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C++ Operator Precedence

The operators at the top of this list are evaluated first. Operators within a group have the same precedence. All operators have left-to-right associativity unless otherwise noted.


Precedence Operator Description Example Overloadable Associativity
1::Scope resolution operatorClass::age = 2;noleft to right
2()
()
[]
->
.
++
--
dynamic_cast
static_cast
reinterpret_cast
const_cast
typeid
Function call
Member initalization
Array access
Member access from a pointer
Member access from an object
Post-increment
Post-decrement
Runtime-checked type conversion
Unchecked type conversion
Reinterpreting type conversion
Cast away/Add constness
Get type information
isdigit('1')
c_tor(int x, int y) : _x(x), _y(y * 10) {}
array[4] = 2;
ptr->age = 34;
obj.age = 34;
for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) cout << i;
for (int i = 10; i > 0; i--) cout << i;
Y& y = dynamic_cast<Y&>(x);
Y& y = static_cast<Y&>(x);
int const* p = reinterpret_cast<int const*>(0x1234);
int* q = const_cast<int*>(p);
std::type_info const& t = typeid(x);
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
yes
yes
no
no
no
no
no
left to right
3!
not
~
compl
++
--
-
+
*
&
sizeof
new
new []
delete
delete []
(type)
Logical negation
Alternate spelling for !
Bitwise complement
Alternate spelling for ~
Pre-increment
Pre-decrement
Unary minus
Unary plus
Dereference
Address of
Size (of the type) of the operand in bytes
Dynamic memory allocation
Dynamic memory allocation of array
Deallocating the memory
Deallocating the memory of array
Cast to a given type
if (!done) …

flags = ~flags;

for (i = 0; i < 10; ++i) cout << i;
for (i = 10; i > 0; --i) cout << i;
int i = -1;
int i = +1;
int data = *intPtr;
int *intPtr = &data;
size_t s = sizeof(int);
long* pVar = new long;
long* array = new long[20];
delete pVar;
delete [] array;
int i = (int)floatNum;
yes

yes

yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
right to left
4->*
.*
Member pointer selector
Member object selector
ptr->*var = 24;
obj.*var = 24;
yes
no
left to right
5*
/
%
Multiplication
Division
Modulus
int i = 2 * 4;
float f = 10.0 / 3.0;
int rem = 4 % 3;
yes
yes
yes
left to right
6+
-
Addition
Subtraction
int i = 2 + 3;
int i = 5 - 1;
yes
yes
left to right
7<<
>>
Bitwise shift left
Bitwise shift right
int flags = 33 << 1;
int flags = 33 >> 1;
yes
yes
left to right
8<
<=
>
>=
Comparison less-than
Comparison less-than-or-equal-to
Comparison greater-than
Comparison greater-than-or-equal-to
if (i < 42) …
if (i <= 42) ...
if (i > 42) …
if (i >= 42) ...
yes
yes
yes
yes
left to right
9==
eq
!=
not_eq
Comparison equal-to
Alternate spelling for ==
Comparison not-equal-to
Alternate spelling for !=
if (i == 42) ...

if (i != 42) …
yes
-
yes
left to right
10&
bitand
Bitwise AND
Alternate spelling for &
flags = flags & 42;
yes
left to right
11^
xor
Bitwise exclusive OR (XOR)
Alternate spelling for ^
flags = flags ^ 42;
yes
left to right
12|
bitor
Bitwise inclusive (normal) OR
Alternate spelling for |
flags = flags | 42;
yes
left to right
13&&
and
Logical AND
Alternate spelling for &&
if (conditionA && conditionB) …
yes
left to right
14||
or
Logical OR
Alternate spelling for ||
if (conditionA || conditionB) ...
yes
left to right
15? :Ternary conditional (if-then-else)int i = a > b ? a : b;noright to left
16=
+=
-=
*=
/=
%=
&=
and_eq
^=
xor_eq
|=
or_eq
<<=
>>=
Assignment operator
Increment and assign
Decrement and assign
Multiply and assign
Divide and assign
Modulo and assign
Bitwise AND and assign
Alternate spelling for &=
Bitwise exclusive or (XOR) and assign
Alternate spelling for ^=
Bitwise normal OR and assign
Alternate spelling for |=
Bitwise shift left and assign
Bitwise shift right and assign
int a = b;
a += 3;
b -= 4;
a *= 5;
a /= 2;
a %= 3;
flags &= new_flags;

flags ^= new_flags;

flags |= new_flags;

flags <<= 2;
flags >>= 2;
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes

yes

yes

yes
yes
right to left
17throwthrow exceptionthrow EClass(“Message”);no
18,Sequential evaluation operatorfor (i = 0, j = 0; i < 10; i++, j++) …yesleft to right

Order of Evaluation and of Side Effects

One important aspect of C++ that is related to operator precedence, is the order of evaluation and the order of side effects in expressions. In most circumstances, the order in which things happen is not specified. For example in f() + g() whether f() or g() is called first is not specified. If at least one of the functions has side effects the results may differ across compilers, different versions of the same compiler or even between multiple runs of the same compiler.

Further, the effect of certain expressions is undefined. For example, consider the following code:

    float x = 1;
    x = x / ++x;

The value of x and the rest of the behaviour of the program after evaluating this expression is undefined. The program is semantically ill-formed: x is modified twice between two consecutive sequence points.

Expressions like the one above must be avoided. When in doubt, break a large expression into multiple statements to ensure that the order of evaluation is correct.

Overloading of Operators

Overloading of operators can be very useful and very dangerous. On one hand overloading operators for a class you have created can help with logistics and readability of code. On the other hand you can overload an operator in such a way that it can either obfuscate or just downright break your program. Use carefully. In particular never overload &&, || or ,. In the overloaded context they lose the guarantee that the left operand is evaluated before the second and that there is a sequence point inbetween.

There are two ways to over load an operator: global function or class member.

Example of overloading with a global function:

     ostream& operator <<(ostream& os, const myClass& rhs);

But to be able to reach any private data within a user defined class you have to declare the global function as a friend within the definition of the class.

Example:

     class myClass {
 
       // Gives the operator << function access to 'myData'
       // (this declaration should not go in public, private or protected)
       friend ostream& operator <<(ostream& lhs, const myClass& rhs);
 
       private:
         int myData;
     }

Overloading with a class member can be done as follows:

     class myClass {
 
       public:
         // The left hand side of this operator becomes '*this'.
         int operator +(const myClass& rhs);
 
       private:
         int myData;
     }
 
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