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What is the $ in JavaScript

Demystifying the $ in JavaScript

Before we dive into the depths of the topic, let's clarify one thing. The symbol $ in JavaScript carries no special meanings by itself. It's just a character that can be used in variable names. However, its usage has been popularized by JavaScript libraries like jQuery.

The Dollar Sign in jQuery

jQuery is a fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library. It makes things like HTML document traversal and manipulation, event handling, and animation much simpler with an easy-to-use API that works across a multitude of browsers.

In jQuery, $ is simply an alias for the jQuery function. When you see $(selector), it means jQuery(selector).

Here's an example of how $ is used in jQuery:


In this code snippet, $(document).ready(function(){...}) ensures that the code contained within it will run as soon as the DOM is loaded and ready to be manipulated. $("p").click(function(){...}) attaches a click event to the p element, and $(this).hide() hides the element that has been clicked.

The Dollar Sign in Template Literals

In modern JavaScript, the $ symbol has another important use inside template literals. Template literals are string literals allowing embedded expressions. You can use multi-line strings and string interpolation features with them.

Here's an example of how $ is used in a template literal:

let name = 'John';
let greeting = `Hello, ${name}!`;
console.log(greeting); // outputs: Hello, John!

In this code snippet, ${name} inside the template literal is a placeholder. The JavaScript engine will replace ${name} with the value of the variable name.

The Dollar Sign in Regular Expressions

Regular expressions are patterns used to match character combinations in strings. In JavaScript, regular expressions are also objects. The $ symbol is used in regular expressions to denote the end of a line.

Here's an example of how $ is used in a regular expression:

let re = /world$/;
let str1 = 'Hello world';
let str2 = 'world Hello';
console.log(re.test(str1)); // outputs: true
console.log(re.test(str2)); // outputs: false

In this code snippet, /world$/ is a regular expression that matches any string that ends with 'world'. The .test() method is used to test if the string matches the pattern.


Despite its humble appearance, the $ symbol plays multiple roles in JavaScript. It's like a versatile actor who can take on various characters in different scenes of a movie. In the world of jQuery, it's a synonym for the jQuery function. In template literals, it's a signal for the JavaScript engine to inject variable values into strings. In regular expressions, it stands guard at the end of the line, ensuring the strings meet the criteria. Understanding and mastering its usage in these contexts will definitely enrich your JavaScript coding skills. So the next time you see the $ in JavaScript, you can give it a knowing nod. You've got this!