Append a dictionary to a dictionary


I have two existing dictionaries, and I wish to ‘append’ one of them to the other. By that I mean that the key,values of the other dictionary should be made into the first dictionary. For example:

orig = {
   'A': 1,
   'B': 2,
   'C': 3,

extra = {
   'D': 4,
   'E': 5,

dest = # Something here involving orig and extra

print dest
   'A': 1,
   'B': 2,
   'C': 3,
   'D': 4,
   'E': 5

I think this all can be achieved through a for loop (maybe?), but is there some method of dictionaries or any other module that saves this job for me? The actual dictionaries I’m using are really big…

Asked By: Javier Novoa C.



dict.update() looks like it will do what you want…

>> orig.update(extra)
>>> orig
{'A': 1, 'C': 3, 'B': 2, 'E': 5, 'D': 4}

Perhaps, though, you don’t want to update your original dictionary, but work on a copy:

>>> dest = orig.copy()
>>> dest.update(extra)
>>> orig
{'A': 1, 'C': 3, 'B': 2}
>>> dest
{'A': 1, 'C': 3, 'B': 2, 'E': 5, 'D': 4}
Answered By: johnsyweb

There is the .update() method 🙂

Update the dictionary with the key/value pairs from other, overwriting existing keys. Return None.

update() accepts either another dictionary object or an iterable of key/value pairs (as tuples or other iterables of length two). If
keyword arguments are specified, the dictionary is then updated with
those key/value pairs: d.update(red=1, blue=2).

Changed in version 2.4: Allowed the argument to be an iterable of key/value pairs and allowed keyword arguments.

Answered By: sleeplessnerd

You can do


or, if you don’t want orig to be modified, make a copy first:

dest = dict(orig)  # or orig.copy()

Note that if extra and orig have overlapping keys, the final value will be taken from extra. For example,

>>> d1 = {1: 1, 2: 2}
>>> d2 = {2: 'ha!', 3: 3}
>>> d1.update(d2)
>>> d1
{1: 1, 2: 'ha!', 3: 3}
Answered By: mipadi

Assuming that you do not want to change orig, you can either do a copy and update like the other answers, or you can create a new dictionary in one step by passing all items from both dictionaries into the dict constructor:

from itertools import chain
dest = dict(chain(orig.items(), extra.items()))

Or without itertools:

dest = dict(list(orig.items()) + list(extra.items()))

Note that you only need to pass the result of items() into list() on Python 3, on 2.x dict.items() already returns a list so you can just do dict(orig.items() + extra.items()).

As a more general use case, say you have a larger list of dicts that you want to combine into a single dict, you could do something like this:

from itertools import chain
dest = dict(chain.from_iterable(map(dict.items, list_of_dicts)))
Answered By: Andrew Clark

The answer I want to give is “use collections.ChainMap”, but I just discovered that it was only added in Python 3.3:

You can try to crib the class from the 3.3 source though:

Here is a less feature-full Python 2.x compatible version (same author):

Instead of expanding/overwriting one dictionary with another using dict.merge, or creating an additional copy merging both, you create a lookup chain that searches both in order. Because it doesn’t duplicate the mappings it wraps ChainMap uses very little memory, and sees later modifications to any sub-mapping. Because order matters you can also use the chain to layer defaults (i.e. user prefs > config > env).

Answered By: kitsu.eb

There are two ways to add one dictionary to another:

Update (modifies orig in place)

orig.update(extra)    # Python 2.7+
orig |= extra         # Python 3.9+

Merge (creates a new dictionary)

# Python 2.7+
dest = collections.ChainMap(orig, extra)
dest = {k: v for d in (orig, extra) for (k, v) in d.items()}

# Python 3
dest = {**orig, **extra}          
dest = {**orig, 'D': 4, 'E': 5}

# Python 3.9+ 
dest = orig | extra


Note that these operations are noncommutative. In all cases, the latter is the winner. E.g.

orig  = {'A': 1, 'B': 2}
extra = {'A': 3, 'C': 3}

dest = orig | extra
# dest = {'A': 3, 'B': 2, 'C': 3}

dest = extra | orig
# dest = {'A': 1, 'B': 2, 'C': 3}

It is also important to note that only from Python 3.7 (and CPython 3.6) dicts are ordered. So, in previous versions, the order of the items in the dictionary may vary.

Answered By: Nuno André

A three-liner to combine or merge two dictionaries:

dest = {}

This creates a new dictionary dest without modifying orig and extra.

Note: If a key has different values in orig and extra, then extra overrides orig.

Answered By: jkdev
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