Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

Difference between list and dictionary in Python?


Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

Difference between list and dictionary in Python?

In Python, these two concepts, List and dictionary are different fundamental data structures that help to store the information and manage it. This blog will take you through the features of these Python concepts.

Between those who play a crucial role. We will explore the main characteristics of a list and a dictionary.  

A list is a simple collection of elements that is denoted by square brackets. The dictionary is a collection of key-value pairs that are denoted by curly braces.

So let’s discuss these two concepts more deeply.

What are Lists?

In Python, there are different types of data types, list is one of them which is used to store the elements in sequential order. Lists are denoted by [] square brackets.

Lists are mutable which means its elements can be changed after declaration.

Let us understand this with an example:

Output: banana


  • Order: The list stores the items in order and maintains them. It ensures that the element’s shields are in sequential order.
  • Mutable: Mutability means any elements that are stored in the list can be modified according to a specific need.
  • Indexing and slicing: indexing means the list can be accessed by its index value. Every element in the list is associated with a unique index value starting from 0. Slicing means extracting a small portion of a list.
  • Heterogeneous data: A list can store several data types in the same list.

For example- 

fruits = [‘apple’, ‘banana’, ‘orange’, ‘grape’]

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Accessing elements of a list

In Python, accessing operations on a list allows us to modify, add, delete, or retrieve data from the list.

Here is an explanation of the different accessing operations in the list:

Basic Indexing-

 Output: ‘apple’

Output: ‘orange’

Python works on zero-based indexing which means the first element is denoted by zero and 1 is the second element and so on.

Negative Indexing-

Output: ‘grape’

 Output: ‘orange’

Negative indexing allows us to access elements from the end of the list.

Also Read: 5 Methods To Write Fibonacci Series In Python

Applications of List 

Data Storage: A list is used to store any type of data, whether it is a string or a number. They are designed to store and manage data and maintain flexibility.

numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

names = [‘Alice’, ‘Bob’, ‘Charlie’]

Sequential Processing: when you want to work with sequential data or data in order then a list is very helpful for you as it allows you to perform many sequential operations.

# Iterating through a list

for number in numbers:


# Sorting a list

sorted_numbers = sorted(numbers)

# Filtering elements

even_numbers = [num for num in numbers if num % 2 == 0]

Stacks and Queues: The list is used to implement data structures like stacks and queues.

# Stack using list

stack = []



popped_item = stack.pop()

# Queue using list

queue = []



dequeued_item = queue.pop(0)

Dynamic Data Modification: The list has characteristics of mutability that allow us to modify the elements dynamically.

# Adding element


# Modifying an element

names[0] = ‘Alicia’

# Removing element


Matrix Representations: The list can be represented in 2D arrays.

matrix = [

    [1, 2, 3],

    [4, 5, 6],

    [7, 8, 9]


Also Read: Calculator Program In Python

What is a Dictionary?

Dictionary is a powerful data structure that is used to store a collection of key-value pairs.

These elements are defined in curly braces. In the dictionary, each element should be unique and associated with a specific value. For retrieving the key values. Dictionary is highly efficient and recommended.

Here are the characteristics of Dictionary-

  1. Unordered: In the Dictionary, the elements are not arranged sequentially. When elements are created they are implemented as hash tables which makes them more efficient.
  2. Mutable: Mutable means changeable, the key-value pairs that are stored in the dictionary can be modified after creation.
  3. Keys and Values: In dictionaries, the keys should be of mutable data type and values can have any data type.
  4. Key-Value Pairs: In the dictionary every element is associated with a unique key-value pair. a key-value pair is used to identify the elements.

Accessing values of a dictionary 

In Python, accessing operations is very important because through this we can modify the elements from the dictionary for our specific needs. The dictionary is specifically structured to increase efficiency while modifying the elements from it. Every element in the dictionary is associated with a unique key.

Basic Access-

Output: 30

Using Get Method- 

 Output: ‘Not specified’

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Difference between list and dictionary in Python

It is mutable.It is mutable.
Lists are dynamic.Dictionary’s value can be of any data type but the key must be of an immutable type. 
Lists are stored in [ ] square brackets and the size can be changed.Dictionaries are stored in { } curly brackets and consist of key values. 
It can contain duplicate elements.It cannot contain duplicate keys.
Slicing can be done.Slicing cannot be done.
It is preferred when the contents are not fixed.It is preferred when working with large amounts of data.

Applications of Dictionary 

Key-Value Mapping: Dictionary is mostly for mapping keys to individual elements which helps to access and modify the data in a very fast and efficient way.

Database-Like Operations: The dictionary copies the database structure and makes it beneficial for storing and modifying the data.

Configuration Settings: Dictionary is used to store configuration settings in applications.

Counting and Frequency Analysis: A dictionary is used to count the implementations of elements.

Caching and Memoization: A dictionary is used to store the previously stored information.


  • Python is a very versatile and strong programming language and it has essential tools like lists and dictionaries which are also called data structures.
  • They both have unique features and strengths for different tasks.
  • List is used to maintain a sequence of elements while dictionary is used to have efficient key values.
  • At last, it depends upon you and your specific needs in which you want to use a list or dictionary.
  • We hope you get a better understanding of the concept of list and dictionary.

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