How to select a substring in Oracle SQL up to a specific character?

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Say I have a table column that has results like:

ABC_blahblahblah
DEFGH_moreblahblahblah
IJKLMNOP_moremoremoremore

I would like to be able to write a query that selects this column from said table, but only returns the substring up to the Underscore (_) character. For example:

ABC
DEFGH
IJKLMNOP

The SUBSTRING function doesn't seem to be up to the task because it is position-based and the position of the underscore varies.

I thought about the TRIM function (the RTRIM function specifically):

SELECT RTRIM('listofchars' FROM somecolumn)
FROM sometable

But I'm not sure how I'd get this to work since it only seems to remove a certain list/set of characters and I'm really only after the characters leading up to the Underscore character.


Using a combination of SUBSTR, INSTR, and NVL (for strings without an underscore) will return what you want:

SELECT NVL(SUBSTR('ABC_blah', 0, INSTR('ABC_blah', '_')-1), 'ABC_blah') AS output
  FROM DUAL

Result:

output
------
ABC

Use:

SELECT NVL(SUBSTR(t.column, 0, INSTR(t.column, '_')-1), t.column) AS output
  FROM YOUR_TABLE t

Reference:

Addendum

If using Oracle10g+, you can use regex via REGEXP_SUBSTR.