Python globals() Function

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The globals() function returns a dictionary of the current global symbol table, which encompasses global variables (including functions, classes, and imported modules). Essentially, it offers a view into the global namespace of a module or script.




The globals() function doesn’t take any parameters.

Return Value:

The globals() method returns the dictionary of the current global symbol table.

Working with globals( )

When you invoke the globals() function, you get a dictionary that gives you access to all the global names available in the current namespace. Here’s a simple example:

x = 10
y = "Hello, World!"

def greet():



dict_keys(['__name__', '__doc__', '__package__', '__loader__', '__spec__', '__builtin__', '__builtins__', '_ih', '_oh', '_dh', 'In', 'Out', 'get_ipython', 'exit', 'quit', '_', '__', '___', '_i', '_ii', '_iii', '_i1', 'fruits_list', '_i2', 'fruits_frozenset', '_i3', 'colors_tuple', '_i4', 'colors_frozenset', '_i5', 'word', '_i6', 'word_frozenset', '_i7', 'fs', '_i8', '_i9', '_i10', 's', '_i11', '_i12', 'data', '_i13', 'new_fs', '_i14', 'fs1', 'fs2', 'result', '_i15', '_i16', '_i17', '_i18', '_i19', '_i20', '_i21', 'Sample', '_i22', 'obj', '_i23', 'attribute_name', '_i24', 'value', '_i25', '_i26', '_i27', '_i28', '_i29', '_i30', '_i31', 'Person', '_i32', 'p', 'new_value', 'default_value', '_i33', 'Address', 'User', 'address', 'user', '_i34', '_i35', '_35', '_i36', 'city', '_36', '_i37', 'deep_getattr', '_i38', '_38', '_i39', 'x', 'y', 'greet'])

This dictionary contains a lot of built-in names provided by Python, but our variables x, y, and the greet function are also in there.

Practical Usage

While you can directly access global variables using their names, globals() provides a way to access them dynamically using strings. This can be especially useful when you want to operate on a variable whose name you receive as a string:

variable_name = "x"
print(globals()[variable_name])  # Outputs: 10

Modifying Global Variables

The dictionary returned by globals() is mutable. This means you can modify global variables or even add new ones:

globals()['x'] = 20
print(x)  # Outputs: 20

globals()['z'] = "New Variable"
print(z)  # Outputs: New Variable

However, a word of caution: Modifying the global namespace like this should be done judiciously, as it can make the code harder to read and debug.

Interacting with Modules and Imports

When you import modules or specific objects from modules, they also become part of the global namespace:

import math
print('math' in globals())  # Outputs: True

Scope of globals( )

It’s essential to understand that the term “global” here is relative to a module. In Python, every module (which can be a script or a library file) has its own global space. So, globals() will return the dictionary of the module where it’s called. If you use globals() in different modules, you will get different dictionaries corresponding to each module’s global namespace.

Precautions and Best Practices

Avoid Overuse: Dynamically modifying the global namespace can make code harder to follow, debug, and maintain. Use with discretion.

Name Clashes: When adding names to the global namespace, ensure you’re not inadvertently overwriting existing names.

Performance: Accessing and especially modifying large global dictionaries can be performance-intensive.


Not Truly Global: It’s worth noting that “global” in Python doesn’t mean across all modules in a program. Instead, it refers to the global scope of the module where globals() is called. Each module has its own global scope.

Doesn’t Capture Enclosing Scopes: For nested functions, globals() won’t capture variables in enclosing scopes. For this, one would typically use nonlocal or other mechanisms.


The globals() function in Python offers a powerful mechanism to introspect and manipulate the global namespace. While its capabilities can significantly aid in metaprogramming, introspection, and debugging tasks, it’s essential to use this tool judiciously to maintain code clarity, efficiency, and reliability.

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