What Is Dict Data Type?


Larry Thompson

The dict data type in Python is a powerful way to store and organize data. It is also known as a dictionary or associative array in other programming languages.

A dictionary is an unordered collection of key-value pairs, where each key is unique. This means that we can access values in a dictionary using their corresponding keys.

To create a dictionary, we use curly braces {} and separate the keys and values with colons (:). Let’s take a look at an example:

my_dict = {'name': 'John', 'age': 25, 'city': 'New York'}

In this example, we have created a dictionary called my_dict. It contains three key-value pairs: ‘name’ with the value ‘John’, ‘age’ with the value 25, and ‘city’ with the value ‘New York’. The keys are always unique within a dictionary.

To access the values in a dictionary, we use square brackets [] and specify the key. For example:


This will output ‘John’. We can also assign new values to existing keys or add new key-value pairs to a dictionary. Let’s see an example:

my_dict['age'] = 26
my_dict['country'] = 'USA'

The output will be: {‘name’: ‘John’, ‘age’: 26, ‘city’: ‘New York’, ‘country’: ‘USA’}. As you can see, we updated the value of the ‘age’ key to 26 and added a new key-value pair ‘country’ with the value ‘USA’.

Dictionaries are highly versatile and can store various types of data as values. These values can be strings, numbers, lists, or even other dictionaries. Let’s create a dictionary with more complex values:

my_dict = {'name': 'John', 'grades': [90, 85, 95], 'info': {'age': 25, 'city': 'New York'}}

The output will be: 85 and ‘New York’. In this example, we have a nested dictionary inside the main dictionary. We can access the values of nested dictionaries using multiple square brackets.

Dictionaries are incredibly useful for tasks such as counting occurrences of words in a text, storing user information in a web application, or representing complex relationships between entities.

To iterate over a dictionary and perform operations on its keys and values, we can use loops like for or while. Here’s an example:

for key in my_dict:

This will output:

  • name
  • ‘John’
  • grades
  • [90, 85, 95]
  • info
  • {‘age’: 25, ‘city’: ‘New York’}

As you can see, the loop iterates over each key in the dictionary, and we can access the corresponding value using the key.

In conclusion, the dict data type in Python is a powerful tool for storing and organizing data. It allows us to create collections of key-value pairs, access values using keys, and perform operations on dictionaries.

Dictionaries are widely used in various programming tasks and provide a flexible way to represent complex relationships between data elements.

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