Select a random item from a list in Python

David Y.

The Problem

In Python, how can I select one item from a list at random?

The Solution

Python’s built-in random module provides the choice function for this purpose. For example:

import random my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] randomly_selected = random.choice(my_list) print(randomly_selected) # will print a pseudorandomly selected number from my_list every time the script is run

As noted in a warning near the top of the random module’s documentation, values produced by its generators should not be used for security purposes.

If we’re using our randomly chosen value for modeling a system or building a game, the method above will be fine, but if we need more robust randomness for things like passwords and security tokens, we’ll need to replace random with Python’s secrets module. Fortunately, this module also contains a choice function:

import secrets my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] randomly_selected = secrets.choice(my_list) print(randomly_selected) # will print a randomly selected number from my_list every time the script is run

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