e-satis e-satis - 2 months ago 5x
Python Question

What is a "callable" in Python?

Now that it's clear what a metaclass is, there is an associated concept that I use all the time without knowing what it really means.

I suppose everybody made once a mistake with parenthesis, resulting in an "object is not callable" exception. What's more, using

lead to wonder what this bloody
can be used for.

Could you give me some explanations, including examples with the magic method ?


A callable is anything that can be called.

The built-in callable (PyCallable_Check in objects.c) checks if the argument is either:

  • an instance of a class with a __call__ method or
  • is of a type that has a non null tp_call (c struct) member which indicates callability otherwise (such as in functions, methods etc.)

The method named __call__ is (according to the documentation)

Called when the instance is ''called'' as a function


class Foo:
  def __call__(self):
    print 'called'

foo_instance = Foo()
foo_instance() #this is calling the __call__ method