looks up the value associated with key in the association assoc; if the key is not present, Missing["KeyAbsent",key] is returned.


gives a list of the values associated with the keyi.


gives a list corresponding to the value of key in each associ.


gives default if the key is not present.


looks up the values associated with keys, wrapping each of then with head h before evaluation.


represents an operator form of Lookup that can be applied to an expression.


  • In Lookup[assoc,key,default], default is only evaluated if key is not found in assoc.
  • Lookup can be applied not only to Association objects, but also to lists of rules.
  • Lookup[assoc,Key[list]] treats the list list as a single key rather than a list of keys.
  • Lookup[{assoc1,assoc2,},{key1,key2,}] gives an array of the form {{assoc1[key1],assoc1[key2],},}.
  • Lookup[key][assoc] is equivalent to Lookup[assoc,key].


open allclose all

Basic Examples  (4)

Look up the value associated with the key:

When a key is not found, a Missing object is returned by default:

Provide a default value to be used when the key is not found:

Use the operator form of Lookup:

Scope  (5)

Look up multiple keys at once:

Lookup threads over lists of associations:

Query multiple keys from multiple associations:

Lookup can be used to look up keys in lists of rules:

Wrap the result in Hold to prevent it from evaluating:

Apply the operator form to a list of lists:

Applications  (1)

You can use constructs such as Throw and Return in the third argument of Lookup to abort a computation when a required key is missing:

Properties & Relations  (4)

When the key is present, the default is not evaluated:

Even when it appears in a result multiple times, the default value is only evaluated once:

Applying an association to a key is typically equivalent to using Lookup on that key:

Lists are handled differently by Lookup, however:

Wrap the list in Key to make Lookup treat it as a single key:

Lookup automatically strips up to one level of Key from its second argument:

Similarly, lists of keys are stripped of any Key wrappers they contain:

This stripping allows looking up expressions of the form Key[{}] and Key[Key[]]:

Possible Issues  (1)

When the key to be looked up is a list or an expression with head Key, it must be wrapped in a Key to avoid ambiguity:

Wolfram Research (2014), Lookup, Wolfram Language function, https://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Lookup.html (updated 2020).


Wolfram Research (2014), Lookup, Wolfram Language function, https://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Lookup.html (updated 2020).


Wolfram Language. 2014. "Lookup." Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Wolfram Research. Last Modified 2020. https://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Lookup.html.


Wolfram Language. (2014). Lookup. Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Retrieved from https://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Lookup.html


@misc{reference.wolfram_2024_lookup, author="Wolfram Research", title="{Lookup}", year="2020", howpublished="\url{https://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Lookup.html}", note=[Accessed: 22-June-2024 ]}


@online{reference.wolfram_2024_lookup, organization={Wolfram Research}, title={Lookup}, year={2020}, url={https://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Lookup.html}, note=[Accessed: 22-June-2024 ]}