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What is $ in JavaScript

Understanding the $ in JavaScript

A Little Background on the Dollar Sign ($)

In most programming languages, the dollar sign ($) is just another character that can be used in variable names. In JavaScript, the $ is a valid identifier. This means you can use it as a variable name, just like any other characters. For example, this is a perfectly valid JavaScript code:

let $ = "Hello, world!";
console.log($);  // Outputs: "Hello, world!"

In this case, we have used $ as a variable name. However, the use of $ in JavaScript doesn't end there. It is widely used in popular libraries such as jQuery.

The $ in jQuery

jQuery is a popular JavaScript library that makes it easier to work with HTML documents. In jQuery, the dollar sign ($) is an alias for the jQuery function, which is the heart of jQuery's functionality. For example, if you want to hide all the paragraphs in an HTML document, you can do so with the following jQuery code:


In this code, $("p") is a jQuery function call, which selects all the paragraph elements in the document. The hide method then hides these elements.

$ as a Function

In JavaScript, functions are first-class objects. This means that you can assign them to variables, pass them to other functions as arguments, and even return them from other functions as results. Because $ is a valid identifier, you can also assign a function to it.

Here's an example:

let $ = function() {
  console.log("This is a function assigned to $!");
$();  // Outputs: "This is a function assigned to $!"

In this code, we have created a function that logs a message to the console, and we have assigned this function to the $ variable. We can now call this function using $().

The $ in Template Literals

JavaScript ES6 introduced a new way of working with strings: template literals. Template literals allow you to embed expressions within your strings, and these expressions are placed inside ${}. For example:

let name = "Sarah";
console.log(`Hello, ${name}!`);  // Outputs: "Hello, Sarah!"

In this code, ${name} is an expression embedded within the template literal. The expression is evaluated, and its result is inserted into the string.

The $ in Regular Expressions

In JavaScript, $ also has a special meaning in regular expressions. It is used to match the end of a string. For example, let's say you want to check if a string ends with "world". You could do this with the following regular expression:

let str = "Hello, world";
let regex = /world$/;
console.log(regex.test(str));  // Outputs: true

In this code, the regular expression /world$/ checks if the string ends with "world". The $ character is what specifies the end of the string.


To sum it up, the $ in JavaScript is quite versatile. Despite being a simple character, it's used in various scenarios such as variable naming, jQuery, function assignment, template literals and regular expressions. It's like a multi-tool in the world of JavaScript, helping you, the coder, to achieve different tasks efficiently. Remember, each usage has a specific purpose and understanding when to use $ and where, will not only make you a better programmer but also make your code more efficient and readable. Happy coding!