# Sesquipower

In mathematics, a sesquipower or Zimin word is a string over an alphabet with identical prefix and suffix. Sesquipowers are unavoidable patterns, in the sense that all sufficiently long strings contain one.

## Formal definition

Formally, let A be an alphabet and A be the free monoid of finite strings over A. Every non-empty word w in A+ is a sesquipower of order 1. If u is a sesquipower of order n then any word w = uvu is a sesquipower of order n + 1.[1] The degree of a non-empty word w is the largest integer d such that w is a sesquipower of order d.[2]

## Bi-ideal sequence

A bi-ideal sequence is a sequence of words fi where f1 is in A+ and

${\displaystyle f_{i+1}=f_{i}g_{i}f_{i}\ }$

for some gi in A and i ≥ 1. The degree of a word w is thus the length of the longest bi-ideal sequence ending in w.[2]

## Unavoidable patterns

For a finite alphabet A on k letters, there is an integer M depending on k and n, such that any word of length M has a factor which is a sesquipower of order at least n. We express this by saying that the sesquipowers are unavoidable patterns.[3][4]

## Sesquipowers in infinite sequences

Given an infinite bi-ideal sequence, we note that each fi is a prefix of fi+1 and so the fi converge to an infinite sequence

${\displaystyle f=f_{1}g_{1}f_{1}g_{2}f_{1}g_{1}f_{1}g_{3}f_{1}\cdots \ }$

We define an infinite word to be a sesquipower if it is the limit of an infinite bi-ideal sequence.[5] An infinite word is a sesquipower if and only if it is a recurrent word,[5][6] that is, every factor occurs infinitely often.[7]

Fix a finite alphabet A and assume a total order on the letters. For given integers p and n, every sufficiently long word in A has either a factor which is a p-power or a factor which is an n-sesquipower; in the latter case the factor has an n-factorisation into Lyndon words.[6]