I found that difflib.get_close_matches is the simplest way for matching/fuzzy-matching strings. But there are a few other more advanced libraries like fuzzywuzzy as you mentioned in the comments.
But if you want to use difflib, you can use difflib.SequenceMatcher to get the score as follows:
my_str = 'apple'
str_list = ['ape' , 'fjsdf', 'aerewtg', 'dgyow', 'paepd']
best_match = difflib.get_close_matches(my_str,str_list,1)
score = difflib.SequenceMatcher(None, my_str, best_match).ratio()
In this example, the best match between 'apple' and the list is 'ape' and the score is 0.75.
You can also loop through the list and compute all the scores to check:
for word in str_list:
print "score for: " + my_str + " vs. " + word + " = " + str(difflib.SequenceMatcher(None, my_str, word).ratio())
For this example, you get the following:
score for: apple vs. ape = 0.75
score for: apple vs. fjsdf = 0.0
score for: apple vs. aerewtg = 0.333333333333
score for: apple vs. dgyow = 0.0
score for: apple vs. paepd = 0.4
Documentation for difflib can be found here: