19.13. Glossary

class attribute

Data that the class keeps track of. All objects of the class have access to this data.

object attribute

Data that an object keeps track of.


A class can be thought of as a template for the objects that are instances of it. It defines a data type. A class can be provided by the Python system or be user-defined.


Every class has a “factory”, called by the same name as the class, for creating new instances. If the class has an initializer method, this method is used to set the attributes (i.e. the state) of the new object.

initializer method

A special method in Python (called __init__) that is invoked automatically to set a newly-created object’s attributes to their initial (factory-default) state.


An object whose type is of some class. Instance and object are used interchangeably.


To create an instance of a class, and to run its initializer.

object method

A function that is defined inside a class definition and is invoked on instances of that class.


A compound form of data that is often used to model a thing or concept in the real world. It bundles together the data and the operations that are relevant for that thing or concept. It has the type of its defining class. Instance and object are used interchangeably.

object-oriented programming

A powerful style of programming in which data and the operations that manipulate it are organized into classes and methods.

object-oriented language

A language that provides features, such as user-defined classes and inheritance, that facilitate object-oriented programming.

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