Difference Between List and Dictionary in Python

Difference Between List and Dictionary in Python

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Vikram
Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 15:25 IST

In Python, do you know how a list differs from a dictionary? While a list is like a row of boxes, a dictionary is more like a set of labeled drawers. Each has its unique use. Curious about which to use when? Let’s dive in and find out!

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Table of Content

What is the Difference Between List and Dictionary in Python?

Parameter List Dictionary
Definition An ordered collection of items. An unordered collection of data in a key: value pair form.
Syntax Uses square brackets []. Uses curly braces {}.
Ordering Ordered: Items have a defined order, which will not change. Unordered: Items do not have a defined order.
Indexing Accessed by index, starting from 0. Values are accessed using keys.
Mutability Mutable: Items can be modified after creation. Mutable: Values can be updated, and key: value pairs can be added or removed.
Uniqueness Allows duplicate items. Does not allow duplicate keys. However, values can be duplicated.
Data Types It can store any data type. Keys can be of any immutable data type (e.g., strings, numbers, tuples). Values can be of any type.
Use Case When order matters or when you need to store multiple values for an item. When you need a unique key for each piece of data.
Example fruits = [“apple”, “banana”, “cherry”] person = {“name”: “John”, “age”: 30}
Built-in Functions append(), remove(), pop(), sort(), etc. keys(), values(), items(), get(), pop(), etc.
Performance Faster for ordered operations like sorting. Faster for lookup operations due to the hash mapping of keys.

What is List in Python?

Lists in Python are ordered collections of items and each item is assigned to an index value starting from 0. Lists are mutable, hence the elements can be modified after their creation.
To create a list in Python, you have to use square brackets []. Items in the lists can be of any data type, including numbers, strings, or even lists.

Example


 
# Create a list of numbers
numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
# Create a list of strings
strings = ["hello", "world", "python"]
# Create a list of lists
nested_list = [[1, 2, 3], ["hello", "world"], ["python"]]
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Must Check: Lists in Python

What is Dictionary in Python?

A dictionary is an unordered collection of data in the key: value pair form. The keys are unique, and the value can be of any data type. Like the lists, dictionaries are also mutable, i.e., you can change the key-value pair after creating the dictionary.

  • To create a dictionary in Python, you have to use {}. : is used to separate the key and value. 
  • Elements in the dictionary can be accessed by their corresponding keys.

Example


 
# Create a dictionary of countries and capitals
capitals = {
"USA": "Washington D.C.",
"France": "Paris",
"India": "New Delhi",
}
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Must Check: Dictionary in Python

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Key Differences Between List and Dictionary in Python

  • A list is an ordered collection of items, whereas a dictionary is an unordered data collection in a key: value pair.
  • Elements from the list can be accessed using the index, while the elements of the dictionary can be accessed using keys.
  • The list allows duplicate items, while the dictionary does not allow any duplicate keys.
  • A list can store any data type. In contrast, keys in the dictionary can be of any immutable data type, and values can be of any data type.
  • Lists perform faster for ordered operations like sorting, while dictionaries perform faster for lookup operations.

Conclusion

Lists and Dictionaries are different data structures in Python. Lists are ordered collections of items, whereas the dictionary is an unordered collection of data in a key: value pair form. Both lists and dictionaries are mutable, i.e., you can add, edit, delete, or modify the elements.
In this article, we have briefly discussed the difference between lists and dictionaries in Python.
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About the Author
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Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content

Vikram has a Postgraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, with a keen interest in Data Science and Machine Learning. He has experience of 2+ years in content creation in Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science, and Mac... Read Full Bio