In following, the word string refers to a sequence of letters.

If A is a prefix substring of B. Then B is a ________ of A.


  1. ban is a prefix substring of banana so banana is a ________ of ban?

  2. In lexicographical ordering, prefix substrings sort before their ________s.

The words extension and continuation appear to only denote the part that comes after the prefix substring (e.g. ana).

Any single word or multiple words will do.

  • Completion, perhaps? – Lawrence Dec 7 '17 at 13:56
  • The opposite of prefix is suffix, but you are probably looking for affixes: Grammar. a bound inflectional or derivational element, as a prefix, infix, or suffix, added to a base or stem to form a fresh stem or a word, as -ed added to want to form wanted, or im- added to possible to form impossible. – user 66974 Dec 7 '17 at 13:59
  • Agreed, affix. See also: linguistics.stackexchange.com/a/701 – Rob Dec 7 '17 at 15:10
  • 2
    I don't think affix is what you want; that refers to all things like prefixes and suffixes, but not also the stem or root to which they are attached. If I understand you correctly, you want to know what you call unhappy in relation to un-, not just -happy. In that case I think you're stuck with word. (Also, note that in English ban- is not a prefix of banana; banana is a single morpheme.) – 1006a Dec 7 '17 at 15:57
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    If you're not talking about grammatical or linguistic units, then I'm really not sure what you're asking. In my world, the items known as strings are heavier than threads but lighter than ropes, completely free of prefixes, and generally unrelated to bananas, so I think you're probably talking about some specialized terminology (programming?) which you should specify. – 1006a Dec 7 '17 at 18:52

I don't have references for this, but I would be inclined to refer to your unnamed elements as superstrings, because your question is not really about prefixes, but about (prefixed) substrings; and a string that contains substrings can easily and logically be referred to as a superstring. (If you want to be more specific about it, you could call them "containing superstrings", which seems more appropriate in your example 2.)

  • It would have to be prefix superstring as nan is a substring of banana, but not a prefix substring. So too is banana a superstring of nan but not a prefix superstring of nan. – Adám Dec 7 '17 at 16:35
  • It seems to me that "prefixishness", if you will, can only be quality of the substring, so calling something a "prefix superstring" is somewhat contradictory. If it's already explicit in your text that you're dealing with prefix substrings only (not all substrings), then referring to the "superstring" seems clear enough. – Hellion Dec 7 '17 at 16:47
  • Maybe the terms would need reversing, as prefix superstring of "nan" could be understood as prefixing "nan", i.e. extending it to the left, while a suffix superstring would extend beyond its end. Suffixing superstring may be the clearest term. – Adám Dec 7 '17 at 18:37

You would probably do well to use the word elongation.

ban is a prefix substring of banana so banana is an elongation of ban.

The word extension came to mind first, but in computer science, extension refers frequently to a filetype extension following a dot, so that could be confusing when used in a separate context. Elongation carries the same meaning without the risk of confusing readers or listeners.

Per Merriam-Webster definition 2:

a : the state of being elongated or lengthened; also : the process of elongating

b : something that is elongated

  • Thanks for this excellent answer. Any way to clarify that I indeed mean banana and not ana? – Adám Dec 7 '17 at 21:30
  • @Adam I reread your question and I think I misunderstood the first time I read it. Your question is clear after all, I will edit my answer to reflect that. – RaceYouAnytime Dec 7 '17 at 21:40

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