Remove multiple items from a Python list in just one statement


In python, I know how to remove items from a list.

item_list = ["item", 5, "foo", 3.14, True]

This above code removes the values 5 and "item" from item_list. But when there is a lot of stuff to remove, I have to write many lines of


If I know the index of what I am removing, I use:

del item_list[x]

where x is the index of the item I want to remove.

If I know the index of all of the numbers that I want to remove, I"ll use some sort of loop to del the items at the indices.

But what if I don"t know the indices of the items I want to remove?

I tried item_list.remove("item", "foo"), but I got an error saying that remove only takes one argument.

Is there a way to remove multiple items from a list in a single statement?

P.S. I"ve used del and remove. Can someone explain the difference between these two, or are they the same?


Answer rating: 203

In Python, creating a new object is often better than modifying an existing one:

item_list = ["item", 5, "foo", 3.14, True]
item_list = [e for e in item_list if e not in ("item", 5)]

Which is equivalent to:

item_list = ["item", 5, "foo", 3.14, True]
new_list = []
for e in item_list:
    if e not in ("item", 5):
item_list = new_list

In case of a big list of filtered out values (here, ("item", 5) is a small set of elements), using a set is faster as the in operation is O(1) time complexity on average. It"s also a good idea to build the iterable you"re removing first, so that you"re not creating it on every iteration of the list comprehension:

unwanted = {"item", 5}
item_list = [e for e in item_list if e not in unwanted]

A bloom filter is also a good solution if memory is not cheap.