Securing a future for anonymous functions in Python

Steve Holden steve at
Tue Jan 11 01:44:42 CET 2005

Anna wrote:

> You cut something from that...
> """It's not, after all, the word "lambda" itself; I would still
> have some issues with using, say "function", instead of "lambda", but
> at least then I would immediately know what I was looking at..."""
> I would have fewer ambiguities about using, say "func" rather than
> lambda. Lambda always makes me feel like I'm switching to some *other*
> language (specifically, Greek - I took a couple of semesters of Attic
> Greek in college and quite enjoyed it.) But, the fact that lambda

Good God, you mean there's a language just for the attic? Those Greeks 
certainly believed in linguistic specialization, didn't they?

> doesn't MEAN anything  (and has come - I mean - DELTA at least has a
> fairly commonly understood meaning, even at high-school level math.
> But, lambda? If it was "func" or "function" or even "def", I would be
> happier. At least that way I'd have some idea what it was supposed to
> be...
Well, I suspect that Church originally chose lambda precisely because of 
its meaninglessness, and I'm always amused when mathematical types try 
to attribute an intuitive meaning to the word. It's purely a learned 
association, which some arrogantly assume simply *everyone* knows or 
should know.

Not that I'm trying to write off lambda supporters as arrogant (though I 
*do* have a suspicion that many of them break the wrong end of their 
boiled eggs).

> BTW - I am *quite* happy with the proposal for "where:" syntax - I
> think it handles the problems I have with lambda quite handily. 
Whereas I find it to be an excrescence, proving (I suppose) that one 
man's meat is another person's poison, or something.


[who only speaks Ground Floor English]
Steve Holden     
Python Web Programming
Holden Web LLC      +1 703 861 4237  +1 800 494 3119

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