NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined

In Python programming, the “NameError: name ‘csv‘ is not defined” can be challenging for developers. This clearly shows that Python fails to understand the reference ‘csv’ since it is not defined or imported in the current context. This article aims to reveal the subtleties relating to this type of mistake, providing explanations as to its cause and how it can be remedied.

What is this NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined Error?

The “NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined” error is a run time error found in Python, where the interpreter encounters an attempt at using the csv module or a variable named cvv without definition or importation. Essentially, Python could not locate ‘csv’ during this situation, and because of this, the script failed at runtime.

Why Does this NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined Error Occur?

The “NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined” typically occurs when Python detects a reference to the csv module/variable but none that is definable or imported under the current scope. Let’s delve into the common causes of this error:

Missing Import Statement

For instance, it is the simplest reason a line does not exist importing ‘csv’ modules in the code. As long as the Python interpreter cannot recognize “the reference” before importing the module it belongs to or after having used it in a “specific scope,” the error “NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined” will occur.

# Attempting to use the csv module without importing it 


Import Statement in the Wrong Scope

The wrong scope for the import statement is another possible error cause. An import statement is necessary if a certain ‘csv’ module is needed in some function or block of codes.

Variable Name Conflicts

The other possible source could be that there is one ‘csv’ in the same scope where the attempt was made to use the ‘csv’ module. The variable may be treated as a reference to that module rather than an argument, resulting in a name collision.

csv = 'some_value'

# This will result in a NameError, as 'csv' now refers to the variable, not the module

Module Not Installed

However, suppose the ‘csv’ module is under external libraries or packages not installed in your python environment. In that case, a “NameError” will occur when you try to use it. In this case, you should install the module using for example the pip package manager.

pip install csv
installing csv to resolve NameError: “name ‘csv’

How to Resolve this NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined Error?

Resolving the “NameError: name ‘csv‘ is not defined” error involves properly importing the ‘csv’ module before its usage. Here are the steps to rectify this issue:

Import the ‘csv’ Module

Import the ‘csv’ module at the beginning of your script or in the current scope where you intend to use it. For example:

import csv

# Now you can use the csv module
with open('file.csv', 'r') as file:
        reader = csv.reader(file)
        for row in reader:

Check Variable Names

Check if any variable called ‘csv’ in the local scope conflicts with the ‘csv’ module. Ensure that you rename such a variable where applicable to circumvent any confusion

# Ensure no variable named 'csv' is conflicting
csv_variable = 'some_value'

# Now import the 'csv' module
import csv

# Continue with csv module usage
csv_file_path = 'your_file.csv'

# Reading from the CSV file
with open(csv_file_path, 'r') as file:
    reader = csv.reader(file)
    # Iterate over rows in the CSV file
    for row in reader:


Why does the “NameError: name ‘csv’ is not defined” specify the ‘csv’ module?

However, in this particular case, this error explicitly points to the ‘csv’ module because the interpreter cannot recognize ‘csv’; either it does not exist or was not imported. This acts as a note to developers to import appropriately before using it.

Would such an error apply to other module names?

Indeed, the error may appear in any module or a variable name. If there is no definition for a particular name or it has not been imported in the existing scope, the “NameError” exception will be thrown off. This problem should be covered by the importing the necessary modules or defining the needed variables.

What should I do if I get this error in a script with multiple modules?

Make sure you import ‘csv’ module for use within a particular module or script. Ensure the statement is imported within the right scope to prevent “NameError” when dealing with a script with numerous modules.


In the dynamic realm of Python programming, the “NameError: “name ‘csv’ is not defined.” These would compel developers to properly consider their modules’ imports and define variables. Knowing the root cause of this fault and adopting suggested corrections will help programmers strengthen their codes against runtime crashes.

Taking care when importing modules and ensuring that they are clear also solves this problem and generally strengthens the robustness of Python scripts. Writing the code is only part of this journey to mastery where, along the way, one needs to avoid and overcome these pitfalls with elegance.


  1. csv
  2. csv.reader

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