Reverse Order Of List In Python Without For Loops

There have been times when after creating a list in Python I’ve wanted to sort a list and then have the list reversed from ascending to descending.

What are the quickest ways to get this task done? Here are two ways to do the same thing, but one method will mutate the original list when operated, whereas the other outputs a new list and keeps the original list as it originally was.

Reverse Order By Mutating List

The simplest way to reverse the order of a list in Python use the reverse() method in Python, however, be mindful when using this method it mutates the list and changes it permanently, as follows:

>> e = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
>> e.reverse()
>> print(e)
>> [5, 4, 3, 2, 1]

Does the same apply for alphabetical lists? Yes! To reverse the alphabetical order of lists in Python would be no different from the above:

>> a = ['Apricot', 'Blueberry', 'Cherry', 'Date']
>> a.reverse()
>> print(a)
>> ['Date', 'Cherry', 'Blueberry', 'Apricot']

Reverse Order Without Mutating List

Another shortcut way of doing the same as the reversed()method on lists, but without the original list being mutated is to use the slice operator [::-1], like so:

>> a = ['Apricot', 'Blueberry', 'Cherry', 'Date']
>> b = a[::-1]
>> print(a)
['Apricot', 'Blueberry', 'Cherry', 'Date']
>> print(b)
['Date', 'Cherry', 'Blueberry', 'Apricot']

I prefer this method as I still have access to the original variable’s list in case I need to perform other operations on the original list.


Without using a for loop we can easily reverse the order of a list in Python, it just matters whether you want to mutate the original list, or keep the original list in place and want a copy of the new list as a new list.


Author of, Ryan has been dabbling in code since the late '90s when he cut his teeth by exploring VBA in Excel when trying to do something more. Having his eyes opened with the potential of automating repetitive tasks, he expanded to Python and then moved over to scripting languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. When he is not behind a screen, Ryan enjoys a good bush walk with the family during the cooler months, and going with them to the beach during the warmer months.

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