Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a set of objects, an example would be this set of letters.

{A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I}

I need to call each part (or group of parts) with short single words. Letter "A" is the Head; "I" is the Tail; Both Head and Tail are called Ends. each element is called a Segment.

So my question is, what do we call the middle segments B through H, in a short single word?

  • It can't be 'Middle/Center' because it could only refer to E.
  • It can't be 'Segment' because it includes the Head and Tail.
  • Basically the word needs to mean (w/o ambiguity) the segments not including the Head & Tail.
  • Doesn't need to be formal, like what I did w/ Head/Tail, which could've been just Start/End or First/Last.

Ironically, it's my homework on programming and naming function/methods, but this is more on language so I decided to post it here. Thank you in advance.

P.S.: For admins, "set-theory" might be a good new tag?

share|improve this question
    
Naming functions/methods is expressly off-topic here. Presicely because as far as the language is concerned, you can name them anything at all, and what is best is in the eye of the beholder. –  RegDwigнt Jan 31 at 22:30
    
Median would be problematic, but middle should be fine. –  Bradd Szonye Jan 31 at 22:34
    
@RegDwigнt: I agree, but our instructor is pushing for simplistic naming conventions, which is really neat in my opionion. But then again, posting this at StackOverflow, is a bit off-topic too since the focus is finding a word. Anyway, thanks for the heads-up, I'll keep that in mind in my future questions. :') –  GheloAce Jan 31 at 22:44

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Some higher maths distinguish elements along edges from others by calling the edge points boundaries, the outer ones exterior, and the inner ones interior. (In this case, one might say: A and I are boundaries; B through H are interior; and J to Z is exterior.) Abbreviating these may breach good form in some programming languages: ints is too much like int for integer; intern (or internal) may be too close to C's extern; etc.

It's a little grotesque, but innards continues in the tradition of head and tail. TFD yields as one definition

The inner parts, as of a machine.

but I think its other definition of entrails comes more readily to mind, particularly if it's used with head and tail.

If the set {A-I} has the name X, I recommend these less-technical terms, where the first is for head/tail and the second is for the rest:

  • X_outer; X_inner
  • X_ends; X_mids
share|improve this answer
1  
Cool, really appreciate explaining the Math and Cases in a technical way. Thank you, I've chosen "Innards" because Head & Tail reminds me of a Snake. I'll credit you and this answer in my source code. Appreciated it, Mr. Dingo. –  GheloAce Feb 1 at 16:52

intermediates? or links, middle elements, middle parts

share|improve this answer

"Body" would probably be the best analogy to go with Head or Tail. You will have to decide what happens in the degenerate cases where the set is totally empty, has one, two or exactly three members, as one or more of these will be empty.

share|improve this answer
    
The snag is that body is an overworked word already, and pressing it into this usage could lead to confusion. Perhaps 'thorax' would be less potentially ambiguous (if rather weirder-sounding). –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 31 at 23:35
    
And Head and Tail are not? So if the entire thing is a Clump, then Clump_Head() returns the head, Clump_Body() returns a clump with the Body elements in it, and so on. –  Oldcat Jan 31 at 23:39
    
'Body' already has a sense in matrix terminology. –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 31 at 23:48

Consider torso, which per en.wiktionary means “The part of the (human) body from the neck to the groin, that is, the body excluding the head and limbs”. In this case, it would be less ambiguous with a word for that part of the body from the neck to the ankles, but to most English speakers I think torso will connote clipping off end elements.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.