Update method in Python dictionary

Update method in Python dictionary

The difference is that the second method does not work:

>>> {}.update(1, 2)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File <stdin>, line 1, in <module>
TypeError: update expected at most 1 arguments, got 2

dict.update() expects to find a iterable of key-value pairs, keyword arguments, or another dictionary:

Update the dictionary with the key/value pairs from other, overwriting existing keys. Return None.

update() accepts either another dictionary object or an iterable of key/value pairs (as tuples or other iterables of length two). If keyword arguments are specified, the dictionary is then updated with those key/value pairs: d.update(red=1, blue=2).

map() is a built-in method that produces a sequence by applying the elements of the second (and subsequent) arguments to the first argument, which must be a callable. Unless your key object is a callable and the value object is a sequence, your first method will fail too.

Demo of a working map() application:

>>> def key(v):
...     return (v, v)
>>> value = range(3)
>>> map(key, value)
[(0, 0), (1, 1), (2, 2)]
>>> product = {}
>>> product.update(map(key, value))
>>> product
{0: 0, 1: 1, 2: 2}

Here map() just produces key-value pairs, which satisfies the dict.update() expectations.

  • Python 3.9 and PEP 584 introduces the dict union, for updating one dict from another dict.
    • Dict union will return a new dict consisting of the left operand merged with the right operand, each of which must be a dict (or an instance of a dict subclass). If a key appears in both operands, the last-seen value (i.e. that from the right-hand operand) wins.
  • See SO: How do I merge two dictionaries in a single expression? for merging with the new augmented assignment version.
>>> d = {spam: 1, eggs: 2, cheese: 3}
>>> e = {cheese: cheddar, aardvark: Ethel}
>>> d | e
{spam: 1, eggs: 2, cheese: cheddar, aardvark: Ethel}
>>> e | d
{aardvark: Ethel, spam: 1, eggs: 2, cheese: 3}


The current ways to merge two dicts have several disadvantages:


d1.update(d2) modifies d1 in-place. e = d1.copy(); e.update(d2) is not an expression and needs a temporary variable.

{**d1, **d2}

Dict unpacking looks ugly and is not easily discoverable. Few people would be able to guess what it means the first time they see it, or think of it as the obvious way to merge two dicts.

Update method in Python dictionary

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