I would like to select nested lists out of a master list based on certain string pattern as in the following example:

lis = {{a, b, c, d}, {xy, y, z, w}, {e, f, g, h}, {xz, f, g, h}};

I would like to create a list with all nested lists starting with x* in the fist position.

I tried the following functions:

Cases[lis, {q_, r__} /; StringMatchQ[q, "x*"] -> {q, r}]


Select[lis2, First[#] == x &]

Both do not work.

Does anyone can give me a hint?

  • $\begingroup$ Are those strings in lis or you just want to use string patterns for symbols? $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Mar 9, 2015 at 8:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For the latter case I'd say it is a duplicate: Pattern matching multiple symbols names and powers $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Mar 9, 2015 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


Just get the symbol's name and match for that:

Cases[lis, {q_, r__} /; StringMatchQ[SymbolName[q], "x*"] -> {q, r}]
(* {{xy, y, z, w}, {xz, f, g, h}} *)

or using Select:

Select[lis, First@Characters[SymbolName[First@#]] == "x" &]
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but it still does not work. Obviously my question was incorrect. I have a list of all stock indicies available in Mathematica. Some of these entries are obviously no indices Therefore I would like to select only the "complete" entries using "^*" as identifier . The list looks as follows: lis = {{"^DYI", "Dynamic Market Intellidex Index", "AMEX", "Dynamic Market \ Intellidex Index"}, {FinancialData["^EBT-TC", "Symbol"], {"^EEV-NV", "Ishares Msci Emerging Markets I", "AMEX", \ "Ishares Msci Emerging Markets I"}} Any idea? Thanks Phadreus $\endgroup$
    – Phadreus
    Mar 9, 2015 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I solved the problem. I missed the String definition of the variable q_String. Here my final function: Cases[lis, {q_String, r__} /; StringMatchQ[q, "^*"] -> {q, r}] $\endgroup$
    – Phadreus
    Mar 9, 2015 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ At least I pointed you in the right direction. :) $\endgroup$
    – Jinxed
    Mar 9, 2015 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Phadreus: And, I hope, my answer is actually an answer to your original question. If so, would you mind marking it as such? $\endgroup$
    – Jinxed
    Mar 9, 2015 at 14:26

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