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A word or idiom for getting the middle out of something

 

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Old December 18, 2021, 03:11 AM
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A word or idiom for getting the middle out of something

Hi,

Is there an English word, or a brisk idiom, for the subj? Like trim or truncate, but out of the middle, as opposed to the ends.
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  #2  
Old December 18, 2021, 05:44 AM
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You can use to hollow out as in to hollow out a loaf of bread leaving only the crust.

To empty out is used, and evacuate in a medical sense ( e.g. percutaneous evacuation) is also used under other circumstances.
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Old December 18, 2021, 09:10 AM
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Along with 'hollow out', we 'scoop out', 'carve out', 'scrape out',
'core (out)', 'rout', 'ream', 'bore', and 'gut'.
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Old December 19, 2021, 06:23 PM
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Gouge. Even shrink, to an extent.
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Old December 19, 2021, 06:54 PM
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I'm just now understanding that you were asking about shrinking down the size of a word, by abbreviation or by eliminating (leaving out, discarding, dropping, weeding out, condensing, contracting, gutting, shortening, clipping, truncating) interior letters.

I can only suggest using gutting or condensing, or creating an abbreviation or a clipping at this point. If you gut or condense a word down, a definition of how the original word looked is generally called for.
Most abbreviations and clippings are well-documented so that their original form or meaning is understood by all.

Do you have a particular case to share? It would nice to know what kind of result you're hoping to get.

Last edited by Rusty; December 20, 2021 at 01:30 AM. Reason: augmented
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Old December 20, 2021, 03:18 AM
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Yes, I do!

A function:

str_shrink(string, limit) -> string

makes sure that the output string never exceeds limit letters, preserving its humanly readable meaning to the extent possible. That's why just truncating isn't the best option.

Real life example:

function call:

str_shrink("The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog!", 43)

(ridiculously, because the limit is just one character short the original string length) shrunk result:

"The quick brown fox j ps over the lazy dog!"

This one is clearer:

str_shrink("The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog!", 20)

drastically shrunk result:

"The quick lazy dog!"


That's about it. The function name sticks to the <context>_<action/property> naming convention, it's technical. I hope shrinking is the best name for this kind of functionality

PS I have huge problems with the color tags. They work fine in one line, and give me server error in another. Even if I just copy and paste the whole thing, experimentally.
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Old December 20, 2021, 06:04 AM
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I think you may be referring to shorthand which is a way to abbreviate words in an extreme manner.
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Old December 20, 2021, 08:13 AM
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We presented examples, not knowing that the real question was about a space constraint and having to remove letters from words, or some words from the sentence, in order to meet that constraint.
Condensing a group of words so they fit in an area with a set length is different the getting the middle out of something.


Developer functions for shrinking or trimming a word, or a group of words, based on a set length, are good terms to use among the developer community.
Outside of that community, the ordinary person would want something a bit clearer than the insertion of the thunderbolt icon where a letter, letters, or words have been omitted.

We're used to seeing an ellipsis (...) where words have been omitted, and an apostrophe (') where letters have been omitted.

If these symbols can't be used for some reason, I would recommend using a mix of justification and hyphenation. After all, the reason for the hyphen placed on the far right side of a sentence was to ensure that everything fit into the size of a column in a book or newspaper. You could also look into using a font that has more kerning.

However, if only one row is allocated to your condensed sentence and using an ellipsis for omitted wording or an apostrophe for omitted letters would still overflow the set length, a human could forgive an occasional excluded vowel (like, ... jumps ovr ...). If eliding (truncating) vowels leaves you no more to take, go back to using what people are used to seeing (ellipses and apostrophes).
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Old December 20, 2021, 08:54 AM
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Thanks for the trouble you always take, Rusty!

To dive deeper into the fine points. I know nothing about your background, so I'm going to explain briefly the context. There are console, or terminal, applications, the remnants of the time when your only option was typing green letters into a black monitor. No mouse, no interesting pics. They still survive because their native environment isn't quite dead, They even get prettier, thanks to the colors and Unicode emojis. One of the embellishments is the spinner, like this one. It consists of the animated cell and the (single) message line, animated or not. Its content is rarely essential; it can be replaced quite often, ten times a second is possible. It can be a decorative element, plainly visible only when something hangs up. So the thunderbolt may be appropriate. It can catch the eye even if displayed for a tenths of a second

Oh, yes, why the shrinking? Because the spinner gets visually displaced when the message line is longer than the width of the monitor.

Last edited by Tyrn; December 20, 2021 at 10:14 AM.
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Old December 20, 2021, 12:29 PM
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My background is programming. I understand what you're talking about, now that it's been revealed.
Typing green letters onto a black screen was WAY COOL compared to the stuff we had before that, with which I'm also familiar.

The screen, monitor, or terminal had a fixed length for characters, and if what you sent to the terminal was too long (overflow), the message had to be truncated (whittled down to the limit allocated by the device). And this spinner you're trying to display isn't overriding the message, but the other way around. It is being tossed (displaced) instead of displaying a truncated message on the terminal (your monitor).

Anyway, if both the spinner and the long message are equally important to display, then you have the onus of placing the spinner in front of, inside of, or behind a message that has to be truncated to allocate room for the spinner "cell." (And since you're asking about getting the middle out of something, you want to place the spinner inside (in the middle of) the message.)

Finding the middle of a message is easy, using a function, and inserting a spinner should be equally easy (just insert its "cell" at the midpoint returned from the function).
The same location returned from the function can be used to calculate how much of the message to display before the spinner and after the spinner. Your message will be truncated in the middle, a spinner replacing a letter dead center (if each letter occupies a "cell").
However, if it's possible to insert the spinner anywhere, search for the nearest space in the message, using the middle location returned by the function (look both ways to determine the closest space character to the middle of the message), and insert the spinner at that location. A word will then immediately precede the spinner and another will immediately follow it.

If the spinner MUST go into a certain cell in the display, and if messages are such that they can't all be modified to reserve a particular location for the spinner, then it's left up to a programmer to decide where the first and second pieces will be, and where truncation will occur (you get to decide what part of the message seems less important). Leaving both the location of a spinner and deciding what part of a message to prune shouldn't be left up to the programmer!

If each message is stored in a repository (or database), each message could be sent with its total length AND a location for the spinner (also stored in the message repository). Then you, the programmer, would just need to calculate the length of the first piece of the message (LengthOf1stPiece=SpinnerLocation-MessageStart), output that to the monitor, output the spinner immediately after, and then calculate the length of the last piece of the message (LengthOf2ndPiece=MessageLength-SpinnerLocation), or something similar.

Last edited by Rusty; December 20, 2021 at 12:37 PM.
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