What Does Asterisk Mean In Jupyter Notebook

Hey there, welcome to my blog! Today, I want to talk about something that I find incredibly useful in Jupyter Notebook – the asterisk.

If you’re a fan of coding in Python using Jupyter Notebook, you’ve probably come across the asterisk symbol (*) used in various contexts. But have you ever wondered what it really means? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

To put it simply, the asterisk in Jupyter Notebook is used for a multitude of things, depending on the context in which it is used. It can be used for multiplication, as an unpacking operator, or even as part of regular expression syntax. Let’s dive deeper into each of these uses and explore some real-life examples.


In Python, the asterisk is commonly used as the multiplication operator. For example, if you want to calculate the product of two numbers, you can use the asterisk symbol like this:

result = 5 * 3

This will assign the value 15 to the variable ‘result’. Pretty straightforward, right?

Unpacking Operator

The asterisk also plays a crucial role as an unpacking operator in Python. It allows you to unpack elements from an iterable, such as a list, tuple, or even a string. This can be incredibly useful when you want to pass multiple arguments to a function or assign multiple values to variables in a single line of code.

Let’s say you have a list of numbers and you want to assign each number to a separate variable. You can use the asterisk to achieve this:

numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
a, b, *c = numbers

In this example, ‘a’ will be assigned the value 1, ‘b’ will be assigned the value 2, and ‘c’ will be a list containing the remaining values [3, 4, 5]. This allows for flexible and concise code organization.

Regular Expression Syntax

Regular expressions are powerful tools for pattern matching and manipulation of strings. In regular expression syntax, the asterisk is known as the “zero or more” quantifier. It specifies that the preceding character or group can occur zero or more times.

For example, let’s say you have a string that contains the word “Python” followed by zero or more occurrences of the letter ‘s’. You can use the asterisk to match such patterns:

import re

text = "I love Pythons"
matches = re.findall("Pythons*", text)

In this case, the asterisk after ‘s’ allows for the matching of zero or more ‘s’ characters after the word “Python”. The ‘s’ in the word “Pythons” will be considered a valid match.


In conclusion, the asterisk in Jupyter Notebook is a versatile symbol that serves multiple purposes. It can be used for multiplication, as an unpacking operator, or as part of regular expression syntax. Understanding its various uses can greatly enhance your coding skills and allow you to write more efficient and concise code.

I hope this article has shed some light on the meaning of the asterisk in Jupyter Notebook. Until next time, happy coding!