Python: Lambdas as lexical closures

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A ‘lexical closure’ is a fancy name for a function that remembers the values from the enclosing lexical scope even when the program flow is no longer in that scope. Here’s a (fairly academic) example to illustrate the idea:

>>> def make_adder(n):
...     return lambda x: x + n

>>> plus_3 = make_adder(3)
>>> plus_5 = make_adder(5)

>>> plus_3(4)
>>> plus_5(4)

In the above example the x + n lambda can still access the value of n even though it was defined in the make_adder function (the enclosing scope).