What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare

I'm looking for a short name for the phenomenon collection of disjoint intervals. I currently use selection, which I'm not very satisfied with, and I wonder if there is a better (more conventional) name out there.

  • $\begingroup$ Is pairwise disjoint not good enough? $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Jul 18 '13 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Like "pairwise disjoint collection of intervals"? $\endgroup$ – Chiel ten Brinke Jul 18 '13 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ No you just need to say "pairwise disjoint intervals." No need to throw in the word "collection." It's standard terminology for a family of sets that are mutually disjoint. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Jul 18 '13 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ But the OP is asking about a collection of intervals, not a list of them. $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Jul 18 '13 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ @dfeuer I don't see the distinction. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Jul 18 '13 at 20:30


  • More formal: Pairwise disjoint set of intervals
  • Less formal: set of disjoint intervals
  • Less formal: disjoint set of intervals
  • Write it as something like "Let $a,b,c$ be disjoint intervals."

Basically, there is no special terminology for what you want. To avoid confusion, just don't use one. If you're using the concept a lot in a paper, you're free to make up a word, or to name the set of all such sets.

  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Such complications. I think "set of pairwise disjoint intervals" is better use of language, but pairwise-disjointness is a property of the set, not of its elements. $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Jul 18 '13 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, if you say so! ;-) $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jul 18 '13 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ In real life, it doesn't matter :P $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Jul 18 '13 at 20:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @dfeuer You mean, real life and math are pairwise disjoint? $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Jul 18 '13 at 20:37

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