3.8.1. Creating dictionaries and accessing/modifying entries#

A dictionary is created using curly braces {} and colons :, using a “key: value” syntax:

empty_dict = {}
dict_of_integers = {1: 11, 2: 22, 5: 55}

Here, we used integers for both the keys and values, but in reality:

  • the key can be of many types such as integers or strings;

  • the value can be of any type.

dict_of_anything = {
    1: "String for integer key 1",
    2: "String for integer key 2",
    "three": "String for string key 'three'",
    "some_int_value": 10,
    "some_float_value": 10.0,
    "some_list": [1, 3, 5, 7],
    "some_nested_dict": {
        "a": "A",
        "b": "B",

To access a dictionary entry, we use [], exactly as we would index a list or tuple:

'String for integer key 2'
"String for string key 'three'"
{'a': 'A', 'b': 'B'}

To change the value of an existing element:

dict_of_anything[2] = 66

{1: 'String for integer key 1',
 2: 66,
 'three': "String for string key 'three'",
 'some_int_value': 10,
 'some_float_value': 10.0,
 'some_list': [1, 3, 5, 7],
 'some_nested_dict': {'a': 'A', 'b': 'B'}}

We can list the available keys in a dictionary using its keys method:

dict_keys([1, 2, 'three', 'some_int_value', 'some_float_value', 'some_list', 'some_nested_dict'])

or we can test if the dict contains a certain key using the in keyword:

print(1 in dict_of_anything)
print(3 in dict_of_anything)