In database queries, clients often asked to group values into ranges, "Low", "Medium","High" which make sense when read by a human. But if the computer returns strings, they sort alphabetically not conceptually, e.g. "Low","High","Med" since 'L'<'H'<'M'.

We could prepend numbers, "1-Low", "2-Med","3-High", etc. but wonder if there's a sequence of short simple English words that also sorts correctly.

  • 6
    Bottom Middle Top Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 18:01
  • 1
    @TaliesinMerlin Bacon Mackerel Tomato?
    – JJJ
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 18:16
  • 3
    High, higher, highest. Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 18:23
  • 2
    min, med, max and reverse the sort...
    – user888379
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 19:20
  • Great answers. @JJJ I will make that sandwich tomorrow.
    – prototype
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


Had the same question, and I thought of "low", "inbet", "high" in reverse order. "inbet" standing for inbetween.

  • 1
    Is "inbet" a common abbreviation? Please take a moment to see the help center and tour the site.
    – livresque
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 18:28
  • Not sure if it is a common or acceptable abbreviation in general. But I have found it being used in science plots, and as long as we explain what it is in a figure legend to the audience, it is acceptable in science. Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 23:46
  • good idea, "intermediate" is similar and maybe more common
    – prototype
    Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 4:06

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