Is it possible to have multiple statements in a python lambda expression?

Is it possible to have multiple statements in a python lambda expression?

There are several different answers I can give here, from your specific question to more general concerns. So from most specific to most general:

Q. Can you put multiple statements in a lambda?

A. No. But you dont actually need to use a lambda. You can put the statements in a def instead. i.e.:

def second_lowest(l):
    l.sort()
    return l[1]

map(second_lowest, lst)

Q. Can you get the second lowest item from a lambda by sorting the list?

A. Yes. As alexs answer points out, sorted() is a version of sort that creates a new list, rather than sorting in-place, and can be chained. Note that this is probably what you should be using – its bad practice for your map to have side effects on the original list.

Q. How should I get the second lowest item from each list in a sequence of lists?

A. sorted(l)[1] is not actually the best way for this. It has O(N log(N)) complexity, while an O(n) solution exists. This can be found in the heapq module.

>>> import  heapq
>>> l = [5,2,6,8,3,5]
>>> heapq.nsmallest(l, 2)
[2, 3]

So just use:

map(lambda x: heapq.nsmallest(x,2)[1],  list_of_lists)

Its also usually considered clearer to use a list comprehension, which avoids the lambda altogether:

[heapq.nsmallest(x,2)[1] for x in list_of_lists]

Putting the expressions in a list may simulate multiple expressions:

E.g.:

lambda x: [f1(x), f2(x), f3(x), x+1]

This will not work with statements.

Is it possible to have multiple statements in a python lambda expression?

Time traveler here. If you generally want to have multiple statements within a lambda, you can pass other lambdas as arguments to that lambda.

(lambda x, f: list((y[1] for y in f(x))))(lst, lambda x: (sorted(y) for y in x))

You cant actually have multiple statements, but you can simulate that by passing lambdas to lambdas.

Edit: The time traveler returns! You can also abuse the behavior of boolean expressions (keeping in mind short-circuiting rules and truthiness) to chain operations. Using the ternary operator gives you even more power. Again, you cant have multiple statements, but you can of course have many function calls. This example does some arbitrary junk with a bunch of data, but, it shows that you can do some funny stuff. The print statements are examples of functions which return None (as does the .sort() method) but they also help show what the lambda is doing.

>>> (lambda x: print(x) or x+1)(10)
10
11
>>> f = (lambda x: x[::2] if print(x) or x.sort() else print(enumerate(x[::-1]) if print(x) else filter(lambda (i, y): print((i, y)) or (i % 3 and y % 2), enumerate(x[::-1]))))
>>> from random import shuffle
>>> l = list(range(100))
>>> shuffle(l)
>>> f(l)
[84, 58, 7, 99, 17, 14, 60, 35, 12, 56, 26, 48, 55, 40, 28, 52, 31, 39, 43, 96, 64, 63, 54, 37, 79, 25, 46, 72, 10, 59, 24, 68, 23, 13, 34, 41, 94, 29, 62, 2, 50, 32, 11, 97, 98, 3, 70, 93, 1, 36, 87, 47, 20, 73, 45, 0, 65, 57, 6, 76, 16, 85, 95, 61, 4, 77, 21, 81, 82, 30, 53, 51, 42, 67, 74, 8, 15, 83, 5, 9, 78, 66, 44, 27, 19, 91, 90, 18, 49, 86, 22, 75, 71, 88, 92, 33, 89, 69, 80, 38]
[0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99]
(0, 99)
(1, 98)
(2, 97)
(3, 96)
(4, 95)
(5, 94)
(6, 93)
(7, 92)
(8, 91)
(9, 90)
(10, 89)
(11, 88)
(12, 87)
(13, 86)
(14, 85)
(15, 84)
(16, 83)
(17, 82)
(18, 81)
(19, 80)
(20, 79)
(21, 78)
(22, 77)
(23, 76)
(24, 75)
(25, 74)
(26, 73)
(27, 72)
(28, 71)
(29, 70)
(30, 69)
(31, 68)
(32, 67)
(33, 66)
(34, 65)
(35, 64)
(36, 63)
(37, 62)
(38, 61)
(39, 60)
(40, 59)
(41, 58)
(42, 57)
(43, 56)
(44, 55)
(45, 54)
(46, 53)
(47, 52)
(48, 51)
(49, 50)
(50, 49)
(51, 48)
(52, 47)
(53, 46)
(54, 45)
(55, 44)
(56, 43)
(57, 42)
(58, 41)
(59, 40)
(60, 39)
(61, 38)
(62, 37)
(63, 36)
(64, 35)
(65, 34)
(66, 33)
(67, 32)
(68, 31)
(69, 30)
(70, 29)
(71, 28)
(72, 27)
(73, 26)
(74, 25)
(75, 24)
(76, 23)
(77, 22)
(78, 21)
(79, 20)
(80, 19)
(81, 18)
(82, 17)
(83, 16)
(84, 15)
(85, 14)
(86, 13)
(87, 12)
(88, 11)
(89, 10)
(90, 9)
(91, 8)
(92, 7)
(93, 6)
(94, 5)
(95, 4)
(96, 3)
(97, 2)
(98, 1)
(99, 0)
[(2, 97), (4, 95), (8, 91), (10, 89), (14, 85), (16, 83), (20, 79), (22, 77), (26, 73), (28, 71), (32, 67), (34, 65), (38, 61), (40, 59), (44, 55), (46, 53), (50, 49), (52, 47), (56, 43), (58, 41), (62, 37), (64, 35), (68, 31), (70, 29), (74, 25), (76, 23), (80, 19), (82, 17), (86, 13), (88, 11), (92, 7), (94, 5), (98, 1)]

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