How fuzzy is get_close_matches() in difflib?

John Machin sjmachin at
Fri Nov 17 10:18:26 CET 2006

John Henry wrote:
> I am just wondering what's with get_close_matches() in difflib.  What's
> the magic?   How fuzzy do I need to get in order to get a match?

Are you desperate to understand the inner workings of difflib, or do
you want merely to do some fuzzy matching of strings using a well-known
somewhat-more-understandable zillions-of-implementations metric?

If the latter, google "Levenshtein distance" for the metric, and
"Python Levenshtein" -- first hit  for me is an implementation in a
Python C-extension. If you don't have the ability to compile a C
extension, or don't need the speed, there should be a few pure-Python
versions around; I'm specifically aware of one by Magnus Lie Hetland.
It's less than a screenful of code; good idea to grab it anyway for
educational purposes -- a quite Pythonic implementation of the
traditional algorithm.


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