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Python Python Collections (2016, retired 2019) Tuples Packing

Ian Cole
Ian Cole
454 Points

*args confusion

If I could get some pointers for this that would be great, but im more just wanting some help trying to understand this. What does *args even do? I was also confused by **kwargs that was used with dictionaries so I think it's safe to say im effectively lost

def multiply(*args):

1 Answer

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
229,982 Points

The "splat" operators do two different things based on where you use them. When used on a parameter in a function definition (as you show above), it is known as the "packing operator" and it means "collect all the individual arguments into a list and call it by this name". Inside the function, you might use the list as an iterator in a loop.

But elsewhere it is the "unpacking operator" and means "expand this list into separate items".

The double version "**" does a similar job but with dictionaries instead of simple lists.