Python – Is a Python dictionary an example of a hash table

dictionaryhashhashmaphashtablepython

One of the basic data structures in Python is the dictionary, which allows one to record "keys" for looking up "values" of any type. Is this implemented internally as a hash table? If not, what is it?

Best Solution

Yes, it is a hash mapping or hash table. You can read a description of python's dict implementation, as written by Tim Peters, here.

That's why you can't use something 'not hashable' as a dict key, like a list:

>>> a = {}
>>> b = ['some', 'list']
>>> hash(b)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: list objects are unhashable
>>> a[b] = 'some'
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: list objects are unhashable

You can read more about hash tables or check how it has been implemented in python and why it is implemented that way.