Is Dictionary a Data Type in Python?


Scott Campbell

Is Dictionary a Data Type in Python?

In Python, a dictionary is a built-in data type that allows you to store and retrieve data in key-value pairs. It is an unordered collection of elements, where each element is accessed by its unique key.

Defining a Dictionary

To create a dictionary in Python, you can use curly braces ({}) and separate the keys and values with colons (:). Here’s an example:

my_dict = {'name': 'John', 'age': 30, 'city': 'New York'}

In this example, the keys are ‘name’, ‘age’, and ‘city’, while the corresponding values are ‘John’, 30, and ‘New York’ respectively.

Accessing Dictionary Elements

You can access individual elements of a dictionary by using their keys. Here’s how you can do it:

name = my_dict['name']
print(name)  # Output: John

In this code snippet, we are accessing the value associated with the key ‘name’ in the dictionary my_dict. The output will be John.

Adding and Modifying Dictionary Elements

To add or modify elements in a dictionary, you can simply assign a value to a new or existing key. Here’s an example:

my_dict['occupation'] = 'Engineer'
# Output: {'name': 'John', 'age': 30, 'city': 'New York', 'occupation': 'Engineer'}

my_dict['age'] = 31
# Output: {'name': 'John', 'age': 31, 'city': 'New York', 'occupation': 'Engineer'}

In the first example, we added a new key-value pair (‘occupation’: ‘Engineer’) to the dictionary. In the second example, we modified the value associated with the key ‘age’ from 30 to 31.

Dictionary Methods

Python dictionaries come with several built-in methods that allow you to perform various operations on them. Here are a few commonly used methods:

  • keys(): Returns a list of all the keys in the dictionary.
  • values(): Returns a list of all the values in the dictionary.
  • items(): Returns a list of all key-value pairs in the dictionary as tuples.

Here’s an example showing how these methods can be used:

# Output: ['name', 'age', 'city', 'occupation']

# Output: ['John', 31, 'New York', 'Engineer']

# Output: [('name', 'John'), ('age', 31), ('city', 'New York'), ('occupation', 'Engineer')]

Checking if a Key Exists in a Dictionary

You can check if a specific key exists in a dictionary using the in keyword. Here’s an example:

if 'name' in my_dict:
    print('Key exists')
    print('Key does not exist')
# Output: Key exists

In this example, we are checking if the key ‘name’ exists in the dictionary my_dict. Since it does, the output will be Key exists.


In Python, a dictionary is a versatile data type that allows you to store and retrieve data using keys. It provides an efficient way to organize and manipulate data in your programs. By understanding how dictionaries work and utilizing their methods, you can enhance your Python programming skills and build more powerful applications.

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