Simplest way of checking for string that contains a string in list?

I find myself repeatedly writing the same chunk of code:

    def stringInList(str, list):
        retVal = False
        for item in list:
            if str in item:
                retVal = True
        return retVal

Is there any way I can write this function quicker/with less code? I usually use this in an if statement, like this:

    if stringInList(str, list):
        print 'string was found!'

Yes, use any():

    if any(s in item for item in L):
        print 'string was found!'

As the docs mention, this is pretty much equivalent to your function, but any() can take generator expressions instead of just a string and a list, and any() short-circuits. Once s in item is True, the function breaks (you can simply do this with your function if you just change retVal = True to return True. Remember that functions break when it returns a value).

You should avoid naming strings str and lists list. That will override the built-in types.