These functions are JUST SHORT ONE-LINE functions to be used as an argument for other functions, like sorting (sorted()). Shorter than ~40 symbols.
More advanced Python developers/programmers use them in map() and filter() functions.
AS SIMPLE AS THAT. Most of the time, these are just short functions you don't want to define as a 'usual' functions. Often, used only once, so you won't separate them.
Why anonymous? Because they have no name.
Why lambda? This term inherited from Lisp, forget about it for a moment. (Lambda functions are also inherited from Lisp.)
Actually, in Python you can define function via lambda. For example, square root:
>>> lambda x: x**2 <function <lambda> at 0x7f356a3fe200> >>> f=lambda x: x**2 >>> f(2) 4 >>> f(10) 100
I'm not a Lisp/Scheme expert, but as far as I know, in toy Lisp interpreters, function definition is actually a syntactic sugar for assigning anonymous lambda function to a function's name. Of course, you can define 'usual' functions via lambda there.
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