In this Python tutorial, we will discuss Lambda functions in Python. Also, we will see, what is the use of the lambda function in Python. I will also explain, what is an anonymous function in Python.
What is a Lambda Function in Python?
Lambda functions, also known as anonymous functions, are a feature in Python that allows for the creation of small, simple functions in a concise manner. Unlike the traditional functions defined using the
def keyword, lambda functions are defined using the
lambda keyword, and they don’t have a name. This is why they are referred to as anonymous functions.
lambda arguments: expression
This means a lambda function can take any number of arguments, but can only have one expression.
multiply = lambda x, y: x * y print(multiply(5, 3)) # Output: 15
In the example above, we create a lambda function that takes two arguments,
y, and returns their product. We then assign this lambda function to a variable called
multiply and call it just like a regular function.
See the output below:
When and Why Use Lambda Functions in Python?
Lambda functions in Python are particularly useful when you need a small function for a short period of time and don’t want to formally define it. They’re concise and can be written in a single line. This makes them perfect candidates for scenarios where a function is only used once or for a short snippet of code.
Common use cases include:
- Sorting and Filtering: Lambda functions can be used as the key function while sorting or as the function to filter data.
- Functional Programming: Python supports functional programming concepts like
reduce()where lambda functions are handy.
1. Sorting with Lambda:
data = [('apple', 3), ('banana', 1), ('orange', 4), ('grapes', 2)] # Sort by the second element in each tuple sorted_data = sorted(data, key=lambda x: x) print(sorted_data) # Output: [('banana', 1), ('grapes', 2), ('apple', 3), ('orange', 4)]
You can see the output like below:
2. Filtering with Lambda:
numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] # Get the odd numbers odd_numbers = list(filter(lambda x: x % 2 != 0, numbers)) print(odd_numbers) # Output: [1, 3, 5, 7, 9]
3. Using Map with Lambda:
numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] # Square each element squared = list(map(lambda x: x ** 2, numbers)) print(squared) # Output: [1, 4, 9, 16, 25]
Understanding Anonymous Functions in Python
As we mentioned earlier, lambda functions are anonymous. This means they don’t have a name associated with them. They are useful when you need a function for a short duration and do not want to define it formally.
This concept is especially useful in functional programming. Here’s an example where we use an anonymous lambda function in Python inside the
filter() function without assigning it to a variable.
# Filter out numbers less than 5 numbers = [2, 8, 3, 5, 7, 9, 1] filtered_numbers = list(filter(lambda x: x < 5, numbers)) print(filtered_numbers) # Output: [2, 3, 1]
You can see the output below:
Lambda functions or anonymous functions in Python are powerful tools for writing cleaner, more concise code, especially for short, simple functions. They are versatile and can be used in various scenarios like sorting, filtering, and other functional programming paradigms. However, keep in mind that while lambda functions make code shorter, overuse can lead to less readable code.
You may like the following Python tutorials:
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- How to add two numbers in Python
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- Functions in Python
I am Bijay Kumar, a Microsoft MVP in SharePoint. Apart from SharePoint, I started working on Python, Machine learning, and artificial intelligence for the last 5 years. During this time I got expertise in various Python libraries also like Tkinter, Pandas, NumPy, Turtle, Django, Matplotlib, Tensorflow, Scipy, Scikit-Learn, etc… for various clients in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Check out my profile.