is a pattern object that matches the shortest sequence consistent with the pattern p.


  • Shortest works for both ordinary expression patterns and string patterns.
  • If several Shortest objects occur in the same expression, those that appear first are given higher priority to match shortest sequences.
  • Shortest[p,pri] is given priority pri to be the shortest sequence. Matches for shortest sequences are tried first for Shortest objects with higher priorities.
  • Priorities can be any expression, and are ordered in standard Wolfram Language Sort order. Shortest[p] specifies the highest possible priority.
  • Shortest objects with equal priorities are tried in the order they appear in the expression.
  • If no explicit Shortest or Longest is given, ordinary expression patterns are normally effectively assumed to be Shortest[p], while string patterns are assumed to be Longest[p].
  • For ordinary expressions, Shortest[p] specifies that not just p itself, but also all parts of p should match the shortest sequences.
  • Shortest[p] corresponds to a "non-greedy pattern".
  • Shortest[p] may not correspond to the absolutely shortest expression matching p if there are additional constraints elsewhere in the pattern.


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Basic Examples  (1)

Control ambiguous matches by using Shortest:

Click for copyable input
Click for copyable input

Scope  (2)

Possible Issues  (1)

Introduced in 2007