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What is unshift in JavaScript

Unraveling the Magic of Unshift in JavaScript

JavaScript is a versatile programming language, and one of its most potent weapons is its array methods. Today, we're going to explore one such method known as unshift. If you've ever found yourself puzzled by this term, you're in the right place.

What is Unshift?

In layman's terms, unshift is an array method in JavaScript that adds one or more items to the beginning of an array and returns the new length of the array. It's like adding a new head to the dragon, but the dragon gets longer.

Let's bring it to life with a simple example:

let fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry'];
console.log(fruits.unshift('orange')); // 4
console.log(fruits); // ['orange', 'apple', 'banana', 'cherry']

Understanding How Unshift Works

Think of unshift as a welcoming party. When new elements knock on the array's door, unshift warmly welcomes them and offers them the best seat in the house, right at the front. The existing elements kindly make room and shift down the line.

Let's see it in action:

let numbers = [2, 3, 4];
console.log(numbers); // [1, 2, 3, 4]

Adding Multiple Elements with Unshift

Unshift is an excellent host and can welcome multiple guests at once. It's like having a party at your house and being able to accommodate all your friends comfortably.

Here's how you can add more than one element to the array:

let animals = ['dog', 'cat', 'rabbit'];
animals.unshift('elephant', 'lion');
console.log(animals); // ['elephant', 'lion', 'dog', 'cat', 'rabbit']

Unshift Returns the New Array Length

One interesting thing about unshift is that after it ushers in the new elements, it announces the new count of total guests in the array.

Let's see what this looks like:

let cars = ['Toyota', 'Honda', 'BMW'];
let newLength = cars.unshift('Audi', 'Mercedes');
console.log(newLength); // 5

Unshift and the Original Array

Unlike some other JavaScript methods that create a new array, unshift modifies the original array. So, if you're planning to use unshift, be mindful that your original array will no longer be the same.

Here's an example:

let books = ['Moby Dick', '1984', 'The Great Gatsby'];
books.unshift('To Kill a Mockingbird');
console.log(books); // ['To Kill a Mockingbird', 'Moby Dick', '1984', 'The Great Gatsby']


In the world of JavaScript, unshift is like a friendly usher, always ready to accommodate new elements at the beginning of the array. As you continue your journey in programming, remember that every method, including unshift, is a tool. Understanding when and how to use each tool effectively will make you a better programmer.

As we wrap up, imagine for a moment, you're organising a queue and people are joining from the front. That's unshift for you, always making space for newcomers at the beginning. So next time you're coding, and you need to add a new element to the start of an array, just call on your friendly helper, unshift. Happy coding!