Python Sets

  • A set is an unordered collection of unique and unhashable objects.
  • So, tuples, lists and dictionaries, etc. can be members of a set.
  • set is mutable so, can add/remove elements to/from the set.
  • set can't allow elements to be replaced

create a set

unique_numbers = {1,2,3,4}
names = set(["Anji", "Smita"])

set - no duplicate elements

duplicates = [1,2,3,4,5,5,4,3,2,6]
unique = set(duplicates)
print(unique)
# Output: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}

add element to set

  • use method set.add() to add element to set.
names = {"John", "Jenny", "Lilly"}
names.add("Anji")
print(names)
# Output: {'Anji', 'Lilly', 'Jenny', 'John'}

remove element from set

  • use method set.remove() to remove element from set.
  • it raises an error if element doesn't exist.
names = {"John", "Jenny", "Lilly"}
names.remove("Jenny")
print(names)
# Output: {'Lilly', 'John'}
  • use method set.discard() to remove element from set
  • unlike set.remove() it didn't throw an error.
names = {"John", "Jenny", "Lilly"}
names.discard("Jenny")
names.discard("Anji")
print(names)
# Output: {'Lilly', 'John'}

set - for loop

fruits = {"apple", "banana", "cherry"}
for fruit in fruits:
    print(fruit)
# Output:
# cherry
# apple
# banana

check if element exist in set

  • use in operator to check if element exist
fruits = {"apple", "banana", "cherry"}
print("apple" in fruits)
# Output: True

check if element doesn't exist in set

  • use not in operator to check if element does not exist
fruits = {"apple", "banana", "cherry"}
print("apple" not in fruits)
# Output: True

update set with any iterable

  • use method set.update() to update set with any iterable like list, tuple, set, etc.
s1 = {1,2,3}
s2 = {4,5,6}

s1.update(s2)
print(s1)
# Output: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}

s1.update([7,8,9])
print(s1)
# Output: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9}

remove random element from set

  • use set.pop() to remove random element
numbers = {1,2,3,4,5,6}
numbers.pop()
print(numbers)
# Output: {2, 3, 4, 5, 6}

find set difference

  • use set.difference() method or - operator.
mammals = {"Lion", "Deer", "Bat"}
fliers = {"Parrot", "Eagle", "Bat"}

diff = mammals - fliers
print(diff)
# Output: {'Lion', 'Deer'}

print(mammals.difference(fliers))
# Output: {'Lion', 'Deer'}

find set symmetric difference

  • it can be done in two ways
  • can use ^ operator or method set1.symmetric_difference(set2)
mammals = {"Lion", "Deer", "Bat"}
fliers = {"Parrot", "Eagle", "Bat"}

diff = mammals ^ fliers
print(diff)
# Output: {'Deer', 'Eagle', 'Lion', 'Parrot'}

print(mammals.symmetric_difference(fliers))
# Output: {'Deer', 'Eagle', 'Lion', 'Parrot'}

find union of sets

  • use | operator or method set1.union(iterable)
  • iterable can be a list, tuple, set, etc.
mammals = {"Lion", "Deer", "Bat"}
fliers = {"Parrot", "Eagle", "Bat"}

union = mammals | fliers
print(union)
# Output: {'Lion', 'Deer', 'Bat', 'Eagle', 'Parrot'}

print(mammals.union(fliers))
# Output: {'Lion', 'Deer', 'Bat', 'Eagle', 'Parrot'}

find intersection of sets

  • use & operator or method set1.intersection(iterable)
  • iterable can be a list, tuple, set, etc.
mammals = {"Lion", "Deer", "Bat"}
fliers = {"Parrot", "Eagle", "Bat"}

common = mammals & fliers
print(common)
# Output: {'Bat'}

print(mammals.intersection(fliers))
# Output: {'Bat'}

check if sets are disjoint

  • use method set.isdisjoint(iterable)
  • iterable can be a list, tuple, set, etc
mammals = {"Lion", "Deer"}
fliers = {"Parrot", "Eagle", "Bat"}

is_disjoint = mammals.isdisjoint(fliers)
print(is_disjoint)
# Output: True

check if set is subset of other set

  • use method set.issubset(iterable)
  • iterable can be a list, tuple, set, etc.
s1 = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8}
s2 = [1,2]

print(s2.issubset(s1))
# Output: True

check if set is superset of other set

  • use method set.issuperset(iterable)
s1 = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8}
s2 = (1,2)

print(s1.issuperset(s2))
# Output: True

using operators in and not in with sets

s = {1,2,3,4}
print("a" in s)
# Output: False
print("a" not in s)
# Output: True

set methods

Method Description
add() Adds an element to the set
clear() Removes all the elements from the set
copy() Returns a copy of the set
difference() Returns a set containing the difference between two or more sets
difference_update() Removes the items in this set that are also included in another, specified set
discard() Remove the specified item
intersection() Returns a set, that is the intersection of two other sets
intersection_update() Removes the items in this set that are not present in other, specified set(s)
isdisjoint() Returns whether two sets have a intersection or not
issubset() Returns whether another set contains this set or not
issuperset() Returns whether this set contains another set or not
pop() Removes an element from the set
remove() Removes the specified element
symmetric_difference() Returns a set with the symmetric differences of two sets
symmetric_difference_update() Inserts the symmetric differences from this set and another
union() Return a set containing the union of sets
update() Update the set with the union of this set and others

Find more information about sets at python official docs

References