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Python Program to find Least Frequent Character in String

In this tutorial, you will learn to find the least frequent character in the string. Strings in Python are a sequence of characters wrapped inside single, double, or triple quotes. The frequency of a character is the total number of times that character occurs in the given string. We have to find and print the character which occurs the least in the string in our program.

Look at the examples to understand the input and output format.

Input: "apghphgg"

Output: a

Input: "hjkkjht"

Output: t

To execute this task we can follow multiple approaches, some are discussed below:

  1. By using keys in the dictionary and min() method
  2. By using Counter() and min() method

We will discuss all three approaches in detail separately

Approach 1: Keys in dictionary and min()

In this approach, we will iterate through the string and form keys of the characters which occur in the string. The keys will have the value of how many times that character has occurred in the string. Then, using the min() method, we can find the key with the minimum count value, which will be then used to print the required result.

min() method is a function that returns the item with the lowest value.


Step 1- Define a string with characters

Step 2- Declare an empty dictionary

Step 3- Run a loop to iterate through the string

Step 4- Add the character in the dictionary and keep a count of the frequency

Step 5- To get the minimum count use min() and store the value returned by it in a variable

Step 6- Print the variable which has the highest count as the result

Python Program 1

In this program, we have defined a string with certain values and printed the least frequent character in that string using a dictionary char_freq which will store the characters and their occurrences as the key and its value. We can get the Key using get() method.

string= "hgfjiufguij"
for i in string:
    if i in char_freq:
        char_freq[i] = 1
result= min(char_freq, key = char_freq.get)
print("Least frequent character: ",result)

Least frequent character: h

Approach 2: Counter and min() function

The counter will get the frequency of every character in the string then we can use the min() method to get the minimum count value.

The counter is a sub-class that counts all the hashable objects.


Step 1- Import Counter

Step 2- Declare a string with characters

Step 3- Print string

Step 4- Call the Counter() and pass the string

Step 5- To get the minimum count use min() and store the value returned by it in a variable

Step 6- Print the variable as the result

Python Program 2

To use Counter, we have to import it from the collections class in our program. Since Counter works for hashable objects they are accessed using a key. We can get the Key using get() method.

# least frequent character

from collections import Counter

string= "pppppghhhijeuupffe"

# counts hashable objects
result= Counter(string)
# gets minimum out of all values
result= min(result, key=result.get)

print("Least frequent character: ",result)

Least frequent character: g


In this tutorial, we have seen two approaches to get the least frequent character from the string. The first approach was to find the minimum count using keys of a dictionary and using the key to print the character. The second approach was to use the Counter() method to get the total count for all the characters in the string. Using the min() method we can get the lowest value of count.