Goal: create a self-referencing tuple satisfying x == (x,) in any version of Python. Standard libraries, matplotlib, numpy, pandas only.

Answers meeting this extra condition are prioritised (which may be impossible): this tuple should also be insertable into a dict or set.

If the extra condition is impossible, apart from the low-hanging optimization of the below code, I am still interested in a qualitatively different approach of similar length or better.

I had previously assumed this answer to be one of the shortest, but as @mousetail brought up, actually it crashes python when inserted into a dict or set.

import ctypes
tup = (0,)
ctypes.c_longlong.from_address(id(tup)+24).value = id(tup)

I notice this also happens with the other answer in that post, so I'm wondering if there's a way to resolve it (the ideal answer), or if that is inherent in python.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Trying to insert this tuple into a dict or set crashes the python interpreter \$\endgroup\$
    – mousetail
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 15:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Edited to account for that; didn't know, thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Shuri2060
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ May x be anything we choose? Or must it be able to be anything reasonable? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 18:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I assume you don't want the loophole where x is an object for which __eq__ is defined so that it equals anything? \$\endgroup\$
    – xnor
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 22:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why such probably doesn't exist: I think the problem lies with tuple.__hash__ which somewhat expectedly doesn't take kindly to the unbounded recursive structure. If you subclass tuple and reimplement __hash__ it looks like you can make it work: proof of concept. Not very golfy, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – loopy walt
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


Python 3, 48 bytes

from marshal import*

Try it online!

Not portable, depends on the interpreter. There's probably a similar (portable) pickle version, although it would need to be handcrafted since the pickle.dumps gives an error due to recursion depth.

Uses marshal, which is a standard library for serializing Python objects. The string is the string received by serializing the object produced by the code in the question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to add , t == (t,) to your print in the TIO-link, since that's what the question is asking for. It does seem to result in True though, but I'd prefer an explanation before I upvote it tbh. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 7:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KevinCruijssen This SO answer has an explanation for an identical approach. \$\endgroup\$
    – att
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 9:36

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