Consider lists of vectors of elements like

list[2]={{a1,b1,c21}            ,{a3,b3,c23},{a4,b4,c24},{a5,b5,c25}};
list[3]={{a1,b1,c31},{a2,b2,c32},{a3,b3,c33}            ,{a5,b5,c35}};

where the length 3 of vectors in lists is just an example and could be longer, and there may be more than 3 such lists.

I would like to have a function truncate[listoflists_] that takes all these lists and truncates them to only have the vectors containing ai,bi entries that are present in all of them:





Is there a quick way to do this in Mathematica? Thanks for any suggestion.


2 Answers 2


It is short (does not mean quick) to get it via associations:

truncate = Values @ KeyIntersection @ Map[#[[;; 2]] -> # &, #, {2}] &

We convert {a1,b1,c11} to {a1,b1}->{a1,b1,c11} and everything else is straightforward.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Love it when a mod ends up in the LQ review. :) $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Nov 23, 2018 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelE2 ok, explanation added. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Nov 23, 2018 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ I approved it anyway. It's not always clear that excessive exposition would be an improvement. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Nov 23, 2018 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ I have changed it to truncate = Values@KeyIntersection@Map[{#[[1]], #[[2]]} -> # &, #, {2}] & to make it compatible with longer vector cases. $\endgroup$
    – Kagaratsch
    Nov 23, 2018 at 23:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Kagaratsch right, you mentioned it. I edited the code. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Nov 24, 2018 at 0:27


tF = Module[{i = Intersection@@#[[;;, ;;, #2]], k = #2}, Select[MemberQ[i, #[[k]]]&]/@ #]&

lists = list /@ {1, 2, 3};
tF[lists, {1, 2}]

{{{a1, b1, c11}, {a3, b3, c13}, {a5, b5, c15}},
{{a1, b1, c21}, {a3, b3, c23}, {a5, b5, c25}},
{{a1, b1, c31}, {a3, b3, c33}, {a5, b5, c35}}}


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