Python Reverse a List: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Reversing a list is a common requirement in any programming language. In this tutorial, we will learn the effective way to reverse a list in Python. 

There are 3 ways to reverse a list in Python.

  1. Using the reversed() built-in function
  2. Using the reverse() built-in function
  3. Using the list slicing 

Method 1 – Using the reversed() built-in function

reversed() is a built-in function in Python. In this method, we neither modify the original list nor create a new copy of the list. Instead, we will get a reverse iterator which we can use to cycle through all the elements in the list and get them in reverse order, as shown below.

Output

# Reversing a list using reversed()
def reverse_list(mylist):
	return [ele for ele in reversed(mylist)]
	

mycountrylist = ['US','India','Germany','South Africa']
mynumberlist = [1,2,3,4,5,6]

print(reverse_list(mycountrylist))
print(reverse_list(mynumberlist))
['South Africa', 'Germany', 'India', 'US']
[6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1]

If we need a copy of the reversed list, we could use the below code to perform this operation.

mynumberlist = [1,2,3,4,5,6]
newlist = list((reversed(mynumberlist)))
print(newlist)

# Output
# [6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1]

Method 2 – Using the reverse() built-in function

reverse() is a built-in function in Python. In this method, we will not create a copy of the list. Instead, we will modify the original list object in-place. It means we will copy the reversed elements into the same list. 

The reverse() method will not return anything as the list is reversed in-place. However, we can copy the list before reversing if required.

# Reversing a list using reverse()
def reverse_list(mylist):
	mylist.reverse()
	return mylist

mycountrylist = ['US','India','Germany','South Africa']
mynumberlist = [1,2,3,4,5,6]

print(reverse_list(mycountrylist))
print(reverse_list(mynumberlist))

Output

['South Africa', 'Germany', 'India', 'US']
[6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1]

Method 3 – Using the list slicing 

Slice notation allows us to slice various collection objects such as lists, strings, tuples, and Numpy Arrays.

The slicing trick is the simplest way to reverse a list in Python. The only drawback of using this technique is that it will create a new copy of the list, taking up additional memory.

# Reversing a list using slicing technique
def reverse_list(mylist):
	newlist= mylist[::-1]
	return newlist

mycountrylist = ['US','India','Germany','South Africa']
mynumberlist = [1,2,3,4,5,6]

print(reverse_list(mycountrylist))
print(reverse_list(mynumberlist))

Output

['South Africa', 'Germany', 'India', 'US']
[6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1]

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