python – Is there a short contains function for lists?

The Question :

543 people think this question is useful

I see people are using any to gather another list to see if an item exists in a list, but is there a quick way to just do?:

if list.contains(myItem):
    # do something

The Question Comments :
  • Your question implies you’re only interested in list contains item, not list contains sublist? /tuple/ set/ frozenset/…?

The Answer 1

920 people think this answer is useful

You can use this syntax:

if myItem in list:
    # do something

Also, inverse operator:

if myItem not in list:
    # do something

It’s work fine for lists, tuples, sets and dicts (check keys).

Note that this is an O(n) operation in lists and tuples, but an O(1) operation in sets and dicts.

The Answer 2

67 people think this answer is useful

In addition to what other have said, you may also be interested to know that what in does is to call the list.__contains__ method, that you can define on any class you write and can get extremely handy to use python at his full extent.  

A dumb use may be:

>>> class ContainsEverything:
    def __init__(self):
        return None
    def __contains__(self, *elem, **k):
        return True


>>> a = ContainsEverything()
>>> 3 in a
True
>>> a in a
True
>>> False in a
True
>>> False not in a
False
>>>         

The Answer 3

6 people think this answer is useful

I came up with this one liner recently for getting True if a list contains any number of occurrences of an item, or False if it contains no occurrences or nothing at all. Using next(...) gives this a default return value (False) and means it should run significantly faster than running the whole list comprehension.

list_does_contain = next((True for item in list_to_test if item == test_item), False)

The Answer 4

4 people think this answer is useful

The list method index will return -1 if the item is not present, and will return the index of the item in the list if it is present. Alternatively in an if statement you can do the following:

if myItem in list:
    #do things

You can also check if an element is not in a list with the following if statement:

if myItem not in list:
    #do things

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