Find column whose name contains a specific string

Just iterate over DataFrame.columns, now this is an example in which you will end up with a list of column names that match:

import pandas as pd

data = {'spike-2': [1,2,3], 'hey spke': [4,5,6], 'spiked-in': [7,8,9], 'no': [10,11,12]}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

spike_cols = [col for col in df.columns if 'spike' in col]


['hey spke', 'no', 'spike-2', 'spiked-in']
['spike-2', 'spiked-in']


  1. df.columns returns a list of column names
  2. [col for col in df.columns if 'spike' in col] iterates over the list df.columns with the variable col and adds it to the resulting list if col contains 'spike'. This syntax is list comprehension.

If you only want the resulting data set with the columns that match you can do this:

df2 = df.filter(regex='spike')


   spike-2  spiked-in
0        1          7
1        2          8
2        3          9

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