Welcome to the tutorial on finding the shortest word in a list in Python!

When working with lists in Python, it’s common to need to find the shortest word in the list. This can be useful for a variety of applications, such as analyzing text data, etc.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk through the steps to find the shortest word in a list in Python. We’ll cover different approaches to solving this problem, including using built-in functions and writing our own custom functions. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to find the shortest word in a list in Python, and you’ll be able to apply this knowledge to your own projects.

## Methods to find the shortest word in a Python List

There are multiple ways in which you can get the shortest word in a list in Python. In this tutorial, we will explore the following methods with the help of examples.

- Using a for loop
- Using the
`min()`

function - Using the
`reduce()`

function

### 1) Using a for loop

In this method, we loop through each word in the list and keep track of the shortest word encountered so far in a variable.

Let’s look at an example.

# create a list ls = ["dahlia", "daisy", "rose", "sunflower", "tulip"] # variable to store the shortest word shortest_word = ls[0] # use loop to find the shortest word for word in ls: if len(word) < len(shortest_word): shortest_word = word print(shortest_word)

Output:

rose

In this example, we start with an empty string `shortest_word`

and iterate over each word in the list `ls`

. If the length of the current word is smaller than the length of `shortest_word`

, we update `shortest_word`

to be the current word. Finally, we print the `shortest_word`

.

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Note that if there are multiple shortest words (more than one word having the same length as the shortest word), this method will give the first encountered shortest word as the answer.

### 2) Using the `min()`

function

Another way to find the shortest word in a list is to use the Python built-in `min()`

function with a key function that returns the length of each word.

The `min()`

function in Python is used to find the minimum value in a list, it also takes a key function as an argument that you can use to compare the values in the list for the minimum.

Let’s look at an example.

# create a list ls = ["dahlia", "daisy", "rose", "sunflower", "tulip"] # get the shortest word in the list print(min(ls, key=len))

Output:

rose

In this example, we use the `min()`

function to find the minimum element in `ls`

based on the length of each element. The `key`

argument specifies a function that takes an element of `ls`

as input and returns a value to use for comparison. In this case, we use the built-in `len()`

function as the key function.

### 3) Using the `reduce()`

function

A third way for finding the shortest word in a list is to use the `reduce()`

function avaialabe in the `functools`

module.

The `reduce()`

function in Python is used to apply a function to an iterable and reduce it to a single cumulative value. It takes two arguments: the function to be applied and the iterable to be reduced. The function is applied to the first two elements of the iterable, then to the result and the next element, and so on until all elements have been processed and a single value is returned.

To use the `reduce()`

function to get the shortest value in a list, we can use a function that compares two strings and returns the one with the smaller length and apply it cumulatively to the entire list. Let’s look at an example.

from functools import reduce # create a list ls = ["dahlia", "daisy", "rose", "sunflower", "tulip"] # function to get the shortest word of two words def get_shorter_word(w1, w2): return w1 if len(w1) < len(w2) else w2 # get the shortest word in the list print(reduce(get_shorter_word, ls))

Output:

rose

In the above example, we create a function `get_shorter_word()`

to compare two words based on their lengths and return the shorter word. We then use this function inside the `reduce()`

function and get the shortest word in the list.

Instead of writing a named function, you can also use a lambda function.

from functools import reduce # create a list ls = ["dahlia", "daisy", "rose", "sunflower", "tulip"] # get the shortest word in the list print(reduce(lambda x, y: x if len(x) < len(y) else y, ls))

Output:

rose

In this example, we use the `reduce()`

function to apply a lambda function to each element of `ls`

in turn. The lambda function takes two arguments `x`

and `y`

and returns the shorter of the two. The `reduce()`

function applies this lambda function to the first two elements of `ls`

, then to the result and the next element, and so on, until all elements have been processed. The final result is the shortest word in `ls`

.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the shortest word in a list in Python can be achieved using various methods.

- The loop method is a simple and straightforward approach that can be used for small lists.
- The min() function is a more efficient method that can be used for larger lists.
- Finally, the reduce() function provides a concise and elegant solution to finding the shortest word in a list.

It is important to choose the method that best suits your needs based on the size of your list and the complexity of your code. With these methods at your disposal, you can easily find the shortest word in any list in Python.

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