How to Use Python min() Function A Comprehensive Guide

In this article, we will dive deep into the Python min() function, unraveling its potential, applications, and best practices. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced coder, understanding the min() function can significantly enhance your programming prowess.

python min() function

Python min() Function Time Complexity

Finding the Minimum Integer

techlitistic_integers = [10, 5, 8, 15, 3]
techlitistic_min_integer = min(techlitistic_integers)
print("Minimum integer:", techlitistic_min_integer)

Finding the Minimum String

techlitistic_strings = ["apple", "banana", "grape", "kiwi", "pear"]
techlitistic_min_string = min(techlitistic_strings)
print("Minimum string:", techlitistic_min_string)

Finding the Minimum Tuple Based on a Specific Element

techlitistic_tuples = [(3, "apple"), (1, "banana"), (5, "grape"), (2, "kiwi")]
techlitistic_min_tuple = min(techlitistic_tuples, key=lambda x: x[0])  
print("Minimum tuple:", techlitistic_min_tuple)

In all these examples, the min() function iterates through the provided data to find the minimum value according to the defined criteria. The time complexity remains O(n), where ‘n’ is the number of elements in the input data.

Python min() Function key=lambda

Finding the Shortest String

techlitistic_strings = ["apple", "banana", "cherry", "date"]
techlitistic_shortest_string = min(techlitistic_strings, key=len)
print("Shortest string:", techlitistic_shortest_string)

In this example, we’ll use the min() function to find the shortest string from a list of strings.

Finding the Smallest Absolute Value

Here, we’ll use the min() function to find the number with the smallest absolute value from a list of numbers.

techlitistic_numbers = [-5, 10, -3, 7, -8]
techlitistic_smallest_absolute = min(techlitistic_numbers, key=lambda x: abs(x))
print("Number with smallest absolute value:", techlitistic_smallest_absolute)

Finding the Oldest Person

In this example, we’ll use the min() function to find the oldest person from a list of dictionaries containing person information.

techlitistic_people = [
    {"name": "Alice", "age": 28},
    {"name": "Bob", "age": 35},
    {"name": "Carol", "age": 22},
    {"name": "David", "age": 40}
techlitistic_oldest_person = min(techlitistic_people, key=lambda person: person["age"])
print("Oldest person:", techlitistic_oldest_person["name"])

Python min() Function Dictionary

Finding the Minimum Value in a Dictionary

# Example dictionary with numeric values

techlitistic_grades = {
    'Alice': 92,
    'Bob': 85,
    'Carol': 78,
    'David': 95,

techlitistic_min_grade = min(techlitistic_grades.values())
print(f"The minimum grade is: {techlitistic_min_grade}")

In this example, the min() function is used to find the minimum value among the grades in the dictionary. It does so by applying the function to each value in the dictionary and returning the smallest value.

Finding the Key Corresponding to the Minimum Value

# Example dictionary with numeric values

techlitistic_prices = {
    'Apple': 1.50,
    'Banana': 0.75,
    'Orange': 1.20,
    'Grapes': 2.00,

techlitistic_min_price_key = min(techlitistic_prices, key=prices.get)
print(f"The item with the lowest price is: {techlitistic_min_price_key}")

The function finds the key with the lowest price.

Finding the Minimum Value Using a Custom Key Function

# Example dictionary with nested dictionaries

techlitistic_students = {
    'Alice': {'math': 85, 'english': 92, 'history': 78},
    'Bob': {'math': 92, 'english': 88, 'history': 90},
    'Carol': {'math': 78, 'english': 85, 'history': 95},

# Define a custom key function to find the minimum average grade

def average_grade(student):
    return sum(student.values()) / len(student)

techlitistic_min_avg_student = min(students, key=lambda student: average_grade(techlitistic_students[student]))
print(f"The student with the lowest average grade is: {techlitistic_min_avg_student}")

In this example, the min() function is used to find the student with the lowest average grade from a dictionary of students. A custom key function average_grade() is defined to calculate the average grade for each student’s subject scores. The lambda function is used to apply the custom key function to each student, and the student with the lowest average is returned.

Python min() Function List

Finding the Minimum Number in a List

In this example, the min() function is used to find the smallest number in the numbers list. It returns the value 6 as it’s the smallest number in the list.

techlitistic_numbers = [23, 10, 45, 6, 78, 12]
techlitistic_min_number = min(techlitistic_numbers)
print("The minimum number is:",techlitistic_min_number)

Finding the Minimum String Length in a List of Strings

In this example, the min() function with the key argument set to len is used to find the shortest word in the words list. It returns “kiwi” since it has the fewest characters among the words in the list.

techlitistic_words = ["apple", "banana", "grape", "kiwi", "orange"]
techlitistic_min_length_word = min(techlitistic_words, key=len)
print("The shortest word is:", techlitistic_min_length_word)

Finding the Earliest Date in a List of Dates

In this example, the min() function is used to find the earliest date among a list of date objects. It returns 2023-01-30 as it’s the earliest date in the list.

from datetime import date

techlitistic_dates = [date(2023, 5, 10), date(2023, 3, 15), date(2023, 7, 8), date(2023, 1, 30)]
techlitistic_earliest_date = min(techlitistic_dates)
print("The earliest date is:", techlitistic_earliest_date)


The Python min() function stands as a testament to the language’s elegance and efficiency. Its simplicity, versatility, and time-saving capabilities make it an indispensable tool for programmers across domains. Whether you’re delving into numeric analysis, string manipulation, or custom object comparison, the min() function streamlines processes and elevates your coding prowess. So go ahead, integrate the power of min() into your Python projects and witness the difference firsthand!

Remember, mastering the min() function is just one step on your journey to Python proficiency. Keep exploring, experimenting, and broadening your horizons to truly become a Python coding maestro. Happy coding!

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