Python creating a dictionary of lists


Question

I want to create a dictionary whose values are lists. For example:

{
  1: ['1'],
  2: ['1','2'],
  3: ['2']
}

If I do:

d = dict()
a = ['1', '2']
for i in a:
    for j in range(int(i), int(i) + 2): 
        d[j].append(i)

I get a KeyError, because d[...] isn't a list. In this case, I can add the following code after the assignment of a to initialize the dictionary.

for x in range(1, 4):
    d[x] = list()

Is there a better way to do this? Lets say I don't know the keys I am going to need until I am in the second for loop. For example:

class relation:
    scope_list = list()
...
d = dict()
for relation in relation_list:
    for scope_item in relation.scope_list:
        d[scope_item].append(relation)

An alternative would then be replacing

d[scope_item].append(relation)

with

if d.has_key(scope_item):
    d[scope_item].append(relation)
else:
    d[scope_item] = [relation,]

What is the best way to handle this? Ideally, appending would "just work". Is there some way to express that I want a dictionary of empty lists, even if I don't know every key when I first create the list?

1
204
7/14/2016 6:38:46 PM

Accepted Answer

You can use defaultdict:

>>> from collections import defaultdict
>>> d = defaultdict(list)
>>> a = ['1', '2']
>>> for i in a:
...   for j in range(int(i), int(i) + 2):
...     d[j].append(i)
...
>>> d
defaultdict(<type 'list'>, {1: ['1'], 2: ['1', '2'], 3: ['2']})
>>> d.items()
[(1, ['1']), (2, ['1', '2']), (3, ['2'])]
266
7/19/2019 9:55:40 AM

You can build it with list comprehension like this:

>>> dict((i, range(int(i), int(i) + 2)) for i in ['1', '2'])
{'1': [1, 2], '2': [2, 3]}

And for the second part of your question use defaultdict

>>> from collections import defaultdict
>>> s = [('yellow', 1), ('blue', 2), ('yellow', 3), ('blue', 4), ('red', 1)]
>>> d = defaultdict(list)
>>> for k, v in s:
        d[k].append(v)

>>> d.items()
[('blue', [2, 4]), ('red', [1]), ('yellow', [1, 3])]

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