.symmetric_difference()

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Published Jun 30, 2024
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In Python, the .symmetric_difference() method is a set operation that returns a new set containing elements that are in either of the two sets but not in both.

Syntax

set1.symmetric_difference(set2)
  • set1: The set on which the method is applied.
  • set2: The set to be compared to set1.

The ^ operator can also be used instead of the .symmetric_difference() method:

set1 ^ set2

Example

Suppose John wants to get a cat. However, he only wants to make time to brush the cat or play with the cat. Therefore, the cat should either be short-haired or lazy.

In this case, the .symmetric_difference() method can be used to compare the cat breeds that come under each category and retrieve a list of the ones that only fall under either of these categories:

shorthair_cat_breeds = {'bengal', 'british shorthair', 'chartreux', 'russian blue', 'siamese'}
lazy_cat_breeds = {'british shorthair', 'chartreux', 'persian', 'ragdoll', 'russian blue'}
unique_cat_breeds = shorthair_cat_breeds.symmetric_difference(lazy_cat_breeds)
print(unique_cat_breeds)

The above code produces the following output:

{'bengal', 'siamese', 'persian', 'ragdoll'}

Codebyte Example

Suppose Jaya and Denise have a collection of teas in their apartment. Since both of them are now moving out, they want to take some teas with them. Here, the .symmetric_difference() method can be used to compare their teas and get a list of the ones that are only loved by either of them:

Code
Output
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