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Python | min method

Programming
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Python
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Built-in Functions
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Documentation
schedule Mar 10, 2022
Last updated
local_offer Python
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Python's min(~) method has two use cases:

  • When used with an iterable it returns the smallest item in the iterable.

  • When used with multiple arguments, it returns the smallest item out of the arguments.

Parameters

Used with an iterable

1. iterable | iterable

The iterable to retrieve the smallest item for.

2. key | function | optional

Function to specify the ordering criteria. The function should take a single argument and return a key to use for ordering.

3. default | object | optional

The object to return if the provided iterable is empty.

Used with multiple arguments

1. arg1 | object

An object to use for comparison.

2. arg2 | object

An object to use for comparison.

3. args | object | optional

Unlimited number of objects to use for comparison.

4. key | function | optional

Function to specify the ordering criteria. The function should take a single argument and return a key to use for ordering.

Return value

The return value depends on the following cases:

Case

Return Value

Used with an iterable

Smallest item in the iterable

Used with multiple arguments

Smallest item out of the provided arguments

Examples

Used with an iterable

To return the smallest number in list x:

x = [4, 3, 9, 2, 11, 6]
min(x)
2

To return the smallest item from list languages when ordered alphabetically:

languages = ['Spanish', 'French', 'English', 'Mandarin']
min(languages)
English

Used with multiple arguments

To return the smallest number from the provided arguments:

min(4, 3, 9, 2, 11, 6)
2

Key parameter

To return the smallest item based on alphabetical order of the second letter of each element in iterable:

def check_second_letter(a):
return a[1]
languages = ['Spanish', 'French', 'English', 'Mandarin']
min(languages, key=check_second_letter)
Mandarin

Mandarin is returned as its second letter 'a' is the lowest in terms of alphabetical order.

Default parameter

To return 'List is Empty' if the languages iterable is empty:

languages = []
min(languages, default='List is Empty')
List is Empty

Note that the default parameter is only applicable to the case when min method is used with an iterable input.

robocat
Published by Isshin Inada
Edited by 0 others
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