How to Remove the First Element from an Array in Python


In Python, an array can be defined as a list of elements that can be of any data type. Sometimes, we may want to remove the first element from an array in Python. This can be achieved using a few different methods.

Method 1: Using Slicing

One way to remove the first element from an array in Python is by using slicing. Slicing is a technique that allows you to extract a portion of a sequence, such as a list or an array, by specifying the start and end indices.

To remove the first element from an array using slicing, you can simply specify the range of indices that excludes the first element. Here’s an example:

arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
arr = arr[1:]

In this example, we first create an array called `arr` with five elements. We then use slicing to create a new array that excludes the first element by specifying the range of indices `[1:]`. This means that we start at index `1` (which is the second element) and go all the way to the end of the array. Finally, we assign this new array back to `arr` and print it out.

The output of this code will be:

[2, 3, 4, 5]

As you can see, the first element (`1`) has been removed from the original array.

It’s worth noting that using slicing to remove elements from an array creates a new copy of the array. This means that if you have a large array and you remove elements using slicing multiple times, it can be inefficient in terms of memory usage. In such cases, it might be better to use other methods such as `pop()` or `del`, which modify the original array directly.

Method 2: Using Pop()

Another way to remove the first element from an array in Python is by using the `pop()` method. This method removes an element at a specified index and returns its value. If no index is specified, it removes and returns the last element of the array.

To remove the first element of an array using `pop()`, you can pass 0 as the index argument to the method. Here’s an example:

fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry']
first_fruit = fruits.pop(0)
print("Removed fruit:", first_fruit)
print("Remaining fruits:", fruits)

In this example, we first create an array of fruits containing three elements. We then call the `pop()` method on this array, passing 0 as the index argument to indicate that we want to remove the first element. The method returns the value of the removed element, which we store in a variable called `first_fruit`. Finally, we print out both the removed fruit and the remaining fruits in the array.

The output of this code would be:

Removed fruit: apple
Remaining fruits: [‘banana’, ‘cherry’]

As you can see, calling `pop(0)` on an array removes and returns its first element. You can also use this method to remove elements from other positions in an array by passing a different index argument.

Method 3: Using Del Keyword

In Python, we can remove the first element from an array using the `del` keyword. This method is simple and straightforward. Here’s how it works:

my_array = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
del my_array[0]

In this example, we define an array called `my_array` with five elements. Then we use the `del` keyword to remove the first element from the array by specifying its index (`0`). Finally, we print the updated array which now contains only `[2, 3, 4, 5]`.

It’s important to note that using `del` to remove an element from an array modifies the original array in place. If you want to keep a copy of the original array, you should create a new variable and copy the contents of the original array using slicing.

my_array = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
new_array = my_array[1:]

In this example, we create a new variable called `new_array` and assign it the value of `my_array` starting from index `1`. This creates a new array that contains all elements of `my_array`, except for the first one. The result is `[2, 3, 4, 5]`.

In conclusion, using the `del` keyword is a simple and effective way to remove the first element from an array in Python. However, if you need to preserve the original array and create a new one without the first element, you should use slicing instead.


In conclusion, removing the first element from an array in Python is a simple task that can be achieved using various methods. The most common methods include using slicing, the `pop()` method, and using loops to shift the elements within the array.

It is important to choose the appropriate method based on the specific use case and requirements. For instance, if you need to remove the first element and keep it for future use, then using the `pop()` method would be a good choice. On the other hand, if you need to remove multiple elements at once or manipulate multiple elements, then using loops may be more efficient.

Remember to always test your code thoroughly to ensure that it works as expected and handles all possible edge cases. With this knowledge, you can now confidently remove the first element from an array in Python like a pro!
Interested in learning more? Check out our Introduction to Python course!

How to Become a Data Scientist PDF

Your FREE Guide to Become a Data Scientist

Discover the path to becoming a data scientist with our comprehensive FREE guide! Unlock your potential in this in-demand field and access valuable resources to kickstart your journey.

Don’t wait, download now and transform your career!

Pierian Training
Pierian Training
Pierian Training is a leading provider of high-quality technology training, with a focus on data science and cloud computing. Pierian Training offers live instructor-led training, self-paced online video courses, and private group and cohort training programs to support enterprises looking to upskill their employees.

You May Also Like

Data Science, Tutorials

Guide to NLTK – Natural Language Toolkit for Python

Introduction Natural Language Processing (NLP) lies at the heart of countless applications we use every day, from voice assistants to spam filters and machine translation. It allows machines to understand, interpret, and generate human language, bridging the gap between humans and computers. Within the vast landscape of NLP tools and techniques, the Natural Language Toolkit […]

Machine Learning, Tutorials

GridSearchCV with Scikit-Learn and Python

Introduction In the world of machine learning, finding the optimal set of hyperparameters for a model can significantly impact its performance and accuracy. However, searching through all possible combinations manually can be an incredibly time-consuming and error-prone process. This is where GridSearchCV, a powerful tool provided by Scikit-Learn library in Python, comes to the rescue. […]

Python Basics, Tutorials

Plotting Time Series in Python: A Complete Guide

Introduction Time series data is a type of data that is collected over time at regular intervals. It can be used to analyze trends, patterns, and behaviors over time. In order to effectively analyze time series data, it is important to visualize it in a way that is easy to understand. This is where plotting […]