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We use "append" and "prepend" for adding to the end and to the beginning respectivly. Is there a word for removing in same place

marked as duplicate by Brian Hooper, tchrist, TrevorD, James Waldby - jwpat7, choster Jul 28 '13 at 18:06

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Following an append or prepend operation, an undo or reverse would express removing an item from the same place.

More generally, verbs like the following are used to express removing something from the end of something: truncate, chop, chomp. Removing from the beginning might be expressed by pop, lop, or behead.

In more detail:
lop, “(transitive, usually with off) To cut off as the top or extreme part of anything, especially to prune a small limb off a shrub or tree, or sometimes to behead someone.” A related word is defalcate, “To cut off; to take away or deduct a part of”.
pop , “Removes the element on top of the stack”; but note that Python's pop “removes and returns the last item in the list” which might be thought of as cutting off a head instead of a tail.
chop, “Chops off the last character of a string and returns the character chopped”. (More generally, chop, meaning “To sever with an axe or similar implement”, can also refer to chopping off heads vs. tails.)
chomp, “This safer version of chop removes any trailing string that corresponds to the current value of $/...”
behead, “To remove the head”. Also see decapitate and decollate, which besides its usual meaning of “To separate the copies of multipart computer printout” has an older meaning, “To behead”.
truncate means “To shorten something as if by cutting off part of it”. Its etymology, «From Latin truncātus, perfect passive participle of truncō (“maim, reduce to a trunk”», is suggestive of cutting off head and limbs. In many contexts today its use is more limited: for example, to truncate a file, a number, or a string means to chop off all of it after a certain distance from the beginning of it. Decaudate (mentioned in tchrist's comment), to de-tail or to remove the tail of, is consonant with this sense of truncate.
splice and slice apply more generally than to either end of something, and can refer to extracting, deleting, replacing middle portions of things as well
• verb apocopate, “To shorten using apocope; to remove the final sound or syllable”
• As mentioned in Janus Bahs Jacquet's comment, the verb form procopate that would correspond to noun procope (loss of beginning sound or syllable) isn't in use, but while of course noun apheresis, “the loss of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel” is well known, a verb form isn't.

  • You missed 🐪 splice. 😈 As for how with to behead one can use the longer Latinate decapitate or decollate, for untailed (ppl. adj.) or for to de-tail (vb.) — not to be confused with detail vb. :) — one can also use the someone lovelily Latinate albeit someone recondite decaudate /dɪˈkɔːdeɪt/, as in this OED citation: 📖 “1864 N. & Q. V. 165 — The P. was originally an R. which has had the misfortune to be dacaudated.” Not to be confused with ecaudate (adj.), which never had one in the first place. 😎 – tchrist Jul 27 '13 at 18:36
  • If we are talking specifically about language and sounds, you can apocopate a word (removing letters or sounds at the end of the word), though I admit I’ve never seen anyone use procopate the would-be verbal equivalent of the antonymic procope. Aphaeresis is the same as procope (and more common), but I can’t even begin to conjure up a verbal for that that would make any sense. Aphaere, perhaps? Or aphaereticise? Neither sounds very … possible. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 27 '13 at 18:45
  • @tchrist, thanks, decaudate is good. I'd thought of writing "In more de-tail" but perished the thought. I've mentioned splice in edit – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 27 '13 at 19:46
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, thanks, have added apocopate et al to answer – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 27 '13 at 19:47

If by removing in same place, you mean taking one word out and putting another in its stead, then that would simply be replace, as in search and replace.

On reflection, the title seems clearer than the question itself, so the verb would be truncate


I would use one of curtail or truncate for the loss or removal of a trailing portion. To my ear the distinction is that truncation is performed on a static object, and curtailment is done on a dynamic object. So a usage might be: "Her acceptance speech was curtailed by the orchestra's sudden increased volume, and further truncated in the transcript."

I know of only one very particular circumstance where a phrase exists specifically for the removal of the beginning of something: In the programming language Lisp there is a pair of operators (car and cdr) that respectively refer to the selection for the first item in a list, and the remainder of the list. A programming audience would for the most part understand these references.

In more general circumstances, the use of beheading would often be understood for the loss of the head, or beginning, of something. In other contexts it might be only nonsense.

Or, one could simply refer to the remainder as that left over after removal of the leading portion.

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