deleted comes from the front or the back of written work, but you could specify that by saying, "dele from the front," or, "dele from the end."

As Bill suggested, though, the words remove and delete would probably sound more natural. If any English words do mean "delete from the beginning" or "delete from the end of something," they don't spring to my mind.

If you wanted to use something informal, you might consider lop off or chop off. One dictionary defines lop as:

To cut off as the top or extreme part of anything

so lop off might at least carry the implication that the text being deleted is from either the beginning or the end, and not the middle, whereas that might not be so for remove or delete.

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So the answer is: they do not exist? –  ceving Apr 15 '13 at 9:31
    
@ceving: Sorry, ceving, I don't have time to go through the entire dictionary this morning, and confirm that hypothesis. There are quite a few words in there I'm not familiar with; maybe the words you are looking for are buried in there somewhere, I can't say for sure. My answer is, "If they exist, I don't believe they are commonly used." But someone else could chime in with an answer six hours from now that causes me to slap my forehead and think, "D'oh! Why didn't I remember that?" and then edit (or dele) my answer. –  J.R. Apr 15 '13 at 9:36
    
I vote for dele and lop. –  mplungjan Apr 15 '13 at 9:38

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