How to delete an element from a dictionary in Python?

Better Stack Team
Updated on February 3, 2023

To delete an element from a dictionary in Python, you can use the del statement. For example:

my_dict = {'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3}
del my_dict['b']
print(my_dict)  # {'a': 1, 'c': 3}

This will remove the key-value pair with key 'b' from the dictionary. If the key is not found in the dictionary, it will raise a KeyError exception.

You can also use the pop() method to delete an item from the dictionary. The pop() method removes an item with the given key and returns its value. If the key is not found, it can return a default value instead of raising an exception:


my_dict = {'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3}

value = my_dict.pop('b', None)

print(value)  # 2
print(my_dict)  # {'a': 1, 'c': 3}

If you want to remove an item from the dictionary and also get a list of all the removed items, you can use the popitem() method. This method removes an arbitrary key-value pair from the dictionary and returns it as a tuple. If the dictionary is empty, it raises a KeyError exception.

my_dict = {'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3}

item = my_dict.popitem()

print(item)  # ('c', 3)
print(my_dict)  # {'a': 1, 'b': 2}
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